The Tener Family

This is a journal kept by Dennis Holmes and friends concerning the Tener Family.
The links below will take you to the "Tener Blue Book" - "TENER: A History of the Family in France, Ireland and America"; and to a Finding Aid.

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Thursday, July 22, 2004

Hampden Evans Tener, Jr

I think that we all 'know' Hampden as the relative from Montclair New Jersey who was 'responsible' for printing the family history book, "TENER: A History of the Family in France, Ireland and America."  Many times I heard my mother-in-law refer to 'Uncle Hampden' in stories of the family history, and his kindness' and generosities.  He was very much into his family history, and his efforts to discover the family history began early on through his many trips to Ireland.

H.E. Tener, Jr., born in Allen House County Tyrone Ireland on November 7, 1865.  He was the oldest of twelve children born to Hampden Evans Tener I and Eliza Frost Tener.  We learn that his early education occurred "at Nottingham, England, and at Coleraine Academical Institute and the Ireland and Cookstown Academy, both in Ireland." (1)

According to the Tener family book, page 69, he immigrated to the United States in 1882 with his brother John.  By 1882 the family home Moree was sold and Hampden's father and the rest of the family moved to Stoke Dry, England.

Hampden was quick to gain employment.  The Tener family book tells us of the relationship between the Tener's of Tyrone County, and the steel family in Pittsburgh - Henry W. Oliver Jr.  (*See Tener book pages 55 - 57.)  Hampden's first employment was with Oliver Brothers & Phillips, iron and steel manufacturers of Pittsburgh.  Between 1884 and 1887, Hampden was associated with Continental Tube Works, Ltd.

In 1884 Hampden's family immigrated to America, and settled in Pittsburgh. 

Conducting a search of the 1880 U S Census, through, we discover that there were fifteen TENER's listed as living in Pennsylvania - and four of those were described as having been born in Ireland (Edward H., Harry B., Elizabeth and "Kinsey" - who is actually Kinley) TENER's were identified as having been born in Pennsylvania.

The Carnegie Steel Company Limited was organized April 1, 1881, as Carnegie Brothers & Co, Limited, and changed on July 1, 1892 by amended articles of association to its then present title with a paid up capital of $25,000,000.  In John M. Kelly's "J.M. Kelly's handbook of Greater Pittsburgh: … was originally published in 1895, page A57, listed "H. E. Tener, Jr., Assistant Secretary."  I had heard through several family stories that he was at one point the assistant to Andrew Carnegie.  This seems to confirm that family 'story'.

On November 1, 1887, Hampden entered employment with Carnegie in the offices of Hartman Steel Company, Ltd., a subsidiary of Carnegie, Phipps Steel Company LTD.  Hampden subsequently occupied the following positions:
Assistant Treasurer, Hartman Steel Company, Ltd.
Chief of Order Department, Carnegie, Phipps & Company, Ltd.
Assistant Secretary, Carnegie, Phipps & Company, Ltd.
General Agent, Carnegie Steel Company.

Hampden E. Tener Jr. was naturalized in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He became a Citizen of the United States on April 16, 1892. (2)

In the Pittsburgh City Directory for years 1893-1894 there is a listing for Hampden Tener residing at 1429 Bluff.  In addition, the directory lists his occupation at that time as, "clerk".

In the Pittsburgh City Directory for 1894-1895, he is listed as residing at 272 Fisk. 

The Pittsburgh City Directory for 1897-1898 lists Hampden Tener living at 5110 Harriet.  In this same directory his occupation is listed as "Chief of Shipping Department, Carnegie Steel."  I would like to remind the reader that at this time Hampden is a young man of about thirty-two years of age: and a recently naturalized immigrant.

In 1898, sometime prior to February 9, Hampden E. Tener became a junior Carnegie Partner.  Illustrating how Mr. Carnegie encouraged and inspired his young men, the following letter from Mr. Carnegie in his own handwriting was received by Mr. Tener upon his admission to the firm:
                                         Allerton, Cannes Feby 9th, 1898.

