William Jennings (mayor)
William Jennings (September 13, 1823 – January 15, 1886) was the mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, from 1882 to 1885. A merchant and financier, Jennings has been described as "Utah's first millionaire".
Jennings was born in England and immigrated to the United States as a young man. In St. Joseph, Missouri, he married Jane Walker, who was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The newly married couple moved to Salt Lake City in Utah Territory in 1852. Shortly after arriving in Salt Lake City, Jennings was baptized into the LDS Church. Soon afterwards, he married a plural wife.
Jennings opened a butchery and tannery in Salt Lake City and later founded a successful mercantile business. In 1864, he had become so successful that he constructed an expensive building, the Eagle Emporium, and used it as the headquarters of his mercantile businesses. The state of his business at that time made Jennings a leading merchant west of the Mississippi River. Eagle Emporium was later sold to the LDS Church and became a central component of Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution.
Jennings became a member of the LDS Church's Council of Fifty in 1880. He was elected mayor of Salt Lake City in 1882 and served until 1885. He intended to run for a second term, but he was deemed ineligible under the Edmunds Act because he was a polygamist.
Jennings died in Salt Lake City and was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
- Edward William Tullidge, History of Salt Lake City (Star Printing Co., 1886) pp. 76.