Heritage \ Writings \

James H. Tennant (1841-?)
Native of England, senior member of the Bay City Stone Company.

1892 bio. (Added July, 2009)

History of Saginaw and Bay Counties, Michigan - Chicago Publishing Co., 1892


The Bay City Stone Company has as it presiding geniuses two of the most able and experienced business men of Bay City. The senior member of the firm is he whose name appears above. They are manufacturers of granite and marble monuments and cut stone of every description. They also deal extensively in sewer pipes of all kinds. Mr. Tennant bears a good old English name, and he was born in Keighley, Yorkshire, England, June 20, 1841. He is a son of George and Mary (Smith) Tennant. The former was born in Aysgath, in the same place where the noted English Commoner, John Bright, was born.

Our subject's grandsire, George Tennant, was a mason by trade, as was also our subject's father, and they did much ornamental stone trimming. They built the Lower Wyke Tunnel, which is near Barnsley and is three miles long, occupying two hundred men night and day until its completion, and is one of the largest tunnels in England. After being engage in various important works our subject's father retired from business in 1883.

In 1857 George Tennant brought his family to Cobourg, Canada, and was there engaged in contracting on the Buffalo & Lake Huron Road, and in building bridges from Goderich to Stratford. In 1880 he went to Texas and remained in Dallas until 1883. He now resides at Ft. Gratiot, this State. Our subject's maternal grandsire, James Smith, served in the English army and was a body servant of the Duke of Wellington and with him went through the wars with . He was retired on a pension and met a most untimely death by being murdered on the King's Highway. Our subject's mother died in 1890, her demise being the result of a fall.

Our subject had eleven brothers and sisters, the family comprising six sons and six daughters, nine of whom lived to be grown. One died at sea on the way to America. The eldest son, John, is a third in order of birth if the family, and was reared in England. He had not many education advantages, for when a boy of eight years he felt the necessity of working, and soon began to serve an apprenticeship as a stone cutter and mason. He was sixteen years old when he came to America with his father's family. After a short residence in Cobourg, Canada, he worked with his father on railway contracts, and at the age of twenty years took charge of a force of men in Detroit in partnership with James Steward, taking contracts to get out stone on Drummond Island for the new jail in Detroit. He was then engage on Christ's Church and on finishing this went to Toronto, Canada, and later was engaged on the Atlantic Great Western Railroad, being interested in building all the bridges from Akron to Dayton, and the contract occupying two years.

Next Mr. Tennant took a contract to build the machine shops for the Ontanago Railroad Company at Marquette, and thence went to Massillon, Ohio, where he took the contract for the stone work which was cut for Trinity Church of Pittsburgh, Pa., and in 1872 he came to Bay City to build the First National Bank. After its completion he went to Saginaw and superintended the building of the People's Savings Bank, and then with his brother John formed a partnership with Mr. Bate and Mr. Pryor, the firm being conducted unter the name of Tennant Bros. & Co. John Tennant withdrew and went to Waco, Tex.; then on the withdrawal of Mr. Pryor the firm name was change to the Bay City Stone Company. Mr Tennant has charge of the contracting department. In 1889 the company built the Michigan Central depot, which is one of the finest in the State. They also did the stone work on the Crapo Block, the Phoenix Block, the Shearer Block and the Commercial Bank. They built the First National Bank of Saginaw, the Flint High School and the Manistee County court-house. During one year Mr. Tennant had charge of fourteen large contracts. The company furnished constant employment to eighty men. They own thirty—three acres on the Saginaw Bay shore, from which they get excellent stone.

Mr. Tennant was married in St. Catharines, Canada, June 26, 1867, to Miss Emily Horsham, who was born in Devonshire, England. They are the parents of four childrenArthur J., Mabel, Gertrude and Sidney. The eldest son is a practical stone-cutter, located in Washington State. The family residence is located at the corner of Eighth and Sherman Streets and is a most attractive place. Mr. Tennant is united with many societies and is a Knight of the Maccabees, also belongs to the United Friends. He and his wife are associated with the Congregational Church. His is Republican in political party elections.

Additional Notes:

  • The Bay City Stone Co. was located on the N.E. Corner of 8th and Water streets.
  • 1897 - Stone; an Illustrated Magazine:
    Bay City, Mich., April 23. -- It has been mutually agreed to dissolve the parternership between James H. Tennant and Abraham Bate, heretofore known as Bay City Stone Company, and hereafter no obligation incurred by either of said parties will be binding on the other.
  • Nov. 29, 1904 Supreme Court of Michigan:
    Kilby Mfg. Co. v. Menominee Circuit Judge: The Bay City Stone Co. is sighted as subcontractor (March 14, 1903), to do portion of work for new Minominee River Sugar Company.

Related Pages/Notes

Related Pages:
Bate, Abraham
First Congregational Ch.
People Referenced
Bate, Abraham
Bright, John
Pryor, Mr.
Horsham, Emily (wife)
Tennant, Arthur J. (son)
Tennant, George (g-father)
Tennant, George Jr. (father)
Tennant, Gertrube (dau.)
Tennant, James H. (subject)
Tennant, John (bro.)
Tennant, Mabel (dau.)
Tennant, Sidney (son)
Smith, James
Smith, Mary (mother)
Stewart, James
Subjects Referenced
  • Cobourg
  • Goderich
  • Stratford
  • St. Catharines
  • Toronto

  • Aysgath
  • Barnsley
  • Devonshire
  • English army
  • Keighley, Yorkshire

    Bay City, MI:
  • Bay City Stone Co.
  • Carpo Block
  • Commercial Bank
  • Congregational Church
  • First National Bank
  • MCRR Depot
  • Phoenix Block
  • Shearer Block
  • Tennant Bros & Co.
    Detroit, MI:
  • Drummond Island
    Flint High School
    Manistee Co. Court House
    Saginaw, MI:
  • First National Bank
  • People's National Bank

  • Akron
  • Dayton
  • Massillon

  • Pittsubrgh
  • Trinity Church

  • Dallas
  • Waco

  • Atlantic Great Western RR
  • Ontanago RR Co.
  • Washington State
  • WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.