Dedicated to the Tennants and Grawbargers who settled the Ottawa Valley in the 1850's.

The Grawbargers sailed to New Amsterdam (New York) in 1710 or so on the "Elizabeth". Some of their family members (Andrew Grawbarger) migrated northward as loyalists to the British Crown in the late 1700s or early 1800s.

The Tennants sailed to Canada in June 1820 on the "Commerce" out of Greenock Scotland and Dublin Ireland . They originally settled in Lanark Township in Lanark County Ontario and subsequently spread throughout Canada and the USA.

Meeting up in the Wilberforce Township area (near Killaloe) in the 1850s the Tennants and Grawbargers became fast friends and intermarried quite extensively.

Moving northwest into the Petawawa area together in the 1870s they founded the "Tennant Settlement" on what is now part of the Petawawa Military Base. Being bought out by the Military in 1906 some moved into nearby Chalk River while others made the trek to the Restoule/Golden Valley area and others rode the rails to Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.

Their story of hard toil and heavy burdens marked them as they set down roots and pioneered the Lanark area in the early 1800s. Finding strength in each other and through their fantastic familial relationships as their descendants married other pioneers, the Tennants and their extensive families spread out from Lanark to explore whole new homesteads and occupations.

Thomas Tennant and Ann Hill would be proud of the varied and broad legacy of their descendants. Their heart-wrenching decision to sail to a new world would in a few short decades after their death, ultimately be rewarded with their progeny weaving themselves into and becoming a part of the very essence of Canada.

Their never ending spirit lead their descendants to become explorers, clergy and pastors, shanty-men, hunters, trappers, doctors, farmers, scientists, administrators, lawyers, railroaders, soldiers, writers, educators, paramedics, morticians, elected officials, police officers, firefighters, sports enthusiasts and entrepreneurs of the day.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Aghade Church and the Tennants

The Parish of Aghade.

Thomas Tennant and Judith Butler most likely worshipped at the Aghade church (Church of Ireland - Part of a five point charge today) as they and some of their relatives are buried there. While Thomas and Judith's graves have not been found a vertical tombstone can be found secured in place with the inscription telling of the death of Richard Tennant (son of Thomas and Judith) on December 3, 1772 and burial in 1775 of a 6 month old baby boy -Thomas Tennant- son of Robert. See the following link for more details about the gravestone at Agahde Church.

The name of the Aghade parish is not of ecclesiastical origin though it is of great and celebrated antiquity as we read from what is known as 'The Book of Ballymote'. There it is told how Eochaidh, the son of Enna Cennsealach, killed the poet Niall of the Nine Hostages. The High-King pursued him into Leinster, laid waste the province and forced the Leinstermen to surrender Eochaidh to him. He then carried off his prisoners to 'Ath Fadhat' on the banks of the Slaney and there he left him with a chain around his neck secured to a stone. As Niall retreated northward, nine of his champions returned to put an end to Eochaidh. When the latter saw them coming the 'legend' has it that he put forth all his strength, gave a sudden jerk by which he broke the chain and seizing an iron bar to which it was secured, attacked and slew his champions. Encouraged by this feat the Leinstermen rallied, attacked Niall's army, defeated it and pursued it as far as Tullow slaughtering the retreating troops all the way.

In modern times, human bones and skeletons as well as mangled pieces of swords and other military equipment have been dug up from Aghade to Tullow. Nothing can be more certain that a bloody conflict took place here at a remote period. Christian origins of Aghade and All Saints.In the fifth century Saint Iserninus, Saint Patrick's nephew, resided in and was buried at Aghade. It is argued that Iserninus in close consultation with St. Patrick founded the church here.From the 'The Carlow O.S. Letters' we learn that an abbey for nuns of the Order of St. Augustine was founded by Dermot McMorogh, King of Leinster, in 1151. He appointed it to be a sub abbey of the nunnery of St. Mary de Hoggis in Dublin. It appears that in the reign of Henry V! (1422 - 1461) 60 acres of land in Ardristian as well as the rectory of Aghade belonged to this Abbey or rather to the head house of that order in Dublin city. The present day church occupies the same site of the former convent.

Quoting from the O.S. letters we read 'There is now no vistage or remembrance of the abbey now at Aghade but there are a blessed (holy) well, without a name, and a very old baptismal font near the present church which is sufficient indication of a religious establishment of other character having formally occupied the same situation'.
In bygone days, bound by the fetters of superstition, very few people went to a funeral in Aghade graveyard without paying a visit to the well and taking a drink from it as the water was believed to have curative properties. The church hall was the parochial National School until its closure in 1967. In addition to the church and Tennant Gravestone and Church hall pictures here other pictures of the Aghade "All Saints" church can be found at the link below.

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