Hon. James B. Tennant, one of the most prominent business men of Epsom and an ex-member of the New Hampshire Senate, was born in Deerfield, N.H., May 26, 1847, son of Arthur and Ruth O. (Sanborn) Tennant. He comes of English stock. His great-grandfather was an early settler in Portsmouth, N.H. Thomas Tennant, the grandfather, who was born in Haverhill, N.H., April 10, 1771, owned and cultivated farms in Wentworth and Hampton, N.H., during the active period of his life. His last days were passed in Wentworth, and he was about eighty years old when he died. He married Sarah Goodwin, who, born in Wentworth, March 12, 1777, died at the age of seventy-six. He and his wife reared seven children, of whom Arthur, James B. Tennant’s father, was the third-born. Of these the only survivor is William, who married Harriet Libby, of Rumney, N.H., and has three children-Ira, Helen, and Lula.
Arthur Tennant was born in Wentworth, September 18, 1812. When a very young man he learned the cooper’s trade, which he afterward followed in connection with farming. At first he settled in Pembroke. Later he moved to Epsom and then to Deerfield, where he continued to till the soil for several years. He was largely interested in the live-stock business, and was also engaged in lumbering to some extent. He was a man of considerable prominence in public affairs, having served as a Selectman and in other town offices; and he was one of the first supporters of the Republican party in this State. His death, which occurred in Pembroke, April 9, 1880, caused general regret, as he was highly esteemed as an able and upright business man. His remains were interred in Deerfield. Arthur Tennant first married Ruth O. Sanborn, daughter of John Sanborn, a pioneer settler of Deerfield. Of the ten children born to this union, two are living-Emma O. and James B. Emma O. is the widow of Charles B. Fowler, late of Pembroke; and her son, Alvah T. Fowler, is now a student at Dartmouth College. For his second wife Arthur Tennant married Lizzie Fellows, of Deerfield, who had no children. Both he and his first wife were members of the Free Will Baptist church.
James B. Tennant acquired his early education in the common schools of Deerfield. Subsequently he was a pupil of the Pembroke Academy and the New Hampton Institute, duly graduating from the latter school. In 1869 he established himself in general mercantile business in Epsom, and now conducts a well-stocked country store. He is also extensively engaged in the lumber business as a member of the firms of Tripp & Tennant & Tripp and Fellows & Tennant. One of the firms controls large tracts of timber land in New Hampshire and Vermont, and also owns and operates saw-mills in various places for the manufacture of lumber. Another enterprise of Mr. Tennant’s is brick-making, which he carries on in Pembroke. He is a director of several insurance companies and of the Suncook Valley Railroad. He has been station agent at Short Falls since 1869, and is now one of the oldest station agents on the Concord & Montreal Railway. From 1870 to 1889 he was Postmaster at Short Falls. This position he resigned when elected to the State Senate, and Mrs. Tennant has since held that appointment. In politics Mr. Tennant is a Republican. From 1882 to 1888 he was one of the Commissioners of Merrimack County. He was elected a State Senator in 1889, and was a member of the House of Representatives for the years 1891 and 1892, taking part in the last annual and the first biennial session of the legislature. He has never sought for a town office; but after the death of the Town Treasurer, who was elected to serve the present year, he was persuaded to take charge of the town’s finances for the unexpired term.
On February 10, 1873, Mr. Tennant was united in marriage with Ella M. Fowler. She is a daughter of Samuel and Elvira N. (Critchett) Fowler, of Epsom, who had six children, of whom there are living-James W., Horace, and Josie M. Mr. and Mrs. Tennant have no children. Mr. Tennant is a Mason of the thirty-second degree. He has occupied all the important chairs in Evergreen Lodge, I. O. O. F., Epsom, and was its Secretary for several years; and he is a member of the local grange of the Patrons of Husbandry. In the course of his life he has visited nearly every State in the Union, including the extreme southern part and the Pacific slope, thereby greatly enhancing his knowledge of the wealth and business possibilities of the country.