Charles Williams Jennings, Sr.

Charles Williams Jennings, Sr., is president of the Jennings Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of perfumes, extracts and other toilet requisites, and as this substantial Grand Rapids corporation, here founded in 1872, has extended its trade into all sections of the United States, it has exerted much influence in advancing the commercial prestige of Grand Rapids, the while it has done its part in furthering the civic and industrial prosperity of Michiganís beautiful "Valley City". Charles Williams Jennings was born at Lockport, New York, November 25, 1853, and was reared and educated in the old Empire state. In 1872 he came to Grand Rapids in company with his brothers, Richard B. and William Henry, both now deceased, and here they forthwith engaged, on a modest scale, in the manufacturing of flavoring extracts.

Upon the admission of Walter Smith to partnership in the business the title Jennings & Smith was adopted. Charles W. Jennings later bought the interest of Mr. Smith, and in 1905 the business was incorporated under the present title of the Jennings Manufacturing Company. Mr. Jennings has since served as president of the company, and his only surviving son, Charles W., Jr., is vice president and manager. The present large and modern building of the company was erected in 1921. The Jennings policy from the beginning has been to produce products of the highest grade, and the reflex of this policy has been the upbuilding of an institution and business that ranks among the foremost of the kind in the United States, throughout the length and breadth of which its trade in perfumes, etc., extends, the sale of the Jennings flavoring extracts being confined largely to the middle states. The Jennings perfumes and other toilet requisites stand as the maximum of excellence, and the enormous business has been built up on the basis of such superiority. The "Lady Alice", "Dorothy Vernon" and "Ma Joie" lines of toilet requisites manufactured and distributed by the Jennings Company are of such excellence and attractiveness that the three names have become veritable household words in refined homes in many sections of the United States. The development of this great industrial and commercial enterprise in Grand Rapids stands in evidence of what may be achieved through progressive policies and effective service. With a record of more than half a century in Grand Rapids, the Jennings Manufacturing Company has at all times been appreciative of and loyal to the city, and the city has been proud of the company and its splendid achievement. Mr. Jennings, now numbered among the veteran and honored business men of his home city, is a valued member of the Grand Rapids Association of Commerce, and has membership also in the United States Chamber of Commerce. His ancient-craft Masonic affiliation is with Grand River Lodge No. 34, and in the Scottish Rite of the time-honored fraternity his maximum affiliation is with Dewitt Clinton Consistory. He is a member of the Masonic Country Club and of the Grand Rapids Motor Club. He has been for more than a quarter of a century an active member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, and has been influential in its affairs and its upbuilding. The political allegiance of Mr. Jennings is given to the Republican party, and as a citizen he has been for more than fifty years loyal and liberal in his support of measures and enterprises that have tended to advance the civic, industrial, and commercial progress of Grand Rapids. In 1879 Mr. Jennings wedded Miss Sarah McConnell, a representative of an old and honored Grand Rapids family and a granddaughter of the late Judge Mundy, a leading pioneer lawyer and jurist of this city. Mrs. Jennings passed to eternal rest in the year 1889 and was survived by two children, Charles W., Jr., who is now vice-president of the Jennings Company, and Lenington M., who died at the age of twenty-one years. In 1892 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Jennings to Miss Irene Burt Hawley, of Buffalo, New York, her father, Lucian Hawley, having long been an influential citizen of the Empire state and having held an important position in the United States internal revenues department under the administration of President Grant. Mr. and Mrs. Jennings have three daughters. Misses Irene Hawley, Marian Williams and Helen Lucia.

Transcriber: Evelyn Sawyer
Created: 8 April 2005