Wilbur S. Jenks.The biography of this prominent attorney of Ottawa is one of interest for it presents the logical sequence of ability seconded by perseverance, a quick perception and keen intuition, attributes essential to success in his profession.
Mr. Jenks was born in Illinois, May 30, 1861. He is the son of John W. and Sarah M. (Lord) Jenks, the former of whom was born in Seybrook, Ohio, Oct. 22, 1823, and removed to Illinois in an early day where he engaged in farming. He married there and in 1878 removed with his family to Abilene, Kan., where he resided until 1896, then removed to Paola, Kan., where his death occurred in 1903. He was a worthy and consistent member of the Methodist church, and politically held the views of the Republican party. Jacob Jenks, the father of John W. and the grandfather of Wilbur S., was a native of Vermont but settled in Ohio in an early day and later became a resident of Roscoe, Ill., where his death occurred. He was a Methodist minister, his service given in the day of the circuit rider. The original ancestors of the Jenks family in America came from Wales, the line of descent being traced back to Joseph Jenks who came over with the Bay State Colony. He was an inventor and made the first dies used by the colony. The first fire engine in the United States was made by him and the contract for the same can be seen in the museum at Boston. The maternal grandfather of our subject was Alfred Lord, a descendant of English ancestors and a native of New York, where he was born in 1787. He removed to Ohio, which was then considered the west, and there spent the remainder of his life as an agriculturist.
Wilbur S. Jenks was reared on a farm and his early educational privileges were those afforded by the common schools of Illinois. After the family's removal to Kansas the long desired opportunity for a college education came and in 1882 he matriculated at the University of Kansas, graduating from that excellent school in 1887 with the first honors of his class. He was elected to membership in the Phi Beta Kappa, an honorary graduate fraternity accessible only to those who have graduated with an unusually high record of scholarship, and but two other students in the classes of 1887 were so honored. Like many other young men of his profession, his first work was that of a teacher and for several years he had charge of high school work in Ottawa and in Abilene, Kan. He then began to read law with Judge Smart of Ottawa, under whose able preceptorship he advanced rapidly and was admitted to the bar. He subsequently entered into partnership with his former preceptor under the firm style of Smart & Jenks, which relation was maintained three years. Since the dissolution of the partnership Mr. Jenks has been in practice alone and his labors have been attended with excellent success. His practice is not confined to the local courts but also extends to the federal courts, and he has been retained as counsel in some very important cases, among which was the settlement of the Rohrbaugh estate. Mr. Jenks is a Republican and has represented his district in the state legislature where he was accorded a position of prominence, being retained on three very important legislative committees, the judiciary, railroad, and insurance.
On June 3, 1889, Mr. Jenks and Miss May Hamilton of Ottawa were united in marriage. Mrs. Jenks is the daughter of Edwin Hamilton, a resident of Ottawa who came to Kansas from Ohio in 1881 and gave his attention to agriculture. Mr. and Mrs. Jenks have three children: Leland, a student in the Ottawa University; Helen D., and Robert, both students in the Ottawa Public Schools. Both Mr. and Mrs. Jenks are worthy members of the Congregational church.Pages 1019-1020 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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