Biographies of Our Forefathers
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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."
Mary Ann sitting on a cot on the banks of Quivvy lough at Goladuff with
Quivvy in the background. Courtesy of Mary McGarvey.
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.
James' descendants include: Murray, Bosquette, McManus, McCabe, Connor,
McGuinness, and McGarvey.