Biography of Charles R. Jennison, Dr.

Dr. Charles R. Jennison, of Leavenworth, a brigadier general during the Civil war and afterward a leader in the public affairs of the state, was born in Jefferson County, New York, June 6, 1834. When he was twelve years old he moved with his parents to Wisconsin, and at the age of nineteen years he began to study medicine. After completing his medical course he practiced for a short time in Wisconsin and then came to Kansas, settling at Osawatomie in 1857. Within a short time he moved to Mound City, where he remained for three years, and then went to Leavenworth. Doctor Jennison was one of John Brown’s stanch supporters. Governor Robinson commissioned him captain of the Mound City Guards on February 19, 1861, and on September 4th he was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the Seventh Kansas Cavalry, which became known as “Jennison’s Jayhawkers,” being assigned to the command of the western border of Missouri with headquarters at Kansas City. He determined to clear the border of guerrillas, and his a ccess in that military undertaking was such that General Hunter appointed him acting brigadier general, and he was placed in command of “all the troops in Kansas west of and on the Neosho.” At the time of the Lawrence massacre Governor Carney called upon Jennison to raise a regiment, of which he was made colonel on October 17, 1863, with headquarters at Leavenworth. Whils in command at Fort Leavenworth he was authorized on March 5, 1864, to raise and organize a post battery, and in the following July was placed in command of a regiment in the field as well as of the district of Southern Kansas. During the summer he made a foray into Platte and Clay counties, Missouri, against bushwhaekers who had been committing depredations in Kansas, and in other ways he successfully protected the border until Price’s raid. At the time of this raid he met Price’s forces at Lexington, Missouri, while reconnoitering under orders from General Curtis. With his regimeut he took part in the engagement at the Little Blue, where he was in command of the first division. In the fall of 1864 he was elected a member of the Leavenworth Council, was made president of that body and ex-officio mayor. In 1865 he was elected to the Legislature from Leavenworth County; was re-elected in 1867, and 1872 was elected to the State Senate. He died at Leavenworth June 21, 1884.


Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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