Jenny Cook was born into slavery in about 1853 in Georgia. Her parents, Anthony and Parthenia, were held on separate plantations. Her mother was owned by a family named Stokes and her last name was Stokes until emancipation.
At age 10, Jenny went to Altanta with her owner William Stokes after the Battle of Manassas. At 16, Jenny married Albert Taylor, the only one of 11 children in his family to reach adulthood. Albert soon died, crushed while handling cotton bales, on March 7th the year after they wed. Jenny brought Albert’s mother to Atlanta and cared for her, living with her until she died 13 years later.
Her second husband, Prince Edwards, deserted from forced service as a servant in the Confederate Army. On April 15, 1865 in Macon, Georgia, he mustered in as a private of Captain William G. Kinscott’s Company A, 136th Regiment, U.S. Colored Volunteer Infantry. He received recognition for meritorious service with an Honorable Discharge at Augusta, Georgia on January 4, 1866.
Jenny met Prince in Atlanta in 1869 and they were married January 4, 1871. In 1888, the couple moved to Riverside where Jenny had family. Her mother and four of her siblings had moved there earlier and her brother Robert Stokes had moved west with a white family, settling in Riverside between 1870 and 1873.
In 1890, Prince and Jenny were among 13 founding members of the 2nd Baptist Church at Twelfth and Howard. In her role at the church, Jennie helped nurture the earliest families in Riverside’s African American community. Jenny outlived Prince by 13 years and died at age 79. Her mother, Parthenia Cook, and brother, Robert Stokes, are also buried at Evergreen.