Collection 1112 – Del Jenkins Interview, 1968
Creator: Jenkins, Del
Provenance Note: An original audiocassette recording of an interview with Del Jenkins conducted by
Art True of Arlington, Virginia, was given to Robert Dunbar, Bozeman, Montana, on
May 13, 1975. Dunbar subsequently gave the tape to the MSU Library.
Historical Note: Henry LaDell Jenkins (Del Jenkins) was born in Farmington, Utah on August 26, 1880. When he was 15 years old, Del traveled to Yellowstone National Park with his father, Henry Evan Jenkins, where he began his career as a wagon driver for Shaw and Powell offering transportation for camping tourists. In 1898 when he was 18 Del began work for the Yellowstone and Monida Stage Company, driving stagecoaches to the west entrance of the Park and beyond. He continued to drive stagecoaches in the park until 1914 and in 1938 established a ranch near Jackson, Wyoming where he raised a family. Del Jenkins died in Jackson, Wyoming on November 16, 1977 at the age of 97.
Content Description Note: Del Jenkins was interviewed by Art True while wintering in San Diego, California in 1968. True, an amateur historian, used a reel to reel recorder which he operated with some difficulty and then later transferred the recording to an audiocassette. As a result, the sound quality of the interview is marginal at best. Jenkins describes his experiences as a Yellowstone stage coach driver and anecdotes about some of the tourists he transported. The interview has been digitally rendered, but no transcription is available. In his 1975 letter forwarding the audiocassette to MSU history professor Robert Dunbar, True wrote “Del was 88 years old at the time of the taping. He wrote a book that he called “The Lucky Cowboy” about his life and experiences. Unfortunately, a woman who got hold of it for editing took out his spicy down to earth language and he decided not to publish. You can learn more about it from the Historical Society, Jackson, Wyoming. As far as I know, Del is still living. He has wintered in Sand Diego for over 20 years. That’s where I met him.”