John S. Jenkins. One
of the veteran members of the Oklahoma bar, John S. Jenkins has
practiced with, distinguished ability since the opening of the
original Oklahoma Territory, and with the exception of four years as
federal attorney in Indian Territory has had his home at Oklahoma
City since the opening of the townsite. Of the older residents of the
state, none represent a better stock of the old Virginia and Kentucky
families, and his own career has honorably maintained the traditions
and high standards of his forbears.
John S. Jenkins was
born in Monroe County, Kentucky, February 22, 1851. He grew up on a
farm, and as a boy came to appreciate the social and political
confusion of the Civil war period. His education was acquired in the
Kentucky common school, at the Concord Seminary in Tennessee and the
college at New Middleton, Tennessee. He began reading law in his
native state and finished his studies in Columbian University at
Washington, where he had the exceptional advantages offered by
residence in the nation’s capital. After his admission to the bar in
1876 at Glasgow, Kentucky, and a brief practice at Tompkinsville in
his home state, he moved to Texas and for fourteen years enjoyed a
substantial position in the bar of McKinney.
At the opening of
Oklahoma in 1889, Mr. Jenkins became a charter member of the bar in
Oklahoma City. In 1890 he accepted an appointment from President
Harrison as assistant United States attorney of Indian Territory,
with headquarters at Ardmore, and served four years in that office.
In 1894 he returned to Oklahoma City, and has since practiced in all
the courts of the territory and state. His experience as a lawyer has
brought him in close contact with the
people of Oklahoma throughout the interesting epochs covering the
development of the state, and he ranks as one of the ablest as well
as oldest lawyers. He is prominent in the Order of Odd Fellows, being
past grand of Oklahoma lodge No. 8, and a member of Oklahoma
Encampment No. 4, I. O. O. F. His church is the Christian.
Mr. Jenkins is
descended from a Welsh family that established a home in Bedford
County, Virginia, in 1754, twenty years before the beginning of the
Revolution. Later, in 1798, they joined the tide of emigration
passing out of Virginia to the West and his great-grandfather, Jerry
Jenkins, brought military land scrip which was located in Kentucky.
Grandfather Samuel Jenkins served as a soldier with the rank of
captain in both the War of 1812 and the Blackhawk war of the early
Samuel M. Jenkins,
father of the Oklahoma lawyer, was a native of Kentucky and a
prosperous farmer. He followed in politics the fortunes of the great
whig, Henry Clay, and during the war upheld the Union cause, though
too old then for active service. His home was in a section of country
peculiarly exposed to
the troubles of
private and public faction, where families were often divided in
allegiance between North and South, and both he and his children
suffered many of the unpleasant features of regular and irregular
warfare. After the war he was a republican. His death occurred in
1900 in his eighty-sixth year.
Samuel M. Jenkins
married Margaret Bush, a native of Kentucky, who died in 1886 in her
seventy-sixth year. The Bush family came into Kentucky with the
parents of Abraham Lincoln, and her grandfather’s sister, Sallie
Bush, was, as history tells, the step-mother of the martyr president.
John S. Jenkins in
1876 married Miss Helen Beall, a daughter of E. Beall, of Monroe
County, Kentucky. Her family were of the large planter and
slave-holding aristocracy of Kentucky, but her father was a Union man
during the war. Mrs. Jenkins died in 1896, leaving a son, Albert E.
Jenkins, now a successful lawyer at San Francisco.
In 1900 Mr. Jenkins
married Miss Maude Whiteside, of Belleville, Illinois, and they have
a son, John T. Jenkins, attending school in Oklahoma City. By his
second wife Mr. Jenkins becomes connected with some of the historic
names of New England. Mrs. Jenkins’s father was Thomas A. Whiteside,
a veteran Union soldier and a pioneer at Belleville, Illinois. On her
mother’s side she is a great-great-granddaughter of Matthew Lyon, of
Vermont, who was one of the companions, and also a brother-in-law of
Ethan Allen in his noted exploits during the Revolutionary war.
Afterwards Matthew Lyon became prominent and made a name in history
during the formative period of the American nation. He served as a
member of an early Congress, and after becoming a resident of
Kentucky and representing that state in the National House of
Representatives had the distinction of casting the decisive vote
which made Thomas Jefferson president and defeated Aaron Burr.
Mr. Jenkins has his
office at 113½ West Main Street, and his home at 128 East Second
Street in Oklahoma City.