After nearly thirty years spent as an educator in the schools of Union county, Illinois, Ezekiel R. Jinnette gave up teaching in 1897, and since that time has become an authority on matters agricultural, a lecturer before various farmers' institutes and a contributor to a number of farm journals. He belongs to a family that has long been identified with the interests of Union county, and was born here in 1847, a son of William E. and Thirza (Miller) Jinnette.

William E. Jinnette was born in North Carolina, and accompanied his parents to Union county when a child. He was brought up to agricultural pursuits, and was engaged therein at the time of the outbreak of the Civil war. A stanch Republican, and one of forty-six men in Union county to vote for John C. Fremont, the first presidential candidate of that party, he was also a strong Union sympathizer, and in 1862 enlisted in Company H. Eighteenth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, with which organization he served until the close of the war. On his return from the army William E. Jinnette took up the peaceful occupation of farming again, and he was engaged therein until his death. Mr. Jinnette married Thirza Miller, who was born in Union county, her mother having come to Illinois at a time when only one white man was seen while the family was crossing the state. Mrs. Jinnette's grandparents first settled in Missouri, but soon thereafter moved to the Illinois side, on Clear Creek, but when Mr. Miller was shown the high-water mark by a friendly Indian chief he decided to move farther into the state and subsequently settled in Union county, near Dongola.

When he was seventeen years of age Ezekiel R. Jinnette ran away from home to enlist in the Union army, becoming a member of Company L, Sixth Illinois Cavalry, and served until the close of the war. On his return from the front he went to school for one winter to Edwin Babcock, and in the fall of 1868 applied for a school, from which time until 1897 he was absent from school as a teacher only three winters. His labors were practically confined to three districts, those of Anna, Nimmo and Friendship, although for one term he taught English and algebra in Union Academy at Anna. Mr. Jinnette became widely and favorably known, and the friendships thus made have continued to last to the present time. In 1891 he went to California for the benefit of Mrs. Jinnette's health, and traveled in the interests of The Occident, a Presbyterian journal. On his return he was for one year engaged as a traveling salesman for a Chicago commission house. During the years that he was engaged in teaching Mr. Jinnette had carried on farming during the summer months, and since 1897 he has given all of his attention to agricultural matters. He is the owner of "Sunnyside Farm," containing one hundred and twenty-three acres of some of the best land in Union county, making a specialty of cantaloupes and strawberries, and the products from "Sunnyside" are known for their size and excellence. He is a director in the Anna Fruit Growers Association, a position which he has held for fifteen years, and was the first secretary of the Southern Illinois Fair, held at Anna in 1880, at which time he helped to plant trees on the Fair Grounds. He has always interested himself in breeding full-blooded Jersey cattle and now has a fine herd. Mr. Jinnette is of a literary bent and is a wellknown contributor to various agricultural papers and conducts a department in the Farm Journal, under the caption "Truck Patch." He was one of the founders and the first local editor of The Talk, a weekly, non-partisan newspaper, which was established at Anna in 1883, and the broad foundation and the principles advocated have never been lost sight of although the paper has changed owners two or three times. It was due to Mr. Jinnette's activity and wise planning that the large permanent circulation of the paper was gained. It is a tribute to him to say that his successors have adhered pretty closely to the original editorial policy and business rules. For five years the horticultural department of the State University conducted an experimental station on his farm. An absolute authority on matters of an agricultural nature, Mr. Jinnette has lectured before a number of farmers' institutes, and his advice is often sought in matters of an important nature pertaining to farming methods and appliances, particularly in the realm of horticulture.

In 1870 Mr. Jinnette was married to Miss Sarah A. Faris, who was born in Ohio, in 1849, and they have had two children, namely: Agnes J., who was a former teacher in Union Academy at Anna, later in the Philippines, and is now the wife of Professor T. H. Rhodes, of Lowell High School, San Francisco, a graduate of Harvard University and a former teacher in the schools of the Philippine Islands; and William P., a graduate of Union Academy, who married Myrtle Hileman and is now engaged with his father in the management of "Sunnyside Farm." Mr. Jinnette and his family are members of the First Presbyterian church of Anna, where he has served as an elder since 1876, and for several years was superintendent of the Sunday-school. He is commander of the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic, No. 558, and was formerly adjutant. For a long period Mr. Jinnette was connected with the Knights of Pythias and served as keeper of the records and seal for two years, but has lately severed his connections with that order. Like his father, he is a stanch adherent of Republican principles, and during 1908 was chosen by the county central committee to edit the Republican columns in the newspapers. Mr. Jinnette has found much to occupy his time and attention, but he has never been too busy to listen to an appeal for aid, and has been liberal in his support of religious and charitable movements. Probably no man is better known to the agriculturists of Union county, and his standing is that of an honest, upright, desirable citizen who has always had the best interests of his community at heart.

Extracted 13 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 3, pages 1418-1420.

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