I had previously written about another Jernigan in the area of Smith/Jasper Counties of Mississippi, who had not been known about before. This was Joseph Jernigan, who’s only known appearance in the records of the area is in the tax records for Smith County in 1849. Where he came from is unknown. After his brief appearance in the tax record, he seems to vanish without a trace.
I recently came across another Jernigan whose presence in the area has either been unknown, or hasn’t been researched by his descendants. This is Robert Jernigan, who first shows up in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census in Jasper County, with his last name spelled “Jarnigan.” According to his census record entry, Robert was born in Georgia. His age appears to be 25 (although it could be 28 – the writing is a bit difficult to read here), placing his birth date right around 1825.
Robert is married to Caroline, age 20, who was born in Mississippi. This would certainly indicate that the couple was married after Robert’s arrival in the state. Living with them is their two-year-old son, Theodor.
Unlike Joseph Jernigan, Robert seems to have stayed in the area for a number of years. He is likely the R.D. Journagan who appears in the U.S. Census in 1860, still living in Jasper County. If this is the same man, his first wife, Caroline, seems to have died shortly after the 1850 census. In 1860, he is living with a wife with the first initial “S,” and who was born in Georgia. There is no mention of Theodor, however, and there are five other children living in the house, born between 1850 and 1860.
What, if any, connection is there between Robert, Joseph and Stephen Jernigan? We know from later census records that some of the children of Stephen and Keziah Jernigan were born in Georgia, but it appears that this Robert Jernigan was born in the years prior to Stephen and Keziah’s journey through that state. The only mention of this Robert Jernigan found online so far suggests that he served in the Civil War. More research into this aspect may turn up more evidence.
For now, the mystery continues, and we have yet another piece in the complex, tangled web of Jernigan descendants.