Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Jenkins, Ebenezer Evans

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JENKINS, EBENEZER EVANS (1820–1905), Wesleyan minister and missionary, born at Exeter on 10 May 1820, was second son of John Jenkins, cabinet maker, by his wife Mary Evans, a Welshwoman. His parents were earnest methodists. Educated at Exeter grammar school, he showed as a boy literary leanings and soon became assistant master in the school of William Pengelly [q. v.]. Resolving on the methodist ministry, he was ordained at Great Queen Street Wesleyan chapel, London, on 31 Oct. 1845, and was sent out to Madras. Stationed at first at Mannargudi, he was able by September 1846 to prepare a Tamil sermon. After a move to Negapatam, he settled, about 1848, at Black Town chapel, Madras, and soon started the Royapettah school (now college) there, the oldest Wesleyan educational institution. He was absent (1855–7) from India on account of health during the Mutiny, but in 1857 he returned as chairman of the Madras district, continuing to minister in his old chapel, which he enlarged. A volume of sermons preached there was issued at Madras in 1863 (2nd edit. 1866); but his health again failed, and returning home by way of Australia, where he gave many lectures, he was appointed in 1865 superintendent of the Hackney circuit. He at once gained a high reputation as a preacher and speaker through the country, and made several foreign tours in an official capacity, speaking at the Evangelical Alliance convention at New York in 1873, and in 1875-6 and again in 1884-5 visiting missions in China, Japan, and India. From 1877 to 1888 he was a general secretary of the Mission House, remaining an honorary secretary until his death. In 1880 he was president of the Wesleyan conference.

His last years were spent in Southport, where he died on 19 July 1905. He was buried at Norwood cemetery. Jenkins published many addresses and sermons, chiefly on missionary aims and work.

He married twice: (1) in 1850, at Madras, Eliza Drewett (d. 27 April 1869); (2) in October 1871, Margaret Heald, daughter of Dr. Wood of Southport; she died on March 1875 at the birth of her second son.

[Memoir by son, J. H. Jenkins, M.A., 1906; The Times, 20 July 1905.]

C. F. S.