William Miller Jenkins

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William Miller Jenkins
William Miller Jenkins.jpg
5th Governor of Oklahoma Territory
In office
April 15, 1901 – November 30, 1901
Appointed by William McKinley
Preceded by Cassius McDonald Barnes
Succeeded by William C. Grimes
as Acting Territorial Govenror 1
Personal details
Born (1856-04-25)April 25, 1856
Alliance, Ohio
Died October 19, 1941(1941-10-19) (aged 85)
Sapulpa, Oklahoma
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Delphina White Jenkins
Profession Lawyer, Statesman
^1 William C. Grimes served as Acting Governor until President Roosevelt appointed Thompson Benton Ferguson to the Governorship

William Miller Jenkins (April 25, 1856 - October 19, 1941) was an American lawyer and Republican politician who briefly served as the 5th Governor of Oklahoma Territory.

Early life

The son of Henry J. and Lydia (Miller) Jenkins, William Miller Jenkins was born at Alliance, Stark County, Ohio, on April 25, 1858. He attended public schools and later attending Mt. Union College at Alliance. Jenkins would teacher school in Stark County from 1876 until 1878. On December 21, 1878, Jenkins married Delphina White of Doublin, Indiana.

Jenkins and his wife removed to Shelby County, Iowa, in 1880 where he was admitted to the bar in 1883. In 1884 he established his residence at Arkansas City, Kansas, where he operated a private law practice. In 1888, he served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.


When the Cherokee Outlet was opened to settlement on September 16, 1893, causing a land-rush, Jenkins succeeded in securing a homestead in Kay County where he would continue to practice law untli he entered government service. When President William McKinley appointed Cassius McDonald Barnes as Governor of Oklahoma Territory, he also appointed Jenkins to serve as the Territory's Secretary. Jenkins assumed that position in June 1897 and would serve for four years until President McKinley elevated him to the governorship. Jenkins took the oath of office on April 15, 1901. During his administration, the Comanche-Kiowa-Apache and the Wichita-Caddo Indian reservations were opened for settlement in August 1901.

Questions of Governor Jenkins's fidelity arose following the renewal of contracts for the care of the insane in the Territory. Following the assassination of President McKinley on September 14, 1901, those questions developed into an outright opposition. Newly elevated President Theodore Roosevelt immediately received demands to remove Governor Jenkins from office. Without affording the Governor an opportunity to defend himself, President Roosevelt summarily removed Jenkins from office on November 30, 1901. Territorial Secretary William C. Grimes became acting Governor until President Roosevelt appointed Thompson Benton Ferguson to the Governorship on December 9, 1901.

Territorial Governor Ferguson would later report to the Secretary of the Interior Jenkins had "suffered a great injustice."

Late life and death

Subsequent to his retirement, Governor Jenkins spent a few years in California but upon his return to Oklahoma, settled at Sapulpa, Oklahoma and in 1920 was elected Court Clerk of Creek County, Oklahoma. He died at Sapulpa on October 19, 1941 and is buried in the South Heights Cemetery near that city.

See also

  • Chronicles of Oklahoma entry

External links

  • Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture - Jenkins, William
Political offices
Preceded by
Cassius McDonald Barnes
Governor of Oklahoma Territory
Succeeded by
William C. Grimes
Acting Territorial Governor
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