Jenkins from 1911 - 1915

by Earl (Mike) Schultze

On a sunny afternoon sometime in September of 1911, the train pulled to a stop in front of the depot in the bustling little town of Jenkins, Minnesota.

Four people got off the train that day to be met by Mrs. Louis Schultze, her daughter Lesta Nelson, Lesta’s daughter, Lila and a step granddaughter, Nettie Wilcox.

The four people that got off the train that day were Mrs. Schultze’s son Ramsey and wife, Ella and their two children; Marie one month short of six years old and Earl three months short of four (the author of this article).

Leaving the depot, we made our way east on the old foot path, crossing the creek on the foot bridge and on to the old Schultze homestead.

Once at the old log house my grandparents, Nettie and Lila took Marie and I down to the field east of the house where Grandad Schultze was cutting corn. (In those days, the hard way, with a corn knife).

We had come to Minnesota from Clemons, Iowa where Marie and I was born, we had gone in to Marshalltown a few days before leaving for Minnesota to the home of my mother’s folks Dr. and Mrs. F. M. Miller who had lived in Jenkins from 1898 to November of 1904. The Miller farm had joined the Schultze homestead on the northwest; which accounts for my mother being a Miller, for in the fall of 1904 the Millers returned to Marshalltown, taking my dad with them and on November 16th of that fall my dad and mother were married. Later my dad and mother moved to Clemons, sixteen or eighteen miles to the west. The town of Clemons was named after my great grandparents. My grandmother Miller was a Clemons.

During the Millers stay in Jenkins, my granddad played an important part in the naming of Jenkins.

According to information taken from an abstract; which reads; F.M. Miller on March 14th, 1904, petitioned the Board of County Commissioners, for the appointment of date for holding a special election to vote on the incorporation of ‘northwest  ¼ of northwest ¼  of Section 34_Township 137, Range 29’, to be known as a village, “the Village of Jenkins” . I have no information as to when this special election took place.

But as to the name “Jenkins” a family of Jenkins’ had a stop over in the southeast corner of Louie Wahl’s field. In 1911 it belonged to George Knutzen and wife, on March 7, 1900, it was sold to George Knutzen by Isabella Jenkins and husband George, Knutzen being the father of Harry Knutzen.

Across the highway, where Andy Stiller now lives, Charley Chambers lived there. The house where the Schwartz’s lived after leaving the farm was occupied by the Bill Satchell Family.

In the spring of 1912 my grandparents, the Millers moved back to Jenkins living in the old Benson house (which later burned down). While they lived here that spring, we were living with my granddad and grandmother Schultze.

In my memory the road going south was not graded yet, just cut. The “traveled road” then went south westerly from the corner of the now existing road and crossed the creek a few rods south of the corner on a bridge with log stringers with planks on them, with no railing on if you so desired you could ford the creek at the end of the bridge. On one occasion we were going down to my granddad Millers and my Uncle Sam Schultze and Aunt Florence Miller were along. My Uncle Sam was going to throw my aunt in the creek, but it ended up in a scuffle, they both fell off the end of the bridge into the creek and had to go back to the Schultze’s and get dry clothes.

Now as to the road at that time: the road to Jenkins turned to the right south of the bridge a few rods and westerly to intersect the old foot path west of the foot bridge and continued west to Jenkins, coming out south of Jefferson’s place. The “other road” continued south from the bridge and came out about 300 feet west of the corner, this was the Old Walker Road and was so called and in use in 1865 at the time when the government surveyed this part of Minnesota.

In the Spring of 1912, my folks had bought me an Indian suit, feathers and all. On several occasions the Indians camped on the corner southwest of my Grandad’s house in the pines on the point of land between the Old Road and the now existing road, north of the creek. We were going over to my Grandad Miller’s and me with my Indian suit on and I had been told the Indians would get me, so I stayed pretty close to my Dad.

The Schultze’s had moved to Jenkins from three miles east of Ft. Ripley on Nokasippi River on May 14, 1896. (My Grandad Schultze’s birthday).

On July 15, 1895, Isabella Jenkins and husband deeded a strip of land 100 feet wide extending across from southeast side to the northwest side of the northwest one fourth of the northeast one fourth of section thirty four deeded to Brainerd and Northern Minnesota Railway Company.

On June 15, 1901 Brainerd and Northern Minnesota Railway deeded this same strip of land to: “Minnesota and International Railway Company”.

At the time of the Schultze’s settling east of Jenkins, Wesley Curo had a store on the west side of the track and north of the Old Highway. (A tar paper shack).

The school house was in the northwest corner of what was later Harry Olson’s place. Shortly after the Schultze’s arrived in Jenkins, they were going to church one morning at this school house, my Dad was driving the team, their dog was following them and my Grandad told my Uncle Walt to drive it back. He didn’t do it. So my Dad jumped out to drive it back and got his feet tangled in the lines and fell out breaking his right arm above the wrist, driving the bone into the ground. They hauled him to Brainerd with the lumber wagon and it was not until 2 o’clock in the morning before old Doc Thabes got it set. My Dad was fifteen at the time.

My Grandad Miller built a school house, north of the Jenkins cemetery on the south side of Rhodean’s fence and on the west side of the road, which at that time was well traveled, one branch going north and coming out by the Pine River bridge, one branch went west by Rhodean’s, and the other branch went east by Sata’s and Christ Johnson’s.

Later this school house was moved to Jenkins and became the Big Room on the old school house in the northeast corner of Jenkins.

In the spring of 1912 my Grandad Miller bought 80 acres, seven and one half miles east of Pine River, north of Whitefish Lake: so we moved out there.

