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Jenkins History
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Please Note:

 ·        Lucille Offerdahl  collected the historical information  which follows.  We have Lucille to thank for all the time and effort involved in putting this all together.   

 ·        Credit goes to Mark Maring  for creating  the website  using the historical information provided by Lucille.  He is also responsible for collecting  and reproducing the photos contained in the website.

 ·        You will also note that much of the historical information was written by Jessie Jenkins Carman.



 (Written by Jessie Jenkins Carman for the Norman County History, 1974)

             Elmore was the son of Chauncy Jenkins (1821-1870) and Sarah (Davis) Jenkins (1826-1904) who came from Warren County, New York State in 1866, settling in Stearns County in Minnesota.  He had five brothers and sisters – John Wesley, born in 1846, Julia (1849), George W. (1851), Edith A. (1853) and Emma E. (1859).

             Elmore was born October 7, 1856 and married Mary Reynolds, a teacher,  in Sauk Center, Minnesota in 1878.  She was born September 9, 1861, and one of two daughters of Solomon and Sarah (Armstrong) Reynolds, both of whom were born near Syracuse, New York, Solomon in 1834 and Sarah in 1843.  Solomon Reynolds was an honored veteran of the Civil War, having served with a Wisconsin regiment as chaplain.  Solomon died in 1873, Sarah Died in 1888.

             Elmore and his new bride came to Norman County by ox team, riding in a covered wagon with a pony hitched behind, bringing with them such household goods as would be essential to the starting of their humble home.  (One night, the oxen decided to go back to Sauk Center so Mr. Jenkins was forced to leave the wagon and his wife and ride back on the pony to get them.)  The trip from Sauk Center to their quarter section in McDonaldsville Township, three miles east of Ada, took ten days.  Three children were born to the Jenkins – Ruby (1879), Effie (1882) and Jessie (1888).

             The original grass road that led into town, a quarter mile north of the house, was an Indian Trail and the family were quite aware of the Indians traveling into Ada from their reservation.  The Indians would sometimes stop at the house and ask for sugar and molasses and were satisfied when they received them.  The Jenkins’ dog would stand (with every hair erect) waiting for a signal should the visitors not choose to leave.  However, when the Indians were treated politely, they did no harm.

              One sunny day when nearly all the hay had been stored in the barn, a sudden, severe, electrical storm hit the area, and lightning struck the steel track which supported the hay fork that brought the hay up to the hay mow (upper part of the barn) and immediately set fire to the hay.  Neighbors, who were always on the alert to help one another, had heard the lightning strike and saw the smoke and came as quickly as they could on horseback or by wagons and buggies.  They managed to save the house and other buildings with the assistance of a sudden heavy rainfall, but the barn burned to the ground.  All the animals in it were saved.  A temporary barn was built with many neighbors helping; and as the entire hay crop was destroyed farmers who hadn’t cut all of their hay gave some to Mr. Jenkins.

             A large garden and substantial woodlot furnished the family with most of their needs except for white sugar and white flour which was used sparingly for Sundays and occasional treats.  Black strap and New Orleans molasses were freely used as well as dark flour ground at home.  The grain had to be hauled to a distant town until the railroad came through.  Eggs and butter sold for just a few cents.  Most all clothes were homemade.  Times gradually improved, but people learned to make their money last as long as possible.  People took care of their own sick ones and folks had their happy times in spite of trials, bad luck and tribulations.  For evening amusement, Mrs. Jenkins had “spell downs.”

             Mr. Jenkins was an ardent Republican and was active in civic affairs serving on the board of supervisors for the township for twenty years; he was one of the original members of the board of directors of the Norman County Agricultural Society founded in 1895, serving as secretary and president; for  twenty-eight years he served as treasurer of his local school district and was vice president of the Farmers and Merchants State Bank of Ada.  He belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America.  He retired from active farming in 1908.  In 1914 he was elected a member of the board of County Commissioners and while serving in this capacity, he supervised the repair and extension of the road east of Ada  (now Highway 200) to the Heiberg corner.  Many teams of horses, wagons and men were needed to finish.

             Mr. And Mrs. Jenkins were both interested in politics.  She was a delegate to the National Republican Convention when Harding was nominated and  became President.  She was a member of the Congregational Church, was affiliated with the Daughters of Rebekah (women’s auxiliary of the Odd Fellows) and was a past presiding officer of that organization in Minnesota, was active in W.C.T.U. and the local Twentieth Century Club.  She was county chairman for the United War Workers Drive in 1918 and for Y.M.C.A. drive in 1917 and knit over two hundred sweaters, socks and hose for the war effort.

             Mrs. Jenkins had one sister, Alice (Mrs. Calvin Kelsey) who used to visit them for extended periods as her husband was a lawyer and often absent from their home in Sauk Center.

             Mr. And Mrs. Jenkins were favored to live long enough to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary.  Over five hundred invitations were sent and the occasion was celebrated in the school auditorium.  At the time, gifts of gold were permissible, but the portion of the gold had to be exchanged at the bank the next day.  Mrs.  Jenkins died in 1932 and Mrs. Jenkins died in 1937.

             The oldest Jenkins’ daughter, Ruby, married a close neighbor, George Caldwell, in 1895.  One son Charles Elmore, was born in 1899.  George died in 1936 and Ruby in 1970.  Charles, unmarried, continued to reside on the home farm.

               Effie married John C. Chick in 1902 and had nine children, Vivian, Aura, Floy, Elmore, Amy, Lloyd, Orrin, Kenneth and Lucille (who died in infancy).  Mr. Chick died in 1950 and Effie died in 1952.

             Jessie taught school in School Dist. #34 in Hegne and also in Twin Valley and married Ed Carmen in 1912, moving on the Jenkins farm.  Four daughters, Mildred, Lucille, Irene and Lorraine, were born to them.  Ed died in 1967 and Jessie has been a resident of the Villa Maria Retirement Home in Fargo, North Dakota, for the past two years.  (Jessie and her Hegne School picture is on page 514 of the Norman County History; a picture of Jessie with her twin Valley school is on page 518.)