William Tennent (1760 - 1832):
United Irishman and Banker
William Tennent was born in County Antrim and served as an apprentice with John Campbell, a Belfast merchant and banker. He joined the Belfast Chamber of Commerce in 1783, and was junior manager in the New Sugar House in Waring Street. He eventually became a partner in this business, and he held partnerships in the distilling firm of John Porter & Co. and the Belfast Insurance Co.. He was co-founder, in 1809, of the Commercial Bank, and he worked in the bank until it became Belfast Banking Co. in 1827. He was on the Board of the Spring Water Commissioners and the Belfast Banking Company, and was manager of the Belfast Academical Institution and Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce. After the rebellion of 1798, he was arrested on suspicion of belonging to the United Irishmen, and imprisoned in Scotland for two years. He returned to Belfast and in 1814, purchased the village and demesne of Tempo, County Fermanagh. He bequeathed property to the Presbyterian Church, and died in the cholera epidemic.