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Biography of Needham Williamson Jelks

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Needham Williamson Jelks, fifth son of James Oliver and Mary Polhill Jelks, was born October 14, 1847, in Hawkinsville, Ga. When he was quite young, his family moved to Belleville, Fla., locating at Lake Oclahatchee, where he received his early education.
During the War Between the States he enlisted as a private at the age of sixteen in the Florida Artillery, taking part in the Battle of Natural Bridge, and several other engagements.

After the war he returned to Hawkinsville and was employed by his older brothers, J. 0. and J. J. Jelks, in the mercantile business. Associated with this firm, he went to Lake Jesup, Orange County, Florida, to plant orange groves. He was one of the pioneers of that section and among the first to plant orange groves in Orange County. In 1870 he returned to Hawkinsville and engaged in the cotton warehouse business, a member of the firm of Kendrick & Jelks. In 1872 he married Mary Emma, daughter of Judge Cornelius M. and Elizabeth Farmer Bozeman, of Hawkinsville. Their children are: Nathaniel Augustus and Florida (Mrs. Eli W. Goode).

Need Jelks was a member of the Hawkinsville Baptist Church, and by his honorable, upright, useful life he held the respect and affection of all who knew him. After a severe illness, hoping to regain his health, he returned to Lake Jesup, Florida, in 1875. He died August 26, 1876.

Nathaniel Augustus Jelks was born September 21, 1873. He attended the Hawkinsville schools and Moore’s Business College in Atlanta. When seventeen years of age he was employed by J. O. Jelks and Company, later W. A. Jelks, cotton exporters. He entered the Planters Bank of Hawkinsville as assistant cashier, in February 1899. In January 1900, he was elected cashier, and in April 1916, was elected president, which position he holds at the present time. Under the management of N. A. Jelks, the Planters Bank is regarded as one of the strongest financial institutions of the State.

Mr. Jelks was a member of the board of trustees of the HawkinsVille public schools for many years, and is a member of the board of deacons of the First Baptist Church.

On May 2, 1900, he married Lila Jeanette, daughter of R. F. and Mattie Wimberly Napier, who was educated in the Hawkinsville schools and Wesleyan College. It was during Mrs. Jelks’ administration as Regent of the Hawkinsville Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution that the official history of Pulaski County was compiled. She was also supervisor of this project. To this union were born two sons: Nathaniel Augustus, Jr., and Freeman Napier. Nathaniel Augustus Jelks, Jr., was born February 11, 1901. He attended the Hawkinsville public schools, The Citadel at Charleston, S. C., and Emory College at Oxford, Ga., and was a member of the Chi Phi fraternity. He was married to Almeida, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ogden Jay Olmstead, of Jacksonville, Florida, in 1927. At present he is engaged in the naval stores business near Hinesville, Ga.

Freeman Napier Jelks was born March 15, 1903. He attended the Hawkinsville public schools and the University of Virginia, and was graduated in law from the University of Georgia in 1925. He was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and Phi Delta Phi, international legal fraternity. In 1928 he was married to Retta Fannin, daughter of Wilbur F. and Retta Fannin Coney, of Savannah, Ga. He is vice president of Johnson, Lane, Space and Company, investment securities house of Savannah. Their two children are: Freeman Napier, Jr., and Retta Fannin.

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