Exum Nathaniel Jelks, oldest son of James 0. Jelks, Jr., and Elizabeth Charlotte Philips, was born near Hawkinsville, Georgia, April 6, 1864.
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Nat received his early education in the public schools of Hawkinsville and his business training at Eastman College, Poughkeepsie, New York. Like his father before him, he has always loved good literature, has read extensively, and has kept himself a well informed person, thoroughly abreast of the times.
After returning from Poughkeepsie he was associated with his father in the mercantile business in Hawkinsville, and was also engaged in cotton buying and banking there until 1894. In that year he moved to Macon, Georgia, to join with R. J. Taylor in the manufacture of fertilizers, and later in a wholesale drug business.
In 1921, E. N. Jelks moved to Pompano, Florida, where he had been accustomed to spending the winters for twenty years or more. He bought and developed property on the beach there and, with his wife and youngest daughter, Marie, he now operates a small winter hotel on Pompano Beach, owned by himself and his son, Howard.
In 1886 Nat Jelks and Bessie Coates, daughter of the Reverend E. J. Coates, were married in Hawkinsville. To them were born five sons. The oldest, Edward, married Belle Welch, of Palatka, Fla., and is now a surgeon and one of the owners of Riverside Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla.
Their second son, James E., married Louise Golson, of Autaugaville, Ala., and is now engaged in truck farming in Pompano, Fla.
Oliver R., the third son, married Lucille Jarrett, of Valley Mills, Texas, and has two sons, Oliver, Jr., and Edward, both now in high school. Oliver is in business in Texas.
Thomas Robert, the fourth child, died in infancy.
The youngest son, Howard C., married Beulah Smith, of Macon, Ga., and is the father of two boys, Howard, Jr., and Allen. He resides in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
After the death of his first wife, Mr. Jelks married Attie Moore, daughter of Dr. K. P. Moore, of Macon, Ga. To them were born four daughters: Sarah, who died in infancy; Charlotte, who is working in Miami, Fla.; Ruth, who is teaching in Monroe, Ga.; and Marie, who is associated with her father in business at Pompano Beach.
E. N. Jelks is a man of sterling character and of absolute integrity in all his relations. He has met success and failure in business with the same dauntless courage. The spirit of happiness and the zest for life, which he has exemplified under all kinds of conditions, have been a source of inspiration to his children and to others who have known him.
Mr. Jelks has been an active member of the Baptist Church since he joined that church in Hawkinsville at the age of eleven years.
His wife and his children are also members of the Baptist Church. For a number of years he was a trustee of Mercer University and of Bessie Tift College. His greatest interest has always been in rendering some service to his community, and he has instilled this ideal into the lives of his children.
Nat Jelks has never grown away from his love for Hawkinsville and Pulaski County. That home of his youth will always hold a very tender spot in his heart.