Judge W. H. Jenkins biography

This consecrated and honored brother is the son of James R. Jenkins, of Alabama, who came to Texas at an early day. James R. was one of that little band, found by Z. N. Morrell, in the old town of Washington, Texas, in 1837, and whom he organized into a prayer meeting and later into the first missionary Baptist church west of the Brazos river. The Baptists in and around Washington held a consultation meeting in 1837, and appointed Elder Z. N. Morrell, James R. Jenkins, A. Buffington and H. R. Cartmell to prepare and publish an appeal to the Baptists of the old states, for aid in the evangelism of the new Republic of Texas. Jas. R. Jenkins wrote the appeal. This appeal stirred the great heart and purse of Jesse Mercer, of Georgia, and moved the hearts of the beloved Wm. M. Tryon and James Huckins to come to Texas as missionaries. Judge W. H. Jenkins was born in Washington county, Texas, November 14, 1848. His mother, Harriett Jenkins, was a woman of strong common sense and superior piety. His father died when young W. H. was but two years old. The influence of his mother shaped the boy’s destiny. At the age of ten years he entered Baylor University, at Independence, and when the faculty of the male department moved to Waco, young Jenkins followed, and entered Waco University. In June, 1863, before he was 15 years old, he joined the Confederate army, and served till the close of the war. Again in September, 1865, he entered Waco University, and continued one year. He then accepted a place in a dry goods store, in which position he continued till he began the study of law in the fall of 1867. In 1868 he was converted, and joined the First Baptist church at Waco, where he has ever since held membership. He was admitted to the bar and began the practice of law in Waco, in April, 1869. He was happily married April 27, 1871, to Miss Jessie Speight, daughter of General J. W. Speight, of Waco. He was clerk of the Waco Association in 1878. The same year he was elected clerk of the First Baptist church of Waco, and has served the church continuously in that capacity till this day. For 15 years he has been the superintendent of the First Baptist Sunday school. There is no better Sunday school superintendent in the state. His pastor says that for ten years he prayed the Lord for a superintendent. W. H. Jenkins is the answer to that prayer. Bro. Jenkins was elected county judge of McLennan county in 1888, and served four successive terms — eight years. For ten years he has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Baptist General Convention, and for the past two years he has been president of that Board. He was a member of the Bible and Colportage Board of the General Association before the General Convention was organized. Brother Jenkins has three rules which have done much toward shaping his religious life. (1) Labor by precept and example to extend the mission spirit, (2) Make it the supreme principle of life to glorify Christ through the church. (3) Make religion the chief concern, and subordinate everything to Christian duty. He rejoices that God has greatly blessed him in his family. He and his wife, in the prime and vigor of middle life, have around them their nine children, all of whom he looks upon as God-given. Six of these have given their hearts to the Savior, and are members of the church. He counts it one of his choice blessings that God spared to him his venerable and venerated mother till her 86th year, January 4, 1895. The Lord spare to us this precious brother many years.

Source: J. L. Walker and C. P. Lumpkin, History of the Waco Baptist Association of Texas (Waco: Byrne-Hill Printing House, 1897), pp. 236-328.