The Tener Family

This is a journal kept by Dennis Holmes and friends concerning the Tener Family.
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Monday, July 09, 2007

Edward Shaw TENER

Photo of Edward Shaw TENER , circa 1910
Being retired has some benefits! One gets to spend a lot of time pursuing their interests – and mine is Tener Family stories. My mother in law (TBB page 80) was visiting recently and while she was here, during discussions, I wanted to show her some materials on Edward Shaw Tener. It was at that point I ‘discovered’ that I had not written a story on Edward, and I decided that I would do so after she left.

On page 25 of ‘TENER: A History of the Family in France Ireland and America” we are told that Edward, the second youngest of the children of John Kinley and Mary Frances Evans TENER, became an agent for the estate of Lord Clanricarde. Additionally we were told that he married Elizabeth McDowell and died in 1915 without children. But, this will be about his being a land agent for Lord Clanricarde.

We can locate a book written in 1888 by William Henry HURLBURT, “Ireland Under Coercion”. I do not know much about Mr. Hurlburt, other than he was an American; but the book purportedly addresses, at least in part, some contact that he had had with a land agent of Lord Clanricarde – Mr. Tener, between January and June 1888. While he does not further provide additional descriptors of this “Mr. Tener” I am very confident that he is referring to Edward Shaw Tener: perhaps after reading this, you will agree? (*See how the pieces are already falling into place!)

We do not know much about Edward’s early life. We know he was the son of John K. and Mary Tener, and was born in County Tyrone in 1831. From Mary’s letters we know that he suffered a fever in 1846: it was severe enough for her to worry, and to write her friend, Mrs. Cole in Dublin, about his ailment, and her concerns.

Edward and his brother John K. Tener II went off to America in 1847 to obtain an education at Bethany College under the artful and religious instruction of Alexander Campbell. John stayed only two or three years, but Edward remained for the full four year course of education. (*Their journey to America with Eliza Davies is documented in her book, “The Story of an Earnest Life”, published in Cincinnati in 1881 by Central Book Concern. Also posted on the Tener family web site: )

Edward excelled in many of his classes in Bethany. In addition, he demonstrated his leadership abilities – to some degree, for we learn he was president of the Neotrophian Society of Bethany College during the Fall of 1850. (Note: In the event you may not be aware, Bethany College is located in Bethany, W. VA. It was founded in March 1840 – and was strongly financially supported by John Kinley Tener I. But that is another story.)

Edward graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree on July 4, 1851: it seems in those earlier years of the college, graduation occurred on July 4. Scholar that he was, he was called upon to provide one of the commencement speeches. Alexander Campbell, president and founder of that fine institution, was so taken by the speech he had it published - in toto - in his Millennial Harbinger in September that year. A. Campbell introduced it in that publication as follows: “The following oration delivered at the late Commencement of Bethany College, by Mr. Edward Tener, of Ireland, we deem worthy of the pages of the Harbinger; not as the only one of that day, either in composition or good taste, worthy of so appearing; but it’s subject matter, equally with its other merits – its congeniality with the spirit of the age and the character of our political institutions, lead me to think that it will be both useful and pleasing to a great majority of our readers. A. C.”

In March 1863 in the Millennial Harbinger there was a poem written by Edward S Tener. We will not duplicate it here, other than to say it was warmly received by the editor of the M. H. with recollections of Edward’s time at the College remembered.

We learn from “Tener: A History of the Family….” That Edward S. Tener married Elizabeth McDowell, but we do not know when. And, we also learned that they did not have any children – but perhaps his job responsibilities were such that it might not have been wise to try and raise any children under those circumstances – and now, the writings about Mr. Tener from “Ireland Under Coercion”, 2nd Edition. (The bold highlighting is my own… to aid the reader who would like to skip through, in identifying those passages specifically mentioning Edward Tener.)

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

“It is a most curious feature of the situation in Ireland that much more discontent with the actual conditions of life in that country seems to be felt by people who do not than by people who do live in Ireland. It is the Irish in America and Australia, who neither sow nor reap in Ireland, pay no taxes there, and bear no burdens, who find the alien oppression most intolerable. This explains the extreme bitterness with which Mr. Davitt in some recent speeches and letters denounces the tameness of the Irish people, and rather amusingly berates the British allies of his Parnellite associates for their failure to develop any striking and sensational resistance to the administration of law in Ireland. I have printed in this edition[2] an instructive account, furnished to me by Mr. Tener, of some recent evictions on the Clanricarde property in Galway, which shows how hard it is for the most determined "agitators" to keep the Irish tenants up to that high concert pitch of resistance to the law which alone would meet the wishes of the true agrarian leaders; and how comparatively easy it is for a just and resolute man, armed with the power of the law resolutely enforced, to break up an illegal combination even in some of the most disturbed regions of Ireland.[3] While this is encouraging to the friends of law and order in Ireland, it must not be forgotten that it involves also a certain peril for them. The more successfully the law is enforced in Ireland, the greater perhaps is the danger that the British constituencies, upon which, of course, the administrators of the law depend for their authority, may lose sight and sense of the Revolutionary forces at work there.”

