Jenrose Wilson was born in Alton, Illinois and moved to Springfield when she was twelve. By age sixteen, she was married and had had her first child. To support the child, she moved to St. Louis briefly before returning to Alton. She then moved to Chicago before returning to Springfield, where she met her husband Charles Wilson. The couple moved to Chicago in 1962 and Jenrose took a job at Michael Reese Hospital.
See also the interview with husband Charles Wilson