Dungannon Workhouse Staff

The running of the Dungannon workhouse was a complex task and aside from the master and matron a large staff was required to ensure that everything ran efficiently. Of course not everyone was suitably qualified for the positions they held which properly added to the woes of the ‘inmates’. In 1858 when a position for an infirmary nurse was advertised it noted how the candidate should be ‘strong, active and intelligent; able to read & write’.         

While little evidence survives about the position (except for newspaper advertisements) the role of clerk, was one of the most time-consuming positions with the workhouse system. The work was varied and included all aspects of workhouse life. In 1879 for example John Boyd’s work entailed registering all of the ‘cow keepers, dairymen and purveyors of milk’ in the Dungannon Poor Law Union, a legal requirement after the introduction of the Contagious Diseases Act of that year. For much of the 19th century two men- George Moon and John Boyd- occupied the position overseeing a host of activities on a daily basis and ensuring both the efficient running of the workhouse and the poor law union which supported it. In the twentieth century William McGuffin (1909-43) and CA Irwin (1943-48) acted as clerks for the union.

The following is a small sample of people who were connected with the Dungannon workhouse, 1842-1948. It will be added to over time as names become available: 

Thomas Tackaberry, a native of county Wexford, born in Tomagaddy in 1846; served as Master of the Workhouse from 1869-1912. It is likely he came to Tyrone as a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary of which he was a member and was in Dungannon as early as 1867;

Margaret Tackaberry, Matron of the Workhouse and married to Thomas Tackaberry;

Charlotte Thornberry, served as Matron of the Workhouse and likely a relation to Margaret Tackaberry;

John Hamilton, master of the workhouse (c1850-57);        

Ellen Hamilton, matron of the workhouse (c1850-57);       

Mary Grey, was the head nurse in the fever hospital (recorded there in 1892);      

Joseph Greer of the Grange, Moy, was vice chairman of the Dungannon Board of Guardians;

Robert Wray, was deputy Vice Chairman of the Dungannon Board of Guardians and Treasurer was the Belfast Banking Company in Dungannon;      

James Hamilton was the Medical Officer;

Albert Kerr, Belfast, a native of Dungannon district, was selected from five applicants for the position of workhouse master in succession of the late Mr Tackaberry in March 1912;

William McClelland, a Royal Naval pensioner, was porter of the Workhouse, c1901;      

Martha Johnston, in the late 1880s oversaw the duties of the infirmary at Dungannon;

Matilda Davison, was fever nurse in the 1870s;      

C.K.S. Roberts, was one of seven brothers all of whom served in WW1 and was prominent member of the British Legion in county Tyrone. A member of the R.I.C. before the War, he was wounded in France in November 1914 and lost an arm. Served as Master of the Workhouse for over thirty years. He retired to live in county Monaghan, where he died in 1968;

James McAdam, Ballynakelly who served in the Boer War and the Great War was appointed porter of the workhouse in 1929;

John Boyd, asked to be relieved of his duties as clerk of the workhouse and union. He was then 74 years of age and was in his position for 34 years. He was replaced by Mr McGuffin;

Andrew Gilliland, of Mullycarnon was appointed workhouse porter in 1911;       

Joseph Young, was Superintendent Registrar of Births, deaths and Marriages for the Dungannon Union until 1871;

Margaret Campbell, was hospital nurse in Dungannon workhouse in 1870s before a move to Derry workhouse in 1878;

Mrs Young, was matron of Dungannon workhouse from 1872-1879 when she was appointed to Belfast Workhouse;

Mr Gill, was appointed Medical Officer of Clonavaddy in 1898 and replaced of Thomas Jamieson who had spent 40 years in the job;       

Mrs Ward, the Fever nurse in the Dungannon Workhouse (resident in 1887);       

Miss Selfridge, the Fever Nurse in the Dungannon Workhouse (resident in 1888);

Miss Ferry, workhouse schoolmistress (resident in 1890);  

Mrs Johnston, nurse in the workhouse infirmary (resident in 1891);

Anne Barr, Assistant fever nurse in the infirmary (resident in 1893);         

Joseph Henry, workhouse porter (c.1932);

Miss C. McCourt, Edendork, laundry maid in the workhouse (c1920);

John Hegan, worked for 27 years as a messenger for the Dungannon Workhouse;

Provision was made for religious presence in the workhouse and the first chaplains included: Established Church- Rev Thomas Twigg; Rev Felix Shane – Roman Catholic, and Rev Charles L Murrell – Presbyterian;