Barnabas & Emily Rhodes King Family

    Contributed by Delores Regan

    Lizzie, wife of Frank King, Frank King and Mary King Holloman. Frank & Mary King Holloman were children of Barnabas & Emily R. King. >Emily Rhodes was the daughter of Ingram and Sarah Cox Rhodes. Overmans & Kings Clara King Jennett King & husband William King. Clara first married Elijah Cox Stanton Jennett and they had one son, Norman Ethre Jennett. Clara was the daughter of Barnabas & Emily R. King. Norman Ethre Jennett was the son of Elijah Cox Stanton Jennett from Wayne Co, NC, and Clara King, daughter of Barnabus King and Emily Rhodes from Johnston County. These Jennett's descend from Joseph & Abigail Peele Jennett. THE STATE *Down Home in North Carolina May 1977, Vol 44, No 12 Rediscovery of The "Sampson Huckleberry" Norman Jennett introduced a potent new weapon to the Democratic arsenal By Dr H.G. Jones Curator, The North Carolina Collection Josephus Daniels and the Democrats called him the "Sampson Huckleberry," Republicans and Populists had less complimentary nicknames for him. Even those whom he satirized, however, admitted his unusual talents and recognized that it was a status symbol to be the subject of one of his cartoons. He was, in fact, North Carolina's first important political cartoonist, and after leaving the state, he became one of the nation's leading journal illustrators. Yet, until now, not a single North Carolina biographical work has bothered to mention his name. The search for Norman E Jennett began last year when I concluded that his influence in the 1890's justified an entry in Bill Powell's "Dictionary of North Carolina Biography." Strangely, though, information on him was elusive, for just about every lead petered out after the young man settled in New York. Even his old friend, Josephus Daniels, who reminisced about Jennett's role during the Fusion era, said nothing of importance about his protege's national success. Three letters to the editors, published in Raleigh, Clinton, and Goldsboro, brought replies from readers who remembered or had hears about the artist, and several relatives reported that Jennett's son and daughter lived in California. Then one day a letter arrived from Miss Charlotte Jennett of Santa Barbara, who unveiled her father's career and sent to the North Carolina Collection and the Southern Historical Collection his scrapbooks, photographs, and some correspondence. North Carolina can now rediscover one of its artistic geniuses. Started on "The Caucasian" Let Norman Jennett start the story with his own words: "My first assignment came when Aunt Nancy Crocker, the reliable neighborhood midwife, held me up by my heels and gave me a walloping spank which opened my eyes and mouth and gave me to my good mother and my Quaker father on the 10th of March 1877." This entrance of Norman Ethre Jennett took place in his widowed grandmother's unpainted house in the Grantham community of Wayne County. His father was Elijah Stanton Jennett; his mother was the former Clarissa (Clara) Rhodes King. The boy was only a year old when his father died, and for the next several years Clara and Norman lived with her mother, Emily Rhodes King. Norman dutifully attended Bethany Friends Meeting House on Sunday for religious instruction and during the week for his schooling. He carried his Quakerism proudly throughout his life. While Norman was still young, his mother married William Rufus King, and the boy moved with them to Sampson County. Though the youngster's education was limited to a few years in the common schools, he showed particular talent for drawing and carving likenesses of human figures on blocks of wood. A Barlow knife was his tool. At the age of 15, Norman carried one of his wood sketches to Marion Butler, then editor of the "Caucasian" in Clinton. Butler inked the block and ran it with Jack Bennett's poem titled "Summer's Comin" in the April 28, 1892 issue. The sketch of the jaunty black man attracted considerable notice, and Butler hired Jennett for a dollar a week to work around the office and occasionally carve out other wood blocks. Soon, however, the competing newspaper, the "Sampson Democrat," enticed the youngster away from the "Caucasian" and put his talents to a new purpose. By then Butler was the leader of the newly-organized Populist Party in North Carolina, and he became a favorite subject for his former employee's drawings. Jennett's carvings took on a decidedly political tone. One cartoon, for instance, showed Butler selling out to the Republicans; another pictured him as a giraffe reaching for the senatorial "plum." A New Political Weapon The young man's funny characterizations of the Populist leader attracted the attention of Democratic Governor Elias Carr who recommended Jennett to Josephus Daniels, the unofficial press agent for the Democratic Party. The "News and Observer" was not prosperous enough to afford