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W. Irving Jennings

From The Capital Region of New York State, Crossroads of Empire, 1942
Francis P. Kimball

Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin

wpe14.jpg (141815 bytes)Although trained to the profession of law and for some years engaged in active practice, W. Irving Jennings devoted the greater part of his career to the financial responsibilities he assumed as president of the Catskill Savings Bank. For a quarter of a century he administered the affairs of this institution with sound judgment and sure vision, adding to the prestige and strength of the bank and winning in banking circles the distinguished position which he occupied until his death.

Mr. Jennings was born in Jefferson, town of Catskill, Greene County, on May 2, 1851, son of Daniel Dean Jennings, who was born at Freehold, and Elizabeth (Souser) Jennings, born at Jefferson.  After the completion of his general education in the district schools of Jefferson and at Catskill Free Academy, he began the study of law with the firm of Olney and King, composed of Danford K. Olney and Rufus King, then leading lawyers of eastern New York.  On June 6, 1872, he was admitted to the New York bar. Continuing as clerk with the law firm of King and Hallock, successor to Olney and King, he became a partner of Mr. Hallock in 1880, when Mr. King retired.  At that time the firm of Hallock and Jennings was organized. Emory A. Chase, later one of the judges of the New York State Court of Appeals, was at this time a clerk in the office. He remained a member of the office force and on his admission to the bar about a year later, became a partner in the firm.

In the fall of 1890, Rufus King, who was then president of the Catskill Savings Bank, died. Mr. Hallock, retiring from legal practice, became his successor as head of the bank. Mr. Jennings and Mr. Chase continued the practice of law under the name of Jennings and Chase until the fall of 1896, when, upon the election of Mr. Chase to the Supreme Court bench, Mr. Jennings and Frank H. Osborn became partners under the firm name of Jennings and Osborn. This firm carried on its extensive practice from the offices occupied by all the firm above referred to, located in an office building on the site now occupied by the new building of the Catskill Savings Bank.

Meanwhile, on January 2, 1895, Mr. Jennings had been elected president of the Catskill Savings Bank, with whose affairs he first became associated as a trustee on May 5, 1885, succeeding the late Sherwood S. Day. Following his election as president he endeavored for several years to continue his law work along with his banking duties, but the pressure of affairs became too great and on May 1, 1898, he retired form the firm of Jennings and Osborn and from the legal practice in which he had won an eminent position at the bar.  During the remainder of his career he devoted his time to the management of the Catskill Savings Bank and to the care of numerous trusts, which came to him with great frequency.

Mr. Jennings was also a director of the Tanners National Bank of Catskill from 1885 onward and of the National Bank of Coxsackie for many years. His attainments and notable record made him one of the leading bankers in eastern New York and his influence was widely felt. He was equally well known in his social relationships, through his intimate contacts with leading figures in this and other states, and as one of Catskillís first citizens, whose interests touched and enriched all aspects of the village life.  He was a member of the First Reformed Church of Catskill, for several years was an officer of the church and for over thirty years was superintendent of its Sunday school.

On November 22, 1880, he married Annie C. Kortz.

W. Irving Jennings died on May 5, 1923, after a long and active career which brought him honor as well as success and a secure place in the regard of many who knew and valued his character and attainments.

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