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Jonathan Jennings is a member of the following lists: American Presbyterians, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Indiana and 19th-century American politicians.
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30th November, 1783
Readington, New Jersey
26th July, 1834
Charlestown Cemetery, Charlestown, Clark County, Indiana, USA
Jonathan Jennings (March 27, 1784 – July 26, 1834) was the first governor of Indiana and a nine-term congressman from Indiana. Born in either Hunterdon County, New Jersey, or Rockbridge County, Virginia, he studied law before immigrating to the Indiana Territory in 1806. Jennings initially intended to practice law, but took jobs as an assistant at the federal land office at Vincennes and assistant to the clerk of the territorial legislature to support himself and pursued interests in land speculation and politics. Jennings became involved in a dispute with the territorial governor, William Henry Harrison, that soon led him to enter politics and set the tone for his early political career. In 1808 Jennings moved to the eastern part of the Indiana Territory and settled near Charlestown, in Clark County. He was elected as the Indiana Territory's delegate to the U.S. Congress by dividing the pro-Harrison supporters and running as an anti-Harrison candidate. By 1812 he was the leader of the anti-slavery and pro-statehood faction of the territorial government. Jennings and his political allies took control of the territorial assembly and dominated governmental affairs after the resignation of Governor Harrison in 1812. As a congressional delegate Jennings aided passage of the Enabling Act in 1816, which authorized the organization of Indiana's state government and state constitution. He was elected president of the Indiana constitutional convention, held in Corydon in June 1816, where he helped draft the state's first constitution. Jennings supported the effort to ban slavery in the state and favored a strong legislative branch of government.
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