Charles H. Jenkins, politician and surveyor, son of Jonathan E. and Mahala (Bonner) Jenkins, was born in Dallas County, Texas, on May 17, 1852. His father was a surveyor and merchant who served the Confederate cause during the Civil War and died shortly thereafter. Jenkins attended private school in Dallas and Cedar Springs to study surveying. In 1870 he also began the study of law. His studies were interrupted in 1871, when he became Dallas county surveyor. With W. S. Duncan, he made the first complete map of Dallas. He also took on the job of city engineer in 1873. He was admitted to the bar in 1874 and in later years was without peer in boundary cases.
In 1879 Jenkins moved to Brownwood, where he was elected mayor and served several terms as an alderman. He also served twenty-six consecutive years on the local school board, fourteen as president. He briefly owned the Brownwood Bulletin. He was a strong advocate of paper money and served on the platform committee of the Greenback party in 1882. He was a presidential elector for the Greenback-Labor party in 1884. Jenkins became a member of the People's (Populist) party in the 1890s. He served on its state executive committee from 1892 to 1894 and was a delegate to the party's 1892 and 1896 national conventions. He was a member of the Texas Populist platform committee in 1892, 1894, and 1896. He was secretary in 1892 and chairman in 1896. The party nominated him for United States Congress from the Eighth District in 1894 and 1896. He narrowly lost both times, probably through fraud in 1894. He joined the Democratic party in 1898 and was a delegate to every state convention between 1898 and 1910. He served on the state platform committee in 1904, 1906, and 1908 and was a delegate to the Democratic national convention of 1904. In 1903 he put out a call for the convention that organized the Texas Local Option Association.
Jenkins was elected to the Thirtieth (1907) and Thirty-first (1909) Texas legislatures, where he voted with the progressives. In 1910 Governor Thomas M. Campbell appointed him to an unexpired term in the Texas Court of Appeals. Jenkins was reelected until 1923, when he resigned to become chairman of the State Codifying Commission. He served on this committee until his death. Jenkins married Annie E. Smith, a former schoolmate, in September 1873. They had three daughters. He was a member of the Christian Church, the Odd Fellows, the Woodmen of the World, and the Texas State Historical Association. He died at Brownwood on February 23, 1931.