a cartoonist, but Daniels agreed to hire the eighteen-year-old as an office boy with the privilege of drawing cartoons occasionally. The first "News and Observer" cartoon bearing his signature appeared in August, 1895. Hundreds were to follow. Having worked with wood blocks previously, Jennett now perfected a technique of drawing a picture with a pencil, cutting it onto a chalk plate, then making the cut from molten metal. Crude though it was, a new weapon was introduced into the political campaigns of the 1890s. Jennett's cartoons against the Fusionists became a popular feature in the "News and Observer" and won him the attention of leading Democrats. He became a youthful hero of the party before he was old enough to vote. For subject matter, Jennett devoured the editorial page and immersed himself in the views of Daniels and the party leaders. Because the race issue was the chief weapon of the Democrats, many of the caricatures associated the Republicans and Populist with blacks. For instance, the caption of a cartoon showing Governor Daniel Russell listening to James H Young, a Negro newspaper editor, read, "The Source of the Governor's Inspiration." Charges of governmental corruption and railroad influence during the Fusion administration were also favorite subjects. Still, Jennett himself looked upon his work as art, not politics, and some Fusionists took great pleasure in being caricatured. Said Raleigh's Republican postmaster, Tom Bailey, "The oftener I am in the News and Observer, the more influence I have with the Republicans. They think you do not make a man's caricature unless he is influential." Jennett delightedly accommodated him. To New York The attention showered upon him as a young cartoonist increased Jennett's defensiveness concerning his lack of schooling and absence of professional art training. As a result, he sent samples of his work to the National Academy of Design in New York, and to his great satisfaction the academy offered him a scholarship, provided he paid a small entrance fee. But the young man had no money for room and board, and Daniels was not in a position to aid him. Suddenly Jennett had an idea. He sat down in September, 1896, and wrote a letter to Julian S Carter, well known Durham industrialist and Democratic Party benefactor. He presented his case for a loan. Placing the letter in an envelope, Jennett simply drew a pen portrait of Carr on the cover, affixed a stamp, and dropped it in the mail. No name, no address. As Jennett had anticipated, the letter promptly found its way to Carr who, though favorably disposed toward aiding the youth, informed him that the "uncertain and disquieting times" made it unsafe for him to offer assistance before the end of the year. In fact, it was not until February 3 of the following year that Carr finally sent Jennett a check for $50, thus enabling the cartoonist to make use of the free pass that Daniels had obtained from the railroad. In New York, Jennett lived frugally and from time to time received additional loans from Carr. Within a few months after his arrival in the big city, Jennett had sold drawings to the "Southern Tobacco Journal," the "American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record," the "Evening Journal," and the "New York Herald." After studying at the National Academy, he enrolled in 1898 in the William M Chase School of Art, and his cartoons began appearing in other publications such as "Life (the "old" Life)," "Ainslee's," and the "World." The Campaign of 1898 He continued to draw for the "News and Observer" when requested by Daniels. For instance, in March, 1898, Daniels wrote Jennett, "I want you to draw me a picture of the Siamese twins, representing Governor Russell as one of them and Col. Andrews as the other. Make Governor Russel say 'If you want to hold office, whip Joe Daniels,' and make Col. Andrews say 'The News and Observer must be destroyed.'" As the legislative race shaped up in the summer of 1898, Daniels urged Jennett to return to North Carolina to assist in the campaign. On August 6 the "News and Observer" carried a headline reading, "Jennett to Return/The Huckleberry Cartoonist to be in Raleigh on Monday/Radicals Must Look Out/News and Observer's Cartoons to be Revived." In the text of the article the paper, reviewing Jennett's previous work, said " the public eye, his cartoons gave the paper such popularity that all members of the staff had to take a subordinate position. Even the 'old man's' stuff was thrown out of the forms to get in one of Jennett's fresh cartoons." When the campaign was over and the Democrats had won a sweeping majority in the General Assembly, the party stalwarts raised $63 in appreciation for Jennett's role in the "redemption." In transmitting the gift, Attorney James H Pou wrote, "...your work in the campaign has received the approval of the public and no man now hesitates to say that it was