On 11 May 1712 Priscilla Coxe, the youngest of Dr Daniel and Rebecca Coxe's seven daughters, married Richard Jennys at the church of St Mary Magdalen in Old Fish Street, between St Paul's Cathedral and the river. Richard's parents have not been identified, but it seems likely that his father was one of two brothers, Richard and Samuel Jennys, sons of Richard and Elizabeth, who were baptised in a non-conformist chapel in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, in the 1650s. The older brother, Samuel, came to London with his wife Ann and lived in Stepney, where he worked as a shipwright. In his will, written in 1722, he named his wife, but made no mention of children. Richard apparently stayed in Norfolk, but might have sent his son to live with his uncle in London. The Richard Jennys who married Priscilla Coxe gave his home parish as St John's, Wapping, which is close to Stepney ; Priscilla's was St Michael Bassingshaw, a short walk from Aldersgate Street. Taken in conjunction, the facts that Samuel Jennys mentioned no children in his will, that Richard and Priscilla Jennys apparently had no children after about 1718, and that subsequently no record can be found of them suggest that Richard may well have been Samuel's son, and that he died before his father.

Richard and Priscilla had three children : their son Richard was born in 1714, their daughters Elizabeth and Rebecca over the next three or four years. The marriage register entry is the last record of Richard and Priscilla, and nothing more is known about the family until 9 April 1736, when their son Richard was granted a licence to marry Anne Newton at St Paul's Church, Ludgate, near the Old Bailey and not far from the Cathedral. Richard gave his parish as St. Michael Cornhill, and was described as a gentleman and a bachelor aged upwards of twenty-one years, while Anne, of the same parish, was likewise unmarried and over twenty-one ; she was, in fact, nearly ten years older than Richard. They may have chosen to marry away from their home parish because they were already parents ; eight years later their son Richard's classmates at the Boston Public Latin School were ten years old, which suggests he was born in 1734 or 1735. Richard and Anne left England for Boston around 1740, probably after Sarah, their only other child, was born. The first evidence of their arrival in New England is a deed witnessed by Richard Jennys in his capacity as a notary on 26 February 1741/2.

It is certain that by 1745 Richard's parents, Richard and Priscilla Jennys, had both died, and his sister Elizabeth, known as Betty, was living in Newington Green. We can speculate that she had been given a home there with her aunt Anne Harris during the 1730s, and later she lived with, and probably kept house for, her bachelor uncle Nicholas Coxe. Her younger sister Rebecca married Martin Armstrong and spent the rest of her life in Jamaica. The first of several family bequests came in 1746 when Anne's widower Samuel Harris left 100 to Richard Jennys, "now in new England" and 200 to Richard's sister Betty. In the same year Betty was a witness to her aunt Mary Burnett's will, and she received 100 by a codicil to her cousin Rebecca Coxe's will (daughter of John Coxe), written in 1752 and proved in 1753.

Betty's nephew Richard Jennys Jr, who later claimed to have carried on his trade as a portrait painter in the West Indies, may have visited his aunt Rebecca Armstrong in Jamaica during the early 1760s, or gone there to be trained as an artist. The first direct evidence that he was painting comes from the account book of Paul Revere, the Boston silversmith best remembered for his later exploits in Boston harbour and on horseback. In October 1764 Revere sold Richard Jennys Jr a gold picture frame and a glass, materials used to finish a miniature. Revere supplied other artists in Boston, most notably John Singleton Copley, who was a few years younger than Jennys and already beginning to establish an international reputation. There were several young portrait painters in Boston in the 1760s, and Richard almost certainly found it difficult to obtain commissions. He may have painted miniatures at first, as the purchase from Paul Revere implies ; no such works by Jennys have been found, although he advertised as a painter of miniatures at various times in his life. The first portrait he is known to have painted is that of the Reverend Jonathan Mayhew, a prominent Boston theologian and Pastor of the West Church. Only a mezzotint survives, probably dating from 1765, and Revere, who himself had pretensions as an artist, produced an engraved copy of this portrait shortly after Mayhew died in 1766. At around the same time, Richard is also known to have created a mezzotint of a Boston silversmith and goldsmith, Nathaniel Hurd, after a painting by Copley, but only a further engraved copy by another artist survives.

