Jenckes, Thomas A. (Thomas Allen), 1818-1875

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Jurist, state legislator and adjutant general, and U.S. representative from Rhode Island.

From the description of Papers of Thomas A. Jenckes, 1836-1878. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79449305

Thomas A. Jenckes, a Representative from Rhode Island; born in Cumberland, R.I., November 2, 1818; attended the public schools; was graduated from Brown University, Providence, R.I., in 1838; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1840 and commenced practice in Providence, R.I.; clerk in the State legislature 1840-1844; secretary of the State constitutional convention in 1842; adjutant general 1845-1855; member of the State house of representatives 1854-1857; commissioner to revise the laws of the State in 1855; elected as a Republican to the Thirty-eighth and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1863-March 3, 1871); chairman, Committee on Patents (Thirty-eighth through Forty-first Congresses); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1870; resumed the practice of law; died in Cumberland, R.I., on November 4, 1875; interment in Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, R.I.

From the description of Papers, ca. 1830-ca. 1870. (Brown University). WorldCat record id: 549570826

Brown class of 1838.

From the description of Papers, 1834-1870. (Brown University). WorldCat record id: 247037534

From the description of Papers, 1837-1870. (Brown University). WorldCat record id: 122647892

Biographical Note

  • 1818, Nov. 2: Born, Cumberland, R.I.
  • 1834 - 1838 : Student, Brown University, Providence, R.I.
  • 1839: Tutor, Brown University, Providence, R.I.
  • 1840: Admitted to bar; formed a partnership with Edward H. Hazard, Providence, R.I., specializing in patent law
  • 1840 - 1844 : Clerk, Rhode Island state legislature
  • 1841: Secretary, “Landholders Convention” in Rhode Island
  • 1842: Secretary, Rhode Island constitutional convention
  • 1845 - 1855 : Adjutant general, Rhode Island
  • 1854 - 1857 : Member, Rhode Island state house of representatives
  • 1863 - 1871 : Member, U.S. House of Representatives from 1st District of Rhode Island; assigned to Patents and Judiciary Committees
  • 1865: Defeat of Jenckes's bill on the selection of public employees by competitive examinations
  • 1866: Member, House of Representatives Joint Committee for Retrenchment
  • 1872 - 1873 : Selected to aid prosecution of Credit Mobilier
  • 1875, Nov. 4: Died, Providence, R.I.

From the guide to the Thomas A. Jenckes Papers, 1838-1878, (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)

Thomas Allen Jenckes was born in Cumberland, Rhode Island on November 2, 1818. He attended public schools, followed by Brown University in Providence, from which he graduated in 1838. He subsequently served as Tutor in Mathematics at Brown (1839-1840) while reading for the law in the office of Samuel Young Atwell (Brown Class of 1814). He was admitted to the bar in 1840.

Jenckes practiced law in Providence, developing an expertise in patent cases. He was particularly noted in his own time for his work on the Sickles and Corliss steam engine patents, and on the Day and Goodyear rubber cases. He was also retained to represent the United States in its case against Credit Mobilier. During the Dorr Rebellion, Jenckes served the Charter authorities under Governor Samuel Ward King, and became Secretary of the newly formed Governor's Council. He also participated in both the Landholders Convention of 1841 and the state Constitutional Convention in 1842. He held the posts of Adjutant General from 1845-1855 and Commissioner assigned to revise the Rhode Island code in 1855; and was an elected member of the State house of representatives from 1854-1857.

In 1862, Jenckes was elected to Congress as a Republican, representing Rhode Island's First District, and served there for four successive terms, comprising the 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st Congresses (1863-1871). During his four terms in Congress, he chaired the Committee on Patents and the Committee on the Judiciary. While serving in the House of Representatives, he was chiefly responsible for revision of the patent and copyright laws, the general bankrupt law of 1867, and the introduction and adoption of a law for improving and regulating the civil service. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1870.

After his defeat, Jenckes resumed the practice of law in Rhode Island. He died in Cumberland on November 4, 1875, and lies interred at Swan Point Cemetery in Providence.

Sources: Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography; Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

