Asa Kent Jennings

Asa Kent Jennings

Male 1877 - 1933

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  • Name  Asa Kent Jennings  [1
    Nickname  Admiral 
    Born  20 Sep 1877  Ontario, Wayne, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 4, 5, 6
    • Jennings had grown up in a religious family on a farm in Upstate New York on the south shore of Lake Ontario. [2]
    • Jennings had grown up with the rhythms of family, farm, and church, and while the fruits and vegetables of Asia Minor ... were exotic, the texture of life was not so different from the Finger Lakes country. He had spent his boyhood picking raspberries and taking cartons of them by wagon to sell in the nearby boomtown of Rochester. [3]
    Gender  Male 
    Education  Before 1899  Syracuse University, Syracuse, Onondaga, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 6
    • Jennings was forced to leave school due to a lack of financing. [2]
    Graduation  1899  Webster Union Free School, Webster, Monroe, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    Occupation  1901  YMCA, Utica, Oneida, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 8
    Membership Secretary 
    Occupation  After 1901  YMCA, Carthage, Jefferon, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 8
    General Secretary 
    Health  1904  Utica, Oneida, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Diagnosed with Potts Disease. 
    • Jennings, then twenty-seven years old, contracted typhoid fever, recovered, then relapsed, and in poor health returned to Utica. [2]
    • Asa was first diagnosed with acute tuberculosis, a bacterial infection of the lungs. He worsened in the hospital over an eight week stay, but Asa felt he needed "fresh air" and left the hospital for a lodge on Seventh Lake in the Adirondacks.

      Failing to improve, his wife brought him to another doctor where the additional diagnosis of Pott's disease (a tubercular infection that travels from the lungs to the spine). He returned to Seventh Lake for a short while before Asa was forced into an emergency surgery.

      Although the doctors had felt he would die soon, Asa left the hospital for Clifton Spring, in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Here, the combination of massage, rest and the sulfer-springs, led to his eventual healing, although the damage to his body would last throughout the remainder of his life. [9]
    Religion  Between 1905 - 1908  [5
    Ordained a Methodist Minister 
    • Asa Kent became an ordained minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1908 and held pastorates at Forestport (1907-1908), Barneveld (1909), Richfield Springs (1911-1915) and Chateaugay (1916-1917). [10]
    Occupation  1911  YMCA, Utica, Oneida, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    • ... Jennings was moving from one white wood-framed church to the next, never quite making a living, and in 1911 he returned to the steady pay of the YMCA in Utica. [2]
    Residence  1918  Cleveland, Oswego, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Occupation  1918  YMCA, Utica, Oneida, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Army Chaplain 
    • Early in 1918, while he was working for the YMCA in upstate New York ... [Jennings] took a job as a YMCA Army chaplain, and he traveled, without his family, to bases in Virginia and New Jersey where he ministered to soldiers departing for the war in Europe. [11]
    Occupation  1917 - 1918  Cleveland, Oswego, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 5
    Methodist Minister 
    • He had served as the traveling pastor at Methodist churches in the small farm hamlets of Barneveld, Cleveland, Trenton, Forestport, Panama and Chateauguay. [2]
    Occupation  1918  Le Mans, Loire, France Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 7, 8, 13
    YMCA Volunteer with Red Cross Relief Efforts 
    • A year later, with the war ended and Amy and the children still back in her hometown of Cleveland, Jennings had asked the YMCA to send him to France, and off he went with a group of forty-eight other YMCA men across the Atlantic. [11]
    • World War One erupted and drew the United States into the frey. To do his part, Asa joined the Red Cross and served in France until the close of the war. His experiences with the Red Cross eventually led him to a position with the YMCA. [7]
    • "[Jennings] work in the previous few years had been to provide Bible study and hot coffee to decommissioning American and Allied soldiers in Europe." [12]
    Occupation  1919 - 1921  Czechoslovakia Find all individuals with events at this location  [8, 13
    YMCA, Regional Secretary 
    • [Jennings] traveled by train across middle Europe to Czechoslovakia, where he continued to minister to demobilizing soldiers with the Y's mix of books, Bible passages, hot coffee, films and sports including the new game of basketball. [11]
    • ... managing a YMCA hut for decommissioning Czech soldiers and starting an athletic program for boys. [2]
    Occupation  Aug 1922  Smyrna, Turkey Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 5, 8, 14, 15
    YMCA, Boys Work Secretary 
    • Jenning's assignment in Smyrna would be to engage boys of different faiths and ethnicities - Greeks, Turks, Armenians, and Jews - in sports and healthy outdoor activities to teach tolerance, responsibility, and Christian virtue. [2]
    • Asa gained the respect of both the Greek and Turkish governments so after completing his time at sea both governments used Asa to help negotiate prisoner exchanges between the two countries. [7]
    Awards and Recognitions  27 Dec 1922  Athens, Greece Find all individuals with events at this location  [16
    Golden Cross of Saint Xavier 
    Awards and Recognitions  27 Dec 1922  Athens, Greece Find all individuals with events at this location  [16
    Medal of Military Merit 
    • The Greek Government has awarded its highest civilian honor, the Golden Cross of Saint Xavier and the highest war honor, the Medal of Military Merit, to Asa K. Jennings of Utica, N.Y., for his work with the Near East Relief in directing the evacuation of 500,000 refugees from Asia Minor.

