John S. Jenkins


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 thirties.
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.