The Historical Society of Southern California and the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society present:
The Jenkins Brothers: An Eye to the Substantial
Saturday, August 27, 2016 • 2:00 p.m.
Old Town Newhall Library,
24500 Main St., Santa Clarita
For 80 years, from the 1850s to the 1930s, Charles and William Jenkins were notable figures in greater Los Angeles. Come and hear a panel of speakers talk about these remarkable and controversial brothers and their impact on Los Angeles and the Santa Clarita Valley.
The Hatfields and McCoys had nothing on William Jenkins and William Chormicle. Starting in 1890, a violent range war between factions of these two men ripped apart the lives of many inhabitants of Castaic. A futile dispute over land claims would last nearly a quarter of a century, resulting in the murders of more than 20 people.
Charles Meyrs Jenkins was born at Circleville, Ohio, June 2, 1839. His ancestors originally came from Wales and Germany, settled in Maryland, and afterward moved to Ohio. Charles came to California via Panama in 1850. In the war of the Rebellion the Government did not call for volunteers from the Pacific states to serve in the East, for two reasons – the expense of transportation was so great, and then it was thought there might be need for them here, as there was much talk of a “Pacific Rebellion.” Nevertheless a California (cavalry) battalion of 500 adventurous spirits voluntarily organized themselves, in October 1862, and offered their services to the Government. But in order to be accepted they had to smuggle themselves into the service, and get themselves accepted as a part of the quota of the State of Massachusetts. And they actually paid their own fare from San Francisco to New York, and Governor Andrew paid their fare from there to Boston, where they were mustered in for three years, or the war, as the Second Massachusetts Cavalry, with Colonel Charles R. Lowell as commander. This battalion was in about fifty battles.
Mr. Jenkins fought in twenty battles, and was a prisoner of war fifteen months, suffering a thousand deaths from sickness, cold and starvation. He was captured at Coyle’s Tavern, Virginia, and was taken to Libby prison, then to Belle Island, and from there to Anderson Ville. Eventually he was taken to Savannah, and then to Millen, Georgia, where he was exchanged. Of the 150 men captured, only three lived to get out: Jenkins, Dr. Dempsey, and William Manker, who died soon after his release; he over-ate at Parole Camp and never recovered.
Louis DiDonato, retired educator and author of a Charles Jenkins biography.
Dr. Alan Pollack, Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society president and author of an article on William Jenkins and the Castaic Range War.
Wayne Sherman, Drum Barracks Board of Directors vice-president and collector and researcher on Charles Jenkins.
Paul R. Spitzzeri, Homestead Museum assistant director, transcriber of Charles’s Civil War Diary and researcher on early Los Angeles criminal justice, including a well-known incident involving William Jenkins.
The Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society is pleased to present the story of Charles and William Jenkins. The general public is welcome. Admission will be free. For more information on this and other upcoming programs from the SCVHS, call Dr. Alan Pollack at 661-254-1275. Website: www.scvhs.org.
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