      This was the first time in history that both medals were awarded to the same person simultaneously. [16]
    Military  Sep 1922 - July 1923  Smyrna, Turkey Find all individuals with events at this location  [8
    Smyrna Fire & Coastal Evacuations 
    • It was in Turkey that Jennings performed the seemingly impossible, heroic act of saving nearly 350,000 refugees. When he arrived, Turkey was fighting a brutal war with Greece for possession of the territory around Smyrna in Asia Minor. As a result of the fighting, large portions of the city were burned to the ground. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. With no authority beyond his convictions, Jennings was able to negotiate and secure safe passage from the Turkish armies for a fleet of Greek merchant vessels. [8]
    • After the immediate evacuation of Smyrna, Jennings went on to work with the United States, Greece and Turkey to evacuate others along the coast to safety.

      "The evacuation of Smyrna was only the begging of a more massive exodus that would ultimately involve more than a million people." [17]
    • [Asa] played an active role in the implementation of the Greco-Turkish Agreement on the Restitution of Interned Civilians and the Exchange of Prisoners of War, singed in Lausanne on January 30, 1923. [18]
    Occupation  1924 - 1928  Smyrna, Turkey Find all individuals with events at this location  [19
    Smyrna Welfare Council Project 
    • Between 1924 and January of 1928, Asa K. Jennings made several trips back and forth between the United States and Turkey drumming up support for various Turkish youth projects. At some point, his son, Asa W. Jennings, joined him in his work on the Smyrna Welfare Council project until was discontinued in June of 1928. The Jennings family returned to the United States in July of that same year. This marked the end of the YMCA's involvement with Jennings and his projects overseas. [19]
    Awards and Recognitions  1929  Smyrna, Turkey Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    Co-Founder, The Friends of Turkey 
    • Asa stayed in Turkey following the conflict and helped to establish an organization similar to the YMCA (without the "C"), called "The Friends of Turkey". [7]
    Died  1933  [1
    • In 1933, on a visit to Washington to confer with Turkish authorities and after having spent the night as a guest of the Bristols, Jennings was stricken while walking near the White House and died on the way to the hospital. His weak heart had finally stopped working." [20]
    Buried  1933  Cleveland Village Cemetery, North Street, Cleveland, Oswego, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    20081013 - Headstone of Asa K. Jennings
    20081013 - Headstone of Asa K. Jennings
    Photo by Kiely Malone
    20081013 - Headstone: Jennings Family
    20081013 - Headstone: Jennings Family
    Photo by Kiely Malone
    Person ID  I1407  CHS Genealogy
    Last Modified  24 Aug 2015 

    Father  Hiram Jennings,   b. Webster, Monroe, New York Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID  F363  Group Sheet

    Family  Amy Will,   b. 1876,   d. 1970 
    Married  6 Aug 1902  Cleveland, Oswego, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 5, 6, 21, 22
    • Miss Amy Will and Asa Kent Jennings were married at the home of the bride's parents. [21]
    Notes 
    • Although it's not exactly clear when Asa's wife, Amy, and their children joined Asa overseas, but we do know that the entire family arrived in Smyrna in August of 1922.

