Representing as he does two of the oldest families of this section of the state, the Jenkins and Dunns, Zeb Jenkins is well entitled to an honored place in the records of Texas. In years of residence he is the oldest citizen of Grapevine, where he is well known and most highly esteemed. Year by year he has watched with deep interest the results of man’s labor and enterprise, as he gradually transformed the uninhabited places into thrifty, fertile homesteads and flourishing settlements. The Lone Star state also claims him as one of her native sons, his birth occurring at Jefferson in 1854, his birth occurring in Jefferson in 1854, his parents being E. M. and Ellen (Dunn) Jenkins.
E. M. Jenkins was a native of North Carolina, but was reared in Alabama, from which state he removed to Greenwood, Louisiana, and thence to eastern Texas, locating at Jefferson in 1854. In the spring of 1859 he came with his family to Tarrant county, taking up his abode on Grapevine Prairie, where the town of that name now stands and here he opened a small country store, the first business enterprise of Grapevine. He hauled lumber from eastern Texas to build a house, and for a number of years he conducted his mercantile enterprise in connection with his farming interests, his being the only store in the place until after the Civil War. The town derived its name from Grapevine Spring, four miles east, and the surrounding country has been called Grapevine Prairie as far back as within the memory of any inhabitant. Grapevine Spring was possibly named by the Indians, to whom it was a well known place, and at this spring President Sam Houston of the Texas Republic negotiated a treaty with the Comanche Indians. Mr. Jenkins’s death occurred in 1878, and that of his wife in 1872. She was a daughter of J. C. Dunn, who located on Grapevine Prairie as early as 1851 or 1852. He built a log house and therein made his home for several years, and when settlers began to locate here the neighborhood was for some time called Dunnville, this being before the name Grapevine was given to the little village. Mr. Dunn was a Virginian by birth, but was reared in Alabama, coming thence to Texas in 1848 and first locating near Marshall, in Harrison county.
Remaining on the old farm and engaging actively in its work until nineteen years of age Zeb Jenkins entered his father’s store, which, as stated above, was the pioneer store of the place. At that time the goods were purchased at Galveston, the nearest wholesale market, and to which place Mr. Jenkins made periodical journeys on horseback. This part of the state was then but sparsely settled, Dallas being only a small village, while Fort Worth was yet to come into existence. He remained in his father’s store until the latter’s death, when he took charge and continued the business. Subsequently the firm became Jenkins & Yates, and in 1896 Mr. Jenkins retired from the business, selling his interest to this partner, who still continues the enterprise. Mr. Jenkins was one of the founders and is vice-president of the Grapevine National Bank, a flourishing institution founded in 1900, and of which G. E. Bushong is the president. He is also the owner of two fine farms, one three-fourths of a mile and the other two miles from the city, where he makes a specialty of the raising of hogs, in which he has become very successful. Although his business interests have been extensive, he has yet found time to devote to public affairs, and for a number of years has been well known in Tarrant county politics, having frequently been called upon to serve as delegate to the county and state Democratic conventions. In his fraternal relationships he is a Mason, belonging to the Blue Lodge in Grapevine and the chapter at Fort Worth.
In Grapevine Mr. Jenkins was united in marriage to Miss Florence Dorris, a daughter of Dr. W. E. Dorris, another well known old pioneer citizen of Grapevine, and they have one daughter, Edna, at home. Two children are deceased, Ellen, who died when twelve years old, and Eli M. Jenkins, who died at the age of eighteen.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, p. 6.