My Dear Mr. Tener
The President said you would appreciate a note of congratulations from me upon your admission to the firm and here it is from the heart.
He has told me more about you and your service than I had the means of knowing although I know the valuable part you play in Supt. Meetings.
I am sure you are worthy of the promotion and I shall watch your career with interest, hope, and let me assure you, with full faith in your continual advancement.
With best wishes
Truly yours always,
(signed) Andrew Carnegie (3)

I have the impression that not all was positive within the higher ranks of the Carnegie Steel Company, Ltd. And there was a legal battle within the organization - resulting in a notice of "ejecture".  I don't know exactly what that means - but the document appears to request that one partner, Henry C. Frick, "sell, assign, and transfer" all of his interest in the Company. This notice was signed on the 10th and 11th days of January, 1900, by thirty-two men - including Andrew Carnegie, Charles Schwab, and Hampden Tener, "being three-fourths in number of the persons holding interest" and "three-fourths in value of said interests".  This leads me to believe that Hampden was a significant share holder in Carnegie Steel.

Now, at about this time there were a number of what appear to be secret meetings that perhaps addressed litigation, but in any regards did address a possible merger of Carnegie Steel and the Frick Companies.  Meetings were held at the Carnegie home in New York - March 17, 1900, a Saturday.

Fearing that the newspapers would get wind of this, a meeting of the Board was set for Atlantic City, for the next Monday, and they were instructed to bring their wives - to lessen suspicion!  (*Can you imagine what would happen if this were to occur today within a widely - perhaps publicly - held company?)  A merger was finally agreed upon - and that merger document referred to holdings of the various partners as of, and their "book values", April 1, 1899.

Those book values were then published.  From those lists we discover that Hampden E. Tener's interest in Carnegie Steel Company, Ltd. consisted of the following:  Personal Account = $48,690.11, value of Stock = $277,777.78, and value of Frick Coal Co. stock = $22,833.14.  In a separate, attached document, we learn that Hampden Tener also owned $150,000 in bonds "of the Carnegie Company, as formed or organized after the Frick-Carnegie suit." 

According to the book on the Carnegie Veteran Association, Hampden retired from Carnegie Steel Co. in 1900 "owing to impaired health".  But, just maybe - once we see what else he did later - might he just not want to have worked for United States Steel?  Ill health indeed! ! ! ! !

The Pittsburgh City Directory for 1900-1901 lists Hampden's occupation as, "General Agent, Carnegie Steel, LTD,  514 Carnegie Building".

In 1901 he became involved in the banking interests in New York City.  He was a Director of the Irving National Bank from 1902 until its merger, Jan. 1, 1907, with The New York National Exchange Bank.  Shortly after this consolidation, he was elected a Trustee of the Irving Savings Bank.  He became Chairman of the Finance Committee of that bank in 1908, and President in 1910 - continuing in that position until January 1937, when he resigned and was elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

The first annual dinner for the Carnegie Veterans Association was held in the Carnegie home, Fifth Avenue and Ninety-first Street, New York City, on December 18, 1902.  Subsequent annual dinners were held there until 1915.  Between 1916 and 1932 most of the annual dinners were hosted at the home of Charles Schwab, also of New York.  In 1933, and on, the annual event was held at the Union League Club in New York City.

Hampden E. Tener Jr. was one of the organizers of the Fidelity Trust Company, in 1907 and became a member of its Board of Directors.

He was a Director of the Montclair Trust Company, New Jersey since 1907, and the Bloomfield Bank & Trust Co. since 1910.

About 1910 a retirement fund was established called "The United States Steel and Carnegie Pension Fund" and it would go into effect on January 1, 1911.  Hampden was listed as both a Trustee and a member of the Finance Committee.  (See John A Fitch, "The Steel Workers" 1910, New York, Charities Publication Committee.)  He was a Trustee of this pension fund until 1915.

In 1912, he was also one of the organizers of the Fidelity Safe Deposit Company - and he was a members of its Board of Directors at least until 1937.

In 1920 the Fidelity Trust Company was merged with International Bank as the Fidelity-International Trust Company, which in turn was merged in 1926 with the Coal & Iron National Bank, under the old name Fidelity Trust Company.  In 1930 that company was merged with the Marine Midland Trust Company, of which Hampden Tener became a Director.