one of the powers that brought about the revolution." Jennett continued to draw for various national publications, and for several months in 1899 he worked for the "St. Louis Star." He returned to New York, however, and for two years was an artist for the "Brooklyn Eagle." In 1900 he painted six scenes which were exhibited by the Mutual Life Insurance Company at the Paris Exposition. Again in 1900 he spent several weeks in Raleigh drawing cartoons during the campaign for passage of the suffrage amendment and election of Charles B Aycock. This was in response to Daniel's statement that "Your work two years ago helped us to carry the state, and the people of the state looked upon you and Aycock as the great leaders. They are going to make him governor and you will earn the lasting gratitude of the state if you can come back and help us carry the Amendment this year." "Monkey Shines" In 1901 Jennett joined the "New York Herald" as an artist, working simultaneously for the companion "Evening Telegram." In addition to his usual artwork, his colored comic strip about a lovable clown, "The Monkey Shines of Marseleen," became a big hit, and in 1906 McLoughlin Brothers published a selection of the strips in a hardback book by the same title. Three years later an entirely new edition was published by Cupples and Leon. Among Jennett's other activities during the long period of his association with the "Herald" and "Evening Telegram" were the creation of the Pathe Freres' rooster; a comic strip called "The Arrow-Plane Girlies" for "McCall's;" and a series of drawings for "Judge, Book Notes," and other magazines. After sixteen years with the "Herald," Jennett left in 1917 to become art director of two new magazines, "Aerial Age" and "Flying." In his five years with these publications, he contributed significantly to the popularization of aviation. One of his humorous creations during the war was the strip,"Our Sammies in the Air." In 1923, Jennett became assistant art editor for the MacFadden Publications empire, illustrating articles by popular authors such as Fulton Ousler, drawing cartoons, and preparing advertising copy. His artwork was seen by millions of readers of the magazines issued by Bernarr MacFadden's empire. Jennett retired in 1939 and thereafter devoted much of his time to painting in oils and watercolors. Several of his works were exhibited in New York, New Jersey, and California. Fast Friends Relations between Jennett and Daniels remained warm over the years. In 1906, congratulating his former employee on the publication of "The Monkey Shines of Marseleen," Daniels wrote, "Nobody rejoices in any success that comes to you more than I do, and I often wish that this town were large enough so that you could be here on the News and Observer and we could always work together." As secretary of the navy, Daniels wrote, "(Your note) recalled very pleasant days and a friendship I treasure. It gave me the opportunity to talk to my boys about you, your fine spirit and the fine stuff of which you are made." And, as ambassador to Mexico, Daniels wrote, "We think and talk of you often and of course you know that you are always in the favored nation clause of our friendship." Their collaboration was renewed by correspondence in 1939 when Daniels began writing his "Editor in Politics," in which he devoted an interesting but not altogether accurate discussion to Jennett. At the request of his old boss, the cartoonist returned to his drawing board and followed Daniel's instructions to the letter. For instance, in a drawing depicting the first flight of the Wright Brothers, Daniels insisted that his cousin, John Daniels, and Captain Adam Etheridge were the "only two who had anything to do with the Wright's first flight." Jennett showed only the four men in the drawing made especially for the book. Among the other sketches Jennett made for Daniels at that time was a self-portrait of the artist at work at the "News and Observer." Norman Jennett kept in touch with a few members of his family in North Carolina and from time to time visited them and old friends. Most of his kinsmen on his father's side now spell their last name as Jinnette or Jennette. Married in 1901 to Helen Mary MacGuinness, a native of Ireland, Jennett established a home in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. Nearly a half century later, however, they moved to California to be near their two children, Norman Ethre Jennett, Jr., and Charlotte Clara Jennett. Helen Jennett died in 1967, and her husband, who progressed from wood blocks to the most sophisticated artistry in journalism, lived until January 17, 1970. Both are buried in the Santa Barbara Cemetery. Now, in the hundredth year of his birth, the "Sampson Huckleberry" had earned his place on the roster of North Carolinians who rose to prominence in their professions.

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