His father Richard, as a notary public, enlisted Richard Jr's signature as a witness on at least one occasion in 1765. There is no evidence to indicate how the older Richard made his living, other than what must have been a part-time occupation as a notary, nor did either of his parents leave a will. It is likely that he practised as a lawyer, and that his affluent Coxe relatives assisted in paying his family's passage to Boston and helping him to establish himself there. One of them, his uncle Nicholas Coxe, who had been the beneficiary of several family wills and seems to have been regarded as the custodian of the Coxes' financial and proprietary interests, executed his will in July 1765 and made careful provision for his many nephews, nieces, grand-nephews and grand-nieces, among them his sister Priscilla's three children and grandson. To Betty he gave 1,500 in bank annuities, the proceeds of a further 800 in 4 per cent long annuities for life, a cash bequest of 50, and all the china, plate and linen and her choice of the furniture in Nicholas's house in Newington Green. The 800 capital stock was to be divided after her death between Richard and his son in Boston and Rebecca in Jamaica. Richard was given a further 200, and Martin and Rebecca Armstrong 10 each. Nicholas died a month or two later, and in October the younger Richard Jennys, perhaps in anticipation of this bequest, purchased three properties in Essex County, Massachusetts by mortgage for 500. He described himself as "a limner of this city"1 : a portrait painter. Nicholas Coxe's will was proved in November.

Anne Harris's son-in-law Daniel Radford, a linen draper and a leading figure in Newington Green's dissenting Protestant community, who died in 1767, had given Betty Jennys ten pounds for mourning in his 1764 will, but Betty did not live to mourn him. She made her own will on 27 August 1766, adding a codicil in September, and died at Newington Green shortly afterwards, the will being proved on 14 October. She divided the bank annuities she had received from Nicholas Coxe between her siblings and her nephew Richard : Richard the notary public was given 1,000, his son the painter 400, and Rebecca Armstrong 100. The income from a further 200 in long annuities was given to her cousin Rebecca Coxe, daughter of Coldham Coxe, with the capital stock reverting to Betty's sister Rebecca Armstrong on her cousin's death, and to Richard and then to his son if her sister should not survive her cousin.

Richard Jennys, notary public, died on 19 August 1768, aged fifty-three, and was buried in the Granary Cemetery in Boston. Richard Jr, his executor, signed an administrative bond on 17 December, now describing himself as a merchant. A few weeks later, on 1 February 1769, his mother Anne died, aged sixty-three, and was buried with her husband ; and then, on 6 March in Boston, his sister Sarah married Alexander Brown, the last record we have of her or her husband.

In the same year, on 4 September, Richard Jennys, now a merchant of Boston with a sideline as a portraitist (sometimes the other way round) and considerably richer by several legacies and his parents' estate, appeared before a justice of the peace. Together with Benjamin Church Jr, he was accused of "assaulting, beating and wounding one Benjamin Poole"2. Richard posted a bond for 10 and was released on his own recognizance. Church was a friend of long standing ; he had been a schoolmate at the Latin School, and he and his brother Edward had acted as sureties for Richard on the administrative bond for Richard Sr's estate. At the time, Benjamin Church - variously physician, politician, poet and scholar - was spending lavishly on the construction of an elegant house at Raynham in Bristol County, south of Boston, and ran into financial difficulties which were blamed by some for his subsequent ignominious fate. He was convicted of holding a criminal correspondence (for pecuniary reward) with the enemy - the British Governor General Gage - during the siege of Boston, expelled from the Provincial Congress and allowed to leave the country. He embarked for the West Indies, but his vessel was lost at sea.

