|William Leonard Jennings was born in Kirk, Limestone County, Texas,
September 14, 1886, the son of George Getson and Ida Jane (Little) Jennings.
Upon the death of his father, March 21, 1893, George Linebarger Jennings,
his grandfather became his counselor and adviser. Ida (Little) Jennings
married James Franklin Gardner, August 25, 1895. Mr. Gardner also
helped to guide William Leonard and his brothers through their early youth.
In about 1905, the Gardner-Jennings family moved to Coleman, in order
that the boys might attend an accredited high school with one of the best
ratings for high schools in Texas at that time. W. R. Hickman was
superintendent of schools. William Leonard and his brother, Thomas
Vollie, were privileged to have T. E. D. Shepherd as their classroom teacher.
In the same classroom were two Horne sisters, Ora and Mattie. Upon
completion of the course of study in Coleman High School, George Linebarger
felt that it was time for his grandsons to learn more about the responsibility
of managing their farms in Limestone County before attending college.
After one year of on the spot management of his farm, Leonard entered Baylor
Academy in order to study more science courses before starting his pre-medical
courses. He managed his farm from a distance and on weekends with
some summer months, spent working with the guidance of his grandfather,
again. After one year in Baylor Academy, William Leonard went to
Huntsville and entered Sam Houston State Normal to begin his basic college
and premedical courses. Two more years was spent in Baylor Medical
College in Dallas. The next two years was in Vanderbilt University
in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1913, he graduated from Vanderbilt University
School of Medicine. Another year was spent in the IG&N Railroad
Hospital in Palestine, Texas; some of the nurses there were conscientious
Catholic Sisters. During these seven years, Mattie Horne was teaching
school and attending classes at the University of Texas. She taught
at O’Possum Trot School near Goldsboro, Ballinger, Bowen School, and South
Ward School in Coleman. During these four years, she took private
lessons during her noon hour in piano, art and voice.
On June 9, 1914, William Leonard Jennings and Mattie Asenath Horne were
married at the home of her parents, James David and Asenath (Petty) Horne
(see James David Horne). In order to be near two well established
medical doctors in the beginning of his medical practice, Dr. Jennings
returned with his bride to Mart. He shared office space with Dr.
Charles E. Smith and Dr. Clyde C. Collum. After four years of practicing
and consulting with Drs. Smith and Collum, Dr. Jennings brought his family
back to Coleman County where he thoroughly enjoyed every day of his practice
for fifty-three years plus the four years in Limestone County. Due
to the highly prevalent cases of malaria in the east Texas counties at
that time, Dr. Jennings’s health broke down for about a year. That
is when he decided to come back to a drier climate in west Texas.
He took a rest of about a year, near San Angelo, before resuming his practice
again. However, after that rest, he learned to pace his activities
a little more. Still he answered any and all calls day and night
for any distance until he was past eighty-four years of age. When
he first came back to Coleman after his health improved, he shared offices
with Dr. R. Bailey and Dr. J. F. Gaines over the then Bowen Drug Store.
Later he moved to his own office over Mayes Drug Store. Later he
moved to the Owl Drug Store where Joe Heddleston was one of the pharmacists.
Oplin Saunders later bought this drug store. For a number of years,
he officed in the Coleman Bank Building.
Dr. and Mrs. Jennings had one daughter, Mrs. A. W. Kraker (Jane Petty)
born in Kirk, Limestone County. Four other children were born in
Coleman. They were the late William Leonard, Jr., Mrs. Horace E.
Whitaker (Ida Marion) of Lubbock, David Getson, presently living in St.
Louis, Missouri, and Arthur Vollie (see Sparkman Families) in Coleman.
Both Dr. and Mrs. Jennings have been active in church and other community
activities for as long as their physical strength would allow. Dr.
Jennings was a member of the First Baptist Church, and she was active in
both the Baptist and the First Christian Church, after they moved back
to Coleman. Mrs. Jennings was president of the High School Parent
Teachers Association for three years and member of the Shakespeare Club,
Self Culture Club and Home Demonstration Club. Dr. Jennings died
June 28, 1971, in Overall Memorial Hospital, buried July 2, 1971 in Coleman.
Mrs. Jennings died in St. Mary’s Hospital in Lubbock, December 3, 1979,
buried in Coleman December 6, 1979.
Dr. Thomas Vollie Jennings, buried at Winters, also attended Baylor
University, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and graduated from
the School of Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans. He practiced
both general medicine and surgery in Winters for forty-four years.
He was Chief Surgeon in a Base Military Hospital in France during World
The aforementioned George Linebarger Jennings, was a captain in the
Civil War in the Battle at Vicksburg, Mississippi. He was a Chaplain
at that time. He is buried at Kirk.