Dr. John “Earle” Jenner was born on the 18th of March, 1857 near Charing Cross (Raleigh Twp), in Chatham-Kent. He was the 11th of 12 children born to John Jenner and the former Hannah Russell. His parents were farmers and his siblings were; William Henry Jenner, Sarah Ann Jenner, Thomas Joy Jenner, Alfred Jenner, Hester Hannah Jenner, Mary Jane Jenner, Stephen Russell Jenner (died in infancy), Eliza Ann Jenner, Martha Jenner (died at the age of 17), Emma Warren Jenner and Joseph Henry Jenner.
Dr. Jenner attended high school in Chatham and he graduated from Chatham High School with a teaching certificate. He taught school for 4 years before he began studying medicine with Dr. Tecumseh K. Holmes and Dr. George McKeough in Chatham. Perhaps this was how Dr. Jenner met his future wife Ella Eugenie Taylor, for her sister Mary (Taylor) was the wife of Dr. Tecumseh Holmes.
Dr. Jenner pursued his medical degree at Trinity University where he won awards for his scholastic endeavours. In his third year he won the gold medal. Dr. Jenner graduated M.D.,C.M. from Trinity University in Toronto in 1883. He continued his medical training in London, England and received his L.R.C.P. designation in 1884. Dr. Jenner joined the College of Physician and Surgeons on the 28th of July, 1884.
Dr. Jenner practiced medicine in Chatham for a few years before moving to Picton, Ontario. He married Ella Eugenie Taylor on the 1st of June, 1887. Mrs. Jenner was born in Chatham on the 10th of May, 1859 the 5th of 9 children born to Thomas Hulme Taylor and the former Maria Lent Bogart. Her siblings were; Mary Elizabeth Taylor, Jennie Taylor, Agnes Taylor, Alice Taylor, Walter Hulme Taylor, William James Taylor, Thomas Trumpour Taylor and Grace Laura Maude Taylor. Mrs. Jenner’s father had meagre beginnings as a small village merchant and gradually expanded his holdings to include a woollen and flour mill in Chatham. Mrs. Jenner grew up in a home located at 20 Murray Street in Chatham. This home is now on the Municipal Heritage Register for Chatham-Kent. Her sister Mary was married to Dr. Tecumseh K. Holmes and her brother Dr. Thomas Trumpour Taylor also became a physician. (Dr. Thomas Taylor died in 1896 at the age of 29).
By 1891, Dr. and Mrs. Jenner were living in Kingsville (Essex County), Ontario. Dr. and Mrs. Jenner had 3 children; Madeline Mary Jenner was born on the 12th of November 1890, Agnes Dorothy Jenner was born on the 6th of September, 1895 and John Thomas “Russell” Jenner was born on the 13th of January, 1898.
Dr. Jenner published a paper in the Montreal Medical/Surgical Journal in 1886, titled, “Alimentation in Sickness”. He published “The Public School as a Place of Instruction in Practical Sanitation” in the Public Health Journal in 1917. Dr. Jenner was the M.O.H. in Kingsville for many years. He was also a Coroner for Essex County. In his spare time, Dr. Jenner enjoyed playing tennis and bowling.
Dr. Jenner’s son Lieutenant John Thomas Russell Jenner died in Texas on the 21st of December, 1917, while on a training exercise with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War I. He was buried in the mausoleum at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham.
Mrs. Jenner died in Kingsville on the 26th of October, 1921. She was also buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery.
Dr. Jenner practiced medicine for more than 50 years before he retired to Toronto just 4 months before his death to live with his daughter Madeline and her husband Douglas McKenna. Dr. Jenner died at their residence, 103 Dawlish Ave. (Toronto) on the 28th of October, 1940. Dr. and Mrs. Jenner were buried in the mausoleum at Maple Leaf Cemetery next to their son Lt. John Thomas Russell Jenner.
*Dr. Tecumseh Kingsley Holmes and Dr. George Thomas McKeough also appear on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website. Mrs. Jenner’s brother, Dr. Thomas Trumpour Taylor is also featured on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.
Tombstone Photo Credit: Anne F.