(Page 90) The view as we crossed the long and very fine bridge over the Shannon after dusk was very strik­ing. It was not too dark to make out the course of the broad gleaming river, and the lights of the town made it seem larger, I daresay, than it really is. As we drove up the main street I told my jarvey to take me to the Castle.
"To the Castle, is it?" he replied, looking around at me with an astonished air.
"Yes," I said, "I am going to see Mr. Tener, the agent, who lives there, doesn't he?"
"Oh, the new agent? Oh yes; I believe he's a very good man."
(Page 91) “…pulling up his horse just in time to avoid driving him up against a pair of iron gates inhospitably closed. It was by this time pitch dark. Not a light could we see within the enclosure. But presently a couple of shadowy forms appeared behind the iron gates; the iron gates creaked on their hinges, a masculine voice bade us drive in, and a policeman with a lantern advanced from a thicket of trees. All this tad a fine martial and adventurous aspect and my jarvey seemed to enjoy it as much as I.
“We got directions from the friendly policeman as to the roads and the landmarks, and after once nearly running into a clump of trees found our­selves at last in an open courtyard, where men ap­peared and took charge of the car, the horse, and my luggage. We were in a quadrangle of the out­buildings attached to the old residence of the Clanricarde’s, which had escaped the fire of 1826. The late Marquis for a long time hesitated whether to reconstruct the castle on the old site (the walls are -- page 92 -- still standing), or to build an entirely new house on another site. He finally chose the latter alternative, chiefly, I am told, under the advice of his oldest son, the late Lord Dunkellin, one of the most charming and deservedly popular men of his time. He was a great friend and admirer of Father Burke, whom he used to claim as a Galway cousin, and with whom I met him in Rome not long before his death in the summer of 1867. His brother, the present Marquis, I have never met, but Mr. Tener, his present agent here, who passed some time in America several years ago, learning from him that I wished to see this place, very courteously wrote to me asking me to make his house my headquarters. I found my way through queer passages to a cheery little hall where my host met me, and taking me into a pleasant little parlour, enlivened by flowers, and a merrily blazing fire, presented me to Mrs. Tener.
Mr. Tener is an Ulster man from the County Cavan. He went with his wife on their bridal trip to America, and what he there saw of the peremp­tory fashion in which the authorities deal with conspiracies to resist the law seems not unnaturally to have made him a little impatient of the dilatory, not to say dawdling, processes of the law in his -- page 93 -- own country. He gave me a very interesting account after dinner this evening of the situation in which he found affairs on this property, an account very different from those which I have seen in print. He is himself the owner of a small landed property in Cavan, and he has had a good deal of experience as an agent for other properties. "I have a very simple rule," he said to me, "in dealing with Irish tenants, and that is neither to do an in­justice nor to submit to one." It was only, he said, after convincing himself that the Clanricarde tenants had no legitimate ground of complaint against the management of the estate, not removable upon a fair and candid discussion of all the issues involved between them and himself, that he consented to take charge of the property. That to do this was to run a certain personal risk, in the present state of the country, he was quite aware.
“But he takes this part of the contract very coolly, telling me that the only real danger, he thinks, is incurred when he makes a journey of which he has to send a notice by telegraph-a remark which recalled to me the curious advice given me in Dublin to seal any letters, as a protection against "the Nationalist clerks in the post-offices." The park of Portumna Castle, which is very extensive, is patrolled -- page 94 -- by armed policemen, and whenever Mr. Tener drives out he is followed by a police car carrying two armed men.

"Against whom are all these precautions neces­sary?" I asked. "Against the evicted tenants, or against the local agents of the League?"
"Not at all against the tenants," he replied, "as you can satisfy yourself by talking with them. The trouble comes not from the tenants at all, nor from the people here at Portumna, but from mis­chievous arid dangerous persons at Loughrea and Woodford. Woodford, mind you, not being Lord Clanricarde's place at all, though all the country has been roused about the cruel Clanricarde and his wicked Woodford evictions. Woodford was simply the headquarters of the agitation against Lord Clan­ricarde and my predecessor, Mr. Joyce, and it has got the name of the 'cockpit of Ireland,' because it was there that Mr. Dillon, in October 1886, opened the 'war against the landlords' with the 'Plan of Campaign.' It is an odd circumstance, by the way, worth noting, that when these apostles of Irish agitation went to Lord Clanricarde's property nearer the city of Galway, and tried to stir the people up, they failed dismally, because the people there could understand no English, and the Irish agitators could -- page 95 -- speak no Irish! Nobody has ever had the face to pre­tend that the Clanricarde estates were 'rack-rented.' There have been many personal attacks made upon Mr, Joyce and upon Lord Clanricarde, and Mr. Joyce has brought that well-known action against the Marquis for libel, and all this answers with the general public as an argument to show that the tenants on the Clanricarde property must have had great grievances, and must have been cruelly ground down and unable to pay their way. I will introduce you, if you will allow me, to the Catholic Bishop here, and to the resident Protestant clergy­man, and to the manager of the bank, and they can help you to form your own judgment as to the state of the tenants. You will find that whatever quarrels they may have had with their landlord or his agent, they are now, and always have been, quite able to pay their rents, and I need not tell you that it is no longer in the power of a landlord or an agent to say what these rents shall be."1 "Mr. Dillon in that speech of his at Woodford…
(Page 99) After some discussion of the politics of the time, “…going back to the little drawing-room after dinner we found Mrs. Tener among her flowers, busy with some literary work. It is not a gay life here, she admits, her nearest visiting acquaintance living – page 100 -- …some seven or eight miles away-but she takes long walks with a couple of stalwart dogs in her com­pany, and has little fear of being molested. "The tenants are in more danger," she thinks, "than the landlords or the agents"-nor do I see any reason to doubt this, remembering the Connells whom I saw at Edenvale, and the story of the "boycotted " Fitzmaurice brutally murdered in the presence of his daughter at Lixnaw on the 31st of January, as if by way of welcome to Lord Ripon and Mr. Morley on their arrival at Dublin.
“Feb. 29th.-Early this morning two of the "evicted" tenants, and an ex-bailiff of the pro­perty here, came by appointment to discuss the situation with Mr. Tener. He asked me to attend the conference, and upon learning that I was an American, they expressed their perfect willingness that I should do so. The tenants were quiet, sturdy, intelligent-looking men. I asked one of them if he objected to telling me whether he thought the rent he had refused to pay excessive, or whether he was simply unable to pay it.
"I had the money, sir, to pay the rent," he – page 101 -- replied, "and I wanted to pay the rent-only I wouldn't be let."
"Who wouldn't let you?" I asked.
"The people that were in with the League."
"Was your holding worth anything to you?" I asked.
"It was indeed. Two or three years ago I could have sold my right for a matter of three hundred pounds."
"Yes!" interrupted the other tenant, "and a bit before that for six hundred pounds."
"Is it not worth three hundred pounds to you now?"
"No," said Mr. Tener, "for he has lost it by refusing the settlement I offered to make, and driv­ing us into proceedings against him, and allowing his six months' equity of redemption to lapse."
"And sure, if we had it, no one would be let to buy it now, sir," said the tenant. "But it's we that hope Mr. Tener here will let us come back on the holdings-that is, if we 'd be protected coming back."
"Now, do you see," said Mr. Tener, "what it is you ask me to do? You ask me to make you a present outright of the property you chose foolishly to throw away, and to do this after you have put – page 102 -- the estate to endless trouble and expense; don't you think that is asking me to do a good deal?"
The tenants looked at one another, at Mr. Tener, and at me, and the ex-bailiff smiled.
"You must see this," said Mr. Tener, "but I am perfectly willing now to say to you, in the presence of this gentleman, that in spite of all, I am quite willing to do what you ask, and to let you come back into the titles you have forfeited, for I would rather have you back on the property than strangers-"
"And, indeed, we're sure you would."
"But understand, you must pay down a year's rent and the costs you have put us to."
"Ah! sure you wouldn't have us to pay the costs?"
"But indeed I will," responded Mr. Tener; "you mustn't for a moment suppose I will have any question about that. You brought all this trouble on yourselves, and on us; and while I am ready and willing to deal more than fairly, to deal liberally with you about the arrears-and to give you time- the costs you must pay."
"And what would they be, the costs?" queried one of the tenants anxiously.
(Page 103) “"Oh, that I can't tell you, for I don't know," said Mr. Tener, "but they shall not be anything beyond the strict necessary costs."
"And if we come back would we be protected?"
