Carroll County Biographies

THOMAS C. JENKS

One of the most attractive homes upon the outskirts of Savanna belongs to the subject of this notice. He is just near enough the city to enjoy its society and avail himself of its various advantages, and far enough from its noise and confusion to enjoy to its full extent the pleasures of country life. He has a farm 175 acres in extent, where he makes a specialty of dairying, and also carries on general agriculture. He keeps about 25 cows and obtains a ready market for the products of his dairy; having all the appliances requisite for carrying on this industry in a profitable manner.

Mr. Jenks has lived upon his present farm since his boyhood. He was born in Savanna, Feb. 24, 1855, and is the third son and fourth child of Capt. W.L.B. Jenks, who died at his home in this city May 20, 1886. They located first at Rock Island, then an unimportant town of a few rude houses, and two years later removed to Savanna. Here the grandfather of our subject, with his son, engaged in hotel-keeping, and died a few years later.

Prior to leaving his native State, Grandfather Jenks had become the owner of an extensive tract of land in Randolph County; but during the prevalence of the "wild cat" currency in 1835, and the failure of many banking institutions, he lost heavily, and determined to seek the West, in the hope of retrieving a part of his fortune. He died in the prime of life, at the age of 48 years, and his large possessions in Virginia, through mismanagement and neglect, were mostly lost, or never recovered by the heirs.

Grandmother Jenks came West with her husband from her native State of Virginia, and died at the age of 63 years, in Savanna. W.L.B. Jenks, the father of our subject was born in Randolph County, VA., Aug. 13, 1815 and was a youth of 21 years when he accompanied his parents to Illinois. He had already, at this early age, been married in his native county to Miss Louisa Crum, and there had been born to them one child, Alonzo, who is still living, a residen of Decatur County Iowa, is married and occupied as an engineer. Mrs. (Crum) Jenks died in Savanna. Capt. Jenks in due time, contracted a second marriage with a Miss Dorman, who died after the birth of one child, a daughter, Salena, who was the wife of John Bowman, a liveryman of Savanna. Her death occurred in April 1889.

The third wife of Capt. Jenks was formerly Miss Abigail Short, who was born in New york State and came to this county with her parents when a child 10 years of age, they locating in Savanna. Of this union there were born four children, all sons - William, a resident of Leon, Decatur Co., Iowa who married Miss Alice Baker, and is engaged in the grocery trade at Leon; Thomas C., our subject; Ira B., who married Miss Sarah Crawford, and is a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River, making his home at Clinton Iowa; and George L., who resides on a farm in Savanna Twp; he married Miss Hattie Pulford. The mother of these children is yet living in Savanna, and is 57 years of age; she is in comfortable circumstances, having a good property.

Capt. W. (William) L. B. Jenks, after coming to this county, established himself in the hotel business with his father, they keeping one of the first houses of the kind in this city, and the father of our subject conducted this about 14 years. Later he engaged in mercantile business until 1857, then began steamboating, which he followed some years and by which he laid up a snug sum of money. In the meantime he became the owenr of two boats, and had an interest in others. He is one of the early stockholders of the Northern Line Packet Company, plying between St. Louis and St. Paul. Eventually he lost largely by the depreciation of stock. He had, in the meantime, secured a large amount of land, embracing four or five farms, and aggregating over 1000 acres, the most of which he retained possession of until his death. Upon these farms he located in 1865, this being in Savanna Twp. and he lived there until 1878, then removed into the city, and there made his home until his death.

The father of our subject was a man prominent in his community, holding many of the local offices and was the first Treasurer of Carroll County. He had been Postmaster of Savanna under the administration of President Taylor. He was upright in his business transactions, a kind and indulgent father and husband, and took an active interest in everything calculated ot benefit his fellow-man. In his death Carroll County lost one of its best men and most honored citizens.

The subject of this sketch received excellent home training and a practical education in the common school, and during the later years of his father's life, gradually lifted the burden from the latter's shoulders, relieving him greatly of business cares and responsibilities. When ready to establish a home of his own he was married in Savanna, March 15, 1877 to Miss Lucy M. Daniel, who was born in Stockton Township, Jo Daviess County, Jan. 31, 1855 and is the daughter of Jackson C. and Nancy Daniels, the former of whom is yet living and making his home in Savanna, retired from active business. He is now 74 years of age, having been born March 15, 1815 in Wilson County TN. He was reared in his native State living upon a farm, and in his yourth removed first to KY and finally to IL. He was married in the southern part of the State, and later engaged as a hotel keeper in Frankfort for some time. In 1836 he came with his family to Jo Daviess County, and purchased land in Stockton Twp. upon which he located and lived until 1870. Then, selling out, he purchased property in Savanna, and there took up his abode, where he has since lived. The wife and mother departed this life in the winter of 1883, at the age of 72. Both Mr. and Mrs. Daniels identified themselves with the Baptist Church early in life, of which the father still remains a member.

Mrs. Lucy M (Daniels) Jenks was reared and educated in Jo Daviess County, but later attended the Savanna High School. She is very intelligent and the mother of two bright children - Fred C. and Addie. Mr. Jenks, politically gives his support to the Republican party, and socially belongs to Savanna Lodge No. 164, I.O.O.F. in which he has filled all the Chairs. He is a reliable and enterprising citizen, one who has contributed generously toward the growth and development of this part of the county.

Portrait & Biographical Pg 947

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