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ESSIE MAE JENKINS STORY


 Ed and Annie Ruth Babineaux with Essie Jenkins

Essie's Story
By Patrick Martin

Essie Mae Jenkins, at 39-years-old, moved from Rusk to Kerrville in 1928 seeking refuge from a troubled second marriage. This trouble came to a head when Essie's oldest son, Nolan Martin, was involved in a violent altercation with Essie's husband, Walker Jenkins; it seems 19-year-old Nolan wanted to borrow the family car and Mr. Jenkins would not allow it.  A fight ensued wherein Nolan was stabbed in the back with a knife and Mr. Jenkins was severely beaten with an axe handle.

Essie's younger brother, William "Johnie" Bartholomew, was already living in Kerrville; he had moved there from Angelina County to seek treatment at the newly-built VA hospital.   Johnie's lungs had been damaged in a mustard gas attack in France during World War I.  After moving to Kerrville, Johnie supported himself by gambling and operating several pool halls in town.

After the fight between Nolan and Mr. Jenkins, Essie and her three teenaged sons moved in with Johnie at his home on Lytle Street until Essie could find a job and rent a house of her own.   Essie quickly found a job as an orderly at the VA hospital and started renting a house where present day Highway 27 intersects with Riverside Drive.  Essie's youngest son Clyde moved in with her, while her other two sons Nolan and Jack remained with Johnie.

Things soon began to look up for Essie; she met a kind man named Edwin Babineaux, whose wife had recently died and left him to raise several young children.  Edwin operated a barber shop in town and intended to marry Essie once her divorce became final.

Sadly, this was not to be. On the evening of Saturday, May 18th, 1929, Edwin's two teenaged daughters, Myrtle and Bernice and their infant sister Annie Ruth, drove to Essie's house for a visit. They parked their car across the street from the house.  At around 8 o'clock PM, little Annie ran out the door to get in the car.  Just at that moment, a sedan sped around the corner. Essie saw it coming and ran after Annie, reaching her at the same time as the sedan.  Essie had managed to snatch the child from in front of the car's bumper but she was too late.  Essie was slammed to the ground by the car's bumper and then dragged for a considerable distance before the car came to a stop.  The toddler was hit by the car's windshield and thrown into the air. Local resident Van Goff was driving by at the time and rushed Annie to the hospital in his car, but both victims were killed instantly.

The driver of the sedan, 21-year-old Raymond Douglas, was charged with two counts of murder but it seems the charges were later dropped.   Nolan Martin remained in Kerrville and later became Chief of the city's fire department.

Essie was buried in an unmarked grave at Center Point Cemetery. However, with the kind help of researcher Gloria Dozier and cemetery caretaker Guy Burney, Essie's great-grandson, Patrick Martin, was able to locate the grave site and purchase a marker bearing the inscription "John 15:13".
 That verse reads: "Greater love hath no man than this,  that a man lay down his life for his friends."

 

2004 Patrick Martin

 

 
Essie's brother, Johnie Bartholomew


 

Essie's Stone at Center Point Cemetery
Kerr County, Texas 


Essie's Obituary and the Article About the Accident
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Patrick M. Martin webpage
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