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.....Elizabeth grew up on her father's farm in Fairhaven. When she was about 18, her father, facing uncontrolled debts and and perhaps the backlash of years of infidelity, abandoned his family and moved to central New York State with a mistress. With her mother and little brother Jethro, she remained in Fairhaven. The 1810 census lists Hannah Jenney's as a separate household, but her husband's debts apparently were paid off with land he owned. Was his family able to retain any of it for a home? That has yet to be found. Elizabeth married John Briggs several years later. They may have met through her brother Luther. Both were seamen, John definately and Luther perhaps for whaling. John and Elizabeth undoubtedly married at the First Congregational Church in Fairhaven, where the Jenneys were members.

.....Elizabeth married when she was about 21 and committed to a life without her husband for 2 to 3 years at a time. During his time on land, John fathered three boys. In 1821 the two youngest probably became sick with the same affliction and died two days apart. Only Luther Jenney Briggs, surely named for his mother's brother, survived. Elizabeth herself died three years later and was buried next to her boys in Nasketucket Cemetery, Fairhaven. She was given the following epitaph:

My days are but (dust?) on the earth,
since Jesus had taught me to pray,
and Jesus my saviour I knew,
before I was summoned away

Elizabeth's gravestone in Nasketucket Cemetery, Fairhaven, MA

John, Jr., and James are buried next to their mother

children of Elizabeth Jenney and John Briggs:

i. Luther Jenney Briggs b. 7 October 1813
ii. James b. June 1815, d. 20 December 1821
iii. John b. September 1818, d. 22 December 1821

vital records sources: Elizabeth's gravestone says she was in her 31st year when she died, making her 30 and putting her birth in 1791 or 1792. Her marriage to John can be inferred from circumstantial evidence, but it was announced in The New Bedford Mercury on 8 January 1812. No day is mentioned.

all text and photographs © 1998-2005 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted