Named in Honor of Dr. Jenkins.
The J. Emery Jenkins M.D. Bridge over Deer Creek, on the Onton Road near Sebree, was dedicated in an 11 a.m. ceremony Monday.
A plaque on the nearly half-million-dollar bridge reads (under the title) "A man truly dedicated to the betterment of his community. 1959." Work began in October last year on a $369,388.30 contract by Roy Ryan and Sons Co., Evansville, and was completed a month ago.
The contract for the bridge and approaches included 1.259 miles. Other work in and around the span pushed the total cost near $500,000. The bridge itself cost $241,926.77, according to the Department of Highways. Road improvements on either side additionally straightened out a formerly dangerous curve.
The bridge was named in honor of Dr. Jenkins because of his many years' efforts in its behalf. One of the few remaining "country doctors," he has crossed the creek in boats, hip boots and other means during high water to reach his patients. The new span, which replaced a very inadequate old structure, also is on a much higher level.
Dr. Jenkins often has chuckled that "Grover Cleveland got elected President of the United States by promising that bridge." The fact is that the bridge often was promised, but never built, by many previous state administrations.
Many other Onton-area men, plus others in that end of the county, have worked tirelessly with "Doc" over the years in helping to obtain the new bridge. Such men as Frank Fridy, George Lee Trice, Bob Luck, and Bill Nance, of or near Onton, and Harry Stull, Sebree, plus Arthur (Cap) Donan and Harold Trader, Providence, were recognized at Monday's ceremony. E.E. (Ike) Warren, Webster County judge, was chief speaker. The Sebree native eulogized Dr. Jenkins' community service through the years. Judge Warren also paid tribute to the other men who had aided in the project. And he cited the many miles of roads and other improvements in this county during the present state administration.
Baxter Melton, Sebree Banner editor and publisher, served as master of ceremonies. Fridy also spoke briefly.
Highway department officials included O.W. Edwards, Madisonville, area engineer, and John Holeman, also of the Madisonville office, an administrative assistant.
Lt.-Gov. Harry Lee Waterfield had planned to attend, but was unable to do so when Monday's rainy weather prevented his proposed plane trip.
Despite the rain, the Dixon High School Band played and also performed in Sebree.
Dr. Jenkins, in his brief talk, repeated his statement of last February, when naming the bridge in his honor first was announced. "It's the greatest honor for any living Webster Countian. I'm very grateful and thankful. They usually don't do anything like this until you're dead. I didn't ask them to do this....and by golly, I'm sure not going to now."
Dr. Jenkins has delivered nearly 5,000 babies in his forty-seven years as a physician. ("Ninety-five percent of them in their homes," he quickly adds.) The seventy-two-year-old general practitioner still often begins his day at 4:30 a.m. and even earlier, serving as he does an area of up to twenty miles from Sebree in all directions.
A native of Dixon, he is the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. John G. Jenkins. He has been in Sebree since 1920. He's an extensive farmer, in addition to his doctoring, owning much land. After Monday's ceremony, Dr. Jenkins and his family were hosts to many of the visitors in his hunting cabin on the Onton Road near the bridge.
A graduate of Dixon High School and then the University of Louisville Medical School in 1912, he first practiced at Onton from 1913 to 1919. That's where he met his wife, the former Miss Stella Hancock, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. W.L. Hancock.
They're the parents of two daughters and a son. The daughters are Mrs. Bud (Jane) Warren and Mrs. Dick (Frances) Anderson, both of Sebree, and the son Dr. John Jenkins of Louisville. The son, who plans to specialize in pediatrics, is interning at Children's Hospital in Louisville, after previous work at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
Dr. Jenkins has five grandchildren. **
Thursday October 29, 1959
Providence, Webster County, Kentucky
used with permission
- Dr. Joseph Emery Jenkins was the son of John G. Jenkins and Thulia Farmer, who were married in 1881 in Webster Co KY. (Marriage bk 10, page 360)