Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    The world instinctively pays deference to the man whose success has been worthily achieved, who has acquired the highest reputation in his chosen calling by merit and whose social prominence is not less the result of an irreproachable life than of recognized natural gifts. Prominent as a citizen, esteemed as a friend and holding highest rank among the medical fraternity of Miami county, Dr. Jennings certainly deserves representation in this volume. He was born January 1, 1834, in Tuscarawas county, Ohio, and belongs to one of the old and honored pioneer families of this state.

    The Jennings family are of sturdy English stock. The Doctor's grandfather, Gideon Jennings, came to America about the time of the opening of the Revolutionary war, and in the struggle with the British government for liberty he aided the colonists, participating in the famous battle of Brandywine and in numerous other engagements. He married Grace Day, and after a short residence in Rockingham county, Virginia, they removed to Tuscarawas county, Ohio, where, by entry and purchase, the grandfather became the owner of a large tract of land at what is now New Philadelphia. He was the first settler of that locality, taking up his abode there when the country was a dense wilderness. The trees were mostly beech, and in order to raise any kind of a crop he was compelled to climb them and trim off the branches in order that the sunshine might fall upon his growing grain. The Indians still lived in the neighborhood and numerous were the encounters Gideon Jennings had with them. His home was twenty miles from any habitation, but he soon became known as a famous hunter throughout that section of Ohio, and fish and game, captured by his rod and gun, plentifully supplied his larder. He cleared a good farm, where he made his home for many years, becoming one of the prosperous agriculturists of Tuscarawas county. He took an active part in the improvement and progress of the state and built one mile of the Ohio canal, which, passed for that distance across his farm. At a very early day he built the first gristmill in his section of the country, and ground meal for the neighbors in primitive style, for the mill consisted of a stone hollowed out and the corn was ground with mortars. Gideon Jennings became the father of nine children, namely: James, Aaron, William, John, Jonathan, Gideon, David, Mary and Druscilla. The father was one of the early Methodists of Ohio and his home was the headquarters for the early itinerant ministers of the denomination, who labored so zealously to spread the gospel throughout the west. After his children were grown he again moved into the wilderness, taking up his abode in Allen county, Ohio. In 1832 he purchased eleven hundred acres of land, three miles north of Lima, on Sugar creek, where he once more carved out a home in the midst of the forest. He gave each of his sons one hundred and sixty acres of land and his daughter, Druscilla, who married Silas Williams, received one hundred and sixty acres of the old homestead. Mary married Benjamin Williams, a brother of Silas, and also received her just proportion of her father's property. Druscilla became the mother of Bishop Williams, of the Methodist church, who was present at the quadrennial convention held in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1892. Gideon Jennings lived to the age of four score years, dying on his farm August 28, 1843. He played an important part in the early development of the state and well deserves mention in this history.

    David Jennings was his seventh son and was born near New Philadelphia, Ohio, July 13, 1810. He pursued his education in the old log school house which had been built on his father's farm, and his teacher wore a buckskin suit. In 1831, in the neighborhood of his nativity, David Jennings married Elizabeth Laughlin, who was born February 12, 1814, in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, a daughter of James Laughlin, a pioneer farmer of Tuscarawas county, Ohio, descended from Scotch-Irish ancestry who located in America in colonial days. By their union ten children were born, all of whom reached honorable manhood and womanhood, namely: Susannah, born February 18, 1832; Solomon; Abel, born April, 13, 1836; James W., May 4, 1838; Isabel, March 4, 1840; Mary, June 27, 1842; Aaron, August 7, 1844; Druscilla, October 30, 1846; Samuel, November 22, 1849; and Charles W., January 1, 1853. Of these Abel died in 1868, Samuel in1870, Charles W. in 1872 and Aaron in 1876. In 1833 David Jennings, the father, removed to Sugar creek, near Lima, Ohio, and there cleared a tract of land and developed a farm. Through the dense forest bear, deer and wolves roamed at will, and everything was wild and unimproved in this section of the state. For many years David Jennings resided upon his farm. In 1863 he removed to Williams county, Ohio, and purchased a farm near Bryan, on which he passed the remainder of his days. He lived to the age of sixty-six years, dying in Millersburg, Indiana, October 30, 1876 while visiting his son, James. His wife died on the home farm near Bryan September 30, 1866.

    Dr. Jennings remained upon the old homestead with his parents and pursued his elementary education in the common schools. He read medicine with Dr. Samuel Jenkins and Dr. Milton Booth, of West Cairo, Ohio, and attended lectures at the University of Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, being graduated in that institution. Thus well qualified for his chosen calling he practiced in West Cairo for a short time and in 1863 came to West Milton, where for more than thirty-seven years he has been in continuous practice. He rapidly worked his way upward until he occupied a commanding position in the medical fraternity and enjoyed a very liberal and lucrative patronage.

    In 1859 Dr. Jennings was united in marriage to Miss Helen C. Cratty, daughter of James B. Cratty, who is now eighty-years of age and makes his home with the Doctor and his wife. Doctor and Mrs. Jennings have one child, Gainor, who for some years has been associated with his father in practice. The Doctor was a Republican until 1896, when, on account of his views on the money question, he severed his connection with the old party and became a free-silver man. He is an active and exemplary member of the Masonic lodge of West Milton. He and his wife are members of the Christian church and are people of sterling worth, enjoying the high regard of their many friends in this community. The Doctor long since gained prestige as a representative of the medical profession, and has ever maintained his high place in its ranks. He has taken postgraduate and special courses in Chicago and New York. He does an office practice, only going out on special occasions of consultation. He has made a specialty of the treatment of diseases of women and of surgical practice. He has the latest electrical apparatus and a well appointed office, splendidly equipped for doing all kinds of work. Long since he has left the ranks of the many to stand among the successful few and his prominence is well merited.

    Gainor Jennings, his son, was born in West Cairo, Allen county, Ohio, June 4, 1860, and until about seventeen years of age he attended the common schools. He then pursued a three-years collegiate course, after which he spent one year as a student in the Baltimore College of Physicians and Surgeons. He next entered the Cincinnati College of Medicine and Surgery, where he continued for one year, being graduated in 1883. Immediately afterward he returned to West Milton and joined his father in practice. He attends to all of the visiting practice, is surgeon for the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad, health officer and is a popular physician, whose genial manner and well known skill make his presence in the sick room very welcome.

    On the 18th of February, 1885, Dr. Gainor Jennings married Miss Nellie Pearson, a daughter of Alfred Pearson, of West Milton, and they now have two sons, Paxton and Ewing, aged, respectively, thirteen and nine years. The Doctor is a stanch Democrat, earnest in his advocacy of the party and well informed on the issues of the day. He served as examining surgeon for the bureau of pensions under President Cleveland for four years. Dr. Gainor Jennings is a member of the American Medical Association, of the Ohio State and Miami County Medical Societies. He is a charter member of Milton Lodge, No. 577, F. & A. M., of which he served as the first senior warden; also belongs to Coleman Commandery, No. 17, K. T., of Troy, and to Antioch Temple of the Mystic Shrine, of Dayton. He is likewise a valued representative of the Knights of Pythias lodge, of Milton, and of Stillwater Lodge, No. 165, I. O. O. F., having been past district deputy grand master in each order. He and his wife hold membership in the Christian church, and are popular residents of the community in which they make their home.

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