Douglas County, Missouri


MOGenWeb Site, Johnna Quick -- Coordinator


Biographies taken from A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region, from Goodspeed Publishers.

That “honesty is the best policy” is clearly demonstrated in the success of those firms who pursue a straightforward way of doing business. The favor of the public will rest upon those who merit its confidence by dealing fairly, and few indeed are those who so well deserve a high place in public opinion as John T. Keesee and William T. Jenkins, the members of the above mentioned firm, which began doing business in 1890 and has already built up a most liberal patronage. John T. Keesee was born in Dallas County, Mo., in 1863, a son of Silas and Mary (Copeland) Keesee, natives of Missouri and Indiana, respectively, the latter removing with her parents to Ozark County, Mo., where she met and married Mr. Keesee, afterward removing with him to Dallas County and three years later to Marion County, Ark., where she was called from life in 1876. Mr. Keesee is still living and has attained the age of seventy years. He has been a lifelong and well-to-do farmer and stock raiser, has been a Democrat all his life, and is a worthy member of the Christian Church. His father, Peyton Keesee, was an early settler of Ozark County, Mo., in which section he passed from life, having been a lifelong farmer, and for many years a member of the Baptist Church. His wife also died in Ozark County and there they reared a large family. The following children were born to Silas and Mary Keesee: Peter, of Texas; Payton, also of that State; Isaac, of Marion County, Ark.; Reed, also of that county; Serepta, wife of Isaac Eopf; Margaret, wife of James Macbee, of Marion County; John T.; Henrietta, wife of George McMannus, of Marion County, and two children who died young: Lucinda and Nancy. By his second wife Mr. Keesee became the father of one son, William, and his third wife bore him two daughters: Alice and Hattie. John T. Keesee was reared on his father’s farm, but unfortunately received but a limited country-school education. Upon attaining his majority he began his independent career and for a number of years followed the occupation to which he had been reared--farming. In 1887 he was married to Matilda, daughter of Monroe and Mary Treat, of Marion County, Ark., in which section Mrs. Treat died when her daughter Matilda was born. In 1890 Mr. Keesee came to Protem and the firm of Keesee Bros., general merchants, was established and continued for about one year, at the end of which time John T. became the sole proprietor and continued as such for one year, when the present firm of Keesee & Jenkins was formed. In addition to the profitable mercantile business which they are doing, they also deal in cotton and stock and carry on farming. Mr. Keesee is a member of Claflin Lodge No. 229, of the A.F. & A.M., is a Democrat politically, his first vote being cast for Cleveland in 1888, and he and his wife are members of the Christian Church. William M. Jenkins, a member of the firm of Keesee & Jenkins, of Protem, Mo., was born in Marion County, Ark., in 1862, his parents, Elder W. C. and Mary C. (Gray) Jenkins, having been born in Tennessee. Their family consisted of the following children: Joshua Star, deceased; Mary E., wife of Thomas H. Flippin; George W., of Marion County, Ark.; Ellen, deceased; William M.; James Perry, deceased; John Henry and Jared, of Marion County; Maggie, wife of Payton Chaffin, of Marion County, and Julia, deceased. The birth of Rev. W. C. Jenkins occurred May 16, 1828, near Dodd City, in Washington County, Tenn., his parents having been George Washington and Mary (Hodges) Jenkins, also natives of Washington County, Tenn., where they spent all their lives. George W. Jenkins was a teacher and farmer, and a son of Aaron Jenkins, a Virginian by birth, but one of the pioneer settlers of Washington County, Tenn., where he, in due course of time, passed from life. The latter’s father, George Jenkins, is supposed to have come from England. He first resided for some time near Baltimore, Md., then removed to Virginia, and finally to Tennessee, where he died. The maternal grandfather of William M. Jenkins, Howell Hodges, is supposed to have been born in Washington County, Tenn., and was a soldier with Gen. Jackson at the battle of Horseshoe Bend. Rev. W. C. Jenkins was the eldest of nine children born to his parents, and is one of the three surviving members of the family. His early life was spent in the labors of the farm, and he was fortunate enough to secure a good common-school education. January 25, 1849, he was married to Mary, daughter of Joshua and Elizabeth (Davidson) Gray, both of whom were born, reared, and died in Tennessee. In 1855 Rev. Jenkins removed to St. Francis County, Ark., thence to Kentucky two years later, and in 1860 to Marion County, Ark., where he has since made his home, carrying on farming on a small scale. For the past twenty-five years he has been a regularly ordained minister of the Christian Church, and during this time his influence has been for good, and he has been a faithful laborer in the vineyard of his Master. He served Marion County in the capacity of deputy sheriff for some time after the war, and for a period of six months was sheriff by appointment. During the last year of the war he served as orderly sergeant of Company F, in Jo Shelby’s command. He is a member of Yellville Lodge No. 117, of the A.F. & A.M. The early life of William M. Jenkins was not characterized by any particular event, for he was reared to the monotonous, if useful, duties of farming and received but few educational advantages. In 1883 he was married to Susan Treat, a sister of Mrs. Keesee. She was born in Dade County, Mo., and by Mr. Jenkins is the mother of three children: Mary Elsie, Albert and Ethel (deceased). Mr. Jenkins followed farming in Marion County until 1892, since which time he has been in his present business and is doing well. He has always been a Democrat in politics, and for four years was deputy sheriff of Marion County under C. C. Poynter, from 1888 to 1892. He and his wife are worthy members of the Christian Church.

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