Biography of Adolphus M. Shenk
Imperial County, CA Biographies





ADOLPHUS M. SHENK. - The opening of the Imperial Valley brought settlers from every state of the union: north, south and east contributing to the citizenship of the fertile section. Adolphus M. Shenk, one of the men who has participated in the transformation of this region, the development of which seems almost magical, has by his own efforts and abilities overcome the difficulties atendant upon the settlement of a new community, and by his industry, perseverance and capacity for affairs of breadth and importance, has worked his way to a position of prominence and is recognized as one of the important and representative business men of Imperial County. His birth occurred in Omaha, Nebraska, January 12, 1882, a son of John W. and Susan C. (Brooks) Shenk. His father is a native of New York State, while his mother was born in New Jersey. The parents of Adolphus M. were married in Cape May, New Jersey, October 27, 1867, and their golden wedding anniversary was celebrated in Pasadena at the home of his son, Hon. John W. Shenk, Superior Judge of Los Angeles, California. There were in attendance four sons and two daughters. The father of the subject of this review was born in Cobleskill, Schoharie County, New York, January 20, 1842. His wife was Susanna Cane Brooks, and she was born in Tuckahoe, Cape May County, New Jersey, February 25, 1844, and married by Rev. William A. Brooks, Mrs. Shenk's father. She was always very active in missionary work and she was state organizer of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Church in Nebraska. Mr. Shenk's father is a graduate of the Garrett Biblical Institute, Northwestern University, 1865, and received the degree of B. D., in 1865. He was sent to South America and from 1866 to 1867 he was junior pastor of the M. E. Church of Buenos Aires. He held many important offices in the church in different parts of the country. He was editor of the Omaha Christian Advocate in 1899. He received the degree of doctor of divinity from Nashville, Tennessee, in 1889. His literary productions include "Higher Criticism and the Christ." published in New York in 1906. Mr. Shenk was spending the winter in Los Angeles of 1899-1990. In April of 1900 he and his wife, accompanied by Sam Ferguson, a real estate man, took the Southern Pacific train for the Imperial Valley. They drove from Flowing Well and crossed the Colorado Desert and camped forty miles from the railroad, where Calexico is located, the next day. Rev. Shenk took up sixteen hundred acres of land, a half section for himself and wife and his three sons, being the first locators of government land in Imperial Valley. Adolphus M. acquired his education in the public and high schools of Omaha, after which he took a business course, graduating from the latter. He took up stenography and followed office work two years. January 12, 1901, he came to Imperial Valley and settled on his land where he became identified with ranching, turning the first water on lands for the purpose of irrigation and growing the first crops. Mr. Shenk served on the school board and as a city trustee. He took an active part in creating the County of Imperial. He is now identified with the business interests of Calexico and maintains an office in the postoffice building and specializes in real estate, farming and loans. Mr. Shenk was united in marriage to Bernice B. Riddle of Santa Rosa. California. To this union have been born two children, Joyce and Janet. Mrs. Shenk takes an active part in the social circles of Calexico, and is a member of Eastern Star and the Improvement Club of Calexico. Mr. Shenk has the distinction of being the second postmaster appointed in Calexico, and served in this capacity for five years. He was manager for two years of a general merchandise store and since his retirement from the store has engaged in the general brokerage business and handles a large percentage of the loans of Imperial Valley. Fraternally Mr. Shenk is affiliated with the Masonic Order, being a member of Blue Lodge and Chapter. He is also a member of the I. O. O. F. Lodge.

From:
The History of Imperial County, California
Edited by: F. C. Farr
Elms and Franks, Publishers
Berkley, California 1918


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