Franklin Dow Jenkins, an enterprising clothing merchant of Pittsfield, was born in Vassalboro, Maine, December 30, 1831, son of Moses and Sarah (Frye) Jenkins. His great-grandparents were Jabez and Elizabeth (Dennett) Jenkins, residents of Kittery, Maine. Jabez, Jenkins, second, the grandfather, who resided in North Yarmouth, Maine, and on March 24, 1784, married Elizabeth Varney, of Dover, New Hampshire., had a family of six children, namely: Deliverance, born September 14, 1785; Stephen, born July 6, 1788; William and Moses, whose birth dates have not been preserved; Jabez, born June 16, 1799, who died in 1892; and Isaac Jenkins, born March 24, 1802, who died in Vassalboro in 1885. Deliverance married George Parker, and resided in Vassalboro. She had two children — George H. and Emily. George H. left home when young. Emily married Henry Dudley, and had four sons George E., Henry W., Howard, and Elwood Dudley. Mr. and Mrs. Dudley moved to Canon City, Colorado, in 1876. Stephen Jenkins settled in China, Maine, and reared a family. William Jenkins, who acquired considerable reputation for physical strength, died in the British Provinces. Jabez Jenkins, third, died in 1892, and Isaac died in Vassalboro in 1895.
Moses Jenkins, who was born in North Yarmouth, having resided in Vassalboro for some time previously, removed in 1840 to Detroit, Maine. He was at different times engaged in farming, brick-making, and shoe making; and he died in 1854. His wife, Sarah, was a native of Vassalboro. Their children were William Henry, Mary A., Sarah M., Moses Carey, Franklin D., and Ebenezer Frye. William Henry Jenkins, who married Elizabeth Small, was a tanner and shoemaker in Detroit, Maine, where he died in 1862 or 1863. Mary A. Jenkins married for her first husband Gorham H. Moores, a native of Vassalboro and a miner, who died in California. She then married C. F. Anderson, a machinist, and now resides upon a farm in Salem, Oregon. By her first husband she has one daughter, Flora, who married a Mr. Hall, a hardware merchant in Oakland, California. Her son Fred was born of the second marriage. Moses Carey Jenkins died in 1894, and Ebenezer Jenkins died young. The death of Mrs. Sarah Jenkins occurred in 1846.
Franklin Dow Jenkins was educated in the common schools and the Westbrook Seminary. At the age of seventeen he became a clerk in Detroit. Later in the same capacity he was employed in Plymouth, Maine, for some time, and for several years in Bangor. After coming to Pittsfield in 1858, he was associated with W. K. Lancey in conducting a variety store for four years, at the end of which time he sold out. In 1865 he engaged in a general merchandise business in the store he now occupies, having as a partner Albion P. McMasters. A year and a half later he bought his associate’s interest, and thereafter carried on the store until 1871. In that year he bought a farm in Kenduskeag, which he afterward cultivated for the succeeding twenty years. Since August, 1891, he has conducted a flourishing trade in clothing, gentlemen’s furnishings, hats, caps, bags, trunks, etc., at his former place of business in this town. He is also a director of the Waverly Woollen Mills.
On March 11, 1858, Mr. Jenkins was joined in marriage with Helen M. Jerrard, a daughter of John and Jane Jerrard, the former of whom was an extensive farmer and lumberman of Plymouth. Mrs. Jenkins has had eight children, namely: Alice M., born December 20, 1858, who married Alvah H. Cornforth, a merchant in Pittsfield, and has two children —Vera Louise and Una; Annie H., born April 10, 1860, who is now a bookkeeper and resides at home; Louise A., born December 1861, who is now an artist in oil painting and crayon work, and resides in Augusta, Maine; Vernon F., born March 25, 1863, who died August 15, 1884; Willie E., born June 29, 1864, who died on September 11 of the same year; Frederick A., born January 22, 1866, who married Elizabeth Avery, of Augusta, and is now a teacher in Dallas, Texas.; Bertha Lee, born September 1, 1871, who is now the wife of Leon L. Libby, a shoe merchant of Pittsfield, and has one daughter, Helen M.; and Ralph Dow Jenkins, born December 9, 1877, who was drowned in this town April 16, 1897. The latter, a bright and promising young man, assisted his father in business, and was a member of the Universalist church choir. In politics Mr. Jenkins is a Republican; and he has served the community for some years as Town Clerk and Treasurer, as well as in other offices. In Masonry he has advanced to the Royal Arch degree; and he was the second Worshipful Master of the Blue Lodge here and the first King in the chapter. Both he and Mrs. Jenkins are members of the Universalist society.
Source: Biographical review: containing life sketches of leading citizens of Somerset, Piscataquis, Hancock, Washington, and Aroostook counties, Maine. Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1898.