Fleeming Jenkin was born on 25 March 1833 near Dungeness in Kent, where his father was serving in the coastguard. He died in Edinburgh on 12 June 1885 of complications following an operation on his foot. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy, where he won a number of prizes. James Clerk Maxwell was his Senior, and Peter Guthrie Tait his classmate. In 1846, Jenkin and his mother moved to Frankfurt-am-Main; his father joined them soon after. In 1847 the family moved to Paris, and after the 1848 revolution to Genoa. In Paris Jenkin studied French and mathematics, and in Genoa, where he was the first protestant student at the university, he studied natural philosophy and got his MA with first-class honours. After completing his studies, Jenkin worked as an engineer with the Fairbairn works in Manchester, in Switzerland, and then at the Penn engineering works at Greenwich. Through Elisabeth Gaskell, he became acquainted with Alfred Austin. Despite his poor financial situation, he married Austin's only daughter, Anne Austin, in 1859.
From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.