From the guide to the Thomas A. Jenckes papers, Jenckes (Thomas A.) papers, 1834-1870, (John Hay Library Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Miscellaneous correspondence, 1852-1892. Houghton Library
creatorOf Thomas A. Jenckes Papers, 1838-1878 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Jenckes, Thomas A. (Thomas Allen), 1818-1875. Papers, ca. 1830-ca. 1870. Brown University Archives, John Hay Library
referencedIn North American Review, papers, ca.1842-1868. Houghton Library
referencedIn Manchester, George. George Manchester Papers, 1850-1899. Peabody Essex Museum
referencedIn James Fowler Simmons Papers, 1771-1939, (bulk 1840-1860) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Jenckes, Thomas A. (Thomas Allen), 1818-1875. Papers, 1834-1870. Brown University Archives, John Hay Library
creatorOf Thomas A. Jenckes papers, Jenckes (Thomas A.) papers, 1834-1870 John Hay Library, Special Collections
referencedIn Simmons, James Fowler, 1795-1864. James Fowler Simmons papers, 1771-1939 (bulk 1840-1860). Library of Congress
creatorOf Jenckes, Thomas Allen, 1818-1875. Papers, 1837-1870. Brown University Archives, John Hay Library
creatorOf Jenckes, Thomas A. (Thomas Allen), 1818-1875. Papers of Thomas A. Jenckes, 1836-1878. Library of Congress
referencedIn Norton, Charles Eliot, 1827-1908. Papers, ca.1845-1908 Houghton Library
referencedIn Collection of autographed American correspondence, 1832-1969. Temple University Libraries, Paley Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
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associatedWith Ames, W. S. (William Shaw) person
correspondedWith Anthony, Henry B. (Henry Bowen), 1815-1884 person
associatedWith Anthony, Henry Bowen person
associatedWith Arnold, Richard person
associatedWith Atwell, Samuel Young person
associatedWith Ballou, Barton person
associatedWith Blatchford, Samuel person
associatedWith Blatchford, Samuel, 1820-1893 person
associatedWith Bradley, Charles S. (Charles Smith) person
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correspondedWith Burgess, Hugh person
correspondedWith Burgess, Hugh person
correspondedWith Caswell, Alexis, 1799-1877 person
associatedWith Channing, William person
associatedWith Channing, William F. (William Francis), 1820-1901 person
associatedWith Colfax, Schuyler, 1823-1885 person
associatedWith Corliss Steam Engine Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Credit Mobilier of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Currey, Samuel person
correspondedWith Curtis, George William, 1824-1892 person
correspondedWith Day, Horace H., 1813-1878 person
associatedWith Dixon, Nathan Fellows, 1812-1881 person
associatedWith Dixon, Nathan F. (Nathan Fellows) person
associatedWith Ewart, C. A. person
associatedWith Fogg, Ellen M. person
correspondedWith Fogg, Ezra D. person
associatedWith Fry, James B. (James Barnet), 1827-1894 person
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correspondedWith Gifford, George, 1811-1883 person
associatedWith Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. corporateBody
correspondedWith Hammond, B. Benton person
correspondedWith Hay, Alexander person
correspondedWith Hilgard, J. E. (Julius Erasmus), 1825-1891 person
associatedWith Hill, Thomas J. person
correspondedWith Ingersoll, Charles R. person
correspondedWith Ingersoll, Charles R. person
associatedWith James, Edwin person
associatedWith Jenckes, A. W. A. (Abigail W. Allen) person
associatedWith Jenckes, E. J. person
associatedWith Jenckes, Floy person
associatedWith Jenckes, Jeanie person
associatedWith Jenckes, Mary Jane (Fuller) person
associatedWith Jenckes, Nellie person
associatedWith Jenks, William person
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associatedWith Lothrop, G. V. N. (George Van Ness), 1817-1897 person
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associatedWith Morrill, Justin S. (Justin Smith), 1810-1898 person
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correspondedWith Murphy, Dennis F. person
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associatedWith Parkhurst, Charles Henry person
correspondedWith Parsons, James H. person
correspondedWith Parsons, James H. person
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associatedWith Rhode Island. Constitutional Convention (1842) corporateBody
associatedWith Rice, Alexander Hamilton, 1818-1895 person
associatedWith Rider, Sidney S. (Sidney Smith), 1833-1917 person
associatedWith Seward, Clarence A. (Clarence Armstrong), 1828-1897 person
associatedWith Seward, Clarence Armstrong person
correspondedWith Simmons, James Fowler, 1795-1864. person
associatedWith Snow, Edwin M. (Edwin Miller), 1820-1888 person
correspondedWith Sprague, William, 1830-1915 person
associatedWith Squier, E. G. (Ephraim George), 1821-1888 person
associatedWith Staples, William R. (William Read), 1798-1868 person
associatedWith Thurston, Benjamin Francis person
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associatedWith Unsigned person
correspondedWith Van Zandt, Charles C. (Charles Collins), 1830-1894 person
correspondedWith Wallace, Henry E. (Henry Edward), 1814-1879 person
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associatedWith Whitman, Thomas A. person
associatedWith Wilkinson, Japtha person
associatedWith Wilson, Isaac Grant, 1816-1891 person
correspondedWith Woodbury, Augustus, 1825-1895 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Rhode Island
Rhode Island
Rhode Island
United States
Rhode Island--Providence
Civil service reform
Universities and colleges
Universities and colleges
Patent laws and legislation
Practice of law
Practice of law
Refrigeration and refrigerating machinery
Public officials
Representatives, U.S. Congress


Birth 1818-11-02

Death 1875-11-04



Ark ID: w6j68jrc

SNAC ID: 44016360