From A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. II, p. 864
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902


   The schools of Rice county were placed in competent hands when Professor F W Lennen became county superintendent.  He is an educator of superior ability, whose reputation extends far and wide over Kansas.  A man of strong individuality and superior scholarship, combined with excellent executive ability and keen discrimination, his labors have been of great value and benefit in advancing the intellectual standard of the state.

   Professor Lennen was born in Madison county, Indiana, June 4, 1861 – the year in which Kansas was admitted to the Union.  He is a son of W C Lennen, who died in 1899, at the age of sixty years.  He was born in Indiana, where he was reared and educated.  He was descended from Scotch-Irish ancestry, the family being noted for its intellectual attainments and for fidelity to duty.  W C Lennen, after attaining to man’s estate, was united in marriage to Miss Eliza Brown, who died in 1869, leaving five children, four of whom reached years of maturity, namely:  Emma, now the wife of Lee Stanford, of Rice county; F W, of this review; O L, ex-county superintendent of schools in Ness county, Kansas; and C M, who is living in Rice county.  By occupation the father was a farmer and devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits in order to provide for his family.  In his political views he was a Republican, and by his ballot manifested his preference for the principles of the party.  He held membership in the Christian church, and was honored and respected by all who knew him.

   Professor Lennen, whose name introduces this record, like so many men prominent in professional life, spent his boyhood days amid rural scenes.  He was trained to habits of industry and honesty upon the home farm, and in his youth he bore his share of the work in the fields.  In the common school he acquired his preliminary education, and at the age of seventeen he came to Kansas, after which he matriculated in Garfield University, at Wichita, where he was graduated.  At the age of seventeen he began teaching, and has since made that profession his life work.  For four years he was a teacher in the public school of Lyons, and wherever he has been employed in educational work it has been found that the schools have made material progress and marked advancement under his control.  He readily understands human nature and realizes the fact of individual differences in children.  This has proven an important element in discipline with him, while his own broad knowledge has enabled him to prosecute his work as an instructor with marked ability.  He was elected superintendent of schools of Rice county, November 6, 1900, and entered upon the duties of the office on May 13, 1901.

   In Rice county, Kansas, at the age of twenty-two years, Professor Lennen was united in marriage to Miss Laura Commons, a lady of culture and superior mental attainments.  She was reared and educated in Vermilion county, Illinois, and was a daughter of Phillip Commons, formerly of Indiana.  He belonged to a family of Friends, or Quakers – people of the highest respectability and worth.  He married a Miss Maxwell, of Indiana, and they became the parents of the following children:  T L, of Vermilion, Illinois; J M, who is superintendent of an Indian school in Idaho; W G, who is living in Arkansas City, Kansas, and is in the railroad service; Sarah, wife of J K Hubbard, of Georgetown, Illinois; D T, who died in Wichita, Kansas, in 1895, where he was located as a photographer; E G, who makes his home on the Ponca Indian agency, Oklahoma; and Mrs Lennen.  Unto the Professor and his wife have been born six children:  Florence M, who is now a student in high school of Lyons; W Carl, who is also pursuing his education there; Harry M; Scott L; Frank M; and L Eleanor.  The parents hold membership in the Christian church, in which Professor Lennen is now serving as deacon, and is also serving his sixth year as superintendent of the Sunday-school.  They take a very active part in its work, contribute liberally to its support and do all in their power to promote its growth and upbuilding.  Socially the Professor is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

   At this point it would be almost tautological to enter into any series of statements as showing the Professor to be a man of broad intelligence and genuine public spirit, for these have been shadowed forth between the lines of this review.  Strong in his individuality, he never lacks the courage of his convictions, but there are as many dominating elements in his individuality a lively human  sympathy and an abiding charity which, as taken in connection with the sterling integrity and honor of his character, have naturally gained for him the respect and confidence of men.