"Of course you will have protection. But why do you want protection? Here you are, a couple of strong grown men, with men-folk of your families. See here! why don't you go to such an one, and such an one," naming other tenants; "you know them well. Go to them quietly and sound them to see if they will come back on the same terms with you; form a combination to be honest and to stand by your rights, and defy and break up the other dishonest combination you go in fear of? Is it not a shame for men like you to lie down and let those fellows walk over you, and drive you out of your livelihood and your homes?"
The tenants looked at each other, and at the rest of us. "I think," said one of them at last, "I think--and--," naming two men, "would come with us. Of course," turning to Mr. Tener, "you wouldn't discover on us, sir."
"Discover on you! Certainly not," said Mr. Tener. "But why don't you make up your minds to be men, and 'discover' on yourselves, and defy these fellows?"
(Page 104) “"And the cattle, sir? would we get protection for the cattle ? They'd be murdered else entirely."
"Of course," said Mr. Tener, "the police would endeavour to protect the cattle."
Then, turning to me, he said, "That is a very reasonable question. These scoundrels, when they are afraid to tackle the men put under their ban, go about at night, and mutilate and torture and kill the poor beasts. I remember a case," he went on, "in Roscommon, where several head of cattle mys­teriously disappeared. They could be found no­where. No trace of them could be got. But long weeks after they vanished, some lads in a field several miles away saw numbers of crows hovering aver a particular point. They went there, and there at the bottom of an abandoned coal-shaft lay the shattered remains of these lost cattle. The poor beasts had been driven blindfold over the fields and down into this pit, where, with broken limbs, and maimed, they all miserably died of hunger."
"Yes," said one of the tenants, "and our cattle'd be driven into the Shannon, and drownded, and washed away."
"You must understand," interposed Mr. Tener "that when cattle are thus maliciously destroyed – page 105 -- the owners can recover nothing unless the remains of the poor beasts are found and identified within three days."
The disgust which I felt and expressed at these revelations seemed to encourage the tenants. One of them said that before the evictions came off certain of the National Leaguers visited him, and told him he must resist the officers. "I consulted my sister," he said, "and she said, 'Don't you be such a fool as to be doing that; we'll all be ruined entirely by those rascals and rogues of the League.' And I didn't resist. But only the other day I went to a priest in the trouble we are in, and what do you think he said to me? He said, 'Why didn't you do as you were bid ? then you would be helped,' and he would do nothing for us! Would you think that right, sir, in your country?"
"I should think in my country," I replied, "that a priest who behaved in that way ought to be unfrocked."
"Did you pay over all your rent into the hands of the trustees of the League?" I asked of one of these tenants.
"I paid over money to them, sir," he replied.
(Page 106) “"Yes," I said, "but did you pay over all the amount of the rent, or how much of it?
"Oh! I paid as much as I thought they would think I ought to pay!" he responded, with that sly twinkle of the peasant's eye one sees so often in rural France.
"Oh! I understand," I said, laughing. "But if you come to terms now with Mr. Tener here, will you get that money back again?"
"Divil a penny of it!" he replied, with much emphasis.
Finally they got up together to take their leave, after a long whispered conversation together.
"And if we made it half the costs?"
"No!" said Mr. Tener good-naturedly but firmly; " not a penny off the costs."
"Well, we'11 see the men, sir, just quietly, and we’ll let you know what can be done"; and with that they wished us, most civilly, good-morning, and went their way.
(Page 108) “Upon this Mr. Tener told me of a shopkeeper at Loughrea in a large way of business, a man with seven or eight thousand pounds, who, finding his goods about to be seized after the agent had turned a sharp stra­tegic corner on him, and unexpectedly got into his shop, was about to own up to his defeat, and make a fair settlement, when the secretary of the League appeared, and requested a private talk with him. In a quarter of an hour the tradesman reappeared looking rather sullen and crestfallen. He said he couldn't pay, and must let the goods be taken. So taken they were, and duly put up under the pro­cess and sold. He bought them in himself, paying all the costs.
(Page 109) “Presently two cars appeared. We got upon one, Mr. Tener driving a spirited nag, and taking on the seat with him a loaded carbine-rifle. Two armed policeman followed us upon the other, keeping at such a distance as would enable them easily to cover any one approaching from either side of the roadway. It quite took me back to the delightful days of 1866 in Mexico, when we used to ride out to picnics at the Rincon at Orizaba armed to the teeth, and ready at a moment's notice to throw the four-in-hand mule-wagons into a hollow square, and pre­pare to receive cavalry. As it seems to be per­fectly well understood that the regular price paid for shooting a designated person (they call it "knocking" him in these parts) is the ridiculously small sum of four pounds, and that two persons who divide this sum are always detailed by the organisers of outrage to "knock" an objection­able individual, it is obvious that too much care can hardly be taken by prudent people in coining and going through such a country. Fortunately for the people most directly concerned to avoid these unpleasantnesses a systematic leakage seems to exist in the machinery of mischief. The places where the oaths of this local "Mafia" are admin- -- page 110 -- istered, for instance, are well known. A roadside near a chapel is frequently