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Rev William Thomas Blenkarn

Photo added by Debbie Brightbill...

Rev William Thomas Blenkarn

  • Birth 9 May 1832 London, City of London, Greater London, England
  • Death 16 Feb 1907 Wabaunsee, Wabaunsee County, Kansas, USA
  • Burial Wabaunsee, Wabaunsee County, Kansas, USA
  • Memorial ID 19106711

William Thomas lived 74 years 9 months and 7 days. He was the second child of six born to George Blenkarn and Caroline Smith. He had 4 brothers and 1 sister. He lived a great life in humble surroundings. The world can never measure the extent of his life and influence, as it dispersed from the many centers of activity where God called him to serve. His early life was spent in London, England, which offered exceptional advantages for training in foundation work which was invaluable to him in after years. Around 1856 he was living in Reading and his occupation was listed as a tobacconist.

William married Eleanor Marie "Nellie" Ardley Turner (a young widow of the late Richard James Johnson), on May 7, 1856 at Bishopsgate Chapel in London. Nellie was the daughter of a well to do London builder named Abraham Osborn Ardley and his wife Emma Hart.

A nervous William Thomas Blenkarn wrote to Nellie's father for her hand and the letter said:

"May 28, 1855
My Dear Sir:
You may not perhaps be surprised at the tenor of this communication. I have for some little time past cherished an ardent attachment to your daughter Mrs. Turner and finding upon consulting her that she is entertaining reciprocal feelings. I now apply to you your sanction and shall feel much obliged for an interview upon the subject. If this (Tuesday) evening will suit you, I shall be at liberty after 8 o'clock, if not any other night will be equally convenient for me. I remain My dear Sir, Very Truly Yours; s/ W.T. Blenkarn"

Nellie had a four year old daughter named, Eleanor "Ella" Turner (b. 11 Feb 1851) by her first husband.

Nellie and Thomas had 6 daughters and 3 sons together:

Alice May
Emma Edith
Walter William Hart
Alfred George Osborn
Eleanor Maude
Constance Caroline Ardley
Osborn Edward Ardley
Lilian Emily Frances
Ethel Nellie Hart

Nellie was a devout Christian and made a good help mate for her minister husband. The year they left England to come to the United States they lost a little daughter, Ethel Nellie Hart only five months old. Eleanor had a difficult time leaving this baby behind along with her married daughter Ella and her several grandchildren....She never adapted to living in the United States and longed for her native land. Although death was somewhat common among new born babies, it was much harder to deal with when it was adult children. Eleanor and William lost one daughter Alice May, in March of 1894 at the age of 27 and then their son Alfred, the following year in September 1895. These events along with her unadaptability to this country caused her to grow more and more inward. She and William made a number of visits back to England and it was while she was there visiting that she had a nervous breakdown and spent a very short time in a mental hospital located in Thorp, county of Norfolk near Downham Market, where her eldest daughter Ella Johnson and her family lived. Nellie died there from exhaustion caused by melancholia, on the 16th day of June 1897.

William received his special preparation for the ministry at the Congregational Institute for Theological and Missionary training, Nottingham, England, 1866-68. He was ordained and began his active ministry at Watton, Norfolk county, England, September 16, 1865. He served Watton as pastor until 1871, when he was called to Milton, Kent county, England, where he remained until 1874. He looked around him and saw that his family was growing by leaps and bounds and that they needed to be educated, this was expensive in England, as the schools were all private, no government run schools. He made application to go to the United States to Dover, Illinois. He wrote a journal of his first voyage to the United States. His son Walter accompanied him, while the rest of his family waited for him to get settled. He first lived in Dover, Illinois and then later the family moved to Kansas. A month or so later when his wife, Eleanor Maria, and the children came over, the water was so rough that the crew of the ship had to lash themselves to the ship in order to ride it out. William's journal is now in the possession of author Dorothy L. Taylor of Douglas, Wyoming and can be read along with his Will and Testament in her book, "Blenkarn Tapestry."

William Thomas was the first to migrate over the seas into a new country since the Celtic tribes first came into Scotland. Other members of the Blenkarn family, nephews of William's, migrated into Canada and New Zealand.