      "The YMCA had arranged for Jennings and his family to stay at a home near the campus of International College, a preparatory school for boys in the nearby suburb of Paradise ..." (p.27) [23]
    Children 
     1. Ortha Jennings,   b. 1903,   d. 1903
     2. Asa Will Jennings,   b. 26 Jun 1907,   d. 15 Jun 1972
     3. Wilbur F. Jennings,   b. 18 Jul 1909,   d. 1 Nov 1995
     4. Bertha M. Jennings,   b. 10 May 1914,   d. 11 Dec 1977
    Last Modified  17 Sep 2017 
    Family ID  F362  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 20 Sep 1877 - Ontario, Wayne, New York Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsEducation - Before 1899 - Syracuse University, Syracuse, Onondaga, New York Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Membership Secretary - 1901 - YMCA, Utica, Oneida, New York Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - General Secretary - After 1901 - YMCA, Carthage, Jefferon, New York Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 6 Aug 1902 - Cleveland, Oswego, New York Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsHealth - Diagnosed with Potts Disease. - 1904 - Utica, Oneida, New York Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - 1911 - YMCA, Utica, Oneida, New York Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1918 - Cleveland, Oswego, New York Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Army Chaplain - 1918 - YMCA, Utica, Oneida, New York Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Methodist Minister - 1917 - 1918 - Cleveland, Oswego, New York Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - YMCA Volunteer with Red Cross Relief Efforts - 1918 - Le Mans, Loire, France Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - YMCA, Regional Secretary - 1919 - 1921 - Czechoslovakia Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - YMCA, Boys Work Secretary - Aug 1922 - Smyrna, Turkey Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsAwards and Recognitions - Golden Cross of Saint Xavier - 27 Dec 1922 - Athens, Greece Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsAwards and Recognitions - Medal of Military Merit - 27 Dec 1922 - Athens, Greece Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMilitary - Smyrna Fire & Coastal Evacuations - Sep 1922 - July 1923 - Smyrna, Turkey Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Smyrna Welfare Council Project - 1924 - 1928 - Smyrna, Turkey Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsAwards and Recognitions - Co-Founder, The Friends of Turkey - 1929 - Smyrna, Turkey Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 1933 - Cleveland Village Cemetery, North Street, Cleveland, Oswego, New York Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    XXXXXXXX - Asa Kent Jennings
    XXXXXXXX - Asa Kent Jennings

  • Sources 
    1. [S19] Find A Grave, findagrave.com., http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=29833305 (Reliability: 1), 13 Oct 2008.
      Asa Kent Jennings

    2. [S103] The Great Fire: One Americans Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Centurys First Genocide, Lou Ureneck, (HarperCollins), 978-0-06-225988-2., 18-19, 21 (Reliability: 2), 10 Aug 2015.
      An Innocent Arrives

    3. [S103] The Great Fire: One Americans Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Centurys First Genocide, Lou Ureneck, (HarperCollins), 978-0-06-225988-2., 71-76, 90 (Reliability: 2), 10 Aug 2015.
      Jenning?s Suggestions

    4. [S23] U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925, National Archives and Records Administration, (Ancestry.com) (Reliability: 2), 9 Dec 1918.
      Asa Kent Jennings

    5. [S97] The Greatest Rescue in History [Video], Rodger L. Jennings, (Rodger Jennings), Vol.1-4., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWxv1UGXoMY (Reliability: 2), 4 Nov 2012.

