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Life Story of

Ruth Theresa Jenkins Curley

1915 - 1998

My Parents

Written 1982

 

 

William Howard Jenkins, oldest son of Squire W. L. Jenkins of Pickens, South Carolina, came to King's Mountain, N. C. (the hometown of Alice Barber) with a traveling baseball team and stayed to "make his fortune in the gold mine", living at a boarding house operated by Mrs. Sarah C. Barrett, whose daughter Maggie was a friend of my mother's. While researching as to when he came to K. M., I found that my Uncle Doc also lived at this boarding house and later married one of Mother's sisters, my Aunt Lela Houser. Maggie Barrett later married Meek McCarter of York County, his second wife.

There my parents met, fell in love and wanted to be married. The idea of marriage to this handsome "adventurer" was not to my grandfather Barber's liking, as Alice had a very well-to-do suitor at the time, and had already turned down a very suitable marriage before she was fifteen. After the marriage license was taken out, there was a family row, Howard got very drunk, and Grandfather Barber said an understandable "NO." Two months later the marriage took place at her home, on the corner of Piedmont and Parker Streets.

Howard and Alice had nine children; Vera, Nettie, Ida (died infancy); William, Floyd, Tom, me, and two children who also died infants, named Lucile and Doris Catherine. I remember when Doris Catherine died of typhoid fever. I overheard Dr. Anthony telling my parents that each one of us would have to be inoculated, and seeing the needle he was going to use, I ran away. I went to several homes of cousins, and when I told them my story, they told me to go back home immediately. I was at the Waco bridge when found, and was brought back. I was so upset it took several men to hold me when he put the needle in my backside, and my Aunt Lela was the only one who had a kind word for me during that time. Naturally my parents were too busy with the death of a baby to notice one little "brat". The first four children were born Rutherford County, and Pickens County, S. C. and the others were born at 103 Parker Street, King's Mountain - where we all grew up and lived until each of us left home. We were without much money, but I can never remember having gone hungry, being without clothes, or any of the necessities of life.

Mamma used to say to us "There is no disgrace in being poor. You are as much 'quality' as anybody in this town, both from my side and from your father's, so walk tall, hold your head high, and don't be ashamed of being poor." So I walked tall, held my head high, and dreamed I was a princess in disguise! We were surrounded by other Jenkins families who all seemed to be related to each other, but not to us. This fascinated me and I kept wondering what Jenkins family my father belonged to - and this question is perhaps the reason for my interest in genealogy in the beginning. I have now traced his family back to 1772, Fairfax County, Virginia... and I may stop or I may go on - haven't decided.

 

 

 

 

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