Source for this bio: "Blenkarn Tapestry" by Dorothy L. Taylor pgs 51-74
"England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," William Thomas Blenkarn, 1832

name: William Thomas Blenkarn
gender: Male
baptism/christening date: 08 Jul 1832
birth date:
death date:
name note:
father's name: George Blenkarn
father's birthplace:
father's age:
mother's name: Caroline
mother's birthplace:
mother's age:
indexing project (batch) number: C04037-1
system origin: England-ODM
source film number: 590836, 590837
reference number:

Source Citation
"England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 July 2012), William Thomas Blenkarn, 1832.
"England and Wales Census, 1871," William T Blenkarn, Watton, Watton, Norfolk, England

name: William T Blenkarn
event: Census
event date: 1871
gender: Male
age: 38
relationship to head of household: Self
birthplace: Shoreditch, Middlesex
record type: Household
registration district: Wayland
sub-district: Watton
event parish: Watton
county: Norfolk

Household Gender Age Birthplace
self William T Blenkarn M 38 Shoreditch, Middlesex
wife Eleanor M Blenkarn F 38 Chipping Hill, Essex
daughter Emma E Blenkarn F 12 London, Middlesex
son Walter W H Blenkarn M 10 Shoreditch, Middlesex
son Alfred G O Blenkarn M 8 Hackney, Middlesex
daughter Eleanor M Blenkarn F 6 Stourport, Worcestershire
daughter Constance C A Blenkarn F 4 Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
son Osborn E A Blenkarn M 2 Walton, Norfolk
daughter Lilian E F Blenkarn F 1 Walton, Norfolk
servant Mary A Overton F 14 Wretham, Norfolk
servant Sarah A E Balls F 14 Walton, Norfolk

Source Citation
"England and Wales Census, 1871," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 09 Sep 2012), William T Blenkarn, Watton, Watton, Norfolk, England; citing PRO RG 10/[piece], folio 141, p. 3; Wayland registration district, Watton subdistrict, ED 9f, household 18, The National Archives, Kew, Surrey.
"United States Census, 1880," William T Blenkarn, Republican, Clay, Kansas

name: William T Blenkarn
residence: Republican, Clay, Kansas
birthdate: 1832
birthplace: England
relationship to head: Self
spouse's name: Eleanor A Blenkarn
spouse's birthplace: England
father's name:
father's birthplace: England
mother's name:
mother's birthplace: England
race or color (expanded): White
ethnicity (standardized): American
gender: Male
martial status: Married
age (expanded): 48 years
occupation: Cong Minister
nara film number: T9-0376
page: 106
page character: D
entry number: 390
film number: 1254376

Household Gender Age Birthplace
self William T Blenkarn M 48 England
wife Eleanor A Blenkarn F 47 England
dau Alice M Blenkarn F 23 England
dau Edith E Blenkarn F 21 England
son Walter W H Blenkarn M 19 England
son Alfred G O Blenkarn M 17 England
dau Maude E Blenkarn F 15 England
dau Constance A Blenkarn F 13 England
son Osborn E A Blenkarn M 11 England
dau Lilian E F Blenkarn F 10 England

Source Citation
"United States Census, 1880," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 July 2012), William T Blenkarn, Republican, Clay, Kansas.
F.A.G. member Wanda Kelsey states on 7-21-12:

"I did not find Thomas [gravestone]. Several old stones are missing since my first visit. I plan to call the cemetery when I get a chance, because one of the missing stones is my uncle. I don't know if they save damaged ones or dispose of them. It's possible that Thomas was not with the small grouping of Blenkarns and I have not covered the entire cemetery yet. Let's hope his marker is still there somewhere."
Find A Grave volunteer Debbie Brightbill Umscheid (#47558621) has reported a problem 2-20-13 with your photo request for William Blenkarn.

The general problem they reported is:
Other problem

They also reported, specifically:
Per cemetery records checked, there is no tombstone and that the lot is Lot 21-4. I could not locate the grave. The records do show that William was born in London, England; that he died 16 Feb 1907 at age 75y. Next-of-kin is listed as OEA, son. Middle initial is shown as T. I did take a photo of the general area of Lot 21-4...or what I believe is that area. I believe the plot is in the front of the memorial stone that exists for William's wife Eleanor (memorial only...on Eleanor's stone it shows that she is interred in London, England). The memorial stone for Eleanor has inscriptions on both sides (one for Alice May the eldest daughter and one for perhaps a Nellie?...perhaps Lily?...cannot quite read). If you do want me to post the picture of the general area of what I believe is Lot 21-4, I can certainly do so.

NOTE: Replied "yes" to posting photo.
a Find A Grave volunteer has reported a problem (12-5-13) with your photo request for William Blenkarn.

The general problem they reported is:
I searched the stated plot or section and could not find the grave

They also reported, specifically:
There is not a tombstone for the Rev. Blenkarn. Alice, Eleanor "Nellie" and Ethel Nellie are on 3 sides of one marker. Walter has a small flat stone.





  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Marie
  • Added: 26 Apr 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 19106711
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rev William Thomas Blenkarn (9 May 1832–16 Feb 1907), Find A Grave Memorial no. 19106711, citing Wabaunsee Cemetery, Wabaunsee, Wabaunsee County, Kansas, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) .