The following article was submitted by Janice Cox Brown, of Tyler, Texas, 2nd great-grand niece of Reverend Benjamin Fulton Jenkins.
Reverend Benjamin Fulton Jenkins
March 22, 1842 – May 5, 1932
Benjamin Fulton Jenkins was the fourth child and youngest son of Benjamin Shacklett Jenkins and Elizabeth Tichenor Humphrey. His paternal grandparents, John S. Jenkins and Sarah Quick Shacklett, (formerly of George’s Township,
County, Pennsylvania), were early Kentucky settlers before 1800 in Meade
County (then ). His maternal grandparents were Abijah
Humphrey and Catherine Emerson of Burkesville, Hardin County .
Cumberland County, Kentucky
Ben Jenkins was born in early spring, March 22, 1842, near Doe Run in the rolling hills of farmland in Meade County. Benjamin’s brothers and sisters, all born
, were Catherine Ann “Kitty”
Jenkins, born February 1831; John H. Jenkins, born August 14, 1833; and Sarah
Jane “Sallie” Jenkins, born June 3, 1836.
. “Kitty Ann,” as she was called
by the family, was married December 24, 1848, to Thomas Smith, a next door
neighbor. He was a son of Thomas J.
Smith and Eliza Grant. Thomas and Kitty
Ann (Jenkins) Smith were the grandparents of my grandmother, Eva Caroline
Smith, who married Jasper Newton Cox, in September 1908 in Ohio County, Kentucky. Thomas Smith became a brother-in-law to
Benjamin Fulton Jenkins, and both became members of the Cromwell Home
Guard. Meade County
About 1855, when Benjamin Fulton was between twelve and thirteen years old, his parents moved from Meade to Ohio County, Kentucky, where he was raised to manhood on his father’s farm. In between crops, Ben attended the county schools when he could and acquired a fairly good common education. In the Ohio County, Kentucky 1860 Federal population census the Jenkins family is listed as living in the Cromwell District. At some point in his youth, Ben F. Jenkins became interested in wagon making. In
they had lived not too far away from George P. Paul, a blacksmith. When his father bought a farm in Meade County
about 1856, they lived near another blacksmith, Wm. W. Angell, a carpenter, D.
C. Mitchell, and William Valentine, a wagon maker. While still in his teens, Benjamin
Fulton Jenkins, called “Fult” by his family, was a strong, healthy boy and was
always a tinkerer. In the 1860 census when he was eighteen, he reported
his occupation as “wagon maker.” Ohio County
Even though Kentucky declared neutrality in the fast-approaching civil war, men and boys living near Cromwell, a small village on Green River in
down their plows and picked up guns to defend their homes. The
Cromwell Home Guards were organized in June 1861. Ben, then nineteen, and his
brother, John, twenty-eight, joined up along with many of their friends,
including his brother-in-law, Thomas Smith, and friends and neighbors, Leonard
Thomas Cox and his father, Thomas Jefferson Cox. As members of the Guard, they were anxious to
help protect their own family members and their homes. Ohio
Later, probably thinking they would find adventure and excitement, the two young men, Ben and Leonard, were recruited and volunteered for enlistment in Company D (that later became Company H). Their company became a part of McHenry’s regiment, designated as the 17th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, organized at
and , under command of Colonel John
Hardin McHenry, Jr. The two young
friends, Benjamin F. Jenkins and Leonard T. Cox, were part of the brand new
soldiers who, in December 1861, were formally organized and mustered into the
service of the Calhoun, Kentucky United States
for a three year enlistment.
