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

Thursday, June 16, 2011


We all know that there is a Tener head stone, and several of the Clan buried in Desertcrate Parish cemetery, Co Tyrone. (One added note – I have also seen it spelled “Desertcreight Parish”.)

The Church and cemetery is out in the country between Castlecaulfield and Cookstown, and I know it has been visited by many Tener descendants who made the trip back to Northern Ireland.

We have copies of correspondence from a Walter J. Howann, “pro secretary” with “The Representative Body of the Church of Ireland” in Dublin, dated May 5, 1944. This letter is addressed to H. L. Glasgow, Esq. with Mid-Ulster Printing Co., Ltd. In Cookstown and the top is “H.E. Tener Benefaction”. Hampden E. Tener Jr. had written to propose an endowment be created “for the upkeep of his family Graveplot in Desertcreat Graveyard.” Howaan suggested “…he should handover the Endowment impressed with the Trust that the income derived from the investment thereof is to be applied for the benefit of Sustenation Fund of the Parish… on condition that the Select Vestry out of Parochial Funds at its disposal keep in order the family Graveplot in the Church Graveyard.”

In addition there was further discussion as to how the funds would be donated so as to maintain a charitable gift perhaps to avoid income taxes “at the full standard rate”.

We also have copies of following correspondence dated May 8, 1944from Howann to Glasgow again in which he writes, …”the check from Mr. Tener should be drawn in favour of the Representative Body and sent to this office.” There is discussion of the current rate of interest, 3%, and ,…”if Mr. Tener so directs the amount of Endowment may be invested in 3% Local Loans stock or such other Trustee security as he may care to suggest.”

He went on to indicate that there “is no specific form to be filled up but Mr. tener should write a covering letter to the effect that the income on the Endowment is to be applied for the benefit of the Sustenation Fund of the Parish of Desertcreate, on condition that the Select Vestry out of Parochial Funds at its disposal keeps in order the Family Graveplot in the parish churchyard.”

Hampden followed up with the letter as described, and we have a copy dated June 26, 1944. [I have to insert here that it is so very interesting to me now that he conducted this business following his stroke, and in the middle of World War II!] Hampden wrote to Mr. Howann, …”I am enclosing draft on Dublin for £200 to the order of The Representative Church Body. The purpose of this draft is to create an Endowment for the upkeep of the Tener Family Graveplot in Desertcreate Churchyard.” And he added, “The income from this Endowment is to be applied for the benefit of the Sustenation Fund of the Parish of Desertcreate, on condition that the Select Vestry out of Parochial Funds at its disposal forever keeps in order the Tener Family Graveplot, including the Memorial thereon, in the parish churchyard.

Hampden asked for an acknowledging receipt. I especially like the insertion of the word “forever”!

We also have a letter from “The Representative Body of the Church of Ireland” dated July 20, 1944 which acknowledges receipt of the draft. The subject for this letter: “H. E. Tener Be4nefaction, Desertcreat, (Armagh). The last page of this series of documents is marked:
Correspondence relating
To the
Endowment for Perpetual Upkeep
Tener Family Grave Plot,
Including the Memorial thereon
In the
Parish Graveyard
Desertcreate, near Cookstown,
Co. Tyrone, Ireland.

Receipt of the Endowment Fund from “The Representative Body of the Church of Ireland”, Dublin, dated July 20, 1944, is in the safe deposit box of H. E. Tener.

On August 31, 1944 Hampden E. Tener shared these documents with a number of family members to assure perhaps that there would remain within the family, a record of there being an effort to maintain the family memorial and grave plot in the Desertcreate Parish cemetery. He wrote: ‘It occurred to me that provision should be made for the perpetual upkeep of the Tener Family Burial Plot at Desertcreate. Hence the Endowment as stated.” Uncle Edward, many years ago, had the plot enclosed and a Memorial erected thereon. Some of the family in the U.S.A. contributed towards that cost. Since that time on my travels, I found that repairs were necessary, which I ordered on two different occasions at intervgals of about twenty years. In days to come there will no doubt be those who, on their travels, may desire to visit the land of their forebears. I trust theyu will find Desertcreate in good order.” He was sending this letter with enclosures to a fgew members of the family in the hope that data weill be kept in a safe place for future reference.

I do not know what happened to the actual receipt in the intervening years.
June 16, 2011