The Tinneny Family History Site

Biographies of Our Forefathers

Patrick 'Yankee Pat' Tinneny

Patrick Tinneny was born between 1856 and 1860 at the Homeplace on Goladuff, Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh, Ireland (Now Northern Ireland).  He is said to be one of 14 children of John "Big John" Tinneny and Margaret McAdam.  His father's family was from Goladuff and his mother was from Lambrock, which is also in County Fermanagh.  Goladuff is located in the southern part of the County, north and across the border from County Cavan, which is in the Irish Republic.  Goladuff is in the Catholic Parish of Saint Mary's, which is located in the town of Newtownbutler. Two of Patrick's thirteen brothers and sisters were Francis and James.

As a teenager, Patrick left the farm and his family in Ireland.  By 1876 he was living in Greenock, Scotland where he worked in the Tate and Lyle sugar refinery.  On June 1, 1876 he married Margaret Malloy. The couple was married by the Reverend Alexander Taylor at Saint Mary's Catholic Church, 14 Patrick Street, Greenock, Scotland PA 16 8 NA.  Witnesses to the ceremony were his brother Francis Tinneny and Margaret McAnally.  Following their marriage they lived at 14 Shaw Street in Greenock.  A random search of the parish records at Saint Mary's for the period 1880-85 came up with entries showing the baptism of two of their 10 children, all of who were born in Greenock. 

Photo: Patrick Tinneny and Margaret Malloy - Courtesy of Richard Tinneny.

The first of these entries was for Mary Jane who was baptized October 22, 1882.  Her sponsors were Mary Jane Duncan and James Malloy.  The second entry was for Alice who was baptized December 12, 1884.  Her sponsor was Catherine Malloy.  It should be noted in both instances the name Malloy is spelled with an "o" instead of an "a" and that in the entry for Mary Jane, Patrick's name is spelled Tinney. 

The 1891 Census of Greenock, Scotland, (Civil parish and Municipal Burgh of Greenock, Burgh Ward VI) showed Patrick and his family living at 14 East Shaw Street in Greenock with their last name misspelled Tinney.  The census lists Patrick as the "Head of Household" and as a laborer in a sugar mill.  His wife Margaret is shown as being born in Renfrewshire, Scotland.  The couples children were listed on the census form as follows: Catherine, age 14, Margaret 12, John 10, Mary Jane 8, Alice 6 and Elizabeth 4 all identified with the occupation of scholar (students in school).  Finally James age 3 and Rose Ann 5 months, were listed.

Their immediate neighbors at the time the Census was taken were Kenneth Davis, his wife May and their 5-month-old daughter Jane.  They also had two other Irish families as neighbors; they were James O'Donnell, his wife Jane, son Matt and 14 year old daughter Ellen.  James was born in Ireland and was a boat builder.  Another neighbor, Thomas Grey, was also from Ireland.  He and his wife Catherine had two sons, Matthew and James and a daughter, Lizzie. 

In the late 1890's Patrick is said to have made several trips to Philadelphia in America. In Philadelphia he worked as a laborer building the massive stone retaining walls that now stand along Main Street near Ridge Avenue in the Wissahicken section of the city.  He subsequently used the money he earned during these trips to pay the passage for his wife and children to come to America.  According to his daughter Rose, it was because of these trips to America that his friends back home in Scotland tagged him with nickname "Yankee Pat".

One of his pre immigration trips was aboard the SS Circassia. The ship list for that vessel dated March 7, 1892 shows Patrick arriving in the port of New York. The list shows that he was 36 years old and that he boarded the ship in Glasgow, Scotland and that his trade was labourer. 

