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
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007


After the death of George E. Tener – son of John Kinley Tener I, his wife decided to go through with their plans to go to America. She held an auction, put the farm (Cloughbane) up for sale, paid off their debts, packed up what she decided to take with her, and sailed off for America. They arrived May 13, 1873.

Susan Wallis Tener was pregnant when she went through this life altering move, and a few months after arriving in America – barely getting settled in Pittsburgh, she delivered her tenth child. As I understand it there were complications – as we recall it was 1873 – and shortly thereafter Susan passed away. The tradition goes that on her death bed she asked the oldest boys to “keep the family together”. And, keep the family together they did.

The clocks ticks away: days roll into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years!

There was a lot of communication within the family as they grew older, married, had families, and relocated. And yet they remained ‘close’.

By way of a half century celebration the surviving siblings – nine of the ten, got together and held a fiftieth anniversary celebration. On that day they also signed a “Roll Call” – the full text of which appears here:

----- 1873 ------------------------------------------------ 1923 -----
Fiftieth Anniversary and Roll Call
Fifty Years ago today, we the children of
George Evans and Susan Wallis Tener

Arrived with our Mother in the United States, and desire on this Anniversary to make this Memorandum of the Day, as for ourselves and for our children. Father having died in March 1873 we left Cloughbane House in County Tyrone Ireland, and sailing from Liverpool in the good ship “Canada” a steamer with sails as well, we arrived in New York on ----------------------------------------------- May 13th, 1873 ---------------------------------- being thirteen days on the sea which was considered fair speed in those days.
We were met on landing by James Smith, Roberta’s husband and then came directly to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where our brother George awaited us: he and Roberta having preceded us to this Country. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ No attempt will be made here to recount the many incidents or occurrences that have taken place in our several lives during these fifty years.------------------------------------------------- Yet there are three events that have occurred in these years which have touched the family as a whole and therefore deserve that they be mentioned here. Four months after we arrived in August 1873 our beloved Mother died leaving us the baby Susan. This loss was shocking and irreparable We well remember her last words to us which were that we should keep together and in touch with each other at all time and this very wise advice we are glad to say has for the most part been carried out. --------------------------------------------- In the year 1911 John became Governor of Pennsylvania, serving the four years with great credit to the State and to himself. Of this distinction, we as a family were naturally very proud. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- On the 9th of May 1913 Robert died suddenly at his home near Richmond, Va. And we laid him near out Mother in the Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh. This was the first and only break to this time in the family.
Individually we have shared the common lot of all mankind with its joys and many sorrows, yet there is much to be thankful for in the lives of each of us, of which we cannot but regard the fact that nine brothers and sisters, alive and answering “present” at this Roll Call, is one to which we must point with very great satisfaction. We are unanimous about this.
Roll Call May 13th, 1923

(s) Roberta (age 70) (s) Wallis (age 61)
(s) Maud (age 67) (s) John (age 59)
(s) George (age 66) (s) Stephen (age 58)
(s) Frank (age 64) (s) Edward (age 56)
(s) Robert died May 9, 1913 (s) Susan (age 49)

(*I am grateful that this document was shared with me. I received a photocopy in the mail; and I saw another at the induction of Gov. John K Tener to the Mid-Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame in PA in June 2006.)