selected-and this for two or three obvious reasons. The sanctity of the spot may be supposed to impress the neophyte; and if the police or any other undesirable people should suddenly come upon the officiating adepts and the expectant acolyte, a group on the roadside is not necessarily a criminal gathering-though I do not see why, in such times, our old American college definition of a "group" as a gathering of "three or more persons" should not be adopted by the authorities, and held to make such a gathering liable to dispersion by the police, as our "groups" used to be subject to proctorial punishment. Mills are another favourite resort of the law-breakers. Mr. Tener tells me that a large mill between this place and Loughrea is a great centre of trouble, not wholly to the disadvantage of the astute miller, who finds it not only brings grist to his mill, but takes away grist from another mill belonging to a couple of worthy ladies, and once quite prosperous. It is no uncommon thing, it appears, for the same person to be put through the ceremony of swearing fidelity more than once, and at more than one place, with the not unnatural result, however, of -- page 111 -- diminishing the pressure of the oath upon his con­science or his fears, and also of alienating his affec­tions, as he is expected to pay down two shillings on each occasion. Once a member, he contributes a penny a week to the general fund. It seems also to be an open secret who the disbursing treasurers are of this fund, from whom the members, detailed to do the dark bidding of the "organisation," receive their wage. "A stout gentleman with sandy hair and wearing glasses" was the description given to me of one such functionary. When so much is known of the methods and the men, why is it that so many crimes are committed with virtual im­punity? For two sufficient reasons. Witnesses cannot be got to testify, or trusted, if they do testify, to speak the truth; and it is idle to expect juries of the vicinage in nine cases out of ten will do their duty. Political cowardice having made it impos­sible to transfer the venue in cases of Irish crime, as to which all the authorities were agreed about these points, from Ireland into Great Britain, it is found that even to transfer the trial of "Moon­lighters" from Clare or Kerry into Wicklow, for example, has a most instructive effect.
(** This is indeed a telling account, a contemporaneous account, of what it was like to be a land agent, and doing business at that time in Ireland!)
(Page 116) “I am sorry to say, than the Catholic priest, Father Coen, who made himself so conspicu­ous here on the occasion of the much bewritten Woodford evictions. The case of Father Coen is most instructive, and most unpleasant. He occupies an excellent house on a holding of twenty-three acres of good land, with a garden-in short, a hand­some country residence, which was provided by the late Lord Clanricarde, expressly for the accommoda­tion of whoever might be the Catholic priest in that part of his estate. For all this the rent is fixed at the absurd and nominal sum of two guineas a year! Yet Father Coen, who now enjoys the mansion, and has a substantial income from the parish, is actually two -- page 117 -- years and a half In arrears with this rent! This fact Mr. Tener mentioned to the Bishop, whose countenance naturally darkened. "What am I to do in such a case, my lord?" asked Mr. Tener. "Do?" said the Bishop, "do your plain duty, and proceed against him according to law." But suppose he were proceeded against and evicted, as in America he certainly would be, who can doubt that he would instantly be paraded, before the world, on both sides of the Atlantic as a "martyr," suffering for the holy cause of an oppressed and down-trodden people, at the hands of a "most vile" Marquis, and of a remorse­less and blood-thirsty agent?1 Mr. Crawford, a tall, fine-looking man, talked very fully and freely about the situation here. He came to Portumna about eight years ago; one of his reasons for accepting the position here offered him being that he wished to take over a piece of property near Woodford from his brother-in-law, who found he could not manage it. As a practical farmer, and a straight­forward capable man of business, he has gradually acquired the general confidence of the tenants here.
1 Mr. Tener, to whom I sent proofs of these pages, writes to me (July 18): "I shall soon execute the decree of the County-Court Judge Henn against Father Coen for £5, 5s., being two and a half year's rent."
(Page 123_ “After dinner to-night Mr. Tener gave me some interesting and edifying accounts of his experience in other parts of Ireland.
Some time ago, before the Plan of Campaign was adopted, one of his tenants in Cavan came to him with a doleful story of the bad times and the low prices, and wound up by saying he could pay no more than half a year's rent.
"Now his rent had been reduced under the Land Act," said Mr. Tener, "and I had voluntarily thrown off a lot of arrears, so I looked at him quietly and said, 'Mickey, you ought to he ashamed of yourself. You have been very well treated, and you can perfectly well pay your rent. Your wife would be ashamed of you if she knew you were trying to get out of it.'"
"Ah no, your honour!" he briskly replied; "in-dade she would approve it. If you won't discover on me, I'll tell you the truth. It was the wife herself, she's a great schollard, and reads the papers, that tould me not to pay you more than half the rent-for she says there's a new Act coin­ing to wipe it all out. Will you take the half-year?"
"No, I will not. Don't be afraid of your wife – page 124 -- but pay what you owe, like a man. You've got the money there in your pocket."
This was a good shot. Mickey couldn't resist it, and his countenance broke into a broad smile.