The "Circassia" was built by Barrow Shipbuilding Co, Barrow in 1878 for the Anchor Line. She was a 4,272 gross ton ship, length 399.7ft x beam 42 ft, one funnel, three masts (rigged for sail), iron construction, single screw and a speed of 13 knots. There was passenger accommodation for 200-1st, 100-2nd and 800-3rd class. She was the first North Atlantic liner to have refrigerated space for meat and could carry 400 tons. Launched on 19th Mar.1878, she sailed from Glasgow on her maiden voyage to Moville (N.Ireland) and New York on 1st Jun.1878. She started her last voyage on 12th Aug.1897 when she left Glasgow for Moville, New York and Glasgow and was then laid up. In 1900 she was scrapped in Germany. North Atlantic Seaway by N.R.P. Bonsor, vol.1, p.461]

[Merchant Fleets by Duncan Haws, vol.9, Anchor Line]

In addition to the money that Patrick was able to save, for the passage of his family from Scotland, his daughter Rose understood that some of the money was also loaned to him by his in-laws in Scotland.  Another account provided by his grand daughter Helen McKenna Gillard said that he also may have borrowed some money for the passage from his son-in-law Michael Sickinger as well as from his in-laws the Dougherty's.  At any rate, money allegedly loaned to Patrick for the passage was to later become a source of a major rift between him and his son-in-law Mike Sickinger. 

Yankee Pat's final trip to America appears to have been on June 14, 1900 when with $50.00 in his pocket, he left Scotland for America.  He traveled from Glascow to New York abroad the steamship the S.S. State of Nebraska, which was a vessel of the Allen ship line ANI.  He traveled steerage, along with 23 other passengers in that class.  The nationalities of his fellow passengers were diverse and included Austrians, Norwegians, Russians, Scots, Finns and other Irishmen.  It is noteworthy that Patrick claimed Irish nationality on the ship's manifest even though he had lived in Scotland all of his adult life.  

He was 44 years old at the time of this voyage and listed his residence as 17 East Shaw Street, Greenock, Scotland.  His destination in America was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The stated purpose of his trip was to visit his daughter Mary Jane Tinneny at 125 Pensdale Street, Manayunk, Philadelphia.  Although the entry on the ship's manifest indicates that this was his initial visit to America this was probably not the case.  The manifest further indicates that he was married and a laborer by trade; that he could read and write, had never been in prison or an almshouse nor had he been supported by charity.  Likewise, the ship's record shows that he was not a polygamist, not under contract to work in the United States nor was he crippled or deformed.  His mental and physical health were listed as good.

Photo: Saint Mary�s Catholic Church, Greenock c.1887  The Parish of Yankee Pat and his Family. From Saint Mary's Website.

The Christmas of 1900 must have been very difficult for Patrick's wife Margaret and the six children that remained with her in Greenock.  Patrick had been away in America, her oldest son John and daughters Mary Jane and Kate were with their father in Philadelphia.  In two days the family was to sail to America, never to return to Scotland, their many Malloy relatives and the burial place of their 13-month old son Francis who had died just 9 months earlier. 

On December 27th, Margaret and the six children, Margaret, Alice, Elizabeth, James, Rose and Patrick left Glasgow aboard the S.S. Sardinian.  Passage for each of the children cost $100.00.  After experiencing a rough winter crossing they arrived at the port of New York on Saturday, January 12, 1901.

The SS  Sardinian

SS Sardinian built by Robert Steele & Company, Yard No 61,Propulsion: steam - Re-engined 1897 with triple expansion engines by Wm Denny, Launched: Wednesday, 03 June 1874, Built: 1875, Ship Type: Passenger Cargo VesselS hip's Role: Liverpool - Quebec - Montreal , Tonnage: 4399 grt, Length: 400 feet, Breadth: 42.3 feet, Owner History: Allan Line Steamship Company Glasgow, Canadian Pacific (1917) ,1920 Astoreca Azqueta, Spain, 1934 Compania Carbonera, Status: Sold for Scrapping - 22/06/1938

The day of their arrival was dreary.  That morning, the low temperature was 34 degrees and the high for the day was 42 degrees at noon.  However, the weather was beginning to clear following snow and rain.  Margaret and the children were met in New York by her eldest son John and her son-in-law Michael Sickinger, Kate's husband.  They all traveled to Philadelphia by train.  Their rented home at 306 Carson Street in the Manayunk section of the city must have been a very welcome sight after the long journey from Scotland.

Photo Patrick & Margaret Tinneny home 183 Baldwin Street, Philadelphia .


        Photos:  First home of "Yankee Pat" and his family in America at 306 Carson Street.)  

