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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Sunday, July 22, 2007

William Hampden TENNER, nee TENER

William Hampden Tener is mentioned only briefly in the Blue Book – page 77. There we learned he was born in Tully House, Augher, Co. Tyrone in No. Ireland in 1858 – the second son of John Kinley Tener II . At the age 24 he immigrated to the United States with his brother Robert – they came before the rest of the family. He settled in Pittsburgh at that time and went to work at the Oliver Iron and Steel Company – as did so many of the Tener’s at about that time. He worked for Oliver until 1898 at which time he moved to Canada, “settling in the Rainy River section at Devlin, Ontario. In 1924 he married Rhoda Lodder, and he died without issue in Devlin about 1848.”

From the letters in the possession of the descendants of Robert E. and Emily North Evans TENER we learned that William visited Robert E. and Emily in Los Angeles in the late 1890’s or early 1900’s. At that time he was noted as having given to Robert E Tener a camera. This is interesting because Robert became something of a commercial photographer in the Los Angeles area – he appeared to have a specialty of photographing the larger buildings.

Nowhere else in the Tener archives – that I have found yet, is it noted that William H. Tener, who is also known in Canada as TENNER, became something of an accomplished amateur photographer himself.

The Canadian Ministry Government Services, Archives of Ontario, had retained hundreds of his photographs. Their biography of him is very limited – only stating that: “William Hampden Tenner was a farmer situated between the Ontario towns of Emo and Devlin, and was an amateur photographer.”

The internet is a fantastic resource – so long as others use it to post information! From the “Fort Frances Times and Rainy Lake Herald” June 13, 1948, we can locate an obituary on William, and I will share that here:

“William Hampdon Tenner, who leaves as a memorial the finest complete collection of photographs of early days in the District of Rainy River, passed away at his home in Devlin on June 10, 1948.He was an ardent and artistic photographer and many pictures of steamboat navigation on the Rainy River as well as many other scenes of early pioneer life remain as a token of his memory. Hundreds of his glass plates portraying these early scenes, have been preserved by W.G. Bartley and Pat Kerr of Fort Frances.Mr. Tenner was born in County Tyrone, Ireland, on December 3, 1860, and came to the United States at the age of 23. He travelled extensively in the United States, recording his progress with his camera, before coming tot the District of Rainy River where he took up farming in Roddick township on May 10, 1898. After farming for two years, he moved to Emo and shortly thereafter to Devlin where he engaged in farming until illness forced him to retire. He continued to reside in Devlin until his death.On May 7, 1924, he was married to Miss Rhoda Abbie Lodder of Devlin, who survives. Other survivors include a sister, Mrs. Feachtinger of Chicago and a cousin John Kinley Tenner who served as Governor of Pennsylvania from 1911 to 1915.Funeral Services were held at the Devlin United church on Saturday, June 12, at 1:30 p.m. with Rev. A.B. Schulte of Fort Frances officiating. Internment took place in the Devlin cemetery. Pallbearers were Thomas Cornell, A. Steel, Fred Patterson, William Pope, John Richardson and William G. Bartley of Fort Frances.

NOTE:The Fort Frances Times obtained Tenner's photo collection in 1972. Willard Price gave a collection of glass plates bearing Tenner's photos to the Times. The Times reproduced the photos and the glass plates were sent to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Ontario in about 1985 where they can be better preserved.”

There are a few technical errors, and misspellings and yet there is also sufficient additional information to give us additional perspective on the man!

The Rainy River was the primary mode of transportation between the little towns along the river in that area – at about the turn of the 19th Century.

A boxing match, Fort Frances, Ontario, [ca. 1900]William Hampden Tenner fonds Reference Code: C 311-1-0-4-1Archives of Ontario, I0002336
This web site has available for perusal some of William Tenner’s photographs.
The collection is reported to have about 390 glass plate negatives; but not all of these are available on line. I was able to view over 60 of them, however.