    6. [S104] The Saga of Friendship: Asa Kent Jennings and The American Friends of Turkey, Rifat N. Bali, (Firma Iletisim Ltd. Sti.), 978-605-89308-3-4., 39 (Reliability: 2), 24 Aug 2015.
      Missionary and YMCA Activities in Turkey

    7. [S99] Webster Museum, Webster Museum and Historical Society, http://www.webstermuseum.org/overtheyears.php (Reliability: 1), 26 Jul 2015.
      Over the Years: Asa Jennings

    8. [S98] Springfield College, http://www3.springfieldcollege.edu/homepage/dept.nsf/d02dea1c0fc6f99d45256bd800296e8c/00411c0333a86cba8525777600532d0f (Reliability: 1), 25 Jul 2015.
      Asa Kent Jennings (1877-1933)

    9. [S103] The Great Fire: One Americans Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Centurys First Genocide, Lou Ureneck, (HarperCollins), 978-0-06-225988-2., 111-113 (Reliability: 2), 10 Aug 2015.
      An American Destroyer Arrives

    10. [S104] The Saga of Friendship: Asa Kent Jennings and The American Friends of Turkey, Rifat N. Bali, (Firma Iletisim Ltd. Sti.), 978-605-89308-3-4., 40-41 (Reliability: 2), 24 Aug 2015.
      Missionary and YMCA Activities in Turkey

    11. [S103] The Great Fire: One Americans Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Centurys First Genocide, Lou Ureneck, (HarperCollins), 978-0-06-225988-2., 71-76, 90 (Reliability: 2), 10 Aug 2015.
      Jenning's Suggestions

    12. [S103] The Great Fire: One Americans Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Centurys First Genocide, Lou Ureneck, (HarperCollins), 978-0-06-225988-2., 5 (Reliability: 2), 10 Aug 2015.
      Prologue - American Evacuation

    13. [S104] The Saga of Friendship: Asa Kent Jennings and The American Friends of Turkey, Rifat N. Bali, (Firma Iletisim Ltd. Sti.), 978-605-89308-3-4., 41 (Reliability: 2), 24 Aug 2015.
      Missionary and YMCA Activities in Turkey

    14. [S101] Strange Destiny [Video], Les Adams, (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)), https://vimeo.com/49285170 (Reliability: 1), 20 Sep 1945.

    15. [S100] Waking the Lion [Video], (Montesone), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow5hHTpIGg0. (Reliability: 2), 3 Nov 2009.

    16. [S102] The New York Times (Reliability: 1), 28 Dec 1922.
      Doubly Honored by Greece

    17. [S103] The Great Fire: One Americans Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Centurys First Genocide, Lou Ureneck, (HarperCollins), 978-0-06-225988-2., 383 (Reliability: 2), 10 Aug 2015.
      After Smyrna

    18. [S104] The Saga of Friendship: Asa Kent Jennings and The American Friends of Turkey, Rifat N. Bali, (Firma Iletisim Ltd. Sti.), 978-605-89308-3-4., 24 (Reliability: 2), 24 Aug 2015.
      Introduction

    19. [S104] The Saga of Friendship: Asa Kent Jennings and The American Friends of Turkey, Rifat N. Bali, (Firma Iletisim Ltd. Sti.), 978-605-89308-3-4., 200 - 231 (Reliability: 2), 24 Aug 2015.
      The Anatolian Project

    20. [S103] The Great Fire: One Americans Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Centurys First Genocide, Lou Ureneck, (HarperCollins), 978-0-06-225988-2., 391 (Reliability: 2), 10 Aug 2015.
      Afterword

    21. [S88] Queen Central News, (Camden News, Inc.), 4 (Reliability: 1), 18 Sep 2017.
      1902

    22. [S19] Find A Grave, findagrave.com., http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=30552999 (Reliability: 1), 13 Oct 2008.
      Amy Will Jennings

    23. [S103] The Great Fire: One Americans Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Centurys First Genocide, Lou Ureneck, (HarperCollins), 978-0-06-225988-2., 22, 27 (Reliability: 2), 10 Aug 2015.
      An Innocent Arrives