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John J. Jenness, a well-to-do farmer of Pittsfield, was born in this town, April 13, 1829, son of John and Ann P. (Tilton) Jenness. The family, which is of English origin, was first represented in America by three brothers who were early settlers of Rye Beach, N.H. John Jenness (first), grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born at Rye Beach, and reared to agricultural pursuits. When a young man, he settled in Pittsfield, and was afterward engaged in tilling the soil in this town until his death, which occurred when he was forty-four years old. He rendered substantial aid in building the first Congregational church in Pittsfield, and contributed generously toward its support while he lived. In politics he was a Democrat. He married a lady named Page, and with her reared a family of three children, none of whom are living.
John Jenness (second), the father of John J. Jenness, was born in Pittsfield. The active period of his life was devoted to the cultivation of a farm in this town. An industrious and successful farmer, he acquired considerable property. Politically, he acted with the Democratic party, and for many years he was prominent in the public affairs of Pittsfield. He served with ability as Town Clerk, Moderator, and Selectman; and he represented Pittsfield in the legislature. At his death he had attained the age of sixty-one years. His wife, Ann, who is a daughter of William Tilton, of London, N.H., has been the mother of four children, three of whom are living; namely, John J., Frank W., and Lizzie A. Now ninety-three years old, she is residing at the homestead in this town.
John J. Jenness attended the school in his native town. When his studies were completed, he went to Alabama, where he worked at bridge-building and acquired a good knowledge of the business. After residing in the South four years, he went, in 1856, to California, where he was engaged in the construction of bridges for three years; and he then returned to Pittsfield. For over thirty-five years he has been one of the most successful general farmers of this town. His estate covers one hundred and twenty acres of excellent tillage land.
In 1863 Mr. Jenness married Sarah A. French, daughter of Sylvester H. French, of Pittsfield. Of the two children born to them John H. Jenness is living. In politics Mr. Jenness is a Democrat. He has rendered capable and efficient services to the town as a Selectman, and as its Representative in the State legislature during the years 1874 and 1875 he proved himself a wise and careful guardian of its interest. Mr. Jenness attends the Baptist church, of which Mrs. Jenness is a member.