Henry Forest / Robert Jenkins
of Screven & McIntosh Counties, Georgia


The Chosen

Henry Forest was born sometime between 1877 and 1885 in Georgia according to census records. He was the son of John Forest and Caroline Jenkins who were residents of Screven County, Georgia for the majority of their lives.

John Forest and Caroline Jenkins were both born into slavery and it is not known where they were held in bondage. Presumably, Caroline was in bondage under the Jenkins family, however, that is only going by the fact that she used that surname and lived in Screven and Jenkins Counties all her life. During the 1870 Screven County census, her next closest white neighbor was Noel Lanier who was married to Rebecca White, and the next closest family to them was the White family. If one followed the theory that most of the enslaved didn't leave the plantation after Emancipation (or they came back) because they didn't have anywhere to go, one could assume that Caroline was enslaved by the White family of Screven County, Georgia because she was still living near them during the 1870 census.

Let me explain why it's possible that Caroline was enslaved by the White family. While researching descendants of the enslaved in Glynn County, Georgia I noticed that the newly freed persons were still living in the areas where they were enslaved. Let's call our formerly enslaved man, John Smith for an example and lets say I have proof that John Smith was owned by Mr. Whiteman through plantation records. I find John Smith on the 1870 census and going backwards from John Smith, the next white person I find listed is either Mr. Whiteman or a member of his family.  Since this family owned a plantation and slaves, stands to reason that the majority of the African-Americans listed after Mr. Whiteman's name and up to the next white family, were possible enslaved on his property.

Therefore, if you don't know where or by whom your ancestor was enslaved, try my theory using the 1870 census to give yourself a clue and then start researching that white person's family and records; you might find where your ancestor was held in bondage. This isn't a foolproof system because in Glynn County we had many displaced persons during the Civil War because the Freedman's Bureau was located on Retreat Plantation. Many descendants of the enslaved have mistakenly believed that their ancestor was on this plantation or at least enslaved at a plantation on St. Simons Island; however, it turns out, they may have been from a very different county, as in the case of Jacob Harris (profiled here).

Since we don't know anything about the lives of John Forest or Caroline Jenkins pre-Emancipation, we won't assume. It appears that their children were born during the Reconstruction Era, starting in the mid-1870's, which means that John Forest could've been from anywhere, he was born in South Carolina and his surname was not found in Screven County prior to the Civil War which either means he contrived it on his own or he was from another county/state. At this time, he has not been found in the 1870 census under the name John Forest.

The 1870 Screven County census shows Caroline Jenkins living in the home of 36-year-old Thomas Jenkins; also living in the home was Clarisy 45, Sambo Stewart 35, then Caroline 18, Richard Jenkins 2, Jon (hard to decipher) 11, and Ada Williams aged 7 years. By 1880 Caroline is living with John Forest, using his surname, and the first child listed in their home was Richard Forest, suggesting that he was Richard Jenkins and most likely her child from another relationship, or, one of many other scenarios. She had him with John Forest who was out working somewhere during the 1870 census, or maybe Richard was her little brother, or he could've been a child that was taken in because his parents either died or had left the area during the Civil War. Regardless, he is presented as a son to Caroline (Jenkins) Forest in 1880.

By the 1880 census John and Caroline were the parents of seven known children: Richard (born about 1862), William (born about 1875), Isaiah (born about 1876), William (listed in the same census born about 1876 but name was marked out), and Henry (born about 1879).

I am not sure why two different Williams were listed but it's possible the enumerator repeated him/herself by mistake since the name had a line drawn through it and this is what I am assuming; therefore there were only four children born by 1880. By the 1910 census we have proof that there were at least two more children that could've been Caroline's: David (born about 1881) and Mary Jane (born about 1886). David was listed as a brother to William Forest in the 1900 Screven County census and Mary Jane was living with Caroline in Jenkins County, Georgia during the 1910 census. This census also tells us that John Forest and Caroline Jenkins had separated.

In 1900 John Forest has a new wife, Rinda, and listed in their home were children they had together, Maggie (born May 1894), John (born January 1896), and Pearl (born May 1898). Also listed were Rinda's children from a previous marriage: Catherine Kittles (born March 1887), Peter Kittles (born April 1895), and Ethel Kittles (born May 1892).

Numerous researchers have placed this last person living in John Forest's home in 1900 as another child of Rinda's and her first marriage. Mollie Forest (born February 1883) is listed as married for 1 year. I don't believe she was Rinda's child with her former husband, Peter Kittles because Mollie was born six years prior to their marriage, and also, because marriage records show Henry Forest marrying a Mollie Calwan (name is hard to decipher) on 6 October 1899 in Screven County. To me, this suggests that Mollie was not related to anyone in this home other than by marriage. Why Mollie was listed in the home and her husband was not is another mystery, however, many researchers have taken this as proof that she was a Kittles. Henry was living with his newly married brother, William, along with William's wife, Rose Butler, whom he married on 9 October 1897, and their brother David Forest.

We do know that Henry was married to a woman named Mollie and they had two daughters together before Henry mysteriously disappears from their life. According to her death certificate, Edna Forest was born 2 February 1899 in Jenkins County; this might be the reason why Henry and Mollie were married. If her age is correct during the 1900 census, Mollie was only 16 years old when she had Edna, which means Henry was probably pressured into making an honest woman of Mollie and might also be the reason that he wasn't living in the home with her during the 1900 census. However, one must ask, where was Edna during the 1900 census? If she was born in 1899 Edna should've appeared in that census year.

Even though her death certificate shows her as the oldest child, family records state that Edna was the second born and her elder sister was Minnie Forest. The 1910 census states that Edna was born in 1904 and Minnie was born in 1901; but their death records give vastly different birth dates, Edna's in 1899 and Minnie's on 27 March 1907. Edna (Forest) Sanders died on 20 April 1977 in Savannah, Chatham, Georgia and Minnie (Forest) Brockington died 20 October 1988 in Brunswick (social security says she died November 1988, no day given).

By the 1910 census, John Forest and his family with Rinda has grown and they are all accounted for in Screven County. The children he and Caroline had together are accounted for too, as was Caroline who was now living in Jenkins County listed as the mother of her two granddaughters, Edna and Minnie Forest. Right now, we don't know where Mollie (Calwan) Forest is and also missing was Henry Forest.

In later years, Edna and Minnie had a story to tell about their father; it was believed that he was murdered by the KKK sometime prior to 1910. They never saw him again or heard a word from or about him, that is until they were adults and on vacation in a little town located in McIntosh County, Georgia.


Robert Jenkins appears in McIntosh County for the first time by 9 January 1911 when he marries local girl Patsy Read/Reid. From that time up until his death on 1 June 1958, he lived, worked, and raised a family in McIntosh County. Together, he and Patsy had about eight children: Viola (born about 1913), James (born about 1915), Leon (born about 1917), Maggie (born about 1918), Rebecca (born about 1920), Evelyn (born about 1923), Johnny (born about 1925), and Mary (born about 1928).






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