"Ah no! I've got it in two pockets. Begorra, it was the wife herself made up the money in two parcels, and she put one into each pocket, to be sure-and I wasn't to give your honour but one, if you would take it. But there's the money, and I daresay it's all for the best."
On another occasion, when he was collecting the rents of a property in the county of Longford, one tenant came forward as the spokesman of the rest, admitted that the rents had been accepted fairly after a reduction under the Land Act, expressed the general wish of the tenants to meet their ob­ligations, and wound up by asking a further abate­ment, "the times were so bad, and the money couldn't be got, it couldn't indeed!"
Mr. Tener listened patiently -- to listen patiently is the most essential quality of an agent in Ireland -and finally said:-
"Very well, if you haven't got the money to pay in full, pay three-quarters of it, and I'11 give you time for the rest."
(page 125) “"Thank your honour!" said Pat, "and that'll be thirty pounds-and here it is in one-pound notes, and hard enough to get they are, these times!"
So Mr. Tener took the money, counted the notes twice over, and then, writing out a receipt, handed it to the tenant.
"All right, Pat, there 's your receipt for thirty-nine pounds, and I'm glad to see ten-pound notes going about the country in these hard times!"
By mistake the "distressful" orator had put one ten-pound note into his parcel! He took his receipt, and went off without a word. But the combination to get an "abatement" broke down then and there, and the other tenants came forward and put down their money.
These incidents occurred to Mr. Tener himself. Not less amusing and instructive was a similar mistake on a larger scale made by an over-crafty tenant in dealing with one of Mr. Teller's friends a few years ago in the county of Leitrim. This tenant, whom we will call Denis, was the fugleman also of a combination. He was a cattle dealer as well as a farmer, and having spent a couple of hours in idly eloquent attempts to bring about a general abatement of the rents, he lost his patience.
(Page 127) “In the evening Mr. Tener gave me the details of some cases of direct intimidation with the names of the tenants concerned. One man, whose farm he visited, told him he had paid his rent not long before to the previous agent. "Well," said Mr. Tener, "show me your receipt!" On this the tenant said that he dare not keep the receipt about him, nor even in the house, lest it should be demanded – page 128 -- by the emissaries of the League, who went round to keep the tenants up to the "Plan of Campaign," and that it was hidden in his stable. And he went out to the stable and brought it in.
This, he had reason to believe, was not an uncom­mon case.1 The same man, wishing to take a grass farm which the people hoped the agent would consent to have "cut up" was asked to give two names on a promissory-note to pay the rent. He demurred to this, and after a parley said, "Would a certificate do?" upon which he pulled out an old tobacco-box, and carefully unfolded from it a bank certificate of deposit for a hundred pounds sterling! This tenant held eleven Irish, or more than seventeen English, acres, and his yearly rent was £11, 16s. 6d.
1 At a hearing of cases before Judge Henn some time after I left Portumna, the Judge was reported in the papers as "severely" commenting upon the carelessness with which the estate-books were kept, tenants who were proceeded against for arrears pro­ducing "receipts" in court. I wrote to Mr. Tener on this subject. Under date of June 5th he replied to me: "Judge Henn did. not use the severe language reported. There was no reporter present but a local man, and I have reason to believe the report in the Freeman's Journal came from the lawyer of the tenants, who is on the staff of that journal. But the tenants are drilled not to show the receipts they hold, and to take advantage of every little error which they might at once get corrected by calling at the estate office. In no case, however, did any wrong occur to any tenant."
(Page 130) “Thursday, March 1.-This has been a crowded day. I left Portumna very early on a car with Mr. Tener, intending to visit the scene of his latest collision with the "National" government of Ireland on my way to Loughrea. It was a bright spring morning, more like April in Italy than like March in America, and the country is full of natural beauty. We made our first halt at the derelict house of Martin Kenny, one of the "victims" of the famous "Woodford evictions," so called, as I have said, because Woodford is the nearest town.1 The eviction here took place October 21st, 1887. The house has been dismantled by the neighbours since that time, each man carrying off a door, or a shutter, -- page 131 -- or whatever best suited him. One of the constables who followed us as Mr. Tener's body-guard had been present at the eviction. He came into the house with us, and very graphically described the performance. The house was still full of heavy stones taken into it, partly to block the entrances, and partly as ammunition; and trunks of trees used as chevaux de frise still protruded through the door and the window. These trees had been cut down by the garrison in the woodlands here and there all over the property. I asked if the law in Ireland punished depredations of this sort, and was informed that trees planted by tenants, if registered by them within a certain time, are the property of the tenants. This would astonish our landlords in America, where the tenant who sticks so much as a sunflower into his garden-patch makes a present of it to his landlord.1
I asked if the place made a long defence. Mr. Tener and the constable both laughed, and the – page 132 -- former told me that when the storming party arrived shortly after daybreak, they found the house garrisoned only by some small boys, who had been left there to keep watch. The men were fast asleep at some other place. The small boys ran away as fast as possible to give the alarm, but the police went in, and in a jiffey pulled to pieces the elaborate defences prepared to repel them. Father Coen, the constable said, got to Kenny's house an hour after it was all over, with a mob of people howling and groaning. But the work had been done, and other work also at the Castle of Cloondadauv, to which we next drove.
