Joseph Jenckes, Governor of Rhode Island

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Joseph Jenckes

Also Known As: "Governor of Rhode Island"
Birthplace: Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts
Death: Died in Pawtucket, Providence County, Province of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, (Present USA)
Place of Burial: Pawtucket, Providence County, Rhode Island, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Joseph Jenckes, Jr. and Esther Jenckes
Husband of Martha Jenckes (Brown) and Alice Jenckes (Smith)
Father of Judge William T. Jenckes; Nathaniel Jenckes; Lydia Jenckes; Martha Peleg Andrews; Mary Harrington and 5 others
Brother of Elizabeth Tefft; Sarah Brown; Maj. Nathaniel Jenckes; Esther Millard; Rev. Ebenezer Jenckes and 12 others

Occupation: Governor (1727 - 1732) & Deputy Governor (1722 - 1727) of Rhode Island
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Joseph Jenckes, Governor of Rhode Island

Joseph Jenckes (1656 – 15 June 1740)[1] was a deputy governor and governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.


Jenckes was the son of Joseph and Esther (Ballard) Jenckes who lived in Lynn, Massachusetts before coming to Rhode Island. His father, the son of an earlier Joseph Jenckes, operated a sawmill in Warwick, but shortly thereafter settled in Providence.[1]

He was the Royal Governor of Rhode Island. 1727 to 1732.


  1. Martha Browne, daughter of John Brown and Mary Holmes.
  2. Alice Smith, daughter of John Smith Jr and Sarah Whipple on 3 Feb 1726. Alice was born in 1665 in Providence, Providence, Ri. She died on 19 Feb 1736 in Providence,Ri. She was buried in North Burial Gro,Providence,Ri. She was m1 2/16/1688 to John Dexter; Providence Providence Co RI [IGI]. s/o GRegory Dexter and Abigail Fullerton. m2 feb/3/1727 to Hon. Joseph Jenckes, Gov. of RI, s/o Joseph Jenkes and Esther Ballard. per Rae Clinesmith. see: Gen Dict of RI, p.222, 382-384.

Children of Joseph ll & Martha (from Austin's GDRI):

  1. Joseph III,
  2. Obadiah,
  3. Catharine,
  4. Nathaniel,
  5. Martha II,
  6. Lydia,
  7. John,
  8. Mary,
  9. Esther


Joseph Jencks, the Governor, was born in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1656 and was one of four famous brothers. He married Martha Brown, Daughter of John & Mary Holmes Brown in 1686. He was Deputy to the General Assembly at the age of 35 and served twelve years. He was Speaker of the Lower House four years; Major in the Militia 1707-1712; was of unquestionable ability as assistant governor and made Governor in 1727 for six years. Under his leadership the community grew rapidly. He succeeded in obtaining appropriations from both Connecticut and succeeded in obtaining appropriations from both Connecticut and Massachusetts for the first bridge across Pawtucket Falls in 1713.

It is said that Governor Jencks was seven feet two inches tall. After Martha died, Governor Jencks married Alice Smith Dexter in 1727, the daughter of John and Sarah Whipple Smith. Sarah Whipple was the Daughter of Capt. John Whipple. Governor Jencks died in 1740 and was buried in the Old Jencks Cemetery but removed in 1831 to the Mineral Springs Cemetery, Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The inscription on his tombstone now preserved in the Rhode Island Historical Society was as follows:

"In Memory of Ye Honourable Joseph Jencks, Esq., late Governor of Ye Colony of Rhoad Island, Deceased Ye 15th Day of June A.D. 1740, in Ye 84th year of his age. He was much honored and beloved in life and lamented in death. He was a bright executive of virtue in every stage of life. He was a zealous Christian, a wise and Prudent Governor, a kind husband, and tender Father, a good neighbor, and a faithful friend. Gracious, sober, pleasant in behavior, beautiful in person, with a soul truly great, heroic and sweetly tempered.

Joseph, son of Joseph, was born in 1656, and married for his first wife Martha, daughter of John and Mary Brown, by whom he had the following children: Joseph, who died without male issue; Obadiah; Catherine, married William Turpin; Nathaniel; Martha, married John Andrews; Lydia, married Christopher Mason; John, became a doctor and died of smallpox at London, England, in 1726; Mary and Esther, married Benjamin Bucklin.