On 30 November 1769 Richard placed an advertisement in the
Massachusetts Gazette & Boston Weekly Newsletter asking claimants on his father's estate to apply to him. He was now in his mid-thirties, and seems to have accepted that his portrait painting alone was not going to afford him a living. His mercantile business, on the other hand, was apparently thriving, and he settled into a long period in which he included in many of his regular business advertisements the information that he also painted portraits.

He married Sarah Ireland in Gray, Maine on 25 July 1770. There is no obvious reason for them to have married there ; both were recorded as residents of Boston. Sarah's parents have not been identified, and it is possible that her family came from Maine. Like the choice of Christian names for her only daughter - Frances Farnham Sarah - the oddness of the facts suggests they are clues to Sarah's background, but as clues they lead nowhere. Richard and Sarah were married by the Reverend Pauley, who was paid 2 15s. Their first child, Richard, was born in Boston on 28 December 1771, in which year his father's real estate was valued at 200 for tax purposes, his stock as a merchant at 700. By this time he was advertising as a dealer in dry goods.

William, their second son, was born in January or February 1774 in Boston. In August, Richard, still describing himself as a portrait painter, successfully sued one of his dry goods customers for non-payment. The Record Commissioners of the City of Boston listed him as a resident of Ward no. 6 in 1776. Throughout this period of increasing tension in the British colonies in America, and particularly in Massachusetts, while General Gage fortified Boston and Paul Revere rode back and forth issuing timely warnings, Richard Jennys continued to advertise his dry goods and his services as a portrait painter.

Edward Jennys, Richard and Sarah's third son, was baptised in Trinity Church, Boston, on 7 March 1777, and his older brother Richard was enrolled at the Boston Latin School in 1780 - the last record of this third (or fourth) successive Richard Jennys, who must be presumed to have died during the 1780s. John, the youngest of the Jennyses' four sons, was probably born in the summer of the same year.

From his banking premises in London, on 30 November 1778, Anne Harris's grandson-in-law Thomas Rogers, acting as one of the executors of Betty Jennys's will, wrote to her sister Rebecca Armstrong "at Martin Armstrong's Esqr., Kingston, Jamaica"3 :

As I have not yet heard from you with respect to the Legacy of Eight Pounds p. Annum, in long annties, - left to you by the late Miss Eliz Jennys, after the Death of Mrs [sic] Rebecca Cox, which Legacy in case of your not surviving Mrs Cox, was to go to Mr Jennys of New England - I am apprehensive that you may not yet have heard of Mrs Cox's Death which happened on or about the 3d of Octr 1776.
As this is a specific Legacy, of Stock which stood in Miss Jennys Name, at her Decease, & now remain in the Same, the Bank of England will not suffer the Same to be transferd to any Person but yourself, or some one, Acting by a proper Power of Attorny for you ; concerning which powers they are, in general, very particular. I would offer you my Service very chearfully, was I not an Executor ; & in that light an improper Person - but in any other business you may freely command - Madam your very humble Servt
Thos Rogers

Rebecca's reply, if there was one, has not been preserved. This is the last we hear of Priscilla Coxe's younger daughter, and the only other traces of the Armstrongs' presence in Jamaica are Martin's listing as a magistrate in the 1776 Jamaica Almanac, and a later reference to Messrs. Armstrong & Co, London merchants, as having been active in Jamaica in the second half of the eighteenth century, which may have been the reason for Martin's residence on the island.

In Boston in the early 1780s Richard Jennys's dry goods business ran into difficulties and if he still received commissions for portraits they were not plentiful enough to support his young family. In October 1783 his Boston landlady, Elizabeth Seabury, obtained an eviction order against him for non-payment of rent. He had evidently planned to abscond without paying what he owed, because he had already placed advertisements as a portrait painter in the Charleston, South Carolina
Weekly Gazette, which ran from 3 October, four days before Mrs Seabury's suit came to court. He left hurriedly for Charleston on the Peggy and Polly, where his arrival on 13 October, apparently alone, was announced in the Gazette. At least one other judgement for debt was brought against him in Boston at the same time.

Although there is only one record (in Boston) of Sarah or the children during the entire period Richard Jennys is known to have lived in the South, it is probable that they joined him in Charleston and remained with him at least until 1785. From the moment he arrived, he set about establishing himself as a portrait painter. The advertisements continued throughout October and November, stating that Jennys had pursued his business of portrait painting "at the northward and in the West Indies with considerable success"4. More advertisements appeared, in several Charleston papers, in July and August of 1784, and then in Savannah's The Gazette of the State of Georgia in January 1785, announcing that Richard Jennys was engaged in painting miniatures. No paintings by him, full-sized or in miniature, have been unearthed in either South Carolina or Georgia, but in 1785 he returned briefly to New England, where he painted two portraits in Guilford, Connecticut, before travelling to the West Indies. By February 1786 he was back in Savannah, announcing in another advertisement that he had just returned from the West Indies. Judging by the absence of any evidence of commissions, success as a painter continued to elude him in the South as it had in Boston, and during 1786 he returned north once more. The Jennyses' fifth and last child, Frances Farnham Sarah, was born in Boston in late 1786 or early 1787, and it may have been around this time that Richard and Sarah separated. Richard spent a few months in Connecticut, painting portraits in Stonington in January 1787, and then headed back south. For five years, apart from at least one trip to the West Indies in 1789-90, he lived in Savannah, and appears to have continued to struggle with debt and a lack of interest in his services as a painter. In the Savannah newspapers, his occasional advertisements over this period alternate with his listings as a tax defaulter.

In 1792 Richard and Sarah Jennys's separation took definite shape. Sarah took her two youngest children, John and Frances, to Nassau in the Bahamas. Richard, possibly with William - who certainly joined him later - returned to Connecticut. Their oldest son Richard was dead by this time, and of Edward Jennys no further record exists until 1825 ; he may have lived with Sarah in Nassau until his marriage.

Richard took out an advertisement in the
Connecticut Journal on 20 November to announce his arrival in New Haven, to inform the public that he was a painter of portraits, and to state that he intended opening a school to teach drawing and painting (of which nothing more was heard). William, who must have been either formally or informally his father's pupil, placed an advertisement of his own in the Norwich Packet on 4 April 1793, which suggests that he and Richard arrived in Connecticut together. Father and son, sometimes together but often separately, now embarked on a twelve-year progress through the towns of New England, accepting commissions where they could (which might involve ordinary housepainting jobs) and occasionally settling temporarily in those places where they had established a local reputation or when they could afford to buy property. Until 1797 they travelled mostly in western Connecticut and Massachusetts. New Milford and nearby towns such as Washington and Litchfield were important sources of commissions, but Richard also travelled east to the Hartford area, and north to Sheffield, Massachusetts. In 1795 William painted a group of portraits of the Benjamin family of Stratford, Connecticut, who would later become relatives by his sister's marriage. Father and son both received payment for varnishing paintings in New Milford in April 1796. This first venture into living as itinerant painters, which was the most successful and prolific phase of Richard's career as a painter, ended in 1797 when William moved to New York City. He lived at 15 New Street, moving to 42 Gold Street by 1798, and was listed in the City Directory as a portraitist. Two of his portraits are known to have been painted in New York in this period. Richard continued to paint in New Milford, but made at least one trip north to Rutland, Vermont, where notices appeared in April 1798 that there were letters for him at the post office. In May 1799 William visited Stratford again, this time with his father, and painted several portraits, some signed by William and at least two signed jointly with Richard. On the back of each of these joint portraits they left instructions for preserving the surface of the painting : "Beat the white of an egg to a froth add a small piece of loaf sugar & beat it again with two spoonfuls of gin dust the picture with a piece of silk & put on the varnish with a rag to be varnish once in a year."5 A year or so later they began moving northwards, painting more joint commissions at Becket, Massachusetts in March 1801, and progressing through western and central Massachusetts. After 1800 Richard left most of the painting to William, but they seem to have travelled together much of the time. During 1803 William was painting in both New Hampshire and Vermont, and there were letters for both of them at the Rutland post office that summer ; but father and son also returned to Massachusetts for the occasional commission. In June 1803 the daughter of one of the New Hampshire families painted by William Jennys described his visit6 :

He would paint daily from 11 A.M. to 1 P.M. and then chat - he was chatty - and play with his dog. He offered to paint mother with me in her arms for $10 extra but did not ... Jennis painted Mr. Merrill and wife and Uncle John Harris and wife. He was six weeks painting father and mother and boarded in the family. Mother had father's painted first when the painter was fresh."

In January 1804 William, apparently on his own, arrived in Newburyport, in the north-east corner of Massachusetts, and advertised for commissions in the Newburyport
Herald, adding that he would be living at the house of Jeremiah Todd (whose portrait he painted). By October he had decided to settle there, and bought two properties on Newburyport High Street from Benjamin Wyatt, a silversmith. Richard, by now about seventy years old, joined him early in 1805, and placed his own advertisements in the Herald, perhaps hoping to revive his painting career. In just over twelve years since returning from Savannah, father and son between them had visited over fifty different towns in New England.

Sarah Ireland, lately Mrs Jennys, was now known by the name Sarah Ogle. She probably met Peter Ogle in Boston around 1790, and in 1792 accompanied him to Nassau, where they set up a business dealing in "spiritous liquors" ; Peter was granted a liquor licence in New Providence on 1 January 1796. Sarah and Richard were never divorced, and Peter and Sarah were not officially married, but she and her Jennys children, John and Frances (now known as Fanny) were accepted as Peter Ogle's wife and stepchildren by John Armbrister, a wealthy businessman from an old and influential New Providence family, whose connection with Ogle could have been either a business partnership or a relationship by blood or marriage. In May 1800 Armbrister signed a deed conveying land worth 160 to an associate, Alexander Thompson, the property concerned being for the use of Peter Ogle's wife Sarah during her life, reverting after her death to the the use of her daughter Frances Farnham Sarah Jennys, after Frances's death to John Jennys her son, and after John's death to her other son William Jennys and his heirs.

John Jennys, now of full age, was granted a liquor licence in August 1801, and Armbrister was one of the endorsers of the licence. John set up in business under his own name, and in 1803, when he bought a plot of land from Provost Marshal William Bayliss, he was described as a shopkeeper. On 7 July 1807 he made his will, with bequests to his sister Fanny and his "friend" Peter Ogle, but not mentioning his mother. If Sarah had been alive at this date, he is unlikely to have ignored her in favour of his stepfather, so we must assume that she died about 1805. Armbrister's illegitimate son, George Butler, later wrote that Sarah, as Peter Ogle's wife, had nothing at her own disposal and therefore did not make a will. A few days before her death, according to Butler, she had appointed him Fanny's guardian. John Jennys's will was proved on 8 February 1810.

William Jennys, having settled in Newburyport and been joined by his father, made a brief trip in June 1805 to Concord, New Hampshire, where he advertised in the
Courier of New Hampshire7 :

William Jennys, PHYSIOGNOTRACE, respectfully informs the Ladies and Gentlemen of Concord, that he has taken a room at Mr. George's Tavern, where he purposes staying a few days, to take Profile Likenesses, with his new Invented patent Delineating Pencil.

He had probably already met the innkeeper's daughter Mary, and perhaps the purpose of this visit was to impress her father, David George, with his newly regularised status as a resident and property owner of Newburyport. Mary George (known as Polly) and William Jennys were married on 23 December 1806 at the First Congregational Church in Concord. William was listed as a taxpayer of Newburyport for the next two years, and although he continued to paint portraits in the town, the better part of his income derived from buying and selling property. In 1807 he and Polly sold the High Street properties for $2,250, a profit of nearly $1,500, his father Richard witnessing the deed of sale in handwriting that suggested age was catching up with him. In May 1808 William painted Polly's brother Jacob George and his wife Mary ; and then, at the age of thirty-four, laid down his paintbrush and his delineating pencil. His father had now moved up the coast to Portland, Maine, and William was comfortably enough off from his property deals not to have to seek commissions, the rewards of which were small in comparison. It may have been that Richard's lifelong pursuit of success as a portrait painter had motivated William while they were together and needed commissions to survive. Both painters took a mercenary rather than a vocational view of painting, but Richard probably considered himself an artist in a way that William clearly didn't. It is ironic that William, whose known output is about two hundred portraits, compared with his father's forty or fifty, should now be considered the better painter.

In 1808 and 1809 he continued to speculate in property, concluding several profitable deals in nearby Ipswich, and still describing himself as an artist. At the beginning of 1809 news of Sarah's death in Nassau apparently reached Richard and William in New England. William decided to sell up and travel to New Providence, and he and Polly sold their last Massachusetts properties, in Salem, on 24 April. Richard sent after him a notarised letter, addressed to William in Nassau, appointing him his "true and lawful"8 attorney to "ask for and receive for me the property which by law I may be entitled to in the right of my wife who lately died in the said Island of New Providence". Written on 27 June 1809, probably in Portland, and describing Richard Jennys as a portrait painter and his son William as a merchant "now of New Providence", this was the last recorded act of Richard's life.

According to her grandson William Henry Jones, writing in 1905, Sarah Ireland told her younger children that their father had died in Boston in 1790. If this is true, then William Jennys must have said nothing to enlighten them during his visit to the Bahamas in 1809. He stayed long enough to impress on Fanny the fact that he was "a rover, never appearing in Nassau until something was to be gained"9. In the absence of anything tangible from his mother's estate, and with John, Fanny and their stepfather Peter Ogle probably reluctant to cede any property rights to this long-lost brother, William returned to America. He and Polly moved to New York City, and William turned his hand to making combs, a trade he may have learnt at West Newbury, a town with a comb-making tradition only a few miles from Newburyport. Their first child, Richard Clifford Jennys, was born in New York on 5 April 1810. News of his brother John's death in Nassau sent William on at least one more trip to the Bahamas, probably during 1811. In March 1812, Fanny, who was afraid of her older brother, and whose own death, after her mother's and her brother John's, was all that now stood between William and a considerable inheritance in Nassau, converted as much as she could into cash, and "with $10,000 in her belt and a slave girl of fourteen, Peggy, secretly sailed for New York"10, evidently intending that William should not be able to track her down. From New York she went straight to New Haven, Connecticut, to the home of the Reverend Isaac Jones and his third wife Sybil, whose son Algernon Sidney Jones she married in Christ Episcopal Church, Hartford, on 28 June, only three months after her flight from Nassau. Sybil Jones was the older sister of Asa Benjamin, whose portrait William Jennys had painted in Stratford in 1795. It hardly seems likely that Fanny could have met her husband through this earlier contact of her brother's, but the suddenness of her marriage to Algernon after her arrival in Connecticut suggests that somehow they had known each other previously, and that the choice of New Haven for her destination was not accidental but part of a carefully planned move.

William continued to pursue the possibility that he was entitled to property in Nassau, and in September 1812 John Armbrister's son George Butler wrote to him about Sarah Jennys Ogle's estate, concluding, "The house and lot I observe is given to your sister for her hope only and at her
Death to you & Heirs."11 Although Fanny and William were both in New York City for much of the remainder of their lives, there is little evidence of further contact between them. William's comb-making business was not successful, and in 1812 he opened a florist's shop. A second son, John Livingston Randolph Jennys, was born in New York in 1813.

When Polly died, probably in 1817, William sold the florist's shop and went to Littleton in New Hampshire, where his parents-in-law were now living, and took up his father's old business as a dry goods dealer. Unlike his father, he operated out of a carriage, with which he travelled around New Hampshire - much as he had done as a painter - selling his goods. At the same time he speculated in property, and in 1818 the combination of his dry goods business and profits from land deals made him by far the largest taxpayer in Littleton. In 1819 he married Laura Columbia George, younger sister of Polly, his first wife. Although he failed to repeat his trading or land-dealing successes of 1818, and sold his carriage in 1819, he evidently made a steady living in Littleton over the next two years. In June 1821 he and Laura bought two pieces of property, together almost 1,000 acres, in Coventry (now Benton), New Hampshire ; early in 1823, as a resident of that town, William was granted a licence to operate a tavern and adopted his father-in-law's trade, no doubt with Laura's expert assistance. They lived in Coventry for eleven years ; then from 1833 until 1842 there is no record of their whereabouts.

Edward Jennys, the third of Richard and Sarah's five children, must have been living in New Hampshire in the 1820s, and perhaps his presence contributed to William's decision to move to Coventry. On 24 March 1825 Edward and his wife Fanny witnessed a deed of sale for William and Laura.

They returned to New York City in 1842, settling in Brooklyn, and William, now close to seventy, once more opened a florist's shop, which he continued to operate until about 1847. It may be that during this period he renewed contact with his sister Fanny, who was also living in Brooklyn. Fanny's son William recalled meeting his uncle twice, "the last time about 1850"12, but believed he had subsequently gone to Australia, so the families cannot have been close. William and Laura lived out their days in New York ; Laura died in September 1858, William on 21 October 1859, and they were buried next to each other in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn. William Jennys, whose paintings only began to be discovered nearly a hundred years after his death, and whose fame as a portraitist gradually eclipsed his father's as the scale of his output was revealed, had not, at the time of his death, put a brush to canvas for over fifty years.

Richard and John, William and Polly's sons, both lived into their late eighties. Richard was a lawyer who lived and practised most of his life in Troy, New York. About 1860 he married Margaret Slattery, and their seven children were all born in Troy. John Jennys followed in his father's and grandfather's footsteps as a dry goods dealer. He lived in New York City, where all four of his children were born, and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in 1900.

After her marriage in 1812, Fanny and her husband Algernon Jones lived in Huntington, near Stratford. Peter Ogle, who died in 1813, had left Fanny, his "dear and esteemed friend"13, almost his entire estate, and she had received other bequests of property from friends in Nassau after her return to America. Part of her inheritance from Ogle was land he had bought from John and Rachel Armbrister, which Fanny and her husband finally sold in 1855.

Algernon and Fanny Jones's six children were christened together in St Paul's Church, Huntington on 17 July 1831 : Frances Melinda (born in 1814), Isaac, Sarah Amelia (1816), Emily Harriet, Algernon Sidney and William Henry (1827). The Joneses moved to Brooklyn around 1840, where Algernon practised as a physician. Through his father, Dr Jones was a descendant of Theophilus Eaton, one of the founders of the New Haven colony, and his family had a keen appreciation of their ancestry, which also included, on Sybil's side, William Bradford, Pilgrim Father and author of
Of Plimoth Plantation, the history of the Mayflower colony. Sybil's grandfather John Benjamin had moved to Stratford from Wethersfield, near Hartford, and joined the Episcopalian church, and this Episcopalian tradition was passed on to Fanny's children and grandchildren. Fanny and her husband both died in Brooklyn ; Fanny on 6 June 1856, Algernon on 23 February 1858.

Their son William Henry Jones, a grocer, married and was widowed as a young man, and thereafter shared a house in Brooklyn for many years with his unmarried sister Sarah. In 1881 or 1882 he married Carrie Estes, daughter of Ivory and Abbarintha Farnham Estes of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who was thirty years his junior ; they had five children, two of whom died in infancy. His oldest sister Frances Melinda Jones married Thomas Wentworth Groser in Huntington on 15 October 1838. He was an accountant and a churchwarden, born in Jamaica of English parents and brought to New York at the age of thirteen by his mother after his father died. Thomas and Frances lived in Brooklyn, and between 1840 and 1849 had eight children, of whom the two oldest, Thomas and Sidney, both fought on the Union side in the Civil War. Frances died in May 1849, probably a victim of the cholera epidemic, and five years later Thomas Groser married Mary Haskins and raised a second family alongside the first.

Richard and William Jennys's portraits were generally kept in the homes of their subjects' families and passed down through subsequent generations, and it was not until the beginning of the twentieth century that they began to attract the attention of art historians. The first to investigate them was Frederic Fairchild Sherman, who wrote a series of essays detailing his discovery of several Jennys portraits which was published posthumously in 1941. Sherman believed that there were two William Jennyses, one of them named J. William Jennys - a misunderstanding caused by the flourishes in William's signature. As more and more Jennys paintings began to surface in the 1950s, the art historian William Lamson Warren undertook more comprehensive research, and in the 1990s William Bright Jones produced a thorough and revealing assessment of both painters' work and lives, drawing on Warren's research and his own exhaustive haul of documentation from New England, the Bahamas and elsewhere.

Most of the Jennyses' subjects were rural New Englanders : farmers, merchants, local dignitaries and their families. In many cases their portraits represent the only remaining record of the features of people whose lives, because of the time and place in which they lived, have since been carefully documented. Both Jennyses' strength as portraitists lay in their ability to depict and capture character in their sitters' faces ; both were careless or relatively unskilled with other details - Richard, in particular, tending to simplify his subjects' hands and arms. While William's later work is more accomplished and successful than his father's, Richard's earlier paintings, in particular, have a peculiar charm deriving from his stylised drawing and what appear to be echoes of the formal gestures in Renaissance religious painting. As painters, it is generally agreed that they do not rank alongside contemporaries like Copley or Charles Willson Peale, but can be regarded as talented primitives, whose skill in bringing faces to life on canvas compensates for their limitations as artists.


1. Essex Co. Deed v. 117, quoted in draft notes, January 1993, William Bright Jones.
2. Court Files, Vol. 515, File 89195, Judicial Archives of the Massachusetts State Archives.
3. Transcribed from the original in the Special Collections Library, University College London.
Weekly Gazette, Charleston, SC, October/November 1783.
5. Portraits of David & Grissell Judson, 1799, Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia, quoted in
The Portraits of Richard and William Jennys and the Story of Their Wayfaring Lives, William Bright Jones, Boston University, c. 1997
My Father's Annals, begun by George Washington Johnson Ap. '67, Papers of the Johnson Family of Enfield, Dartmouth College Library, Hanover, NH, quoted in Jones, The Portraits of Richard and William Jennys.
Courier of New Hampshire, Concord, NH, 5 June 1805, quoted in Jones, The Portraits of Richard and William Jennys.
8. All quotes in this paragraph are from a copy of the original letter (which is lost) in the possession of William B. Jones, quoted in
The Portraits of Richard and William Jennys.
9. Transcription by Charles E. Groser of a letter from William H. Jones to Arthur W. Groser, 17 March 1905, in the possession of Anthony Groser.
10. William H. Jones to Arthur W. Groser, 17 March 1905.
11. Letter quoted in William B. Jones, draft notes.
12. William H. Jones to Arthur W. Groser, 17 March 1905.
13. Will of Peter Ogle, 1810, quoted in William B. Jones, draft notes.

Back to Contents page

Coxe family history - other chapters

Chapter 1 - Somerset Coxes and Dr Thomas Coxe
Chapter 2 - Daniel Coxe II of Stoke Newington and his children
Chapter 3 - Dr Daniel Coxe of London
Chapter 4 - Colonel Daniel Coxe
Chapter 5 - The Norton family of London and Virginia