Eunice Jennings (ca 1730-1799) and Francis Ingalls (1731-1795)
Generation Four Family
On 12 November 1754, in Andover, Francis Ingalls, Jr. the son of Francis and Lydia (Ingalls) Ingalls married Eunes (Eunice) Jennings. But who was Eunice Jennings?
Published genealogies “place” Eunice in the family of Joseph Jennings of Bradford and Elizabeth Rolfe. But there is a sense that she is being squeezed in that family as there were no other available Jennings families in which to place her. Joseph and Elizabeth married 3 December 1735 and the birth of their first child, Joseph, was recorded 21 August 1737 and a second child, Hannah, was born 28 October 1739. For Eunice to go in this family, and to have been married in 1754, she needs to be squeezed in before Joseph or between Joseph and Hannah. Even in that case, she would be very young at the time of her marriage to Francis Ingalls. And it does not seem there is really room for her in that family. And although there are records for all the other children attributed to this family, there is no record for Eunice.
But there is another, more reasonable solution to the identity of Eunice. She was the child of Phebe Stevens and an unknown Mr. Ginnins born out-of-wedlock probably around 1730. Phebe Stevens was a granddaughter of George Abbott and Hannah Chandler and the daughter of Nathan Stevens and Elizabeth Abbott.
The evidence for this identification comes from two wills, one written by Phebe’s father Nathan Stevens in 1740 and the will of Phebe’s sister Lydia written in 1787. Lydia Stevens was the second wife of Francis Ingalls, Sr. and the step-mother to the surviving five of his twelve children with Lydia Ingalls who died in 1743.
In his will written 13 May 1740, Nathan Stevens makes the following bequest: “I give to my granddaughter Eunos Ginnins Ginnins the eldest daughter of my daughter Pheby the sume of teen pounds to be paid to hoir at the age of one and twenty by my executor.”
In her will, written 4 December 1787, Lydia Stevens Ingalls makes the following bequests: to son Francis Ingals, one-third part of all the remainder of her money, debts due and “sofourth”; grandson Phineas, who is the son of Francis, receives one-third part; grandson Asa, also a son of Francis, receives one-third; granddaughter Eunos Ingals, a daughter of Francis, receives a bed and other household items; and “unto my daughter Eunes Ingals the wife of my son Francis Ingals all my other estate of every denomination whatsoever.” At the time Lydia Stevens Ingalls wrote her will, other of her step-children (and numerous step-grandchildren) were still living, but only the family of Eunice and Francis is mentioned in the will. At the very least, this suggests a particularly close relationship between Eunice and Lydia.
We might add to this circumstantial case that the first child of Eunice Jennings and Francis Ingalls was named Nathan which was not a name in either the Ingalls or the Jennings families, but was the name of the grandfather I propose for Eunice, Nathan Stevens.
Phebe Stevens, the mother of Eunos Ginnis mentioned in the will of Nathan Stevens, married Nicholas Steel on 7 November 1734. She was Phebe Stevens at the time of her marriage, so Eunos Ginnins must be assumed to be a child born out-of-wedlock prior to 1734. Of course, it is still possible that Joseph Jennings of Bradford was the father of Eunice; it is just not likely that she is from his marriage to Elizabeth Rolfe.
I can well imagine young Eunice being raised in the family of her grandfather Nathan, and perhaps she remained there after her mother married Nicholas Steel. Aunt Lydia married at age 37 and so would have been in the home with Eunice throughout her childhood. It is easy to envision that after Lydia’s marriage to Francis Ingalls, Sr., that a relationship developed between Francis, Jr. and Eunice. Particularly as both of Eunice’s grandparents were deceased by 1750, it is possible Eunice was living in Ingalls household.
As Francis Ingalls and Eunice Jennings had ten children, the addition of Eunice to the descendants of George Abbott and Hannah Chandler adds another multitude to the descendancy.
Essex County Probate Records, will of Nathan Stevens and will of Lydia Ingals
Massachusetts Vital Records