The Jenkins family was instrumental in the founding and success of Buck Hill Falls for the first half-century of its existence and has had a profound influence on the organization to this day. Howard M. Jenkins and his son Charles F. Jenkins were prominent Quakers from Philadelphia who loved the outdoors.
Howard’s father, Algernon S. Jenkins was an esteemed business man and a justice of the peace, interested in promoting the common welfare. He married Anna Maria Thomas, and they had one child, Howard Malcolm Jenkins born on March 30, 1842. Algernon had a farm near Gwynedd where he died in a fall at his barn in 1892.
Howard worked at the family farm and was educated at the Foulke Boarding School in Gwynedd. When the opportunity arose, he purchased a number of newspapers and publications. In 1879 he moved to West Chester, Pennsylvania, and became editor-in-chief of the Friends Intelligencer. He remained editor-in-chief until his death.
Howard was an author, journalist and leader in the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends. Some of his writings included “The Religious Views of the Society of Friends” and the “Family of William Penn,” to name a few. He was very influential in the Society of Friends in this country and in England. He also was a member of the Board of Managers of Swarthmore College and a scholar of Pennsylvania history.
Howard was married to Mary Anna Atkinson in 1865, and they had seven children, with Charles Francis being the eldest and born in 1865.
After Samuel Griscom introduced Howard Jenkins to the 1,000-acre Pocono property, the entire Jenkins family fell in love with the idea of a summer settlement of Friends at Buck Hill Falls. It was an ideal place for a mountain resort, within easy reach of Philadelphia and New York. The plan would be for an inn, surrounded by cottages of Friends. The resort opened its doors on Saturday, June 22, 1901, with 20 rooms.
On October 11, 1902, Howard was showing the magnificent waterfalls to a friend when he slipped on a temporary plank and slid into the swirling waters below and drowned. The loss to his community, to the Society, and to the cause of progress was indeed irreparable. Howard was the founder of Buck Hill but was best known for his philanthropic and humanitarian work.
Charles F. Jenkins was active in many Quaker concerns and followed in his father’s footsteps in many ways. At the age of 16 he joined his uncle, Wilmer Atkinson, then publisher of the Farm Journal, and began his career selling copies at the Chester County Fair. Later, as editor of the periodical, it grew to be the largest national farm journal with a circulation of over 3 million.
After the accidental death of his father, he became president of the Buck Hill Falls Company and remained President until 1949. Like his father, he served as a Manager of Swarthmore College for 40 years and served as President of the Board from 1933 to 1944. He served as President of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and of many other learned, social and philanthropic organizations. Like his father, he was an author and poet and was interested in horticulture.
Charles married Maria Cope in 1890 and had three children. When he passed away, he had 12 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
In August 1951 the Buck Hill Falls Company dedicated Jenkins Woods as a living memorial to the two men – Howard M. Jenkins and Charles F. Jenkins, father and son, whose vision, courage, character and leadership created the Buck Hill Falls community. A bronze tablet sits at the entrance to Jenkins Woods and says the following:
PART OF THE PRIMEVAL FOREST
NAMED IN HONOR OF HOWARD M. JENKINS & CHARLES F. JENKINS
PRESIDENTS OF THE BUCK HILL FALLS COMPANY
1900 – 1902 AND 1902 – 1949
DEDICATED AT THE CELEBRATION OF THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY
OF THE FOUNDING OF THE COMPANY
Ceremonial remarks were made by Arthur Jenkins, son of Howard Jenkins and brother of Charles Jenkins. He was one of the family members who made the initial trip to Buck Hill with his father and brother in 1900 and was a cottage owner and frequent visitor to Buck Hill.
One of Charles Jenkins’ children, Edward Cope “Ted” Jenkins was born in 1904 and served as Secretary/Treasurer for the Buck Hill Falls Company from 1932 to 1955. Ted was best known for being instrumental in the founding and creation of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau in 1934 and served as its president from 1934 to 1951. Robert Uguccioni, longtime Executive Director of the bureau called Ted “the spark plug for the idea of a visitors bureau.” Ted’s concept was for some type of organization that would pool the advertising resources of all local resorts and sell the Pocono Mountains as a whole, thus bringing together the Pocono Mountains to compete with other regions rather than individually. Today the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau coordinates over $6,000,000 of destination marketing programs and is one of the most influential public relations organizations in Pennsylvania. Edward “Ted” Jenkins passed away in 1992.