After his family's arrival, Patrick worked as a house carpenter.  As was the usual case with such tradesmen, he would report to the work hall in Manayunk and be assigned to a job.  Some of the jobs would last a day others would involve projects and employment of longer duration.                                               

As the children became old enough some of them, especially the girls, got jobs in the textile mills along the Manayunk canal.  Eventually Patrick and Margaret purchased a home at 183 Baldwin Street, several blocks from the house they had been renting on Carson Street.  Margaret's family in Scotland was said to be quite well off financially and she had a reputation for being extremely smart when it came to managing money.  She was the first of her brothers and sisters in America to purchase her own home.

While living at both the Carson and Baldwin Street homes the Tinnenys were members of Holy Family Parish.  In addition to being a devout parishioner, Margaret was active in the parish.  She worked in the parish soup kitchen, which was located in the hall of the parish school.  She was also a member of the Third Order Regular of Carmelite Nuns.  After Patrick's death, Margaret prepared food for the community of Carmelites that were located in Northeast Philadelphia.  Margaret was also an accomplished midwife and delivered most of her grandchildren according to her granddaughter Helen McKenna Gillard. 

After they were settled in the United States, Margaret's brother John Malloy visited them from Scotland with the idea of immigrating to America.  However, he found the heat in the summer too unbearable and eventually returned to Scotland.  Another of her brothers did come to America and became the first violinist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, a position that he held for many years.  Her sister Anna, who married Patrick Dougherty had also immigrated to Philadelphia and lived in and around Manayunk. 

During the, first week of March 1903, tragedy struck the Tinneny home on Carson Street.  Sixteen year old Elizabeth had contracted pneumonia and died.  On March 5th, Patrick purchased a burial plot in Westminster Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.  He paid $20.00 for the gravesite, which included burial space for two people.  It cost an additional $5.00 to have the grave opened.  Elizabeth is said to have been a beautiful girl who was very well liked by her co-workers at Dobsin's textile mill.  Most of the employees from the mill attended her funeral.  She was buried from Holy Family Church at 11:30 a.m. onMarch 29, 1903.

Photo: Image of receipt for the burial plot at Westminister Cemetery purchased by Patrick for the burial of his daughter Elizabeth.  He also was eventually buried in this 2 burial capacity plot.

Courtesy of Richard Tinneny.

In addition to his regular job as a house carpenter and laborer, Patrick played the violin in the local bars in the evenings and on weekends.  Following an evening of I entertaining on weekends he would spend the money that he had earned drinking with his friends. He was known for being quick with his fists during these drinking sessions.  He had a penchant for baiting unsuspecting Protestants into making unfavorable comments about Catholics or the Blessed Mother then clobbering them.  Another story that has been passed down about these escapades involves several policemen who he pushed to their limit.  One evening while he was out drinking in lower Manayunk, he was involved in an incident of some type and the local police, who knew him well, got involved.  Patrick gave them a rough time and finally they filled his pockets with stones and threw him in the Manayunk canal -- of course he came out fighting. 

Several of his children, including his son James, attributed their abstinence from alcohol to Patrick's problem with it.  However, Patrick's daughter Rose used to recount a story of how as teenagers she and her brother James would take a sip from their father's whisky bottle, which he always marked with a pencil, then remark the bottle so that he wouldn't know that any was missing. 

Likewise, years later, when Patrick's sons and daughters would get together at the home of his son John on Silverwood Street in Manayunk, which they frequently did, there would be much Irish and Scottish song and dance, stories and food but no alcohol. 

By April 1910 only two of Patrick's children, 19 year old Rose and 13 year old Patrick, were living with their parents on Baldwin Street.  Rose was working in a textile mill and young Patrick was a student at Holy Family Grade School.  As mentioned earlier Elizabeth had died in 1903.  Alice had married Cornelius "Connie" Hart.  James, although unmarried, had left home and was living with his sister Alice and her family.  John had married Alice McCouch and they were living at 4540 Silverwood Street with their two children, Elizabeth age 4 and John Jr. age 2.  Mary Jane was married to John Patrick McColgan who had courted her in Scotland and followed her to America where they married.  Rose had married Joseph Yeakel in 1913 and was living on Pechin Street in Roxborough with her husband and young son Joseph. 

Information about Patrick found in the 1910 census showed that he was not a United States citizen, that he was a house carpenter by occupation and that he was able to read and to write.  There was also an entry indication that he had been out of work for 24 weeks during the previous year (April 1909 - 10).  The reason for his being out of work is unknown. 

