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.

NEW! Tener Eckelberry: A Life
NEW! The Art of Renee Duke, Tener Eckelberry's First Wife
The Tener Book Site
The Tener Book
Finding Aid
Tener Family Photos
Previous Updates

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


I am not exactly sure where or when I came into possession of the following: I believe it was sent to me by a Tener descendant – TBB page 78. (**It came early in my research, and I was not that good then of marking the materials as to who my source was -- for which I am sorry.)

In any regard, we all know that Hampden E. Tener Jr., was the force behind publishing the Tener Family History – or the Tener Blue Book, AKA: TBB. He was very much into the family history, and he did a lot to aid those of us who later followed, with interest, in developing more of the history – or making an effort to bring the TBB up to date!

What follows is his ‘travelogue’ – typed notes of his trip, typed in January 1935 – and I believe several copies were made and sent to his relatives at the time. I am grateful for his secretary!

The following has not been changed as to content. Enjoy - - - - - - - - -

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New York, January 25th, 1935.

On my trip to England and Ireland July 1934, I made some rough notes which were transcribed a short time ago.

It has been suggested that some of the family might like to have a copy and I am sending you one, hoping it may be of interest.

Recently I have received a few photos from Ireland and forward prints of same herewith. (**I DO NOT KNOW WHAT PHOTOGRAPHS HE IS REFERRING TO, AND I DO NOT HAVE THEM.) Perhaps it might be well to mount them on stiffer mats if you wish to preserve them for the future.

Since writing the notes I have made a really wonderful discovery. It is the solution of the riddle of the Tener ancestry which has now been traced prior to 1400 A. D.

A professional genealogist, Mr. Gustave Anjou, Ph. D in business here since 1888 and whose work and records have princi­pally to do with European families, has furnished me at no incon­siderable expense, some 250 pages of material, including copies of wills, etc., also histories of the Erbe, Jebb, Carr and Kinley families. (**I DO NOT HAVE THESE MATERIALS, BUT IF ANY OF YOU DO, AND WOULD BE WILLING TO SHARE THEM WITH ME, PLEASE CONTACT ME!)

The pedigree chart enclosed should be inserted opposite Page 1 of "The Teners of Tyrone" to complete the Tener record. (**NOT WITH THE TRAVELOGUE.)

It is worthy of notice that Jean Tenneur of Bavay, Picardy, 1409 A.D. had armorial bearings, as had the Erbe and Jebb families.

We also know for the first time the name of Thomas Tener's first wife, who was Ann Galway, his second wife being Matilda Jebb, our ancestor.

Some of the Tenneur's (Tenere) having joined the Huguenots fled from France to the Palatinate to escape religious persecution. Afterwards some went to England and Ireland, Hugh Tener having been taken as a young boy by his uncle Henry Sommer, first to England for a short time and then to Ulster.
Hampden E. Tener

For: . . .(***This copy had been sent to “Stephen”, who I believe was Stephen Wallis TENER–page75.)

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Memo of my trip to England and Ireland
July 1934
* * * * * * * * *
After attending the Royal Agricultural Show at Ipswich I spent a week end visiting friends in the Wye Valley, near Hereford.

Returning to London, I looked up in the library of the British Museum every possible reference in an effort to trace the origin of the Teners prior to Hugh Tener settling in Ireland about the year 1700. Also of the Kinley and Carr families, but without result.

I also tried the Public Record office, the Genealogical Society and the College of Arms and paid the latter for a search as to whether a Tener Coat of Arms had ever been registered, all with negative result.

In going over the Eyre-Evans-Tener pedigree chart with Mr. Wagner, Portcullis, at the College of Arms, he intimated he thought it would be possible to work out a royal descent from King Edward 1st, which I simply mention here, but would advise taking with a double grain of salt.

I also tried in the book shops for a copy of "The Life of Bishop Jebb", but could not find one. Isaac W. Tener, brother of John Kinley Tener I, in his family history, dated San Luis Obispo, Cal., September 1889, (**** Does any one have a copy of Isaac’s writings?) mentions that his grandmother, Matilda Jebb, and of course our ancestor too, was a near relative of Judge Jebb, brother of the Bishop.

