Saugus Iron Works

Tonight I was looking for a book on one of my shelves and instead got distracted by another book that I ran across.

Ironworks on the Saugus, E. N. Hartley, Joseph Jenks, Colonial ToolmakerThe book that caught my eye is Ironworks on the Saugus by E. N. Hartley. The book details the history of the Saugus Iron Works which is now a National Historic Site. I had picked it up on my first visit to the site back in the early 90’s.

National Historic Site, Saugus Iron Works, Joseph Jenks, InventorThe last time I was in Boston I made my second visit to the park. Unfortunately the park was closed for renovations but I visited the office and was able to enter and take a few quick pictures. I really wanted to see where one specific spot was in the park.

Saugus Iron Works - Saugus, Massachusetts - Boston - First Fire Engine - Joseph Jenckes - Colonial InventionThe main draw for many people are the forge and rolling mill that are seen in this picture. When the park is open they give guided tours and talk about how everything worked together at the Iron Works.

Joseph Jenks, Blacksmith, Saugus Iron Works, InventorI wanted to see where my 10th great grandfather Joseph Jenks worked at the site. At or near this spot he had a forge where he made tools and other items.

Joseph Jenks or Jenkes came to Massachusetts in 1646 from Maine. Jenks came from England in 1640 or 1641 as the last record of him in England was in 1639 and he was operating a blacksmith shop on the Agamenticus River in 1641. The Agamenticus River is now know as York River and is only about five miles north of the Massachusetts border.

Colonial Toolmaker and Inventor, Stephen P. Carlson, Joseph Jenks, Saugus Iron WorksI also picked up this small booklet during my first visit to the Saugus Iron Works. Joseph Jenks: Colonial Toolmaker and Inventor by Stephen P. Carlson is only about 40 pages but is full of information about Jenks.

You can read a little bit about some of his work in my post: Tradition of Preparedness

Joseph Jenks died in Massachusetts, but his son Joseph II moved on to Rhode Island where he operated a sawmill at Warwick and later Providence.

Joseph Jenks’ grandson Joseph was Governor of Rhode Island from 1727 – 1732. He was also know for being very tall for the time. He was 7 foot 2 inches. See: Ancestor Description

I descend from William Jenks who was the brother of the Governor and also a son of Joseph II.

In the past couple of years I have found out a lot more about my Rhode Island ancestry including a descent from Roger Williams.

Maybe Joseph is where I get my engineering genes from. I have seen him referred to as the first engineer in the Americas.



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3 Responses to Saugus Iron Works

  1. Pingback: By Car and by Train | Braman's Wanderings

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