Hampden was named Secretary of the Carnegie Veteran Association in 1922: reading the chart in the book, it could be presumed he held that position until the book was published in 1938. In addition, he became Treasurer of the CVA in 1930: again, one could presume he held that position until the book was published.

By Nov. 13, 1937 there were just eight surviving members.  The remaining forty-three were listed as having "passed on to the undiscovered country from whose borne no traveler returns."

At one time or another he had held memberships in "The Pilgrims of the United States"; was a member and Vice President of "The Pennsylvania Society of New York"; and Orange County Society - New York, Ulster-Irish Society - New York, The Union League Club - New York, and The Bankers Club - New York.

According to The Carnegie Veteran Association book, Hampden had an "avocation" of farming, specializing in pedigree cattle.  Walgrove Farm, which he acquired around (or before) 1922, was one mile from the Village of Washingtonville, Orange Co., New York, and eight miles from Goshen.  It became famous as the home of "Goldsmith Maid" the foremost trotting horse of her day, also "Volunteer", son of Hambletonian 10, and other celebrated horses.

Hampden's church affiliation was with the Christian and Congregational Churches.

       Hampden Tener died in 1948.  One person told me that Hampden, who died a single man, had made legacies in his will for over one hundred and fifty people!  I viewed the document - it is true.  There was a "recapitulation of the Beneficiaries" which listed:
       brothers and sisters                4
       brother-s in law and sisters-in law       2
       nephews and nieces                   20
       nephews and nieces in law         17
       grand nephews and nieces        42
       grand "              " in law           5
       cousins                             2  Total Family = 92
       Secretary                            1
       Staff, Tradesmen, friends              18
       Irving Savings Bank empl.                  20
       Institutions                         11  Total other  = 60

In 1938, Hampden served with Charles W. Baker and William B. Dickson as the Committee on Publication of the History of the Carnegie Veteran Association.  The book was published in Montclair New Jersey in 1938.  While it seems as if the group was formed in 1902, the book lists a mere 49 members: including the wife and daughter of Andrew Carnegie, and the wife of Charles Schwab.

Andrew Carnegie wrote of his affinity for this group in his own autobiography:  "Do not let it be thought, however, that my younger partners were forgotten, or that they have not played a very important part in sustaining me in the effort of reconciling myself to the new conditions. Far otherwise! The most soothing influence of all was their prompt organization of the Carnegie Veteran Association, to expire only when the last member dies. Our yearly dinner together, in our own home in New York, is a source of the greatest pleasure,-so great that it lasts from one year to the other. Some of the Veterans travel far to be present, and what occurs between us constitutes one of the dearest joys of my life. I carry with me the affection of "my boys." I am certain I do. There is no possible mistake about that because my heart goes out to them.
This I number among my many blessings and in many a brooding hour this fact comes to me, and I say to myself: "Rather this, minus fortune, than multi-millionairedom without it-yes, a thousand times, yes."
Many friends, great and good men and women, Mrs. Carnegie and I are favored to know, but not one whit shall these ever change our joint love for the "boys." For to my infinite delight her heart goes out to them as does mine. She it was who christened our new New York home with the first Veteran dinner. "The partners first" was her word. It was no mere idle form when they elected Mrs. Carnegie the first honorary member, and our daughter the second. Their place in our hearts is secure. Although I was the senior, still we were "boys together." Perfect trust and common aims, not for self only, but for each other, and deep affection, moulded us into a brotherhood. We were friends first and partners afterwards. Forty-three out of forty-five partners are thus bound together for life."   Autibiography of Andrew Carnegie, published in 1920


1.  Hampden Tener obituary in the Pittsburgh Press, August 29, 1948

2. This fact was developed by reviewing the ship manifests from various vessels on which Hampden arrived in the Port of New York; and which are available on line through the web site

3. Dickson, William Brown, 1865-1942.:  History of Carnegie veteran association ... compiled at their request by William B. Dickson.  Publ. 1938 Montclair NJ Press, Pg 121