John Jenney

Photo added by Garry Boice

John Jenney

  • Birth 12 Jul 1773 Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Death 2 Mar 1852 Greenwich, Huron County, Ohio, USA
  • Burial Huron County, Ohio, USA
  • Memorial ID 15056293

John Jenney was a ship's carpenter when he was near the water and a building carpenter when he was not. The third of four children born to Benjamin Jenney, a whaling captain, and his second wife, Beersheba Bassett, John was just four years old when his mother died.

Not much is known about John's early childhood, except that his father remarried to Louisa Hathaway two years after Beersheba's death. Then two years later, Benjamin was lost at sea near Hispaniola. Though he may have grown up in the household of his stepmother, it is more likely that John was boarded out after his father's death to a Jenney relative and perhaps learned his trade there.

On 22 December 1793, John married at New Bedford, Catharine Davis, born 25 May 1773. Catharine was the daughter of Nicholas Davis and Sarah Williams, a family that was very active in the Society of Friends. During the first 20 years of their marriage, the Jenneys lived near Fairhaven, where John earned a living as a ship's carpenter. Their union was blessed with 10 children: Obadiah, Sarah Davis, Beersheba, Mordicai Wetherall, Elizabeth, Sylvia C., Jane C., Benjamin, Mary Grant, and Abram D. All lived to adulthood.

By 1815, the entire Jenney family had relocated to Scipio in Cayuga County, New York where they were recorded in the 1820 census. About 1819, two of the older sons, Obadiah and Mordecai moved west along with Beersheba and her husband, Eleazer Salisbury. Finding less expensive land and better opportunities there, the sons encouraged the rest of the family to relocate to Ohio. So in 1823, the elder Jenneys and all but two of their children left New York for Ohio, where in 1827 John bought acreage in Greenwich Twp., Huron County. He built the homestead in the New England style, and that structure is still standing today.

At Greenwich, the Jenneys were involved in the establishment of the Society of Friends' meeting and building of their meeting house. Local histories also attest to John Jenney's continued skill as a ship's carpenter, stating that he built two Great Lakes ships in the 1830s for Townsend and Chapman at Sandusky.

John Jenney died on 2 March 1852 in the 79th year of his age. Of his passing, the Huron Reflector observed "An aged patriarch, surrounded by his descendants, he has made his bed in peace, full of years and full of honors."

John Jenney was laid to rest in the cemetery on his farm in Greenwich Township. Fifteen months later on 9 June 1853, Catharine Davis Jenney died. Though there is no longer evidence of a monument for her, it is likely that she was interred in the Jenney Farm Cemetery next to her husband.

"Ah! if our souls but poise and swing
Like the compass in its brazen ring,
Ever level and ever true
To the toil and the task we have to do,
We shall sail securely, and safely reach
The Fortunate Isles, on whose shining beach
The sights we see, and the sounds we hear,
Will be those of joy and not of fear!"

From "Building a Ship" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Credit bio to jbancestors.


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  • Created by: jbancestors
  • Added: 27 Jul 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 15056293
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John Jenney (12 Jul 1773–2 Mar 1852), Find A Grave Memorial no. 15056293, citing Jenney Farm Cemetery, Huron County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by jbancestors (contributor 46849656) .