IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

Lawrence Jennings

Lawrence Jennings has been a resident af Iowa since he was a lad of about ten years and the fact that he has now passed the psalmist's span of three score years and ten offers conclusive evidence that he is a representative of one of the pioneer families of the Hawkeye State.

He has maintained his home in Clayton caunty since 1855, has been a resourceful exponent of agricultural industry and other lines of enterprise, has achieved definite independence and material prosperity and thus is justified in the enjoyment of the peace and comfort that attend him after his retirement from active labors and when his life begins to see its golden shadows lengthening from the crimson west. He has accounted well for himself and to the world, and is now living virtually retired in the attractive little village af McGregor, where he has association with a host af friends who are tried and true and whose fealty has borne the test af many years.

Mr. Jennings was born at Welland, Province af Ontario, Canada, on the 14th of February, 1843, and his parents, Matthias and Mary (Dill) Jennings, were born and reared in Ontario, where the father learned in his youth the trade of cooper, which he there followed in connectian with agricultural pursuits until 1853, when he came to Iowa and numbered himself among the early settlers af Jackson county. There he remained until the spring af 1855, when he came with his family to Clayton county and purchased a tract of wild land in Mendon township. There he reclaimed and developed a productive farm, and he also continued in the work of his trade, having established a cooperage an his farm and having found much demand far his productions as a skilled workman at his trade. Eventually he turned his attention to the study of medicine and became a successful representative of the profession in Clayton county, where he continued in active and successful practice, as one of the pioneer physicians of this section of the State until his death, which occurred in 1864, his wife surviving him by several years. Of the children the subject of this review is the eldest; Nancy and Euphemia are widows and both are residents af this State; Sarah, wife of Jahn Kane; Anna, wife of George Kildare, of Seattle, Wash.; Mrs. Alice Fuller, a widow, resides in the city of Seattle and Harriet and Jasper are deceased.

Lawrence Jennings gained his rudimentary education in the schools of his native province, continued his studies during the period of his parents residence in Jackson county, Iowa, and was a lad of twelve years at the time of the family removal to Clayton county, where he was reared to manhood and where he has continued his residence during the long intervening years, though as a youth he was absent from the county for a time, while in the service of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company. He availed himself of the further educational advantages afforded in the pioneer schools of Mendon township, assisted in the work of the home farm and also learned the cooper's trade under the effective supervision of his honored father.

Upon attaining to his legal majority he purchased his father's farm and cooperage, and to the management of both enterprises he thereafter giving his attention for a period of ten years, besides which he became a successful contractor in grading work on the line of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. After the completion of this contract work he resumed his operations as a farmer in Mendon township, besides which he further showed his initiative ability and progressiveness by engaging in the manufacturing of lumber. He became the owner of an extensive tract of timber land and operated a well-equipped saw mill, in the meanwhile continuing his successful association with the basic industry of agriculture. He became the owner of a fine landed estate of six hundred and forty acres, and this valuable property he later sold. In 1911 he purchased a nice residence property in the village of McGregor, where he and his devoted wife have since maintained their home and where he finds himself, in his days of retirement, compassed by most grateful influences and associations.

Mr. Jennings has always given his allegiance to the Democratic party and shown a loyal interest in all things touching the general welfare of the community. Though he has had no ambition for public office he served several years as road supervisor in Mendon township. He is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and both he and his wife are attendants of the Methodist Episcopal church.

On the 12th of October, 1867, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Jennings to Miss Sophrona Caroline Dickens, who was born in Mendon township, this county, on the 28th of August, 1847, the seventh in order of birth of the eleven children of Edward and Anne (Van Sickle) Dickens, honored pioneers of Clayton county, where their old homestead farm is one of the fine places in the Pleasant Ridge district of Mendon township. Mr. Dickens was born in Tennessee and his wife in Ohio. He was one of the very early settlers of Clayton county, where he obtained a tract of government land in Mendon township, about the year 1835, both he and his wife having passed the remainder of their lives as honored and representative citizens of this county, where he became a prosperous farmer and was influential in community affairs.

Of the Dickens children the first two, William and Lucius, are deceased; John W. is a resident of Boise, Idaho; Edward is deceased; Clayton likewise resides in the capital city of Idaho; Robert maintains his home at Red Lake, Minnesota; Mrs. Jennings was the next 10 order of birth; Harriet is the wife of Clarence Luce, of Republican City, Nebraska; Josephine is the widow of Herbert Cornell and resides at McGregor, Clayton county; Mary Jane is in Yankton, South Dakota, and Lillian is the wife of Joseph Gill, of Sibley, Osceola county, Iowa.

source: History of Clayton County, Iowa; From The Earliest Historical Times Down to the Present; by Realto E. Price, Vol. II; pg 196-198
-submitted by S. Ferrall


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