In London I called on Mr. Herbert Evans, having known of him through Mrs. Edith Tener Nesbit. He is of a collateral line, being a descendant of Thomas Evans, brother of Eyre Evans of Portrane, our ancestor. Mr. Evans is a bachelor, now in his prime, of distinguished appearance and about 6'6 in heighth.

From London I went out to Salisbury (New Sarum) Wilts. It was on the plains of Salisbury that William the Conqueror dis­banded his army and rewarded his followers.

The Cathedral in Salisbury, founded 1220 A.D., is a beautiful edifice. It replaced an older Cathedral at Old Sarum, two miles north. Its length is 473 feet; breadth 203-1/2 feet. The spire is the tallest and the cloisters rank among the finest in England. Dean Stanley refers to Westminster Abbey as being beautiful in the interior and Salisbury Cathedral beautiful in the exterior.

In the Southwest Transept there is a bust of Lord Chief Justice Hyde 1665. Also (there are) memorials to Elizabeth Hyde and Alexan­der Hyde 1667.

Francis Eyre, D. D. (son of Sir Samuel Eyre) Canon of Salisbury, ob. s.p. 1738, married Anne, daughter of Alexander Hyde, D.D., Bishop of Salisbury.

The family of Eyre came into England with William the Conqueror and settled in Wiltshire. Their common ancestor was Humphrey Le Heyr, who accompanied Richard Coeur de Lion to the Holy Land. The name of Eyre under one form or other still exists in Normandy.

I saw in old St. Thomas’ Church founded shortly before the Cathedral, Eyre Chapel and a Memorial to Thomas Eyre and his wife Elizabeth Rogers dated 1612 A.D., from whom we directly descend.

"Thomas Eyre of the Parish of St. Thomas in the City of Salisbury, sometime Alderman of that City; buried at St. Thomas’ September 10, 1628. His wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Rogers of Poole, Co. Dorset, a sister of Robert Rogers, citizen of London;
Merchant, Adventurer, a great benefactor to the Parish of St. Giles and founder of the Alms Houses, Cripplegate; she was buried at St. Thomas’ aforesaid."

For reference see the pedigree of Eyre of Salisbury. (There are several members of the Eyre family buried in St. Thomas'.)

Their son was Giles Eyre of Brickworth, Co. Wilts., about seven miles from Salisbury. His son John Eyre established Eyrecourt Estate, Co. Galway, Ireland. The latter’s granddaughter Mary Eyre married George Evans of Bulgaden Hall, Co. Limerick, our ancestors.

I motored out to Brickworth. The house is located about 400 yards from the entrance gates. The estate gives evidence of a past glory. It later passed into the possession of Lord Nelson's family. Thomas Bolton, nephew of the Admiral and who succeeded to that Earldom 1835 married Frances Elizabeth Eyre (b. 1797) of Brickworth. "Brickworth House near Salisbury, (is) an old residence in an historic deer Park" (Country Life Feb. 3, 1934). This year, 1934, part of the Estate was bought by a Mr. A. E. Bridges, but as he was in London I did not see inside the house, which I have since learned contains a fine spiral stone staircase.

I might mention here that I also visited Stonehenge, about seven mile's from Salisbury in a different direction. One is naturally filled with awe, standing amid these notable ruins and being told by the guide that they date from somewhere between 1400 B.C. and 2000 B.C.

In Nottingham, Cousin Stanley Frost accompanied me to the Nottingham General Cemetery where we saw the grave and head­stone of great grandfather James Wallis and his wife, Sarah. It is in good repair and the inscription is quite legible.

Almost adjoining is the grave and headstone of grand­father John Frost and grandmother Eliza Wallis Frost Bell, Mr. Bell being her second husband. The headstone and inscription here are also in good condition.

We then drove to the Park terrace to see the former home of great grandfather James Wallis and afterwards to Sherwood Rise where grandmother Bell lived on Hamilton Road and with whom I stayed for a year while attending the Nottingham High School.

I visited Stoke Dry, near Uppingham, Co. Rutland, where our family lived for two years before coming out to America, my brother John and myself having preceded them, coming direct from Ireland in 1882.