At 11:00 p.m., February 2, 1915 "Yankee Pat" completed the long journey which began 57 years earlier at Goladuff, County Fermanagh in Ireland.  The journey had taken him from the green fields of Ireland to the town of Greenock in Scotland, then in his early 40s, across the Atlantic with his family to settle in the hilly section of Philadelphia called Manayunk.  

Photo: Margaret Tinneny sitting on ground looking at her daughter Maggie Tinneny McKenna (Center) and Maggie's children and maybe a couple of their cousins.Curtesy of Richard Tinneny.

Dr. McCaffrin, a staff physician at the Byberry Farms State Hospital in Philadelphia tended him from January 30 until he passed away of myocarditis on February 2nd.  Funeral arrangements were handled by M. J. Walsh, an undertaker who's funeral parlor was located at 116 Rector Street in Manayunk.  

On Saturday, February 11th at 11:30 a.m. Patrick was buried along side his daughter Elizabeth in the second of the two graves he had purchased when she died in 1903.  They are buried in an unmarked grave in section 11, lot 371, Grave #3, at Westminster Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.  Westminster is located high on a hill above the west bank of the Schuylkill River and overlooks Manayunk, which rises up from the east bank of the river.

Photo: Dougherty headstone Saint Mary�s cemetery Roxborough, Philadelphia. Burial place of Margaret Tinneny wife of "Yankee Pat". Courtesy of Richard Tinneny. 

Although Patrick and Elizabeth are the only members of the family buried in lot 371, over the years other descendants of Patrick's came to be buried in Westminster.  They include his son John (1960) and John's sons James and John (1989) and John's grandson John.  Also buried there are two of Patrick's son James' sons.  They are William "Bruce" (1980) and my father John Patrick (1988). 

In the years following Patrick's death his wife lived with her son Patrick at the house on Baldwin Street.  She spent a good deal of her time in church related work and enjoyed visits with her grand children.  There are warm accounts of her related by her grandchildren including Helen McKenna Gillard and Isabella McColgan Kemp. 


Photo: Notation in the book at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, Philadelphia. Courtesy Richard Tinneny






Margaret passed away on May 24th, 1919.  Several of her grandchildren remembered going to her viewing and seeing her laid out dressed in the habit of the Carmelite Nuns at her home on Baldwin Street.  She was buried from Holy Family Church and interred at Saint Mary of the Assumption Cemetery in Roxborough on May 28 1919.  She is buried in the Dougherty plot along with her sister Mary Jane Anna Malloy Dougherty and her family. 

There are two interesting entries in the cemetery records describing the interments in the Dougherty gravesite, Lot 43.  In addition to Patrick's wife Margaret and five Doughertys, there are the following two entries:

Sister Letitia (IHM) One leg [taken] July 1, buried July 3, 1950, Sister Letitia (other limb) 63, [taken] October 5 buried October 6, 1950

Sister Letitia was a Dougherty and a Catholic Nun of the Immaculate  Heart of Mary Order.  She, unlike her limbs, is not buried in the Dougherty plot.

The above lists shows Margaret Tinneny's brother in law Patrick, her sister Mary Jane and other of Margaret Tinneny's Dougherty relatives with whom Margaret is buried. 

In putting to paper the available information about "Yankee Pat", the stories associated with his use of alcohol were recounted.  Like each of us he was a complex person composed of many characteristics and traits, strengths and weaknesses.  He certainly demonstrated an uncommon sense of adventure and courage when he left his home and family on Goladuff, as a teenager, to work in Scotland.  These traits were later demonstrated to a greater degree when he resettled his wife and children from Scotland to America.

He staunchly maintained his Catholic faith and along with his wife Margaret, instilled it in each of his children who passed it down through the subsequent generations to the present.  He worked hard as a laborer to provide a home and for the needs of his family, which was no small task.  Ultimately he established the Tinnenys in America.  The family has multiplied and prospered here through six generations.  These generations are the true legacy of "Yankee Pat".

Note: Yankee Pat's descendants includes all Tinnenys from Philadelphia and their Sickinger, McColgan, Hart, Klebes, McKenna and Yeakel descendants.


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Updated January 7, 2024
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