During the war-torn years, the 17th Kentucky Regiment participated in the six major battles of Donelson,
Chickamauga, Shiloh, Atlanta
and Missionary Ridge, along with many other
smaller battles, assaults and sieges. When it was mustered out of service at
on January 23, 1865, the regiment had lost a total of 298 men during service,
with 7 officers and 128 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, and 5 officers
and 158 enlisted men who died of disease. Benjamin Fulton Jenkins and his
friend, Leonard Thomas Cox, both of Cromwell, must have considered themselves
lucky to have survived the war and be returned home to their families. Louisville, Kentucky
Being from a religious and Godly family, Benjamin had joined the Baptist church when he was young, and about four months after his return from the war in January 1865, he had already felt “called” to the ministry. No doubt he was strongly influenced from all he had endured upon the battlefield, where he saw so many sick and wounded soldiers being nursed. Benjamin Fulton Jenkins was ordained in April 1865 by Alfred Warder Taylor and immediately took up his work in the ministry under the direction of the Gasper River Association of the United Baptist Church. He was said to “have a strong physical development, a well balanced mind, and he became an accurate and logical reasoner, a clear and forcible speaker, and an eminently successful pastor, recognized for his knowledge of the Bible.”
Eventually, Ben Jenkins bought and managed a well-watered and timbered farm of 113 acres near Beda, about three and one-half miles from Cromwell, where he lived for about twenty-one years. He was up at dawn, farming five days a week until dusk, and preaching on the weekends, where he held or assisted other preachers in holding large revivals, called, in that day and age, “protracted meetings.” All day meetings and dinners on the ground were held in the summertime. He traveled by horse or buggy and sometimes on foot to preach at his churches, performed weddings, and performed hundreds of Baptisms in ponds and creeks.
A little over three years after his return from the Civil War when he was twenty-six, Benjamin chose for his bride, Elizabeth Iler Arnold, nineteen, the daughter of John H. Arnold and Altha Jane Iler. The young couple married July 5, 1868, and had six children: Susan E., John A., Altha C., Laura D., Benjamin Franklin, and Broadus Smith Jenkins.
In the 1870 census Ben Fulton Jenkins was found living at Cromwell, (listed as Benj. F. Jackson) and listed in the household was Benj. F., age 28, wagon maker, and his wife, listed as Eliza J., age 21; and their little daughter, Eliza S. age 1; also living in their home were both of his parents: Benj. S. Jenkins, age 67 and his wife, Eliza T.
Ben and Elizabeth Jenkins had been married fourteen years when their last child was born, but the happy event turned sad when
died from complications of the birth.
She was only thirty-three when she passed away on October 17, 1882, at
her home in Cromwell, one day after giving birth to Broadus Smith Jenkins. “Bettie” as she was known was buried at the Arnold Cemetery,
not far from . Bald Knob Church
My grandmother told me that when
Benjamin's sister, Kitty Ann (Jenkins) Smith took the baby and cared for him
until he was almost two years old, when Benjamin married for a second time.
Sometime after 1883, Ben moved his children to Habit, in Daviess County. Benjamin Fulton Jenkins, sixty-one, and Nancy Emmaline Miller, twenty-seven, born
County, married in
on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1884. Daviess County, Kentucky Nancy, called “Emma,” was the daughter of James C. Miller
and Frances Y. Haynes, who moved to in January
Emma became the step-mother to Ben’s six motherless children, ranging in age from Susan, 16; John, 13; Altha, 11; Laura, 8; Benjamin, 6; and Broadus, 2. Ben and Emma’s union produced four children of their own: James C. M. “Miller,” Emerson Haynes, Josiah Clint “Joe,” and an infant, who was born and died on the same day.
Emma and her husband had been married thirty-six years when she died on May 31, 1920 at her home in
Owensboro, . She was sixty-three at the time and left her
husband and one son, called Joe Clint, age fifteen, and two grown stepsons,
Benjamin Franklin and Broadus Smith. She
was buried in Daviess
County Elmwood Cemetery, . Her obituary was published in the Owensboro Messenger newspaper, Tuesday, June 1, 1920: Daviess
"Mrs. Emmaline Jenkins"
Mrs. Emmaline Jenkins, wife of Rev. B. F. Jenkins, died at her
604 Lewis street
at 3:55 o'clock. Mrs. Jenkins is
survived by her husband and three sons, Frank, Smith, and Joe Clint Jenkins.
Rev. Sam P. Martin, assisted by Baptist preachers of the Daviess County Association, will conduct the services from the Third Baptist church, at 3 o'clock this afternoon. Baptist preachers are requested to attend in a body.
The pallbearers will be Prof. A. Powell, H. M. Talbot, E. O. Miller, George Milliken, S. B. Lee and J. W. Cottrell, with interment in
." Elmwood Cemetery
My grandmother said her grandmother’s brother, “Uncle Fult” as he was called by the family, was really smart. On the day of my visit, she went to her big trunk and took out a yellowed “tract” of three poems B. F. Jenkins had written about the Civil War. I had photocopies made. Grandmother had written on front of the “tract” “My great uncle wrote these poems. My grandmother Smith’s brother. Mother.”
I quote these poems below, written by the old soldier many years after the Civil War had long been ended. He must have given the war much thought throughout his lifetime as he recalled his service and the difficulty of getting used to the rigors and demands of army life.
LIBERTY ” BELL
Ring on, old bell; we still hear thy chimes
Thy music to us is still sublime
With wondr’s vibrations the world shall hear,
American freedom loud and clear.
Thy notes of freedom hath no bound –
Their effects are felt the world around;
Freedom to think and freedom to act,
In science and genius has made its track.
The wondrous advancements of this age
Are only the announcements of another page
(this line, on fold is illegible)
As tyranny is smitten by thy Liberty peals.
Ring on, old bell, thy glorious note;
O’er land and sea may freedom float,
The bondage and tyranny shall lose its power,
And kings shall quail and monarchs shall cower.
The soul, the genius, the mind set free,
Has marked this age of
With wondrous strides of inventive skill
Like improvements made on the mortar mill.
The reaper takes the sickle’s place,
The whip-saw is lost in the hand-saw race,
The oar, and paddle, and even the sail,
Before the steam engine on the waters quail.
The old great lamp that hung on the jam,
By the electric light has received a slam
These items are enough for the reader to see,
What the bell rang out, Man Shall Be Free!
“WHAT CAUSED THE WAR?”
What caused the war, did the boys in gray?
Not they, not they.
What caused the war, did the boys in blue?
Not true, not true.
What part, then, did they play,
The boys in blue, the boys in gray?
They were the arbiters of national strife
That was here in the beginning of the
Two systems of labor do not agree,
One slave, the other free
The labor system of every land
Must have its laws on which to stand.
Two systems of labor in one domain
Causes strife to the legislative game.
The law making powers can never agree
While one part is slave and the other free—
On tariff and taxes one public domain,
One suffers loss, the other gains.
The best men that lived tried to adjust,
For Congress was forever in a big fuss,
Trying to fix what never could be,
With one part slave and the other free.
If free labor and slave had neither been sin
Lawmakers would have had the same trouble within.
Hence it was left to sword and blood
To settle what congress never could.
As we were the arbiters of that day,
Lay a flower at the grave of the blue and the gray,
And think not to say that we caused the strife,
That cost so many a noble life.
“THE BLUE AND THE GRAY”
This solemn tread will soon be o’er
This day heaps honors on heroes dead;
And you and I will be no more,
Yet, resting on the same cold bed.
Around our graves, then, who will march
To pay tribute to the fallen brave,
And bear the colors of this arch,
And wave them o’er our silent grave?
They will lack the experience we have had,
Of standing by mid battle’s storm,
And looking on our fallen dead,
Seeing fresh-spilled blood from manly form.
Oh, if I had inventive skill,
I would superceed artillery’s roar;
I would spike each gun that dares to kill,
And sheathe the sword from shore to shore.
I would make one gun of the blood war spin
I would load it with the love they bore.
And shoot it through the stubborn will
Until carnal war is heard no more.