This place takes its truly awe-inspiring name from a ruined Norman tower standing on a pictur­esque promontory of no great height, which juts out into the lovely lake here made by the Shannon, At no great expense this tower might be so restored as to make an ideal fishing-box. It now simply adorns the holding formerly occupied by Mr. John Stanislaus Burke, a former tenant of Lord Clanri-carde. The story of its capture in September is worth telling.
Some days before the evictions were to come off, a meeting was held at Woodford or Loughrea, at – page 133 -- which one of the speakers rather incautiously and exultingly told his hearers that the defence in 1886 of the tenant's house known as "Fort Saunders" had been a grand and gallant affair indeed, but that next time "the exterminators would have to storm a castle"!
This put Mr. Tener at once on his guard, and as Mr. Burke of Cloondadauv was set down for eviction, it didn't require much cogitation to fix upon the fortress destined to be "stormed."
When the previous evictions were made, the agent and the public forces had marched from Portumna by the highway to Woodford, so that, of course, their advent was announced by the scouts and sentinels of the League from hill to hill long before they reached the scene of action, and abun­dant time was given to the agitators for organising a "reception." Mr. Tener profited by the experi­ence of his predecessors. He contrived to get his force of constabulary through the town of Portumna and into the new castle there without attracting any popular attention a day or two before he in­tended to act. He allowed it also to be known that on the 21st of October he meant to attend certain cases in the court at Loughrea at 11 o'clock – page 134 -- A.M. As early rising is not a popular virtue here, the townspeople all took it for granted that Cloondadauv would be safe from disturbance by the hosts of Clanricarde for that day at least.
But Mr. Tener had brought up certain large boats to Portumna, and put them on the lake. Rousing his men before dawn, he soon had them all embarked, and on their way swiftly and silently by the river and the lake to Cloondadauv. They reached the promontory by daybreak, and as soon as the hour of legal action had arrived they were landed, and surrounded the "castle." The ancient portal was found to be blocked with heavy stones and trunks of trees, nor did any adit appear to be available, till a young gentleman who had accompanied the party as a volunteer, discovered, in one wall of the tower, at some little height from the ground, the vent of one of those conduits not infrequently found running down through the walls of old castles, which were used sometimes as waste-ways for rubbish from above, and some­times to receive water-pipes from below. Looking up into this vent, he saw a rope hanging free within it. Upon this he hauled resolutely, and finding it firmly attached above, came to the – page 135 - conclusion that it must have been fixed there by the garrison as a means of access to the interior.
The officers soon made their way all over the building, and thence proceeded to the residence of Mr. Burke near by, a large and very commodious house. All the formalities were gone through with, a detachment of policemen was put in charge, the rest of the forces set out on their return to Portumna; and Mr. Tener was well on his way to keep his appointment at Loughrea before the organised "defenders" of Cloondadauv, hastily called out of their comfortable beds or from their breakfast-tables had realised the situation, and got the populace into motion. A mass meeting was held in the neigh­bourhood, and many speeches were made. But the castle and the farm-house and the holding all re­main in the hands of a cool, quiet, determined-looking young Ulsterman, who tells me that he is getting on very well, and feels quite able with his police-guard to protect himself. "Once in a while," he said. "they come here from Loughrea with English Parliament-men, and stand outside of the gate, and call me 'Clanricarde's dog,' and make like speeches at me; but I don't mind them, and they see it, and go away again."
(Page 144) “Mr. Tener showed me the scene of one of the most cowardly murders which have disgraced this region. Of Loughrea, the objective of our drive this morning, Sir George Trevelyan, I am told, during his brief rule in Ireland, found it necessary to say that murder had there become an institution. Woodford, previously a dull and law-abiding spot, was illuminated by a lurid light of modern progress about three years ago, upon the transfer thither in the summer of 1885 of a priest from Loughrea, familiarly known as "the firebrand priest."
(page 156) “My drive from Loughrea to Woodlawn was de­lightful. It took me over a long stretch of the best hunting country of Galway, and my jarvey was a Galwegian of the type dear to the heart of Lever. He was a "Nationalist" after his fashion, but he did not hesitate to come rattling up through the town to the Estate Office to take me up; and after we got fairly off upon the highway, he spoke with more freedom than respect of all sorts and condi­tions of men in and about Loughrea.
"He's a sharp little man, that Mr. Tener," he said, "and he gave the boys a most beautiful beating at Burke's place."
This was said with genuine gusto, and not at all in the querulous spirit of the delightful member of Parliament who complained at Westminster with unconscious humour that the agent and the police in that case had "dishonourably" stolen a march on the defenders of Cloondadauv!

