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
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The Tener Book Site
The Tener Book
Finding Aid
Tener Family Photos
Previous Updates

Friday, August 26, 2005

RE: Robert "Robin" TENER (b. 1770 - d. 1857)

The Tener Blue Book tells us that Robin’s father, Thomas Tener I, was born in Ireland in 1739, and lived at his father’s home in Castlecaulfield.

Thomas’ first wife was the daughter of a linen merchant – Ann Galway: they had two sons John and Thomas. The Tener Blue Book addresses some mysterious connection to ‘possible’ descendants in America – with a last name which was changed to TANNER. (**Absent the documentation with regards to this theory, I will simply label it suspect – based upon the “researcher” being since identified as a forger and a fraud!)_

Ann Galway reportedly died in 1764, and in 1765 the story tells us that Thomas Tener I married Matilda Jebb. (**The Jebb family, originally German, included among its members John – Bishop of Limerick; Richard – a judge ogf Ireland; a Richard who was reportedly a physician to the King; and Samuel – a noted editor and classical scholar.) Samuel was Matilda’s grandfather.

Thomas and Matilda Jebb Tener had four sons: William, Richard, Isaac and Robert “Robin”, and a daughter whose name is unknown. William and Isaac formed branches of the family – which as of the printing of the TBB (1949) “have since died out.” However, I found it interesting that – at least in the TBB, this branch of the family extended itself to Cuba!

Richard Tener was a farmer, and lived in Castlecaulfield.

And, then there was Robert “Robin” Tener – our ancestor. [By our, I mean A.) my wife’s ancestor; and B.) the Tener from whom most of my research has centered upon!] Robert, more often called Robin, grew up in the linen business, became a linen merchant – buying on commission and traveling much through the north counties, where he met John Kinley, another linen merchant of Newry, Co. Down. Robin married Sarah Kinley, daughter of John and moved to Armagh in 1800. He later returned to Dungannon, where he lived on Perry Street until 1833 when he immigrated to America with the younger members of his family.

The TBB tells us, Robert “was a devout, religious man, and student of the bible, Robert founded the Church of Christ in Ireland, and passed his religious principles to his sons who were also very active in the reformation movement.”

Robert and Sarah had nine children, eight boys and one girl: all but four of whom died without issue. The TBB tells us that one son, Thomas Tener who was born in 1819 was a cabinet maker in Dungannon and them immigrated to America. He reportedly worked in New York for a few years, joined the U.S. Navy, and later went on whaling expeditions. “He married in Pittsburgh, had two children – William and Mary about whom nothing is known.” He died in Philadelphia in 1854. In 1857 he was buried at Monument Cemetery in Philadelphia. Between 1951 and 1956 after the Monument Cemetery was closed, remains were transferred to the Susquehanna Lawn, Lawnview Cemetery, in Rockledge, PA.

Only three of Robert (Robin) Tener’s children – John Kinley I, Isaac W., and Richard established traceable families.

Richard Tener, son of Robert (Robin), was born in 1806 and learned the grocery business in Dungannon, and was a bank clerk in nearby Newry. According to the Newry Commercial Telegraph January 11, 1828 issue, on Jan. 8, 1828 he married Mary Brown. The marriage took place in the home of her father - Mr. David Brown a merchant. (**Mary Brown was the sister to the wives of Henry W. Oliver and Robert Smith of Donagmore whose families were close friends of the Tener clan in both Ireland and in America.)

Richard opened a grocery business in his father’s house on Perry Street. Richard and family immigrated to America in 1855.

On July 9, 1860, Richard and family are enumerated on the U.S. Census population schedule in the 2nd Ward, City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Because his wife Mary is not included here, we suspect she died prior to 1860 – I could not locate any more specific information regarding her demise. Richard’s occupation was listed at that time as “bookkeeper”. Living with him at that time were the following:
Ann 30 years
Mary 28 years
Henry 19 years
Elizabeth 18 years
Kinley 17 years
Robert 13 years
Emily 11 years – and all of the children are listed as having been born in Ireland.

In the 1870 U S Census, Richard is still living in Philadelphia. At the same time, still living with him are listed the following: Kinley J. 26 years; Robert 24 years; Ann 40 years; Mary 38 years; and Emily J. 22 years of age.

Richard died in Philadelphia in 1880 – prior to the Census which was conducted in June.

I have written about Isaac William Tener previously. Isaac was born in 1808, was at different times in Ireland a merchant, a surveyor and an accountant. He made trips to America in 1832, 1834 and 1849: remaining in America from 1849 until his death in 1898.

This brings us to John Kinley Tener I and his family.

Earlier I had written about John K. and his wife Mary Frances. In addition, available are the letters written by Mary – which provides with some pretty detailed insight into the life in Ireland in the middle of the 19th century.

Mary and John K. Tener had six children. Quoting from the Tener Blue Book, “Of these, Francis died in his youth and Robert went to Australia to mine gold, returned in broken health, lived a few years at Moree, and died in 1860. Edward Shaw Tener, born 1861…” Edward became a land agent, married Elizabeth McDowell – daughter of a banker, remained in Ireland after emigration of the family to America, and he died without issue in 1915.

Three children – “John Kinley II, George E. and Hampden E. Tener I, established families which came to America and constitute the largest part of the Tener’s living in America today” (as of 1949).

Mary F. Tener died at her home in 1864: John Kinley remarried and moved to Scotland. He was again widowed whereupon he moved to Dublin, where he died in 1879 – and he was interred in the Tener family plot at Desertcreate.