A most interesting place which no American traveling in England should fail to visit is Sulgrave Manor, the Ancestral home of the Washington’s. It is in Northamptonshire about 7 miles from Banbury and under control of a joint Committee of British and Americans. The guide took about 2 hours to explain everything. I would not have missed it for a good deal.

I also visited Cousin Wycliffe Black and his wife Eunice at Leicester. I was interested in having him tell me that his son Norman Black is a partner of Kaye Don in automobile racing. Norman won the Ulster International Motor Car race at Belfast 1932. Also that Tom Campbell Black, the son of his brother Milner Black of Brighton and Norman's first cousin, is air pilot for Lord Furness. We have recently read of the marvelous flight by Scott and Black from London to Melbourne in seventy-one hours.

Crossing over to Ireland I spent a delightful week end with cousin Mary Smith Gardiner in Belfast. I inquired in the Presbyterian Historical Society regarding the Kinley's and Carr's but did not obtain the information I wanted. One day we motored around the north shore of Lough Neagh through Antrim, (near which we stopped to see the famous Round Tower, 95 ft. high, dating about the 9th or 10th Century), Randallstown, Toome Bridge, Magherafelt and Moneymore to Cookstown. At the latter place I attended the Cookstown Academy as a boy, driving and sometimes riding 7 miles each way every day in all kinds of weather. I called to see an old schoolmate, Mr. Henry L. Glasgow, Publisher of the Mid-Ulster Mail, but he was not at home. A couple of days later I traveled with him on the train from Portadown to Dublin. A few miles from Cookstown we stopped at Desertcreate Churchyard to see the Tener burial plot and memorial. The latter, which was repaired in 1919 was found in fairly good condition, but will need further attention in a very few years. From there we went on to Dungannon and had lunch with Major Robert Stevenson and his wife. We then proceeded to Castlecaulfield and saw the old home of the Teners, still occupied by a Tener - Richard, a young men, with wife - and family. Did not have time to go to the Cemetery.

From there we motored to Cloughbane (*** HANDWRITTEN IN “BIRTH-PLACE OF STEPHEN W. TENER) (home of George Evans Tener and his wife Susan Wallis). There was no one about the place, but it appeared in good condition. Then to Allan, a little over a mile, the former home of Hampden Evans Tener and his wife Eliza Frost, and the birthplace of the writer. We passed Moree, almost adjoining, the former estate of grandfather John Kinley Tener and his wife Mary Frances Evans, the birthplace of my father Hampden Evans Tener, and where later he and his family lived from 1874 to 1882. It is sad to see the present condition of Allan and Moree. We then returned to Belfast, arriving late in the evening. Thus ended a busy day fraught with many memories.

Another day we motored around the coast of Antrim to Portrush. It was a particularly fine clear sunshiny day. The scenery is noted for its rugged beauty and the coast of Scotland was very distinct, being only-some 25 miles across.

Our family, when the children were quite young, drove all the way from Moree to Portrush in a wagonette, stopping en route with the Wilsons of Lecumpher near Magherafelt. It took two full days while today by auto the time would be only about two hours.

From Portrush we motored to Coleraine, about 6 miles, to see the Coleraine Academical Institution which I attended for a year or two as a boarder. The building and grounds have been considerably enlarged since that time, but I could remember some of it, especially the basement dining room, which as yet has not been remodeled. The present principal or head master is Major White, a fine type of young Scotchman. When at Portrush I called to see my old principal, T. G. Houston, M. A., now well over 90 years of age. His daughter informed me he had not been well of late, being confined to bed all the previous week, and as it was then just after dinner and he was sleeping, I insisted that he be not disturbed. We motored back to Belfast by the inland route, which gave me a very good idea as to the general character of County Antrim. One evening Bruce Joy and his wife called. He is brother of Kathleen, my brother John's wife. With Cousin Mary I called on Miss Letitia Tener who is referred to by Cousin Frank in his "Foreword" to "The Teners of Tyrone".

Left for Dublin the next day, July 23d, and went first to the National Library, where I found the "Life of Bishop Jebb" which I had spent so much time looking for in London, Nottingham and Belfast. I was fortunate in procuring a fine secondhand copy at the Bookshop of Hodges, Figgis & Co.

