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Hon. Chas. C. Jennings
EVERY visitor to Painesville has pointed out to him as one of the interesting sights of the town, the fine old mansion of the late Hon. Charles C. Jennings, situated just across the river from Painesville and known by everybody as "Jennings Place." This palatial residence is now the home of his daughter Mrs. John S. Casement. Mr. Jennings made this his home from the year 1840, when he brought his wife there, Mehetable M. Park Jennings, herself born in Massachusetts, but an early comer to Painesville, as her parents moved to Ohio when she was a very little girl.
Charles C. Jennings was brought to Ohio when a lad of ten years, arriving in 1820. Born in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, November 10, 1809, he was the fifth of eight children born to Oliver and Jerusha Hall Jennings. From the early home in Lycoming County, the family moved to Springwater, New York, where part of Charles' boyhood was spent. Later they removed to Painesville, Ohio, where Charles gained the major part of his education and fitted himself while still a very young man to teach school. He was distinctly a self-made man and had always a keen interest in education. Mr. Jennings was twice married, his first marriage being to Miss Roxana Graham, of Perry, Lake County. One child, Climena Jennings, now long since deceased, was born of this union.
In 1838, Mr. Jennings married his second wife, Miss Mehetabel M. Park, of Painesville, already referred to, by whom he had one daughter, Frances M., who at the age of nineteen became the wife of John Stephan Casement of Painesville, a sketch of whose distinguished career appears elsewhere in this volume. She continues to make the fine old family residence her home and is a woman whose social and civic influence is widely felt. Mrs. Casement, indeed, inherits many of the qualities which distinguished her father, whose leadership was acknowledged in many industrial and political movements of his times. Mr. Jennings was devoted to his wife and daughter, being a great lover of home. While not himself affiliated with any church, he gave his support to the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which his wife was a member. His labors on the building committee are remembered and he contributed liberally to the new M. E. Church of Painesville.
He was always interested in the great question of the education of the masses, holding that this was one of the highest duties of our form of government. Another movement in which he was extremely prominent was the improvement of agriculture. He owned a fine farm at Painesville, Ohio, and his methods were far in advance of the practice of the day. The old home, now Jennings Place, was but a stretch of virgin forest when he bought it, in 1840; he cleared the ground, and brought it into the present state of beauty and productivity. He was ahead of his times in the championship of scientific methods. He was one of the earliest members of the Grange in Painewville--in fact it was in his parlors at Jennings Place that the Painesville Grange was organized the first week of March, forty years ago--in 1974--and he was unanimously elected First Master. Mr. Jennings was on the Executive Committee for the Ohio State Grange when he died, March 3, 1876.
His death was most untimely, as he was only sixty-six years old, in the very prime of usefulness. There has never occurred in the history of Painesville the death of a citizen whose loss was felt more keenly, or caused such a general shock to the community and to the State at large, for he was well known. His life was one of vigorous activity from earliest manhood to its close. He was particularly influential in politics, in which he took a strong interest, having deep convictions and working untiringly for the principles his intellect and conscience dictated as best for the public good. Up to 1848, he was a Whig, but in that year joined the Free Soil party on the ticket on which he wa elected a member of the state legislature in the year 1854. Subsequently he was identified with the Republican party. He was one of the early Abolitionists; and while too advanced in time of life to enlist in the Civil War, he served the cause of liberty effectively in other ways than by shouldering arms. During the war he was appointed Provost Marshal, in which capacity he made several sanitary excursions south. In his identification with the Greeley party, he was as influential as in his support of other political movements.
Not only in politics was the Hon. Charles C. Jennings' influence felt, but he was a power in promoting various causes and a leader in many works of great value to the public. He was known throughout the State for his activity in various public offices.
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