Designing a horseshoe for disabled horses was just one of the many accomplishments of W.M. “Bill” Jenkins.
Jenkins – Chickasha centenarian, master craftsman and celebrity farrier – had an expansive career.
“The Legacy of W.M. ‘Bill’ Jenkins the Farrier” will be the subject of the 6th Annual Storytelling and Soul Food Evening at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 7 at the University of Science and Art of Oklahoma.
The Storytelling and Soul Food Evening takes place every February and is presented by the Loretta Y. Jackson African American Historical Society.
The organization’s founder, Loretta Y. Jackson, said Jenkins was an active member of the Chickasha community. He was the longest serving deacon of the First Baptist Church on Dakota Ave. Jenkins also owned four shops in Chickasha.
Jenkins was born March 10, 1889, in Bastrop, Texas. He began shoeing horses all over the area after he moved to Chickasha in 1936. At the time, Jenkins shod horses for the local polo teams. He also worked for the riding academy, which had 36 horses, at the Oklahoma College for Women (now the University of Sciences and Art of Oklahoma), according to Jackson.
Jenkins shod over 100,000 horses during his 76 year carrier and traveled all over the southwest, including a track in Mexico.
Jenkins shared his experience by teaching at horseshoeing schools in Texas, California and other states. While in California, Jenkins shod horses for John Wayne, Dale Rogers, Gene Autry, Dale Robertson and the Barnum and Bailey Circus, to name a few.
Jenkins was an inventive farrier. He made horse shoes out of wagon wheels for the big draft horses in the circus because there were no ready-made shoes large enough to fit them. He also made a shoe for disabled horses that sold for $100 per shoe, according to Jackson.