Was born in Dauphin county, Pennsylvania, January 21, 1819; he is of English-German descent. His father deceased when he was a child. He attended, in his youth, the common schools of his neighborhood, near Middletown, Pennsylvania; and when about fourteen years of age, removed with his mother and family to Perry township, Wayne (now Ashland) county, where he attended district school. In the spring of 1834, he entered the store of Michael D. Row, at Row's corners, as a clerk, and remained about one year; then entered the employ of Joseph Naylor, as clerk, at Jeromeville, where he stayed until the fall of 1835. He then entered the employ of Crawford & Crites, merchants, at Wooster, and continued in their employ until 1838. In the spring of 1838, William Hatfield, then of Wooster, purchased a stock of goods at Loudonville, but circumstances preventing his going there himself, he employed Mr. Jennings to go and take charge of the store. In the fall of 1838, Mr. Hatfield and G. H. Stewart formed a partnership, and Mr. Jennings remained for, and in the interest of, Mr. Hatfield until August, 1842, when re returned to Jeromeville, and entered the employ of Robert McMahon. Soon after, he became a partner, and continued to do business until the spring of 1848. In the meantime, the county of Ashland was erected; and in March, 1847, Mr. Jennings was appointed clerk of the court of common pleas. In 1849, he removed with his family to Ashland. His term as clerk expired on the adoption of the constitution of 1851, and he retired in the winter of 1852. In the fall of 1851, the bank of Luther, Crall & Co., an institution of discount and deposit, was organized, and Mr. Jennings was elected cashier. In the fall of 1855, he was elected clerk of the court of common pleas of Ashland county, and held that office three years, at the same time conducting the affairs of the bank, as cashier. In 1864, the bank of Luther, Crall & Co. disbanded, and the First National Bank of Ashland was organized, under the laws of the United States, as a bank of issue and deposit, and Mr. Jennings was elected cashier by the stockholders, which position he held until 1870, when he was elected president, Mr. Joseph Patterson becoming the cashier. Mr. Jennings (1880) still continues president of the bank.
In the fullest sense of the term, he is a self-made man. In the death of his father, he was left without means to acquire a finished education. By close application, attention to business, and unquestioned integrity, he surrounded himself by friends, and made constant advancement in public confidence. Energetic, exact and upright in all his dealings with men, he commands the respect of the poor, as well as the thrifty. He has been twice married; his children are all deceased. He has been a member of the Presbyterian church, of Ashland, since 1856.