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, January 17, 2005

1973 Tener Family Reunion, Leesburg, Virginia

What follows is the transcription of an article which was published in the Metro Virginia News on Sunday, July 8, 1973. I have recently learned that that newspaper went out of business in the 1970’s or 1980’s.

The Teners: 1873 to 1973 by Robin Lind

One hundred years ago the Tener family landed in America and last week 85 descendants gathered at George Tener’s Ardarra Farm, near Middleburg, to celebrate.

Seven brothers and three sisters made up the original contingent that came over from Ireland.

The children of George Tener and Susan Wallis, they were Robert A., Maud, George, Frank, Robert, Wallis, John, Stephen, Edward and Susan.

“My grandparents made plans to come over in May 1873,” said Miss Mary Tener, “then my grandfather took pneumonia and died. The oldest girl was 19, already married and come to the U.S.

“Well, my grandmother’s family tried to persuade her to stay in Ireland, but she was determined to come. The 10th child, Aunt Susan, was born in August after they all came over. Soon after that, grandmother died.

“Her last request was, ‘I want this family to stay together’.”

Miss Mary Tener was at the 50th Anniversary of the arrival held in Sewickley, PA., in 1923.

“As I recall there wasn’t any reunion as such. It was just nine of the ten brothers and sisters with all their children. Each of them signed a large parchment with their names and dates. My father was the youngest boy. There were two girls, then seven sons then one more girl. He was the seventh son.”

Sort Of Prolific

“You might say we’re sort of prolific,” said one young cousin.

“Yes,” replied Miss Mary, “but there used to be many more.”

The descendants who gathered Saturday, at the rolling cattle farm came from at least 12 different states: Virginia, California, Indiana, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, Illinois, Ohio and North Carolina.

These offspring of those intrepid Irish immigrants now bear surnames like Bohraus, Borden, Dietrich, Eckelberry, Faber, Haeseker, Justice, Kerkam, Laub, Lewis, Lowry, Miller, Mundy, Petrovich, Reddy, Smith, Spaulding, Strole, Walworth, Williams and of course Tener.

A family history printed in 1949 traces the family all the way back to Pierre Tenneur in France in 1139. Hugh Tener was born in Mons in 1697, and his family moved to Ireland in 1699, settling in County Tyrone.

They now make their living as farmers, teachers, bankers, lawyers, accountants and manufacturers.

National League President

One of the young children who came over became a Congressman, and then Governor of Pennsylvania. “Uncle John was also a bank president, but his greatest love was baseball.” Said Edward Tener, Jr. “He played professionally, and was president of the National League.”

“You know he was signing a bill on water resources or something like that once and a fellow came up and asked for the pen that had been used to sign the bill into law. Well, he said Uncle john would be remembered for getting the bill through, and Uncle replied, ‘Hell, I shut out the Giants once’.”

The patriarch of the clan is also named George Tener and he’s a 78-year-old dairy farmer near Mechanicsville. “I was born in ’95,” he said, “and I met all the brothers and sisters at different times.

“I last remember meeting Uncle Steve when he was driving through from Florida in ’17. He stopped by and stayed with me.

“Uncle John used to remark that you never see the family all together except at funerals. I think these reunions are a good thing. Yes, it’s a pretty big family but I don’t have much to do with it. You see, I was never married.”

“Some of my cousins here,” said his sister Roberta Tener Miller, “I have never seen before. I’m really pleased to have a chance to get to know them.”

“Let me tell you,” said the senior George Tener, “the Tener’s had a forbidding aspect but once you got to know them, they were a pretty good line of men.”

One attractive young addition to the family, on the distaff side, perked up and said, with a sparkle in her eye, “You put down that all the Tener men were tall handsome Irish men-look around. They’re always all over six feet tall.”

Middleburg’s George Tener and his wife were hosts to the assemblage. Mrs. Tener is the former Anne Powell and is the great great granddaughter of Col. Leven Powell who laid out the town of Middleburg. Her great great uncle Cuthbert Powell built Llangollen near Upperville.

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In addition to the news article, there were a number of photographs. One photo was of the assemblage of pretty much all of the Tener Clan in attendance at the 1973 reunion in front of a two story home. There was a photo identified as one of the youngest present – 19 month old Angela. There were photos of father and son both George Teners. There was a photo of ‘Miss. Mary Tener’. There was a photo of the senior George Tener in the pool with “a long lost relative, Christy” B. There was a photo of a girl doing a back flip into the pool – Miss. Lewis. And there were two photos of family sitting around: one looking over a very old photograph “Discussing the Family Tree”; and one of John Walworth and others “discussing the old days”.

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