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Federal Point Families

The Tenney Place
The Tenney Home as seen from the Federal Point Wharf c. 1930

The Tenney Family in August 1910

Front: Nancy Tenney Weber, Leona Tenney Crooks,
Florence Tenney Stephenson, Frank Tenney
Back: Bunny Tenney, John Tenney, Francis Tenney, Squire(John F.) Tenney, Louis E. Tenney, Nettie Tenney,
Lady in Back-Unknown

The Robert Tenney Family 2004

Ruth, Robert, Karl (my husband), Lauren (me), Diana (Myra's daughter. Myra is Ruth & Bob's youngest), Larry (Myra's husband), David ( Myra's son), Glenn (Myra's oldest son)


It is to men like John Francis Tenney that the south

is indebted for its rebirth and its new era of prosperity

men who by their life work have brought about such

changes in agricultural development that the earning

power of the soil not only equals that of any land in

any section of the United States but exceeds it many

times.  John Francis Tenney, who for a half century

has been connected with the work of advancement and

up-building near Federal Point, is justly called the

father of that town, for he has not only developed

here a large and valuable tract of land but has ever

been a factor in the growth and expansion of that city

along various lines. He has been extensively interested

 in tlic hotel business and the timber trade, continuing

 to maintain connection with commercial circles as a

general merchant.

 Mr. Tenney was born in Randolph, Vermont, June

 6, 1830, a son of John and Tryphena (Dow) Tenney,

 natives of New Hampshire, where they were reared

and married and where they subsequently died,

 although they made their home in Vermont for two

or three years, during which time our subject was born.

The family is an old American one, having been estab-

 lished in this country in colonial times by representa-

 tives  of  the  name  who came  from  England.  Its

 members have mostly devoted their attention to agri-

 cultural pursuits although a number were Congrega-

 tional clergymen.  The father of our subject followed

farming in New Hampshire and Vermont during his

 active life and attained success along this line.  In his

 family were four children, as follows:  Ulysses, de-

ceased,  who  was  a  well known  portrait  painter;

John F., of this review; Lemuel, a resident of Cole-

 brook, New Hampshire; and Roswell, of Boston, Mass.

John Francis Tenney was reared under the parental

 roof and attended the schools of the neighborhood in

 the acquirement of his education.   When not occupied

with his lessons he assisted in the minor duties of the

home place, where he remained until he had reached his

 majority.  Seeking wider fields of endeavor and trying

to find newer opportunities he set out for himself by

moving to Boston, Massachusetts, where his first posi-

tion was in connection with a restaurant.  Later he

was engaged in farming in Vermont for a while and

also in the hotel business in Massachusetts, a line to

which he subsequently gave considerable attention

after his arrival in Florida.  To the latter state he

came in 1859, becoming connected with lumber inter-

 ests and being active in hotel keeping.  In 1861, how-

ever, he returned to the north, being influenced by the

 political questions involved in the Civil war, and re-

mained there until 1865, when he returned to this

state.   Being industrious  and  energetic,  success  at-

 tended his various endeavors and, practicing the utmost

 thrift, he soon succeeded in accumulating the means to

 buy one thousand acres of land, becoming holder of the

 title thereto in the winter of 1865-66.   This land was

 situated at Federal Point, on the St. Johns river, and

iwas covered with a thick brush which .gradually fell

under the saw and ax as he began its cultivation.  He

 set aside part of the land for orange groves and con-

 tinued along this  line until  1895, when his  trees  were

largely destroyed by the heavy frost of that' year.