Yes, I would make a gun so very large
That all the world could hear,
And load it, with LOVE the charge,
And fire it in God’s fear.
That unborn millions might possess
The victory we have won.
As around the graves we march to bless
The Blue and the Gray as one.
Yes, o’er my head in years to come
When men do honor in the brave
Let love’s soft thunders shake my home
As o’er my grave the flag is waved.
And still is love and peace unfurled,
‘Till the seven last thunders shake the world,
Then from the grave the good will rise;
Then Comrades meet beyond the skies.
Probably one of the fullest accounts of the life of Benjamin Fulton Jenkins was written by Wendell H. Rone (1884-1943) and can be found in “A History of the Daviess-McLean Baptist Association.”
Reverend Benjamin Fulton Jenkins
“No minister has been more universally loved and respected in the history of this Association than Elder B. F. Jenkins. Our subject was born of humble and Godly parentage in
on March 22, 1842, and was the youngest child of four born to B. S. and his
wife, Elizabeth Humphrey Jenkins. His
grandfather was John S. Jenkins, who emigrated to Glasgow, Kentucky, about
1790, where he remained but a short time when he moved to Daviess County; and
from thence to Meade County, where he reared a large family of nine children,
of whom B. S., the father of our subject, was the sixth. Meade County, Kentucky
Brother Jenkins’ early educational advantages were limited to a great extent, but, by diligent study, together with a strong physical development and a well balanced mind, he became an accurate reasoner, a clear and forceful speaker, and an eminently successful pastor.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Brother Jenkins enlisted in the Union Army, serving in Company D., Seventeenth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, where he followed the fortunes of the Army of the Cumberland through all its famous battles of Missionary Ridge, Chickamauga, and Atlanta, doing his duty bravely for three years and four months.
It was during his services in the Army that he felt called to preach the Gospel. He had previously professed faith in Christ and had been baptized into the fellowship of a
by Elder Alfred Taylor while a small boy.
One of the gifts he took with him to the war was a small Bible, which he
kept with him at all times, and from which he read continuously, when occasion
permitted. Baptist Church
Having returned safely from the War, we find him ordained in the Gospel Ministry on the Third Sunday in April 1865, at the
near Cromwell, Ohio
County, . Elders Alfred Taylor, J. S. Coleman and J. F.
Austin served as presbytery. This began
an active ministry, which was to last for fifty-eight years. In that time he served a total of forty-four
churches, most of them within the Kentucky Green River
He also held a total of 298 protracted meetings, and as one of the tangible results of these meetings, over 8,000 persons were converted and baptized into the fellowship of Baptist Churches. Many of these he baptized with his own hands, while others were baptized by the pastors whom he assisted in the meetings.
Among the large number of converts at these meetings were forty-four young men who later became ministers of the Gospel, twenty-six of whom he baptized himself. Many of these became prominent pastors. Among them may be mentioned M. W. Whitson, J. N. Jarnagin, and Granville Dockery.
Brother Jenkins was the author of three tracts during his ministry – “Meat and Milk of the Gospel,” “What Causes Panics?” and “Baptist Axioms.” The last mentioned tract had a circulation of over 14,000 and was commented on very favorably by the brethren and the Baptist Press. It is so outstanding that the author has included it in this history.
On July 5, 1868, Brother Jenkins married Miss Elizabeth I. Arnold of
. Six children were born to this union: Susan E., John A., Altha C., Laura A.,
Benjamin, and Broadus Smith. The first
Mrs. Jenkins died in October 1882, the day after the birth of her youngest
child, and Brother Jenkins married Miss Emma Miller, the eldest daughter of J.
C. and Frances Miller, on December 24, 1884.
Four children were born to this second marriage, but only one
survives. The second Mrs. Jenkins died
in 1920. Ohio County, Kentucky
Our Brother served the following pastorates in this Association during his active ministry: Bell’s Run, 1885-1890, 1893-1899; Buck Creek, 1885-1891; Island, 1888; Mt. Carmel, 1888-1899; Livermore 1889; Calhoun, 1892-1893; Glenville, 1892-1895; Bethel, 1896-1900; Stanley, 1897; Beaver Dam, 1898-1900; Red Hill, 1899-1900; Mt. Liberty, 1901-1904; Concord, 1901; Bethlehem, 1903-1904; New Hope, 1906-1907; Richland, 1908; Hopewell, 1915-1917; and Hall Street in Owensboro, 1917-1918. The last named pastorate was entered into on the day he was seventy-five years of age.
Besides the above-mentioned pastorates, we note that Brother Jenkins also held several pastorates in
Hancock, and . He served as Missionary for the Muhlenberg
Association from 1867 to 1870. He
preached the Annual Sermon before the Gasper River
Association in 1891 and served as Moderator in 1909 and 1910. Daviess County
Near the year 1923 he left the state and moved to
to live with his son, B. Smith
Jenkins. Even in his advanced years, he
continued to faithfully witness for Christ and led many souls into a walk with
Him. He died at the home of his son in Missouri Springfield, ,
on May 5, 1932. His remains were brought
back to his native state and laid to rest in the Missouri Elmwood
Cemetery in . Owensboro
For many years Brother Jenkins lived near Cromwell in
. Still later in life he made his home on a
small farm near Habit, in Ohio County . From that time on until his removal to Daviess
County Missouri, his home was on Lewis Street in .
For many years the Pleasant sight of Brother Jenkins in his stove-pipe
hat and frock-tail coat greeted the eyes of the brethren in the
Association. He reached the advanced age
of ninety and gently fell asleep.” Owensboro
Obituary from "The
News" - Friday, May 13, 1932: Ohio County
" AGED MINISTER'S FUNERAL HELD SUNDAY”
Rev. B. F. Jenkins Had Baptized 7,500 in 55 Years as Pastor
Funeral services for Rev. Benjamin Fulton Jenkins were conducted at the
and included brief talks by Rev. C. G. Cagle, Rev. Norris Lashbrook,
Rev. J. J. Willet, Rev. Sam Coakley, Dr. O. C. Robertson and others.
Interment was in Elmwood cemetery beside his last wife. His death
Thursday, May 5. His age was 90 years, Springfield, Missouri
2 months and 13 days.
Rev. Jenkins was born March 22, 1843 in Meade county and moved to
Cromwell at the age of 12 years. When the call came in 1861 he enlisted in
Co. K 17th Kentucky Infantry serving his country as a soldier 3 years, 3
months and 17 days and engaging in some of the fiercest conflicts, of the
war between the states.
Just after the war he was ordained as a Baptist minister and remained active
until the age of 78, serving as pastor of 44 churches within a period of 55
years. He assisted in 294 revivals and baptized 7,500 converts. He ordained
44 young men into the ministry, 26 of them having been immersed by him.
Much of this service was in
county, where he is
remembered by most Ohio
of the older citizens.
In 1867 he was married to Elizabeth I. Arnold, whose death occurred
October 17, 1882. Six children were born to this union. Sue, John, Altha,
Laura, Frank and Smith. Only the two last named survive. Frank resides
Tennessee and Smith at . Springfield, Missouri
On December 24, 1884, he was married to Nancy Emmaline Miller, who
also preceded her husband to the grave. Four children were born to this
marriage. All died in infancy except Joe C. Jenkins, who resides in
Thus ends the life of Benjamin F. Jenkins, an old soldier and an eminent preacher in
Ohio and Daviess
Counties and Western
Kentucky, whose sermons and good preaching were long remembered by
those who heard him. He advanced to the age of ninety, living a life of
simplicity and devotion, faithful to his Lord until his death, May 5,
His final wish to be buried in his beloved home state of Kentucky was granted. He lies beside his second wife, Emmaline (Miller) Jenkins in Elmwood Cemetery at Owensboro, Kentucky.