Thornton A. Jenkins was born at Orange Court House. Va., 11 December 1811. He entered the Navy as a midshipman 1 November 1828 and served first in the West Indies in an expedition against pirates and slavers. Examined for a commission as Lieutenant, he placed first among 82 candidates.
Prior to the Mexican War, Jenkins served with the Coast Survey and with the Brazilian and Mediterranean Squadrons. During the war with Mexico, as executive officer of Germantown, he led landing parties from his ship at Tuxpan and Tabasco. Later, he commanded hospital ship Relief and the Supply Station at Salmedena Island. In the interval between the wars, he served in the receiving ship at Baltimore, returned to the Coast Survey, and was Secretary of the Lighthouse Board.
His Civil War record was distinguished. Serving primarily in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron of David Farragut, he commanded Oneida. He served as chief of staff to Farragut, and was later wounded while commanding a convoy escort group. As Senior Officer Present, in command of Richmond, he received the surrender of Port Hudson 9 July 1863. He later commanded a division of the Squadron.
Jenkins was Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, from 1865 to 1869, and he commanded the Asiatic Station from 1870 until his retirement in 1873. Rear Admiral Jenkins was President of the Naval Institute from 1883 to 1885, and died 9 August 1893.
(DD-42: displacement 787 tons; length 293'11"; beam 27'; draft 8'4"; speed 29 knots; complement 83; armament 5 3-inch guns, 6 18-inch torpedo tubes; class Monaghan)
Jenkins (DD-42) was laid down 24 March 1911 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; launched 29 April 1912; sponsored by Miss Alice Jenkins, daughter of Rear Admiral Jenkins; and commissioned 15 June 1912, Lt. Comdr. E. H. Delany in command.
In the years that preceded World War I Jenkins, based at Newport, R.I., trained with the Atlantic Fleet, sailing to the Caribbean for winter maneuvers operating along the East Coast in summer. In addition, she sailed to Tampico, Mexico, in mid-April 1914 to support the American occupation of Vera Cruz.
As the war raged in Europe, Jenkins continued patrol operations along the North American coast in search of possible German U-boats. The patrols and maneuvers sharpened her war-readiness, so that, true to Navy tradition, she was ready for any eventuality when she sailed for Europe 26 May 1917.
Based at Queenstown, Ireland, Jenkins and her sister destroyers patrolled the eastern Atlantic, escorting convoys and rescuing survivors of sunken merchantmen. She continued escort and patrol duty for the duration of the War. Though she made several submarine contacts no results were determined. Following the signing of the Armistice 11 November 1918, Jenkins sailed for home, arriving Boston 3 January 1919.
The destroyer operated along the Atlantic coast until arriving at Philadelphia 20 July. She remained there until decommissioning 31 October 1919. Jenkins was scrapped in 1935 in accordance with the Treaty of London.
10 April 2006