I also found a copy of the private edition of the Eyre family by Hartigan in the National Library, but was unable to procure a copy at the bookstores.

I had an interesting conference with Mr. Sadleir, M.A., College of Arms. He had been unable to find any trace of the origin of the Teners for which the required fee had been sent him the previous year, remarking he only knew a Shaw Tener, who had belonged to his Dublin Club and "a very courageous man". When I told him he was my uncle he expressed surprise and his interest at once became aroused. I authorized him to make a further search as to the origin of Hugh Tener and his wife Matilda Erbe. The latter name he says would indicate a Palatinate origin. He told me his grandfather occupied Kilmullen Hall for three or four years about 1809-12. He also told me he was connected in some way with the Eyre family, but I had no time to go into particulars. He said the DeVerdon family was now extinct.

July 25th I motored from Dublin through Swords to Portrane, about 12 to 14 miles distant. Our ancestor Eyre Evans who married Sarah Dixon lived here. He was the brother of George Evans, first Lord Carbery. There are now several large hospital buildings on part of the grounds.

There is a round stone memorial tower to George Evans on a promontory overlooking the Irish Sea. It must be 80 to 90 ft. high. A photo of a marble bust of this George Evans is in the Directors' room of the hospital, having this inscription:

"Photograph of marble bust of Right Honorable George Evans, M.P., presented in 1912 by Rev. T. J. Evans-Pritchard, Steventon, Berks. Eng,"

The inscription on the marble bust reads:

"To the memory of the Right Honorable George Evans,
an honest man, firm friend and true patriot. October 1844."

I noticed close by, the ruins of an old Church and in­quired if by any chance an Evans might be buried there. Imagine my surprise and feelings when the caretaker unlocked the gate and showed me inside the ruined walls the tomb of
Hampden Evans, Esq.
Who died 23rd April 1820. Aged 84 years.

And adjoining and enclosed with an iron railing broken and badly rusted the tomb of George Evans, who died 3rd July 1842. Aged 70 years.

The inscriptions are only partially legible and I am now endeavoring to have the tombstones cleaned and photographed and the inscriptions copied.

Portrane must have been an estate of several hundred acres. The land is flat and gives evidence of fertility. The house is a fine old mansion, now occupied by the Doctor for the hospital. It has a magnificent vista to the Irish Sea. The main drive to the public road is over half a mile long, partially through woods, laurel and other shrubbery,

Leaving Dublin that evening I took the train to Athy, Co. Kildare. About two miles out of the town is Farm Hill, Ardreigh, the birthplace of our grandmother Mary Frances Evans, wife of John Kinley Tener of Moree, Co. Tyrone. The present owner is Mr. Frances R. Jackson and a former owner, a Mr. McDonald. Mr. Jackson has a general merchandising store in Athy, looks in his prime and was most cordial. He bought Farm Hill House with about 20 acres and says he understands the estate originally comprised some 500 acres. He has made a good job renovating the house.

The oldest part of the house, then the front and now the rear, faces the river Barrow, a good sized slow moving stream, which at this point also serves as a canal. The addition of rooms making a new front was presumably the work of the Evans family. The house now is an old but impressive type of a country gentleman's place, nearly as large as Moree house. The rooms are of ample size, nicely proportioned and with high ceilings. It is not difficult to visualize how this old estate must have looked in its hey-day.

I could not find any trace of the Evans family. In Sr. Michael's Cemetery I was shown the tombstone of Thomas Evans (whom I cannot place) on which was inscribed;
Thomas Evans
Prospect House
Died 1900. Aged 83
and his wife
Anna Maria Died 1901, Aged 76
Further search could be made, if one had time, in another older cemetery, St. John's. There is also an old cemetery at Ardreigh. Thought Rev. Mr. Dunlop at The Rectory, Athy, might give me some information, but he was not at home.

