Life of Z. O. Jenkins
Mr. Z. O. Jenkins was born May 15, 1873 on a farm only a short distance away from the offices of the great Cliffside Mills of which he is now treasurer. His father was Mr. Henry Jenkins and his mother before her marriage Miss Mary Petty of near Gaffney, S.C. Both have since passed to the great Beyond, but their memory remains fragrant to all who knew them, splendid citizens as they were of this county.
Mr. Jenkins, Sr. was a member of the most important class in our community, the farmers. He served four years in the War Between the States and was promoted by various stages to a First Lieutenancy. Many narrow escapes from injury and death were his portion. Once in battle a Testament which he carried over his heart was struck by a bullet, turning the deadly missile away.
“Zeb,” as all his friends call him, received about four months education in country schools and for two years was a student at Rutherford Military Institute, which twenty years ago made way for the Rutherford Hospital. Whenever possible he worked hard on a 1200 acre farm assisting his father in the arduous tasks which are the portion of all tillers of the soil. During the winters, after being out of school, he was employed in country stores and taught in the public schools in the summer.
After this, Mr. Jenkins took a position in Henrietta Mills Store No. 1 at Henrietta, and remained there as a clerk for five years. His next post was assistant manager of Florence Mills Store. In 1901 when the new widely known Cliffside Mills were just beginning he became manager of the commissary pay roll and acted also as Postmaster, being the first postmaster Cliffside ever had. For eighteen years he was manager of Cliffside Mills Store and Haynes Store No. 1. In 1919 he became secretary of Cliffside Mills, later treasurer of the same famous plant as well as treasurer of Cliffside Railroad Company. He is a director of the Haynes Bank.
Mr. Jenkins is a member and deacon of the Baptist church at Avondale. He belongs to the Knights of Pythias. He is vice-president of the Rutherford County Club and was its second president.
In August 1899 he married Miss Florence Haynes and thus became a brother-in-law of that great executive, Mr. Charles H. Haynes. Of this union five children were born, Miss Jessie, now Mrs. H. W. Owens of Avondale; Miss Sadie, now Mrs. Andrew Harrill of Rutherfordton, and the Misses Edith and Mary.The first three daughters were educated at Fassifern School, Hendersonville, and at Meredith College, Raleigh. Their son, Mr. Henry Haynes Jenkins, lives at Winter Haven, Florida.
Physically the subject of this biography is a big man, five feet ten in his stockings and weighs 163 pounds. He is a baseball fan and for many years has played centre field—and still does sometimes—being particularly noted for his batting. Home runs are easy to him. He slugs the ball with consummate skill.
His expression is pleasing and all have a smile from him. Beetling brows overhang the eyes, gentle usually, but keen and piercing when his attention is quickly aroused. Delightful manners, modest, with a personal charm that may be best described that when with him you feel you are a person of importance. His courtesy is all so natural to him. It is no pose. It is innate. It is safe to say “Zeb” has not a single enemy. He’s fine right through. There is no trouble he will not put himself to for even an acquaintance.
Robert Louis Stevenson once said “A man may count himself rich if he but have a few real friends.” “Zeb” has so many that he could never count them.
This item was printed in The Sun on May 20, 1926.