Thorp Buttolph Jennings, director of the United States Weather Bureau for the State of Kansas, with offices in Topeka, was born on a farm in Fleming county, Kentucky, Sept. 16, 1848, and is a son of Rev. Charles P. Jennings and his wife, whose maiden name was Gertrude G. Burnet. The father, who was an Episcopal minister, was born in the State of New Jersey. Dr. William Burnet, the maternal grandfather of Mr. Jennings, served in the Colonial Congress from the New Jersey colony prior to the establishing of American independence, and during the Revolutionary war he maintained a hospital for wounded soldiers of the Continental army. He served both as a physician and surgeon-general in the Continental army during the Revolutionary war.
Thorp Buttolph Jennings was reared chiefly on a farm in Sangamon county, Illinois, and received his earliest education in a private school. He later pursued his studies in the University of Missouri, where he was a college mate and room mate of Eugene Field, the well known journalist and poet, and still later he studied in Hobart College, of Geneva, N. Y. Mr. Jennings came to Kansas in 1866, and in the spring of 1867 he took charge of a mercantile business at Ohio City, Franklin county, a town that no longer exists. He studied law during his spare moments and was admitted to the bar at Independence, Kan., in 1870. In the preceding year he had removed to Independence and had become one of the organizers of the place which today is one of the progressive cities of Kansas. After his admission to the bar he practiced law in Independence a short time, but sickness caused him to abandon his practice within a few months, and upon recovery, he went to Washington, D. C., where he passed a successful examination for admission to the United States Signal Service. He passed that examination in 1871, and since that time has been in the constant service of the United States Government in one department or another for the past forty years. Even before 1871, however, he was in the government employ, for in 1867 he was made postmaster at Ohio City and served as such while a resident of the place. He began in the signal service in 1871 and continued in that department until 1890, when the weather bureau was attached to the Department of Agriculture, in 1886 he was sent to Topeka for the purpose of establishing a weather service there by the United States Government, so it may be said, therefore, that Mr. Jennings is practically the father of the present excellent weather service at Topeka, for he not only established the bureau at Topeka, in 1886, but has been in charge of it since that time as a dispenser of information on the weather in the State of Kansas. Mr. Jennings has made an enviable reputation for the accuracy of his predictions and for the incalculable good that they have borne to the people of the state.
Mr. Jennings was married Nov. 7, 1872, to Miss Eliza Virginia Hacker, of Shelbyville, Ind., and to them have been born four childrenthree sons and one daughter: Charles William Burnet, born July 29, 1876; Mary Gertrude, born Jan. 2, 1883; Francis Hacker, born Nov. 22, 1885; and Dana Thorp, born Nov. 7, 1887. The three younger children are married. Mary Gertrude is the wife of F. A. Rehkopf, of Topeka, and they have two childrenCharles Frederick and Mary Virginia; Francis Hacker married Edna M. Dunfield, and they have a son, Harlan Frank; Dana Thorp married Mary Moyer Close, and they have a daughter, Dorothy Louise. Charles William Burnet, the eldest son, is an electrical engineer in the employ of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railway. In 1878 Mr. Jennings had charge of the American Signal Service exhibit at the Paris Exposition. Mr. Jennings has attained a very prominent place in Masonic circles, being a Thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason and a Knight Templar.Pages 518-519 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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