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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Monday, July 26, 2004

More on Hampden E. Tener Jr.

In the last posting there was mention of Hampden Tener's hobby farm!  It was much more than that, I think.

In the Tener book, page 70, there is just a passing comment upon his involvement with the shorthorn cows:  "a President of the American Shorthorn Breeder's Association and the American Milking Shorthorn Society."  I would like to also point out another Tener family reference to the Shorthorn cattle: Tener book, page 64, 'George Evans Tener 1856-1923. . . . after retirement from active business in 1918 his chief interests were in raising short horn cattle on his farm near Sewickley, PA'

My wife's mother had told me that "Uncle Hampden" would acquire bulls during his trips to Ireland and bring them back to America with him. 

When we visited Montclair New Jersey we located a brochure in a Tener file at the public library there.  In the file was a photocopy of a catalog of an auction to be held Wednesday, March 20, 1940 of "THE ENTIRE WALGROVE HERD"  I think I read someplace that the farm was the Walgrove Farm, which was located in Washingtonville, New York.

This catalog identified the auctioneers as B.B. Allen of Ravenna Ohio, and E.M. Granger of Thompsonville, Conn.  The Sale Manager was listed as W. Arthur Simpson of Lyndonville, Vermont. 

What followed was "A Message from Mr. Tener" -

"It is with a tinge of sadness and certainly with sincere regret that I have decided to disperse of my well known Walgrove Herd of Milking Shorthorns established in 1915.

"To the breeders and numerous friends and acquaintances all over the United States I wish to explain why it is necessary at this time.

"Eddie Drake, my manager for the past eighteen years has accepted a position April 1st to manage an estate of 1500 acres where dairying is not required.  I am very glad that he has been offered this opportunity to better his position.

"To him I give great credit and due appreciation for his conscientious part in the development and upbuilding of the herd.  It has been no hit or miss task.  No great herd, no successful business has ever just happened. It is only realized through devotion to duty and much thoughtful effort.  Eddie has been an indefatigueable worker, knowing no hours except those of early morning until late at night.  I could not hope to find a suitable man to take his place.

"Furthermore, the condition of my health, which became impaired over three years ago, makes it imperative at my age to reduce my responsibilities to a minimum, plan to be less active, and take life easier.

"When I first became interested in live stock, and let me say I admire good cattle of all breeds, there were very few breeders of Milking Shorthorns in this country.  After investigating and considering breeds, both beef and dairy, I became convinced of the inherent merits of the dual-type Bates Shorthorn,. Combining to the highest degree in my opinion, the essential qualities for both beef and milk production, and as the animal best adapted for the general farmer.

"I was further confirmed in my decision after a visit to the Old Country at the close of the World War and on many occasions since.  It was indeed a revelatiomn to see so many good herds and to find that the Dairy Shorthorn as it is known over there, is the most popular, outnumbers all other breeds combined and continues to maintain its supremacy to the present time.

       "Also I must acknowledge particularly the influence of the Glenside and other good herds in Bradford County, Pa., which we were strikingly impressive.

       "Here I stop to pay a tribute to that master breeder, the late L.D. May, whose personality and fame will long be remembered and who accomplished so much for the advancement and betterment of the breed.

       "Nor would I forget Mr. frank Brace, a near neighbor of Mr. May, who is still carrying on as a constructive breeder in his own quiet efficient way.

       "He is was who bred such grand cows as Butter Girl (20,325.8), Dairy Maid (19,066.5) and Brookside Hester (17,984.5), all half-sisters.  They were bought at $1000 each when young, the records being made at Walgrove.

       "They were an outstanding trio of foundation cows.  Their value is seen through their descendants, several of which are in the sale, while others have been sold from time to time.

       "It is my experience that the best are the cheapest in the long run and that is true of most everything.

       "Rome was not built in a day.  It has taken nearly a quarter of a century on concentrated effort to develop Walgrove Herd to its present high standing.  It is Fereral accredited for both T.B. and Bangs and I believe it is not too much to say the herd is now the best.

       "Today Walgrove breeding is scattered through most of the States and it is with full appreciation that we constantly hear from satisfied buyers whose herds have been improved by purchases made from us.

       "It will be some time before 100 head of equal quality and uniformity are offered for public appraisal.  It is for you who attend the sale to judge.

       "In conclusion let me say that the breed has made remarkable progress since I first started.  If I have made some small contribution, as many have been kind enough to say, I am doubly pleased and amply repaid, while in the ever widening circle of friends I have known over the years I have found the greatest pleasure and satisfaction.

       "In passing the torch I have held so long to others, I do so with full confidence that they will carry on to greater heights of achievement, also that another 25 years will see continued improvement in quality and performance and a greater increase in the number of herds all over this great country to an extent that we can scarcely dream possible.
                           Hampden E. Tener
                                                      March 1st, 1940
Washingtonville, N.Y.

       Following the letter from Hampden E. Tener, there was further description of the herd for sale, which was written by the Sales Manager W.A. Simpson:


The dispersion of the Walgrove Herd of Milking Shorthorns owned by Hampden E. Tener is an outstanding event in Milking Shorthorn history.

