Chillicothe Missouri Jenkins Hay Rake & Stacker Co.
Marion R. Jenkins was born in Audrain county on August 15, 1854. His parents Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Jenkins lived on a farm in Browning, Missouri of Linn County. After quitting the farm, M. R. Jenkins became the owner of the Jenkins Hay Rake & Stacker Company factory that manufactured farming implements. He was a member of the Browning city council and was a one-time president of the Farmers Exchange Bank. In 1891, his business associate at the Bank, E. M. Wilson of Ohio assisted in forming the company of Jenkins Hay Rake & Stacker. M. R. Jenkins's first invention patent was established as a tool for stacking hay in 1880. In 1887, he displayed one of his farming machines in an exhibit at the St. Louis Fair. Between 1887 and 1916, Jenkins copyrighted various two and three-wheeled models of combination Hay Loader and Stackers, Hay-Rakes, Hay Stackers, and a Spring Stake. Products of the Missouri Jenkins company were shipped all over the nation under the Branch firm Moline Plow Manufacturing Company from California, Minnesota, Indiana, Texas, and including in Canada. The significant role of farm machinery manufactured by Jenkins Hay Rake & Stackers Company provides for farmers, employees, and families in the community. It also is beneficial for commercial businesses expanding the population in Chillicothe.
Headquarters of the Jenkins Hay Rake & Stacker Company were moved from Browning, Missouri to Chillicothe, Missouri in 1907, with the assistance of raising funds with the Commercial Club Committee and citizens of Chillicothe. While establishing the building of a larger factory to accommodate his expanding business and supply demands, M. R. Jenkins wanted to secure the railroad lines for receiving and transporting of materials to the supply branch firms located all over the states from the city. On July 1907, a contract was made with the Burlington railroad company and the Jenkins Haystacker Company to plan to build a switch at the new factory location. By late September, construction began on the switch tracks for the Burlington railroad and the factory buildings on Brunswick street with the brick and concrete contractor James E. Meek and architect Ralph J. Sparks of Browning, Missouri. The whole structure would be 150 by 235 feet, with five rooms to hold the different departments of the factory. A dome roof was placed on the foundry, a smoke stack was in place, and a boiler room is located near the two-story main office building. A coal shed and several masses of installed machinery from Browning had completed the factory in January 1908.
During the erection of the Chillicothe firm, the son of M. R. Jenkins managed the Browning factory to continue producing and shipping. In April 1908, about thirty-nine employees began working at the factory, rushing to fulfill large stock orders of Jenkins rakes and stackers. The factory also installed a switch track from the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad. In August 1931, Mrs. M. R. Jenkins died first. On November 18, Marion R. Jenkins died next, putting his married son in charge of the Chillicothe plant. His son died in the same month immediately after. The daughter and sister Louise Jenkins Kinney took charge for a short time of the Hay Stacker Company.
After M. R. Jenkins’ death, the factory buildings closed down. On June 5, 1941, John Owens, Vern Crookshanks, and D. B. Luther purchased the Jenkins Hayrake and Stacker factory and equipment. They renovated the factory and continued manufacturing modern farm machinery. It contains 44,000 feet of floor space, a workshop to process casting metals, and a machine shop. By 1942, the new farming manufacturing plant employed between 60 to 65 workers to assemble advanced Jenkins hayrakes and stackers for farmers to produce agricultural food in America’s contribution during the Second World War. In the mid-1950s, the property on the site and equipment became on sale in a public auction. More than a hundred people appeared for the event. On August 23, 1962, Milbank Mills Inc., a retail business company that has been around since 1867 selling feeds, seeds, and farm supplies, had begun construction on the property as a second location firm. It will house the main offices, a concrete mill, and maintain its feed manufacturing with seed processing and custom grinding and mixing grain. The new building will be 51 by 51 feet and 121 feet tall, with five floors and 40-foot bins between the second and third floors. Today, the Silver Moon Feed manufacturing company works for the family-owned Milbank Mills Inc. as one large firm.