My Grandad, my Dad and Uncle Wille Benson (who had married my Aunt Ethel and came to Jenkins with the Millers) built a house that summer: also my Dad built a log house  on the west forty of that eighty that same year. My Dad, mother, marie and I lived here the fall and winter of 1912 and 1913.

The Millers and Bensons returned to Marshalltown, Iowa sometime in the winter or spring of 1913.

The Whitefish School was about three and one half miles from us. Since there had never been a school bus in that country at this time, it was decided that Marie and I stay at Grandad Schultze’s and start school in Jenkins which would be the fall of 1914. Minnie Johnson was the teacher in the Little Room and Alice Benson was in the Big Room. I suppose I remembered most of the kids in both rooms: Opal Peterson whose father was the blacksmith, Blanch and Harry Mason, whose father Heine Holst, I believe was a barber, who at this time, 1914 had to have a leg amputated. Bertha and Johnny Rush whose father, John Rush ran one of the four grocery stores that was in Jenkins at this time. Ruth Killen, Percy Satchel and in 1915, Marion Bliss and Marion Walton who in later years, became my brother-in-law.

Ishemo Weezman who lived a mile up the railroad tracks, Benny Alter and Claudia Ramey, Dorothy and Clifford Ritchie. Dorothy was a jump back, I was told it was caused by her brother Clifford kicking her in the back. He gave me trouble also during the time I went to school in Jenkins. He was always going to cut my ears off, or cut my hair, one was as bad as the other to me who was only six years old, causing me to spend my recesses and noon hours in the woods or hid behind the heater in the school house. There was the Ghorst family, Charlie, Henrietta and two or three more whose names I can’t remember. The there was George, Ted, Emma, and Carl Johnson, Helmer and Philip Sata, Goldie Armstrong and possible another sister or two and her brothers. I remember there were four or five children there was: Earl, Eunice and Florice Andrews, and last there was Margie Thompson, Art Thompson’s daughter who was Depot Agent in Jenkins. I can’t remember her ins chool but she could have been there. Perhaps there were several more, but this is as far as my memory will let me go.

The following fall of 1915 we came back for September and most of October until we got a school bus at home. Our mother and sister Madolin, who was now a little over two years old, was born June 17, 1913.

We stayed in a small one room building about twelve by sixteen, just a few feet from the east door of my Grandad Schultze’s old log house everybody in the family called it “The Shanty”.

During this term in Jenkins 1915 – 1916, Frances Bliss was teacher in the Little Room and Mary McKinnley later. Curo was in the Big Room.

As to the town of Jenkins in 1914 – 1915,  there were four grocery stores: two of them Curo’s and Kempers were General stores, they carried everything from horse collars to candy. Curo’s was on the east side of the track on the corner of a two story building, which burned down the winter of 1926-1927. The building that is there now was a saloon across the street (old highway) from Kempers two story brick store which still stands, and the sign on the east side is still visible “General Store.” At this date 1929, on the corner north of Joe Gleasons Boat Shop, Herston Birchett had a two story building there. On the lower floor was the Post Office, the upper floor was a movie theater to which my Grandad Schultze went on Saturday nights. He always carried a kerosene lantern, on one occasion which I still remember the wolves ran circles around him. I remember the wolves howling at night. My Uncle Carl Schultze at a later date said, “he was puffing when he got home.”

Going south from the show building was John Rush Grocery Store. J.W. Riddle Store, whose daughter Hazel, we also went to school with, Rush’s and Riddle’s stores were side by side; I don’t remember which one was next to the Burchett Building. Next to the south was Mel Dudgeon’s Feed Store, Next was the Livery Barn run by Bill Hardy and on the corner was the blacksmith shop run by Charley Peterson.

At one time there was a hardware store east of the railroad track. I believe that belonged to Herston Birchett. Also later there was a dance hall there and now Highway 371. On the west side of the track across the street from Mel Dudgeon’s Feed Store was a potato warehouse. On the north side of the street of old highway across from Kemper’s Store was a saloon, one of the two that disgraced Jenkins in those days. East of the saloon was the band stand, built about the time of World War I. Sometime before 1920, Alf Olson built a frame garage, which just recently Tom Bliss tore down and built a cement block garage on the west of the railroad track on the north side of the Old Highway. Which burned down a few years back, north of the garage was the Backus Lumber Yard.

In the north part of Curo’s Store was the telephone office owned and run by Curo’s. North of Wes Curo’s Store there was a pool hall and another building where Gene and Emma Warner had the Post Office at the close of World War I. I speak only from memory how long before or after this I don’t know. In the twenties Beth Spornitz’s folks: the Concran’s had a grocery store, I think in the same building. On the corner where the Mobil station is, was the hotel. I believe it was built in the late teens and I believe by Bill Hardy. I Know they lived here brfore 1920.

On the east side of town we had the Union Church, which was built in 1908. I remember going there a few times when I was very young. On one occasion, Norah Satre brought Ellsworth to church, who at the time probably was about three years old. He had a new dollar watch, which he kept taking out of his pocket and looking at it. Norah tried to get him to leave it in his pocket, but he wouldn’t do it, which now reminds me of a little joke, I read in later years. “A little boy was given a new watch for Christmas. The next morning he was outdoors before daylight, he would look in the east and then look at his watch. They asked him what he was doing. He said, if that sun don’t get up in five minutes it’s late.”

Jenkins also had a barber shop. I don’t know where it was at, but my Uncle Bill Schultze barbered there. Last of all was the Creamery north of the school house, and then we might add two or three sawmills. In 1914, Walt Ramey had a mill on the west side of the park.

Jenkins was around 500 population, back then. At this early day Pine River only had the Barclay Store and Pequot had Cole’s Store, so I guess we can say Pine River and Pequot were suburbs to Jenkins.