From Athy motored to Kilmullen Hall, about 3 or 4 miles from Portarlington, and about 15 miles from Athy. This was the home of Margaret-Anne Harrison, mother of Mary Frances Evans of Farm Hill. It is now owned with about 400 acres by a Mr. Tedcastle, whose father is in the coal business in Dublin. He too was most cordial. The house must be at least 200 years old, but is in a good state of preservation, having been restored by the present owner. The rooms here are also large and well proportioned. It compares very favorably with Farm Hill house and Moree house.

From Kilmullen I motored through Portarlington, Tullamore (had lunch at a very good small hotel) and Clara to Banagher, where I stayed the night at the Shannon Hotel.

At the suggestion of Mr. Figgis, bookseller, of Dublin, I called at Mrs. Butson's house, but she was not at home. She is an Eyre.

The following day I hired for all day an automobile from Mr. O'Sullivan, the owner of the Hotel, who drove his own car.

We went to Eyrecourt first. The entrance and the drive to the house indicate what a splendid demense this must have been in by-gone days. The whole estate comprising about 500 acres was bought at the auction sale in 1926 by a Mr. Howard for £5,000. The magnificent oak staircase brought ₤4,000 and I believe is now in some English castle. The house is unoccupied and going to ruin. It is a substantial building, but could not be considered elegant. The ruins of an old castle are in the rear. The house, according to Mrs. Aldridge, sister of Mrs. Butson, and who lives quite close to Eyrecourt, is Jacobean and built in the time of Charles, the Second. The Irish Illustrated Journal, date May 1893, contains this mention under the title "Some Old English Mansions":
"Eyrecourt Castle, the country seat of the Eyre family, is situated just outside the Post Town of Eyrecourt, County of Galway. It is a fine old building and is very spacious.

It contains what is supposed to be the finest staircase in Ireland, made of massive oak and exquisitely carved by Dutch carvers who case over for that purpose.

Over the hall door is a panel with this inscription 'Welcome to the House of Liberty'.

During the end of last-and beginning of present century the rent roll was well over £30,000 a year.

(The) Present occupant (1893) William Gregory Eyre, Esq., J.P. He is a young man and having started for himself in America, may yet retrieve the fallen fortunes of the family."

From there motored on to Portumna and saw where Uncle Edward lived while Agent for Lord Clanricarde. At the Lodge gate I met Mrs. Harris who was there in Uncle Edward’s time and remembers well "Mrs. Smith (Cousin Roberta) and her daughter Mary".

Continued on to Limerick and saw the great Hydro-Electric Power Plant on the Shannon built by German engineers and workmen at a cost of over £10,000,000.

Proceeded to Kilmallock via Bruff over the road described in "A Tale of Bulgaden Hall".

(The Balbec or Baalbek of Ireland - see Encyclopedia)

The Estate of Lord Daresbury, Mount Coote, is distant about two miles and was purchased from Sir Algernon Coote of the distinguished Coote family within recent years.

I stayed with Mr. Henry M. Fildes, Agent, whom I had visit­ed in 1919 and a couple of weeks before had seen at the Royal show in England. He lives in a spacious modernized house "Riversfield" on the property. The estate is extensive; and located in the Golden Vale, so called for the richness of its soil, which is underlaid with limestone. The grass is exceedingly nutritious for horses and cattle and indeed all livestock. Beef cattle can be finished on grass alone in 60 to 90 days. The main house has a setting in beautiful grounds and looks down a lawn about 300 yards to a little lake or lagoon formed by the River Loobagh, while across the lake are meadows in which Dairy Shorthorns are seen at pasture. There are many grand old trees branching to the ground. I noticed particu­larly the copper beeches and one enormous old chestnut said to be about 600 years old.

The White Knight lies buried in the old abbey at Kilmallock. He was Maurice FitzGerald, noted in Irish History. See Chapter "The White Knight's Tomb" from "The Romance of the Aristocracy" by Burke. The abbey, in ruins, is now under the control of the Irish Archeological Society.

