COL. ELMER E. TENNANT, a representative business man of Ashland and ex-official of Ashland County, was born in Grand Rapids, Wis., May 1, 1864. He is a son of Richard and Mary (Warren) Tennant, of Abbotsford, Wisconsin.
Richard Tennant was born in western New York, his American ancestor coming from the North of Ireland and settling in Massachusetts early in the eighteenth century. Rev. William Tennant, an early representative of the family, was a Presbyterian Clergyman, who with others of the name came to this country as missionaries. Amhert Tennant, the father of Richard, was a farmer in New York and later in Wisconsin. He died at Grand Rapids in the latter state, at the age of ninety-one years. Richard Tennant has devoted his life to agriculture. He owns an extensive farm near Abbotsford, where he has lived since 1872, having been apioneer settler in that locality. He is a man of good abilities, strong in his convictions, belonging to a representative type of men. His political affiliations are with the Republican party, which has honored him with a number of local offices. Mrs. Mary (Warren) Tennant was born in Bath, N.Y. Her father Joseph Warren, in early life followed boating and rafting on the ERie Canal and the Susquehanna and Schuykill rivers. About 1850 he came to Wisconsin, dying at Abbotsford in 1898, aged seventy-eight years. He was a direct descendant of Gen. Joseph Warren of Bunker Hill fame. To Mr. and Mrs. Richard Tennant were born six children, namely: Elmer E., Carrie, Mrs. Frank Hunt, of Abbotsford; Frank; Arthur; Melville; and Donald who was drowned in Minneapolis, July 8, 1903, aged eighteen years. The surviving sons are all of Abbotsford and employees of the Wisconsin Central Railroad Company.
Elmer E. Tennant lived with his parents at Dorchester before the Wisconsin Central Railway reached that point, and received his elementary education there in the public schools. During the early years of 1884-5 he attended the State normal school at River Falls. During his early life he successfully taught in the public schools for eight years, acquiring an enviable reputation as an instructor. In 1886 he came to AShland to accept a position with a wholesale mercantile company as shipping clerk. The following year he taught in the public sschools and for another year he kept the books of the Ashland Cigar and Tobacco Company. He was also interested in the shoe trade for a time and for eight years was connected with the First National Bank as assistant cashier.
For several years Mr. Tennant has been interested in local military affairs pertaining to the National Guard of Wisconsin. In 1889 he assisted in organizing the Ashland Rifles, which later became Company L., Second Regiment, Wisconsin National Guard. He quickly acquired efficiency in military tactics, a recognition of which came Oct. 23, 1895, when he was commissioned 1st Lieutenant of the company. At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Aoril 28, 1898, he with his command was mustered into the service of the Federal Government and, May 12th following, he was commissioned 1st Lieutenant, Company L, W.V.I. With his command he participated in the Porto Rico campaign, which had proceeded as far as Abonits Pass when news was received that the hostilities had ceased and he returned to Ponce. With his regiment he had participated in the skirmish at Coamo. The regiment was discharged, Nov. 21, 1898. As a just recognition of these services, he was appointed by Gov. La Follette an aide de camp upon the Governor's staff with the rank of Colonel, June 26, 1901, and participated in the drill at the annual encampment at Camp Douglas for the same season. Following his return from the Spanish war, he received the nomination for county treasurer at the hands of the Republican party, was duly elected and installed and reelected in 1900, serving four years in that position. Upon the expiration of his term of office in January, 1903, Mr. Tennant accepted the general agency of the Union Central Life Insurance Company of Cincinnati. He filled that position until June 4, 1904, when he resigned and went to Knoxville, Tenn., with a view to engaging in coal mining.
Mr. Tennant's marriage with Ella, daughter of Robert and Rosa (Hood) Buchanan, of ST. Paul, was consummated Aug. 23, 1893. Mr. and Mrs. Buchana are natives of Ayr, Scotland, now residing at Spokane, Wash. Mr. and Mrs. Tennant are parents of three children, Harold, GRace and Wallace. Mr. Tennant is popular in fraternal circles, being a member of Ashland Commandery, No. 22, Knights Templar, and for a number of years has been treasurer of Ancient Landmark Lodge, No. 210. He has also filled most of the chairs in the local lodge of the Knights of Pythias, and is identified with the Independant Order of Oddfellows and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks.