Johnathan Joseph Jelks, third son of James Oliver and Mary Polhill Jelks, was born January 15, 1841, in Hawkinsville, Ga., spending his life there and in Florida and Macon, Ga., where he died May 11, 1911.
In 1861, in the War Between the States, he enlisted in Company G of the Eighth Georgia Infantry. The gallant men of this famous regiment distinguished themselves at the first Battle of Manassas, and were saluted for their bravery by General Beauregard. He served with General Tige Anderson’s Brigade, Longstreet’s Corps, fighting at Dam No. 1, on the Yorktown line, in the Seven Days’ Battle, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, and Fredericksburg. Later he was transferred to Gordon’s Brigade, taking part in the battles of Chancelorsville, Winchester, and Gettysburg. After the retreat from Pennsylvania, he was, by request, transferred to Company I, Florida Cavalry, serving there until the close of the war.
After the war he was prominent in Hawkinsville’s commercial life, becoming a member of the firm of J. O. Jelks & Brother. He was for years clerk of the Baptist Church, a member of the board of deacons, and served the Sunday school as superintendent for twenty-five years.
He was first married to Emma Stapler, of Hamilton County, Florida. To this union one daughter was born, Mrs. Allie Jelks Blalock (deceased). His second wife was Lena Oliver, of Hawkinsville. They became the parents of Mattie (deceased), 0. K. Jelks, Kate Jelks Ernest, Lizzie Jelks Morcock, Sara Jelks Cone, John, Lathrop, Rev. James, Lena Jelks Thompson (deceased), and Rev. Hendley Jelks. Later on in life he married again to Mrs. Lila LaRoache Elmo, of Marietta, Ga.
Rev. Hendley Jelks, son of Johnathan Joseph Jelks and Lena Oliver, inherited his father’s love for church work and is a wellknown Baptist preacher in Georgia. He was a graduate of Mercer University. He married Flynt Golden, daughter of Rev. Herschel Golden.
Their children are: Delena, a graduate of Bessie Tift College, and Mattie Ruth Jelks.