Biographies of Our Forefathers
Mary Jane Tinneny H30
Jane Tinneny as a young girl. Courtesy of Joyce Roff.
Jane Tinneny was the fourth child and third daughter of Patrick
Tinneny and Margaret Malloy. She was born October 20,
1882 in the family home at 17 East Shaw Street in Greenock,
Scotland. On October 22, she was baptized in Saint
Mary’s Catholic Church at 14 Patrick Street in Greenock. Her
godparents were Mary Jane Duncan and James Malloy. Mary Jane
was raised in the family home on Shaw Street and attended
church at Saint Mary’s.
Like her father and others in the family, Mary Jane played a
musical instrument, the accordion.
Extract of Mary Jane's Birth Registration.
Mary Jane came to America aboard the
S.S. Pennland. The ship’s manifest shows that she boarded
the vessel at Liverpool, England on June 7, 1899 and arrived
in Philadelphia on June 19, 1899. The entry describes her as
a 15-year old of Scotch nationality, occupation servant and
that she could read and write. Her last residence was
Greenock, Scotland with her final port being Philadelphia
and the final destination being her sister Katherine Tinneny’s residence at 131 Pensdale Street in the Manayunk
section of Philadelphia. She declared that her sister paid
for her passage ticket #8568 and that she had no money with
her. She also indicated that she had not been in the United
Post card of the U.S.S. Pennland from the Internet.
By June of 1900, Mary Jane was living at 125 Pensdale Street in
Philadelphia. On June 14th of that
year her father, Yankee Pat, travelled from Glasgow to New
York then on to Philadelphia. His stated reason for entering
the country was to visit his daughter Mary Jane at the Pensdale
125 Pensdale Street.
Mary Jane’s older sister Kate and older brother Johnny were also
living in Philadelphia. She and they had come ahead of their
mother, brothers and sisters who remained in Greenock until
December 27th that year. Mary Jane’s grandmother
Malloy and some of her Malloy aunts were already established in
Mary Jane Tinneny. Courtesy of Joyce Roff.
Jane’s husband John in his uniform. Courtesy of
According to Mary
Jane’s daughter Isabella, her mother had known her father John
Patrick McColgan in Greenock. Isabella said, that her father
had followed her mother to Philadelphia from Scotland to
continue their courtship. John was the son of John McColgan and
Isabella McDougal. He was born in Greenock on April 21, 1882
and was baptized on April 28, 1882 at Saint Mary’s Catholic
Church in Greenock. His
sponsor at baptism was Catherine McAteer. John worked as a
ship builder in Greenock and served in the Army until he left
both Scotland and the Army to follow Mary Jane to America.
Tinneny and John P. McColgan wedding photo. Courtesy of
Mary Jane and John were married at Holy Family Catholic Church
on Hermitage Street in Philadelphia in 1907. Their
Pennsylvania marriage licence number was 217824. Following their
marriage they lived in a house on Baldwin Street, above Wilde
Street, in the Manayunk.
John was a first class carpenter whose specialty was working on
ships. He and Mary Jane moved from Manayunk to an apartment on
Kaighn Avenue in Camden, New Jersey to be closer to his work in
the shipyards in New Jersey. The couple then moved into their
own small wooden house, which John built, at 221 Highland Avenue
in Pennsauken, New Jersey.
As a ship carpenter, John
helped build the Albatross which in the early1900s was the
biggest boat on
It was moored in the Manayunk canal
in Philadelphia and would sail through the Manayunk locks and into the river above Flat Rock Dam. After
spending some time as a ship carpenter John became a house
carpenter, builder and contractor.
and John had four children John, Edward, Isabella and
Catharine who were born between 1908 and 1913 in Pennsauken.
When Mary Jane was 29 years old, and her daughter Catharine
“Kitty” was 13 months old, Mary Jane miscarried and
Mary Jane died on February 10, 1915.
Her young son John was with her in the kitchen while she was
baking when she began hemorrhaging. Although a neighbor and a
doctor came to the house they could not save her. Mary Jane was
just 29 years old. She was
buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery just off of the Marlton Pike
outside of Pennsauken, New Jersey. Her son John remembered that
Mary Jane’s sister Kate’s husband, Mike Sickinger, made a grave
marker out of molded metal that was placed in the ground with
two rods to mark Mary Jane’s grave.
John found it very difficult to work and to care for his four
young children. To help him he brought his sister Isabella McColgan over from Scotland to live with them in Pennsauken. It
didn’t work out and the arrangement with Isabella came to a
smoky end. One day while caring for the children, Isabella put
a roast in the oven, put the children to bed for a nap and left
the house to socialize. The roast burned, filling the house
with smoke and rescuers had to
get young Johnny, Ed, Isabella and Kitty out of the house through
After that incident John made his brother-in-law, Mary Jane’s
oldest brother John Tinneny, executor for his estate, which
included the house in Pennsauken. He then put the children into
orphanages in Merchantville, New Jersey and was never seen or
heard from again by the family. His granddaughter Joyce Roff
said she had heard that her grandfather had been traced to
Canada where he attempted to reenter the military service in an
effort to get back to Scotland. Mary Jane's brother John
travelled to Greenock, Scotland in search of John but none
of the family there knew of his whereabouts or had heard
from him after he left the family in New Jersey.
Isabella and Kitty were put in one orphanage and
were put into another orphanage. From the orphanage the
children were “farmed out” which meant that they
were literally sent out each day to farms to work as laborers.
Their Uncle Johnny Tinneny he went and got them out of the
orphanages. He and his wife Alice
took Isabella to live with them. His Aunt Maggie Tinneny and
her husband Ed McKenna took in young Johnny McColgan,
and his Uncle James Tinneny and his wife Gertrude took in Ed. Mary
Jane’s maternal uncle, Barney Malloy and his wife Mary, took in
the youngest child, Kitty.
One day, for some reason,
which is unknown now, Mary Jane’s youngest brother Patrick
gathered up the children and took them back to the
orphanages. When Mary Jane’s brother James found out he and his
brother-in-law Ed McKenna went to the orphanages and took the
children out. James then confronted his younger brother Pat,
they got into a heated argument over the matter and Jim struck
Pat and “knocked him on his behind.” The children were then taken
back into the homes of their aunts and uncles.
The children were then taken back into the homes of their
aunts and uncles.
In a discussion with Mary Jane’s daughter Isabella in July 1990,
she remembered her grandmother Margaret Tinneny going around and
visiting her and her brothers and sister while they were
recovering from illnesses that they had acquired in the
orphanage. She recalled her as being “very kind and nice.”
Mary Jane was the daughter of
Patrick “Yankee Pat” Tinneny
of Goladuff, Newtownbutler, county Fermanagh, Northern Ireland;
Greenock, Scotland and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the great
For an account and related photos
of the search for John McColgan See
John’s Post Family Life – A Mystery