"The Abbey and adjoining lends were granted to Sir Philip Coote, brother of the first Earl of Mountrath, and are now (1855) in the possession of his descendant, Charles Chidley Coote, Esq. of Mount Coote. From an elder branch of this ancient family came the celebrated Sir Eyre Coote, the Conqueror of Hyder Ali. He was the sixth son of the Rev. Chidley Coote, D.D. by Jane Evans, sister of George, first Lord Carbery, and was born at Ash Hill, now (1855) the residence of Eyre Evans, Esq., though the old house which witnessed the first appearance in life of this hero, who was the means of adding so much to our Indian Empire, is now in ruins, the present mansion being on a different site." "From the Romance of the Aris­tocracy, 1855"

After seeing the herd of Dairy Shorthorns, Mr. Fildes drove me to the site of what was formerly Bulgaden Hall, the home of the Hon. George Evans, who married Mary Eyre of Eyrecourt, the parents of George Evans, the first Lord Carbery and of his brother Eyre Evans of Portrane, our ancestor.

It is situated about three miles from Mount Coote on a gently rising hill. On top the view is extensive and magnificent in all directions, especially looking towards the Ballyhouras and Galtee mountains. The village of Bruff, also the ruins of Ballygrennane Castle are easily seen about three miles to the north,

There is nothing now to indicate the former glories of Bulgaden save some ruins, presumably of an old chapel, some small stone outbuildings, remains of wine cellars, old walls and one stone gatepost about ready to tumble down. A portion of the foundation of the house can be traced.

When the Land Commission purchased the property from Lord Carbery he gave or sold the site of the mansion with some land to two former bailiffs who live in two cottages on the place. One of them told me that the old mansion according to tradition con­tained 365 rooms.

A most interesting thing I saw there is an old marble slab, broken in two pieces, lying in the grass, about 8'6 long, 16" wide, 6" thick. Dated 1583 A.D. This ante dates the occupancy of George Evans and Mary Eyre.

Another estate of George Evans was Caherass, about 12 miles distant. I did not see it but was told the house is burned down and the property now owned by Mr. O'Grady. Milltown Castle, Co. Cork, former home of Thomas Evans is now owned by Claude Keane and was told it is in poor repair.

We then proceeded to the ruins of Ballygrennane Castle. It is on flat ground about a mile from the Village of Bruff. It was surely an immense place, as indicated by the extensive walls. It was the home of Colonel George Evans, whose wife was Ann Bowerman, parents of Hon. George Evans, who married Mary Eyre. It is now owned by a farmer who has 40 acres connected with it. He has a very good herd of non-pedigree Dairy Shorthorns. One cow has milked over 80 lbs. per day. Sheds have been built against a part of the old walls both on the inside and outside, in which are housed cattle, crops, implements, carts, etc. The owner did not know of any Evans’ family vault referred to in Burke's "Romance of the Aristocracy 1855",

Next we visited Ash Hill Towers, about a mile from Kilmallock on the road to Cork. This was formerly the home of Rev. Chidley Coote who married Jane Evans, sister of George Evans and Eyre Evans. It is now owned by Captain Lindsay, an old sea captain, having been left to him by a Mrs. Weldon. He has another place in County Tipperary and another in County Cork "Bridestones". Ash Hill Towers almost resembles a fortress and because of its great size the British in periods of trouble in the past have occupied it as a barrack. Now it is, with the outbuildings, in a state of dilapi­dation. Captain Lindsay had just arrived for a few days, but I cannot imagine anyone staying in the place for even one night. It is stripped of furniture and furnishings. The Captain has sold some antiques, getting as much as £5 each for a few old wine glasses. There is one beautiful Adam marble mantelpiece for which he was offered £300. The only article connected with the Evans family still left is a boar's head.

The wide imposing staircase, with its broad low easy treads is entirely bare of furnishings. Over the doorway facing the court is the inscription "Mihi Vosbique" meaning "Mine and Yours".

About 400 yards away there is a part of an old stone archway or gate, said to be a part of and on the site of old Mount Coote Castle.

According to Mr. Fildes, Agent, Lord Daresbury con­sidered buying Ash Hill Towers before acquiring Mount Coote, but could not get enough land with it.

County Limerick has many places of interest where various members of the Evans family lived and one could easily spend a couple of weeks looking up these old historic landmarks, or what is left of them.

Next day Mr. Fildes motored me to Cork as I was booked to sail on the S. S. "Georgia" for home.

Hampden E. Tener