In point of numbers, in breeding and in those qualities of type, individuality, good udders and uniform high production, the herd is unique and stands without peer in America.  It is sold in the period of its highest excellence, the animals are all young and it is sold intact.  No draft from the herd has ever been offered at public auction and this sale includes those animals, which, under the breeding procedure followed from the foundation of the herd, are for the first time offered for public appraisal.  Add to this that the entire herd is in wonderful health being accredited for both Bangs and T.B. and the importance and value of this offering cannot be too highly emphasized.  The esteem in which the herd is held and the demand which exists for its productions are demonstrated by the fact that except for the four herd sires there is no bull calf on the farm unsold above the age of three months.  Not in this writers experience has there been a more forcible proof of the value of a herd of purebred cattle.

Mr. Tener established the Walgrove Herd at Washingtonville, NY about twenty five years ago after the most careful study.  Convinced of the then superiority of cattle carrying Glenside and allied blood, he became the most consistent purchaser of Bradford County (Penn.) cattle for more than fifteen years, buying chiefly from Mr. L. D. May, Mr. Frank Brace and Mr. Finley Hubbard.  From such foundation came many of the breeds high record cows as bred and developed by Mr. Tener and his herdsman and farm manager, Mr. Eddie Drake.  Fillpail Record a son of General Clay and Fillpail Lassie by Cyrus Clay, purchased in the 1917 Glenside Sale for $775.00, was the first Walgrove sire to establish the upbuilding of the herd.  He sired 17 qualified R. M. daughters.

He was followed by Royal Knight already a proven sire who was by Royal Darlington out of Hazel Rose.  He sired no less than 56 daughters that made qualifying records although not all were entered in the Record of Merit.  These great bulls were the progenitors of the herd as it existstoday; for over a period of nearly 25 years virtually no outcross bulls have been used in the herd, new blood being introduced only through sons of great cows.  Among the bulls to make their mark in the herd were the following:

(***what followed were a listing of the bulls, sires, daughters and their records, and the lineage of several 'families' and their records.  Since I am a 'city boy' the records, weights do not mean anything to me.)

"It should be emphasized that this herd not only represents 25 years of careful and constructive breeding on Mr. Tener's part, but was established on Bradford County foundations equally old making over fifty years of breeding along similar lines, a record unparalleled in the history of American Milking Shorthorns.

"No less that 46 cows from the herd have qualified for and will be entered in Volume 25 of the Milking Shorthorn Year Book and practically all of them are now in the herd and in the sale.  This makes a total of 572 records (Volume 10 to 25 inclusive) averaging 10,015.2 lbs."

(signed)  W. Arthur Simpson
    Lyndonville, Vt.
    Feb. 20, 1940

I do not know the results of that sale.  Efforts will be made to try and locate a record of the sale.  If located, it will be added at a later time.

In the October 1948 issue of the Milking Shorthorn Journal there was an obituary for Hampden E. Tener.  That article is transcribed below:


We know that all Milking Shorthorn people will learn with much sorrow that one of the breed's foremost advocates, Hampden E. Tener, passed away at his home in Montclair New Jersey on Friday, August 27th.  Funeral services were held in the home and internment was in Pittsburgh, Penn.  He was 82 years of age.

To Milking Shorthorn people, Mr. Tener was best known for his Walgrove Herd of Milking Shorthorns at Washingtonville, N.Y., a herd that was of long standing and dated back to 1912.  The dispersal of that herd made history.  In fact, the cattle of Walgrove breeding are responsible for much of the rapid growth within the breed during the past two decades.

A highly respected gentleman, a friend of all who knew him, Mr. Tener was a well known figure at Milking Shorthorn gatherings during his many years as a breeder.  He was President of the Milking Shorthorn Society as well as President of the American Shorthorn Breeder's Association during his activity with the breed.

Up until the time of his death he was Honorary Chairman of the Board of the Irving Savings Bank, New York.  Born in County Tyrone, Ireland, Mr. Tener was educated in England and Ireland and began work in America with Oliver Brothers and Phillips of Pittsburgh, Pa. and later was associated with the Continental Tube Works, Ltd.; Pittsburgh.  He later became a junior partner in Carnegie Steel Company.  He came to New York in 1901 and entered the banking field in which he was engaged until his semiretirement several years ago.  His purchase of Walgrove Farms and the development of the Walgrove herd is a matter of history, marking a special page in the history of the Milking Shorthorn cattle.  It was but a short time ago that the office of the Society received congratulations from Mr. Tener on the advancement of the breed and expressing his pleasure that the breed of his choice had made such rapid strides in progress.

A grand gentleman has passed on.  He will live on in the many kindly acts and honesty of purpose that was part of the man.  Milking Shorthorn cattle benefited by his having a hand in their development and progress.

The world generally is the better for his having been given a long and useful life in its service."

And lastly, in an obituary which was published in the Montclair Times (?) page 6, September 2, 1948:  Mr. Tener who was unmarried leaves two sisters, Mrs. Hubert C. Tener of Point Chautauqua, N.Y., and Mrs. Hyde of Cambridge, Mass, and two brothers, Robert W. of Schellsburg, Pa., and Wilfrid Tener of Montclair.

July 25, 2004    D.C. Holmes