Mary Tennant - Mother of Hanna
Compiled by Bob Leathers
Mary Tennant arrived in Hanna with her family from Kansas about 1890 when the town was just beginning. The family opened a boarding house in Hanna on the north side of the railroad tracks. Before arriving in Hanna, Mary had experience as a midwife. She found her experience delivering babies and tending to the sick invaluable in Hanna. It was reported Mary delivered over 403 babies in Hanna. Along with her talents of delivering babies, tending to the sick and the needy, she was a kind hearted and helpful to others. Mary died on September 6, 1941 and was buried in the Hanna Cemetery in Plot 215.
During their long residence in that community, Mrs. Tennant in her kindly, efficient manner, became nurse and mid-wife when doctors and medicinal aid were still rarities. Because of this generous helpfulness, she became known to all as “Mother of Hanna.” (Rawlins Republican, September 9, 1941)
When Social Security was enacted, many of the 403 babies came to Mary for verification of their birth, in order to receive a Social Security Card. Even in her eighties, she had a wonderful memory. She could recall what time of day each was born, who was present and the weather of that particular day. These were her last kind deeds. Mary passed away on September 6, 1941, two months before her niethieth birthday.
She left each of us who knew her, a better person for having know her.
Mary's philosophy was:
I have to live with myself, and so
I want to be fit for myself to know,
I want to be able as the days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye:
I don't want to stand with the setting sun,
And hate myself for the things I have done.
Mary met the challenge to be a woman, and what a wonderful one she was; gentle, kind, understanding, encouraging, warm, strong, faithful, unselfish, loving, and very interesting. (Isabelle Posey, History Report on Mary Tennant, Hanna Basin Museum)
THE "MOTHER OF HANNA" IS DEAD
Rawlins Republican, September 9, 1941
Mrs. Mary Tennant, 89, Succumbs in Rawlins
Mrs. Mary Gray Tennant, who has lived in Carbon County since 1881, with the exception of eight years, died quietly at 7:30 o’clock Saturday night at the home of her daughter in Rawlins, where she had lived for many years.
Mrs. Tennant would have been 90 had she lived until Nov. 4. Born Mary Gray in 1851 at Bernie Brae, Ardire, Lancashire, Scotland, to James Gray and Christina Evans Gray, she was one of 13 children. At an early age she began working in the mill factories of Scotland and when 19 she came to the United States, landing at Barton, Md., in 1891. A year later, on December 17, 1892, she was married to Alexander Tennant and they made their home in Maryland until March 16, 1879, when they migrated West to Kansas. In 1881 they moved to Old Carbon but went back to Kansas the next year. It was eight years before they returned to Wyoming, this time establishing their home at Hanna. During their long residence in that community, Mrs. Tennant in her kindly, efficient manner, became nurse and mid-wife when doctors and medicinal aid were still rarities. Because of this generous helpfulness, she became known to all as “Mother of Hanna.”
After her husband died just before World War I, Mrs. Tennant remained at Hanna for a number of years, and finally came to Rawlins to make her home with her daughter, Mrs. John McNees, at 311 West Center Street.
Mrs. Tennant was the last of the 13 children in her family to pass away. Her father died 57 years ago  and her mother was claimed in death the day that Edward VII was crowned King of England [August 9, 1902].
Funeral services were conducted yesterday afternoon at 2 o’clock at the Hanna Methodist Church, the Rev. H. K. Fulton of Rawlins officiating. In charge of arrangements was the H. Rasmusson Funeral Parlor.
Among the bereaved are two sons, James. G. Tennant, who has a ranch north of Hanna, John Tennant of Superior; a daughter, Isabel McNees, of Rawlins, and 18 grandchildren.
- Isabelle Posey, History Report on Mary Tennant, Hanna Basin Museum
- Rawlins Republican, September 9, 1941
- Photo courtesy of While Family.
- Page by Bob Leathers