Biography of William Le Baron Jenney
Chicago, Cook County, Il Biographies

JENNEY, WILLIAM LE BARON. Born at Fairhaven, Mass., September 25, 1832. Parents of Puritan descent. His paternal grandmother was a direct descendant of John Alden, of the "Mayflower," and his maternal grandmother was Lucy Le Baron, a direct descendant of Dr. Francis Le Baron, of Plymouth, Mass. His early ancestors on both sides came to this country in the early Pilgrim days and settled about Plymouth and New Bedford. Mr. Jenney was educated in the scientific department of Harvard, and in the Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, of Paris, France, graduating in 1856. He is a civil and military engineer, and an architect by profession. In 1857 he was chief engineer on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico, where he had charge of the works for the Tehuantepec railroad company. Owing to the financial crisis of 1857 this work was stopped and he returned to Paris, where, in 1858 and 1859, he was engineer for an American company. In 1861 he was appointed aide-de-camp in the United States army, and assigned to engineering duty on the staff of Gen. Grant. He was at Cairo, Fort Henry, Donelson, Shiloh and Corinth with that general, and was then appointed to the staff of Gen. W. T. Sherman. He was chief engineer of the 15th corps at the siege of Vicksburg, and later was chief engineer of the Army of the Tennessee. During the Atlanta campaign he was in charge of engineering headquarters at Nashville, and after the war was on Gen. Sherman's staff, with headquarters at St. Louis. He was breveted major March 13, 1865, and resigned May i9, 1866, coming to Chicago in 1867, where he has since practiced his profession. In 1872 he was professor of architecture at the Michigan University, but during that time continued his Chicago practice. He has been the architect of some of Chicago's most prominent structures, among which may be mentioned the Portland block, Home Insurance building, Union League Club house, the L. Z. Leiter building, the Fair, the Y. M. C. A. building, the Isabella, the New York Life and the Horticultural building for the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. In February, 1891, Mr. Jenney formed a partnership with W. B. Mundie, with whom he is still associated. Major Jenney was married May 8, 1867 to Elizabeth Hannah Cobb, of Cleveland, Ohio, and has two sons, Max and Dr. Frank L B. He has one grand daughter, Dorris, daughter of his son Max.


FROM:
The Handbook of Chicago Biography
Edited by John J Flinn.
The Standard Guide Company
Chicago 1893

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