During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s a man by the name of Tom Jenkins was one of the most feared wrestlers in America. Tom Jenkins was the American Heavyweight Catch-As-Catch-Can Wrestling Champion in 1901,1903, and 1905, with wins over notable wrestlers such as Martin “Farmer” Burns, Frank Gotch, Ernest Roeber and Dan McLoed.
Weighing in at 225 pounds, Jenkins developed his strength and rock hard physique through his many arduous hours working in the American Wire and Steel Mill in Newburg, Ohio. Tom had a damaging style of wrestling where he would rub his calloused hands across the face and body of his unlucky opponent.
His most notable achievement of his life may have been in 1905 when he was appointed by Theodore Roosevelt to be the Boxing and Wrestling Coach for the United States Military Academy’s Corps of Cadets.
Tom taught at West Point from 1905 to 1942. A few of the many cadets that learned under his tutelage were: George S. Patton, Omar Bradley, and Dwight Eisenhower.
Tom overcame illiteracy while he was in his 30’s, went through most of his life with limited sight in his left eye and was completely blind in his right eye. Despite these adversities, Tom’s work ethic and tenacity helped shape him into an American Catch-As-Catch-Can Wrestling Champion.
Tom Jenkins died on June 19,1957 at 84 years of age and was buried with honors at the United States Military Academy at West Point.