First Families of Orangeburgh District, South Carolina

Jennings (Zanini, Ganina, Jennins)

1. Gideon (Goden, Godenza) Jennings (Zanini, Gania) was born in Italy and died 29 March 1751 in Orangeburgh District, South Carolina and was buried on 30 March 1751 at the "Old Pioneer Graveyard," behind the Orangeburg Historical Society, Orangeburg, SC[1,2,3]. He married Ursula Wolfe (Arsella Woolsa) about 1710 in Switzerland. She was born about 1689 in Switzerland and died 17 September 1756 in Orangeburgh District, South Carolina and was buried on 18 September 1756 at the "Old Pioneer Graveyard." [1,2,3]

Gideon Jennings came to Orangeburgh Township in 1736 with his wife, Ursula, two sons and daughter, Ursetta, who may have been Ursula's daughter by a previous marriage. [1,3]

Gideon seems to have used the name Zanini (Italian) upon arriving in America. Once in America he began using the English name Jennings. He may have been an English protestant who assumed the name of Zanini while in Italy and changed it back to the English Jennings upon returning to live among English people. Or he may have changed the name just because he liked Jennings. [4]

Children of Gideon Jennings and Ursula Wolfe are:

a. John Jennings, born about 1715 in Switzerland and died before 3 July 1787, married Barbara Diedrick (Dietrich) Hasford, widow of Richard Hasford (Hasfort) born about 1715 in Switzerland and died before 25 May 1775 in Orangeburgh District. [1]

b. Phillip Jennings, Sr, was born about 1720 in Switzerland and died about 1795 in Orangeburgh District, married Elizabeth Hasfort, a half-breed Indian former slave of Hasfort, born about 1721 in Orangeburgh District and died about 1795 in Orangeburgh District, South Carolina. [1,2]

c. Ursetta (Ursula, Ursella) Jennings was born about 1730 in Switzerland and died between 1748 and 1783 in Orangeburgh District, married Brand Pendarvis in April 1748. [1,2]

Jennings and his two sons received about seventeen royal land grants from King George. [5] They also signed the Orangeburgh Citizens Petition in Favor of Reverend Giessendanner in 1749. [2]

When Gideon Jennings died in 1750, the Reverend John Giessendanner, made the following entry in the Church Register: "On Saturday, March 30th was entered in the Churchyard of Orangeburgh the body of Gideon Jennings, an old protestant Italian liver in the township these fourteen years past, who died the day before. His age unknown." [2,4]

When his widow died in 1756, Reverend Giessendanner made the following entry in the church Register: "On Friday, September 17 died and on Saturday, September 18th was entered in the Church yard of Orangeburgh the Body of Ursula, widow of Gideon Zanini alias Jennings late of Orangeburgh, deceased, aged sixty-seven years [1,2,4]


1. Carnice Jennings Groves, compiler, Jennings, McMillan and Other Early Families of South Carolina, 1971.

2. Joop Giesendanner, "The Book of Record, Orangeburgh, SC".

3. Salley Archives, Orangeburg County Historical Society, Orangeburg, South Carolina.

4. A. S. Salley, The History of Orangeburg County, South Carolina, 1898.

5. South Carolina Land Records, Orangeburgh District, South Carolina.

Other information found on this surname is found in the OGSGS Newsletters: Vol. 1 #3 p. 16; Vol.2 #1 p. 5; Vol. 2 #4 p. 41, 42; Vol. 2 #7 p. 83; Vol. 3 #3 p. 20; Vol. 5 #2 p. 27; Vol. 5 #6 p. 114.

Information provided by Joanne B. Stowe 04/25/03.