Early ‘inmates’: Biographical sketches

Early ‘inmates’: Biographical sketches

Although the birth and death register survive for the Dungannon workhouse (see separate pages), the admission books do not and as such we know little about the early entrants to the workhouse. On the eve of the Famine, those who entered the workhouse did so out of extreme necessity as many would rather have died then enter the dreaded walls of Dungannon workhouse. A report from 1844, showing examples of those relieved from January to April of that year, provides an insight into the background and condition of people who entered Dungannon workhouse:


Sarah Campbell aged 87- Roman Catholic- mendicant – widow- no children alive- admitted by board of guardians 29th of February- bodily infirm- naked starving and dirty- present condition in bad health- in infirm ward.

William McKay aged 18- Roman Catholic- labourer-single- admitted by board of guardians- 4th April- -bodily infirm- dangerously ill when admitted- was drawn to the workhouse 6 miles- died 5th of April.

Felix Cassidy aged 84- Roman Catholic- Mendicant- widower- admitted to by board of guardians- 4th of April- bodily infirm- filthy, ragged and hungry- present condition, in tolerable health- his third admission the first was from the 11 to the 26th of August 1842 – the second from the 24th of November 1842 till the 1st of February 1843.

Anne Lindsay aged 66- Protestant- widow- admitted with her two children the 4th of April by the board of guardians- bodily infirm-ill clothed, blind, dirty and in a dying state- had been begging about the last 20 years- present condition in a bad state of health.

Mary Brawley age 40- Roman Catholic- peasant- married- deserted my husband- admitted with her three children by board of guardians the 18th of January- all drawn in a cart a distance of 6 miles to the workhouse- mother in a wretched state of destitution- one child filthy, hungry and in rags- two children filth,  dirty and in raga- discharged 13 to February- in good health, voluntarily.

Robert Kenny age 30- Protestant – ragmen- married- admitted with Sarah, his wife and two children the 25th of January by board of guardians- all dangerously ill-  dirty, being in fever- discharged 27th March in good health- voluntarily.

Mary McVeigh age 63- Roman Catholic- mendicant -single- admitted 7th of February by master- bodily infirm- drawn to the workhouse, three miles- present condition- in bad health- in infirm ward.

David Forrest aged 11- Protestant- orphan- admitted 15th February by board of guardians- in rags and  starving- present condition in good health- at school.

Mary Leonard age 40- Protestant- widow- for children alive- admitted 18th of January by the board of guardians with two children herself pregnant, dirty, in rags and starving- children in rags and starving- present condition all in good health- her husband died about 12 months ago-had no means of supporting a small family and was obliged to seek workhouse relief.

John Love aged 54 Protestant- widower- no children alive- admitted by master 28th of February bodily infirm- out of health- dangerously ill- discharged 6th of March in good health- had fever when admitted-was a traveller and took ill on his way