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In a publication of Parliamentary Debates, for the period including late July 1894, there was discussion regarding Mr. Edward Shaw Tener! As a result of those discussions – and we all know that British Parliament is a very proper institution – we do learn that Edward Shaw Tener, the land agent for Lord Clanricarde, had been appointed to the “Commission of the Peace” – which I suppose was something akin to a magistrate, or Justice of the Peace, in 1888. He had additionally been appointed a magistrate in the County of Caven in 1871 by Lord O’Hagen. This discourse may be viewed on line at --,M1

It appears that nothing substantial came out of those discussions – other than we do learn that it was lawful for a Land Agent, who did not even have to be a magistrate, to issue papers to obtain delinquent rents!

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I know that that was a lot of reading. And yet, I found it fascinating. And, like so many times before, we can thank a fellow who walked those steps almost one hundred and twenty years ago – and found them interesting in his own time to document them, and to share them with those who would come along later!
In 1910 Roberta Tener Johns, TBB page 74, made a trip back to Ireland. While there she visited with Edward Shaw Tener, and it is thanks to her – and those she benefited by ‘leaving’ her photographs and family history writings with after her death in 1970.

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There are more resources that one can locate, use google and their “books” area for searching more about Edward S. Tener. He spoke before Parliament on some issues. But one last excerpt I would like to share. It is from a 2005 book, written by Fergus Campbell, titled, “Land and Revolution: Nationalist Politics in the West of Ireland 1891 – 1921”.
In 1904 Edward S. Tener went up against the League – the U.I.L. (United Ireland League). A few years later in June 1907 some of these folks were pressuring a lady land owner to share her property with the League.
Fergus Campbell writes, on page 156, “… the perimeter walls of her farm were knocked down and no local laborers could be found to rebuild them” (footnoted). It was common for un-walled farms to be used for common grazing after the walls had been down for a set period of time. “By the end of 1908 it looked increasingly as if Mrs. Ryan would have to give up her claim to the Templemartin far,.”
In continuing, we can see just why it was that Edward S. Tener had felt the need for armed body-guards. Campble wrote, “In January 1909, Mrs. Ryan contacted Edward Sgaw Tener, Clanricarde’s agent, and requested him to send two laborers to rebuild her walls. On 9 January, two labourers – Patrick Coady and Patrick Malone – came from Loughrea to carry out the work. For twelve days they worked under the armed police guard of Constable Martin Goldrick until on January 21 at 9:30 AM shots were fired from across the railway line adjacent to the farm at the two labourers, hitting and wounding them both. (footnoted) According to the compilers of the confidential print:
“Constable Goldrick, who was armed with a revolver, crossed the road, and the attacking party ran away, pursued by the constable, who threw off his belt and great coat. A lad named Michael Ryan (unknown if related) aged fourteen years, heard the shots and saw three men running into the scrub, pursued by the constable, and heard shots fired in the scrub afterwards. The constable appears to have followed the men for 300 yards, and was emerging through a gap in the scrub when he was fired on from close quarters and killed, his left lung being shattered with a shot. The constable’s body was found at this place some time afterwards by a search party of police. In addition to the wound on the lung, the constable’s left arm was injured, and there were other shot marks to his body. Two shots had been discharged from the constable’s revolver, which was found lying under him.”
If there was more coverage of that dastardly deed, it is not available on line, as only parts of that book are available for perusal.