Strangers to Us All
Lawyers and Poetry

William Franklin Jenkins


"William Franklin Jenkins was born on September 7, 1876 near Friendship in Webster County, Georgia. He was the son of Judge W. Frank (William Franklin)(b. 1845) and Leila Head Jenkins and was raised in Eatonton, where he attended the public schools. He went to the University of Virginia (1893-1894) and received his law degree from the University of Georgia in 1896. He practiced law with his father in Eatonton until 1909, serving as mayor (1902-1903) and as the representative from Putnam County in the Georgia General Assembly (1905-1906). A life-long Democrat, Jenkins held several offices in the state party. In 1916, he was a Georgia delegate to the National Democratic Convention. The same year, he was elected to a seat on the Georgia Court of Appeals, and in 1920 he became the Presiding Justice. He held that position without opposition until 1936. In that year, a vacancy having occurred on the bench of the Georgia Supreme Court, his friends urged him to seek that office. He did so, and won without opposition. On January 1, 1947, Jenkins was named Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia. He retired from the Court in September 1948, after 32 years of distinguished public service, to accept a teaching position in Emory University's Law School. He was a trustee of Mercer University, president of the board of trustees of the Eatonton public school system, and president of the Putnam County Board of Education. Jenkins was a Baptist. Jenkins was the author of many addresses, articles, and poems. In 1955, he published a book of poems entitled Afterthoughts. In 1899, Jenkins married Susie May Thomas. The Jenkins' had two children-George Thomas Jenkins and Mrs. Joseph H. Owens. After his wife died, Jenkins went live with his daughter in Roanoke, Alabama. He died in December, 1961, in Roanoke and was buried in Eatonton." [Bio/History, William Franklin Jenkins Family Papers, Emory University Library]


William Franklin Jenkins, Afterthoughts (Atlanta: Foote & Davies, 1955)

Research Resources

William Franklin Jenkins Family Papers
Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Collection
Emory University