I heard this rumor today and I was wondering if there is any truth to it. I guess there are two parts to it:

  1. Did Thomas Jefferson have a slave master named Tom/Thom/Thomas Jenkins?

  2. Was the Jenkins CI server named after this person?

I tried to research this but came up with conflicting information.

  • 4
    Can you link to this claim somewhere?
    – Flimzy
    Jun 20, 2014 at 21:44
  • 2
    Also note that #2 isn't actually dependent upon #1... The server could have been named after someone was believed to be Jefferson's slave, but who either did not exist, or who did exist but was not a slave of Mr. Jefferson.
    – Flimzy
    Jun 20, 2014 at 21:45
  • @Flimzy I tried to find the forum post where I read this (and it had a reference link) but now I can't find it. If I do find it again I'll update my original post. Jun 23, 2014 at 19:32

1 Answer 1


The stated reason the name Jenkins was chosen is because:

... the choice for a new name is Jenkins, which we think evokes the same sort of English butler feel as Hudson.

No official recognition of a slave by the name Jenkins is made.

Any further claim that the true/hidden reason has to do with a slave would be a question of motivation, and therefore off-topic here.

  • 1
    Jenkins is certainly a stereotypical butler name to my mind. I tried to figure out why that was, and the best I could come up with is that Daphne from the Scooby Doo cartoon once had a butler called Jenkins. I'm not sure if that is the origin of the cultural association.
    – Oddthinking
    Jun 21, 2014 at 5:02

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