John JENNEY was a ship's carpenter when he was near the water and a house 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 born 12 July 1773 at Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts. John and his father were direct descendants of Mayflower passenger Richard Warren and also of John JENNEY, who arrived at Plymouth Colony on the Little James in 1623.
When John was just four years old, his mother died at the age of 33. then in 1779, his father remarried Louisa HATHAWAY. With the outbreak of hostilities between the Colonists and the British, their lives would have changed significantly. In fact, Benjamin JENNEY served with the patriots in Rhode Island, including one tour with his brother Henry JENNEYs company. In 1781, Benjamin JENNEY died at the age of 37 in Hispaniola. Though John may have grown up in the household of his stepmother, it is more likely that he was boarded out after his father's death to a JENNEY relative or friend.
On 22 DEC 1793, John married at New Bedford, Catharine DAVIS, who was born 28, 5th month 1773 near Sandwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts. Catharine was a daughter of Nicholas DAVIS and Sarah WILLIAMS. The DAVIS family was very active in the Society of Friends.
During the first 20 years of their marriage, Catharine and John 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 Wetherill, Elizabeth D., Sylvia C., Jane C., Benjamin, Mary G., and Abram D.
By 1815, the entire JENNEY family had relocated to Scipio in Cayuga County, New York, where they were recorded in the 1820 census and Society of Friends records. About 1819, two of the older sons, Mordicai and Obadiah moved west along with daughter Beersheba and her husband, Eleazer SALISBURY. Finding less expensive land and better opportunities in Huron County, Ohio, they encouraged the rest of the family to relocate. In 1823, the elder JENNEYs and five of their children left New York for Greenwich township in Huron county. On 4 May 1827, John brought acreage in Section One where he built the homestead in the New England style.
At Greenwich, the JENNEYs were founding members of the Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends. John also served on the building committee to construct the second meeting house, which once stood in the Quaker or East Cemetery in Greenwich township. One local history described John JENNEY's continued skill as a ship's carpenter, stating that he built two Great Lakes ships 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 at the age of 80. 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.
With appreciation to Henry Timman for confirming many details of John Jenney's life in Huron County, Ohio.