James Tinneny H9
The Tinneny Family History Site


Biographies of Our Forefathers

James "Jamie" Tinneny  H9

James Tinneny was born at Goladuff about 1861.  He was the son of John "Big John" Tinneny and Margaret McAdam.  He is said to have been one of their fourteen children.  Two of his brothers were Francis, Patrick "Yankee Pat", Philip and a sister Elizabeth.  James worked on the family farm while growing up on Goladuff. 

On January 26, 1893 James married Mary Ann McEntyre who was from Ballyconnell, County Cavan.  Mary Ann was born between 1867 and 1873 depending on which source is used to determine her birth year.  The couple was married at Saint Mary's Church in Newtownbutler.  The witnesses at their wedding were Philip Tinneny and Anna McCaffrey.  James and Mary Ann had nine children.  They were John who was born in 1893; Patrick, 1895; Annie, 1897; Edward, 1899; Philip, 1901; Elizabeth, 1903; Mary, 1905; Margaret, 1907 and Alice who was born in 1911.

Mary Ann's father had made two ocean voyages to America.  In recounting these trips he told his grandchildren how the voyages took 9 weeks.  He said the passengers were required to bring a trunk of oaten bread with them on the ship to eat during their voyage.  During these trips her father helped sail the vessels. 

After the death of his father, "Big John" Tinneny, James stayed at home with his mother at the homeplace.  It was during this time that he assisted his mother Margaret in challenging the landlord in the Land Court at Enniskillen.

At 93 years old James' son Phil remembered his father as being "a high tempered man who took nothing from no man."  Likewise, Phil remembered the British taking his father from the house in the night and detaining him.  On one of these occasions he said that the next day he saw his father being paraded through the streets of Newtownbutler by his captors.  He said, "He was being jeered and kicked by the Protestant crowd."  Phil said that his father didn't drink much, only on social occasions, and that he didn't drink poteen.  James used to sing many songs about the veterans of the Irish rebellion.  Phil learned and sang some of these songs. 

During an interview in 1992, Francis Fitzpatrick of Derrydoon, who knew James well, recounted the following story about him.  About 1910 the local folks decided to put a tin roof on the school at Galloon.  As was the custom, those involved decided to have a "powerful" [Luse please check the spelling of kellihere and other places]  kelli.  A kelli is a gathering of friends and family.  Of course, there was food, drink, song and dance.  A highlight at this particular kelli was a traditional Irish dance competition between James and a fellow by the name of McCaffery.  When it was finished, and the people decided the winner, although James was said to have won the most points based on timing, McCaffrey was judged the overall winner based on steps. 

During World War I the British actively recruited the young Irishmen in Newtownbutler and the surrounding area.  "They would parade through the town in their fancy uniforms playing martial music" according to Phil Tinneny.  James was known, on more than one occasion, to go to Newtownbutler during these recruiting activities and to jeer the recruiters and to tell the local boys not to join the British army.  On these occasions he told the recruiters to go away with their flutes and drums. 

While James worked the farm his wife Mary Ann, who was a "small wee woman" and was nicknamed "The Widgeon" (the wild bird), kept busy tending the house and caring for the children.  In addition to these activities she was known for making butter from the milk of the cows they raised on Goladuff.  In the words of Francis Fitzpatrick of Derrydoon, "Mary Ann Tinneny made butter that was so good you could eat it without bread."  He went on to say, "as a person she was the best."  On fair days, Mary Ann would take the butter in wooden forms to Belturbet where she sold it.  She would usually go via the river in a cot (boat) to Belturbet and land at the towns dunking stools.  Then she would cart her butter up the hill to the market, which was located near the Diamond, which is the Belturbet town hall. 

Photo: Turnstile to which the mule was teathered for churning butter (1992). Photo by R. J. Tinneny.  

The dunking stools referred to were set up along the riverbank at Belturbet many years ago.  During that period there was a curfew in the town and if one of the citizens was caught out after the curfew they would be taken to the dunking stools and repeatedly dunked in the water.

Mary Ann made butter using the mule drawn mechanical churn, which was and remained in the workroom of the homeplace.  The large iron, gear operated churn was attached by a shaft through the wall of the house to a mule that was tethered to a wheel like device outside the house on the end facing the lough.  The mule would walk around in a circle, which moved the shaft, which moved the gears and drove the churn. 

Mary McGarvey, the granddaughter of Mary Ann and James remembered her grandmother as a fast mover.  Since Mary Ann had bad eyesight, by the time Mary knew her, she doesn't remember her doing much sewing.  Mary recalled her grandmother telling her of the time the lough was frozen so hard that they couldn't get the butter to town for a long time.  Mary Ann stored the butter in wooden forms and kept adding new butter to them.  

When the weather finally broke and she was able to get the butter to town, the man at the market tested it.  The test was done, as was the usual custom, by putting a probe in the butter and taking a core sample.  The various layers of butter were different colors.  Although the buyer should have rejected it or refused to pay the usual price for it he didn't say anything and the butter was sold.  

Mr. Tony Pogh told me a similar story in 1996.  He personally remembered seeing Mary Ann going to the fair on Thursdays with her butter in firkins, which were round tubs with two handles.  He told how he saw his father get Mary Ann Tinneny's butter through the butter inspection at the scales at the fair grounds.  According to Tony his father would say to the fellow weighing and testing the butter "Don't auger Mrs. Tinneny's butter."   

 Photo: Mary Ann sitting on a cot on the banks of Quivvy lough at Goladuff with Quivvy in the background. Courtesy of Mary McGarvey.

Tony also remembered James Tinneny was able to acquire the small house and farm of his cousin Hugh Tinneny (Hugh of the Hollow).  In 1901 Hugh of the Hollow lived with his sister Mary Tinneny, who was the head of the household, and his brother "Yankee Frank" Tinneny on their small farm in the hollow at Goladuff.  Hugh was the last of the three to die.  He, as did his brother Frank, died in the hospital at Omagh in County Tyrone.  Following his death the government was to sell his land and house to help recover some of the expenses for his care.  Ned Tummon the grandfather of Francie Tummon, presently of Goladuff, learned that a person by the name of Collins wanted to purchase Hugh's farm.  Ned didn't want Collins to have the farm and gave James Tinneny the money to buy Hugh Tinneny's farm.  James used the money to buy the farm when it was auctioned off on the steps of the courthouse at Newtownbutler.  The land was passed on to Phil Tinneny of Goladuff.

James appears to have died of a heart attack on 28 November 1928.  That day he walked from the house, the homeplace, down to the bottom at Goladuff (in the pasture at the water’s edge.)  He came back up to the house, said he had a pain in his chest, laid down and died.  James was dressed and laid out by his neighbor Edward Tummin the grandfather of Francie Tummon who lived on Goladuff in 1996.  When they took James from the homeplace on Goladuff to Drummully Cemetery to bury him, the water was so high from flooding at Goladuff that they were able to bring the cot (boat) to within 15 feet of the house.  The distance from the homeplace to the water’s edge is usually well over 100 yards.  Francis Fitzpatrick of Derrydoon remembered that the first coffin he ever carried was that of James who, like most of the other Tinnenys of Goladuff, is buried in Drummully Cemetery.  James' son Phil was also a pallbearer for his father.  James wife Mary Ann lived to be about 90 years old.  She died in 1956 and is buried with James in the Tinneny plot at Drummully Cemetery.

Note: James' descendants include: Murray, Bosquette, McManus, McCabe, Connor, McGuinness, and McGarvey.

Update January 17, 2021
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