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Ye Olde Jenkins Family Welcomes Visitors to Open House

Lansdale Historical Society presents "Holidays at the Homestead" on Saturday, complete with artifacts and antique toys

In what has become an annual tradition, the Lansdale Historical Society will host its annual holiday open house, "Holidays at the Homestead" on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Jenkins Homestead.

On hand to greet visitors will be John and Sarah Jenkins, who will invite their guests to what John Jenkins referred to as his "mansion" in the late 1700s.

Playing the role of John Jenkins I will be Bob Gleason, a member of the American Historical Theatre of Philadelphia, who has performed in such venues as the White House Visitors Center, Ford’s Theatre, the Smithsonian, Independence Hall, Constitution Hall and the National Constitution Center. This will be his second appearance as John Jenkins at the homestead.

Joining him will be American Historical Theatre actress Pat Jordan in the role of Sarah Hoxworth Jenkins. Like Gleason, Jordan, an opera singer, has appeared at the White House Visitors Center, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, the National Constitution Center, the National Portrait Gallery and Mount Vernon.

John Jenkins will be showing off his new assessor’s office, which opened this summer, and will describe what it was like being a farmer, landowner, father and tax assessor for Gwynedd Township during the Revolutionary War period.

Sarah Jenkins will welcome visitors in the keeping room and explain the many responsibilities of a Welsh farmer’s wife.

John came to the colonies from Wales in 1729 at the age of 10 and settled in Hatfield Township with his father, Jenkin Jenkins. (No, that is not a typo). Sarah was born in England in 1720 and came with her family to Hatfield Township in 1741.

She and John married at age 21 and had eight children, including John II, who later succeeded his father as master of the mansion.

Sarah died in 1794, and John followed in 1803 only, oddly two years before John II passed away. His son, John III, resided at the homestead until after the Civil War.

The homestead will be decorated in traditional holiday fare and guides will be stationed in each room to assist visitors.

The museum room in the adjacent research center will feature a variety of displays, including an extensive antique toy collection provided by area resident David Jenkins.

In keeping with the society’s tradition, the holiday open house is free to the public. Donations are encouraged to defray the cost of this event.

For more information, visit www.lansdalehistory.org or call (215) 855-1872.

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