 Gradually he brought, a  large  part  of  his  land  under

 cultivation and devoted thereto many years, making

a number of improvements and installing drainage

where necessary, but he has since disposed of various

sections of his property, retaining at the present about

seventy-five acres, highly cultivated and divided into

convenient lots of from five to fifteen acres.  An area

equal to the latter amount is devoted to orange grow

ing and he also specializes in raising potatoes.  As he

obtained satisfactory financial results from his farm-

ing enterprise Mr. Tenney branched out into various

lines and in 1880 established a mercantile enterprise

in Federal Point, which he is still successfully .con-

ducting.  He has also served as postmaster of that

town since 1875. In another line he became success-

ful when he began to keep a few winter boarders during

the season, out of which resulted the extensive business

which is now conducted by his son, Frank F. Tenney,

who is the owner of the Groveland House at Federal

Point, a hotel modern and up-to-date in every respect,

containing twenty-one sleeping rooms for accommoda-

tion of guests.  The house can take care of about fifty

patrons and is pleasantly located on a ten acre tract

on St. Johns river.  There is a wharf which belongs

to this property and a launch at the disposal of the

guests, while the owner of the hotel acts as agent for

all steamers plying the river.   The place is well con-

ducted and very inviting and there are always more

patrons making application for accommodation that

can be provided.  All the improvements of this prop-

 erty were made by Mr. Tenney and his son.

   In 1854 Mr. Tenney was united in marriage in Ver-

 mont to Miss Nancy Folsom, a native of that state,

 who passed away in Florida in 1866, three children

being the issue of this marriage: Elizabeth, who passed

 away in childhood; Frank Folsom; and Nancy, who

 also died in infancy.  In 1867 Mr. Tenney married

 Miss Jennie M. Carter of Randolph, Vermont, who

 shared his early frontier-day experiences and trials

 and after a liappy married life, covering forty years,

 passed away November I, 1907.  In 1908 Mr. Tenney

 was again married, Ins third union being with Miss

 Ellen Pennock.

   Mr. Tenney has always taken a deep interest in all

 matters which affect the development and upbuilding

 of this section and manifests this support by public

 service, which  he gave in  various connections and

 which was effective in the promulgation of the new

 era of prosperity, which is fast making Florida one

 of the wealthy states of the Union.  For two terms lie

 served as president of the board of county commission-

 ers of Putnam county and on the floor as well as in the

 committee rooms did able and effective work in pro-

 moting beneficial measures.  From 1867 until 1877

 he filled the office of justice of the peace and ren-

 dered decisions -which gave him an enviable reputation

for fairness and impartiality.  For several terms he

was a candidate for important public offices but as a

devoted exponent of republican principles was natu-

rally defeated in a widely democratic district. Import-

ant fraternal relations connect him with the Masonic

body, in which he has taken the thirty-second degree,

while he is also a Royal Arch Mason.  A sidelight is

thrown upon his journalistic ability by the position

which he holds in connection with the Times Herald,

for which he has acted as local correspondent for many

years.  He is the oldest settler in this part of Putnam

county and all improvements which have been made

in and around Federal Point are due to his enterprise

and aggressive spirit.  Largely through his efforts

Federal Point was incorporated as a town and its in-

habitants, recognizing the valuable services Mr. Ten-

ney rendered in promoting the interests of the locality,

honored him with election to the mayor's chair.

Although he has sold his hotel interests to his son he

is still active at the age of eighty-three years in con-

ducting his store and still serves as postmaster of

Federal Point.  The other interests with which he is

connected are conducted under the firm name of J. F.

Tenney & Son. The years have proven the worth of

the labors of John F. Tenney, whose life record reflects

credit and honor upon Federal Point.  He is richly

endowed with those qualities that make men esteemed

above their fellows and his wise use of time, talents

and opportunities and his resourcefulness have found

an outlet in the important results which he has achieved

 Nature has been kind to him for he has never abused

her laws.  One usually thinks of old age as a period

when mental and physical power weakens, but there

is an old age which grows stronger and brighter men-

 tally and morally as the years go by and gives out of

 its rich store of wisdom and experience for the bene-

 fit of others.   Such has been the life of  Mr. Tenney,

 who is not only one of the most forceful but also one

 of the most honored citizens of Federal Point, where

 he has been the foremost factor in the growth and

upbuilding of the district.


"Slavery, Secession and Success------The Memories of a Florida Pioneer" by John Francis Tenney--The Founder of Federal Point