Youngest son of Samuel T. Bicknell and Mary B. Wallace, of Blount and Maury Cos., TN. He moved to Ft. Worth, TX, in the mid-1880s and got a job as a clerk at the old Pickwick Hotel, gaining a reputation for his efficiency and friendliness. In early 1889, he moved back to TN, where he was offered a position at the Gayosa Hotel in Memphis. Several months later, he wed Lizzie McMackin Prestridge, of MS, with whom he would have two children. Eventually, the Bicknells returned to TX, where Jesse spent several decades operating another Ft. Worth hotel.