Joseph was in public office for most of the time from 1691 to 1732, and was known by the title of "Governor." He held the positions of deputy, speaker of deputies, assistant, deputy governor and governor. His second wife was Alice, daughter of John and Sarah (Whipple) Smith and widow of John Dexter. He died June 15th, 1740.

Father: Joseph JENCKES Jr. b: 1632 in Buckinghamshire,, England,,,

Mother: Esther BALLARD b: 28 OCT 1632 in Warwick, Warwickshire,, England,,,

Marriage 1 Martha BROWN

  • Note: first marriage, they had 9 children 3

Marriage 2 Alice SMITH b: ABT 1660

  • Married: 03 FEB 1727
  • Note: Alice was the widow of John Dexter 3

Marriages: #1 Martha Brown Abt. 1692 marries #2 Alice Smith Abt. 2/03/1726

Deputy Governor of Rhode Island between 1715 and 1727

Joseph Jenckes was Deputy Governor of Rhode Island from 1715 to 1727 then Governor from 1727-1733.


Joseph Jenckes, III (has a pix of him when governor of RI)

  • Birth: 1656 Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Death: Jun. 15, 1740 Pawtucket, Providence County, Rhode Island, USA
  • Colonial Governor of Rhode Island.
  • He was the son of the founder of Pawtucket, Joseph Jencks Jr and Esther Ballard Jencks.
  • He began his career of civic duty as a land surveyor for the Rhode Island colonial government, and
  • then was elected to a succession of prominent Rhode Island colonial posts:
    • member of the Rhode Island General Assembly 1679-1693, and again 1700-08;
    • state auditor in 1697 and 1704; and
    • deputy-governor, 1715-21.
      • During this term, he was sent to England to report to the King about the status of boundary disputes in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
      • When he returned to Rhode Island he was re-elected and served as deputy-governor, 1722-1727.
      • Upon the death of Governor Cranston, in 1727, he was elected governor of the colony, and held office until 1732.
  • He married, first, Martha Brown, and,
  • second, on Feb 3,1727, to Alice (Smith) Dexter, the widow of John Dexter.
  • Children(by first marriage): Joseph Jenckes, Nathaniel Jenckes(father of Joseph Jenks), Martha Jenckes Andrews Cook, Obadiah Jenckes(father of Jeremiah Jenckes), Catherine Jenckes Turpin, Lydia Jenckes Mason, John Jenckes, Mary Jenckes Herrenden, and Esther Jenckes Bucklin.
  • Family links: 
    •    Parents:
      •    Joseph Jencks (1628 - 1717)
      •    Esther Ballard Jenckes (1632 - 1717) 
    •    Spouses:
      •    Martha Brown Jenckes (1658 - 1723)
      •    Alice Smith Dexter Jencks (1665 - 1736)* 
    •    Children:
      •    Martha Jenckes Andrews Cook (1689 - 1756)*
      •    John Jenckes (1696 - 1721)*
      •    Lydia Jenckes Mason (1703 - 1757)* 
    •   Siblings:
      •     Joseph Jenckes (1656 - 1740)
      •    Elizabeth Jenckes Tefft (1658 - 1740)*
      •    Sarah Jencks Brown (1660 - 1707)*
      •    Nathaniel Jencks (1663 - 1723)*
      •    Ebenezer Jenckes (1669 - 1726)*
      •    Joanna Jencks Scott (1672 - 1756)*
      •   William Jenckes (1675 - 1765)*


  • Inscription: Joseph Jenckes "ye 15th Day of June A. D. 1740, in ye 84th Year of His Age"


  • Burial: Governor Joseph Jencks Lot (Defunct) Pawtucket, Providence County, Rhode Island, USA
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Joseph Jenckes, Governor of Rhode Island's Timeline

Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts
Age 18
Age 24
Age 28
Pawtucket, Providence, RI
Age 30
Pawtucket, Providence Co., RI
Age 33
Pawtucket, Providence, RI
Age 34
Age 35
Age 36
Pawtucket, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Age 38
Pawtucket, Providence, Rhode Island, USA