The Strabane Morning Post is an invaluable resource for genealogists researching their Tyrone and Donegal forebears. This important provincial newspaper is also a useful research tool for Cos. Londonderry and Fermanagh and contains personal announcements, advertisements, extensive lists of applications to register freeholds (1829-32), court records and a great deal more. For interested researchers, Faye Logue has transcribed this essential data from all surviving editions which has been published by the title "Strabane & West Ulster in the 1800s: The Strabane Morning Post 1812-1837” – Faye L. Logue (Strabane History Society, 2006) ISBN 0952892030 and is available as a paperback from BooksIreland.org.uk and as an Ebook from the UlsterHeritage.com
EXTRACTS FROM THE STRABANE MORNING POST
Tuesday May 20 1823
To the Editors of the Strabane Morning Post:
Gentlemen - It becomes my painful duty to acquaint you with the circumstances of a most melancholy accident, which occurred on the evening of Saturday last, at Aughtermoy, near Donemana: - ROBERT, aged 21, the youngest son of MR. WILLIAM BAIRD, had retired after supper to his bed-chamber, in the full bloom of health, and in the high elevation of juvenile alacrity. He had spent the last moments of the evening in the social circle of his father’s family, enlivened by cheerful and harmless conversation. His garments were laid off as usual; the bed-clothes were folded down, and he had, it seems, taken his seat upon the bed side. No human eye indeed witnessed this arrangement; but all the circumstances of the event rendered it unquestionable. It is supposed that he then commenced loading a large pistol, which he had habitually kept as a terror to the nocturnal assailant. This process completed, the fatal instrument, whose springs were too facile for secure usage, discharged its contents into his most vital parts - even into his brain, entering a little beneath the right eye, passing upwards behind the frontal bone, and carrying off a large portion of the skull from the crown of his head. He was instantaneously laid back lifeless on the bed; and the unexpected report summoned the family to the apartment of death. What an awful heart-agonizing spectacle to father, and brother, and sister! - But language is too weak. - Human strength was not sufficient to sever the woe-stricken sister from her motionless brother; till her fainting arms were all bathed in his blood!
It was too much for the tenderness of female affection; and since that moment, I am grieved to learn, she is sustaining a sad struggle for life.
His corpse, accompanied by a vast concourse of weeping relatives and friends, was entombed last Monday in the cemetery of Grange. I shall never forget that scene of woe - the father - the brother - the uncle - the cousin - with the big tears of sorrow trembling in their eyes, as they gazed into the grave that enclosed his poor remains. Farewell, my dear departed cousin! - Long shall thy memory be sacred to this bosom; and while my heart shall bleed at the remembrance of thy melancholy end, yet shall it ever rejoice that thine was not the death of the degraded infidel, nor of the frantic suicidist; but that of one whose life, though shortened by the visitation of an All-Wise Jehovah, was a brilliant illustration of every Christian principle that can actuate the human heart, and of every lovely virtue that can adorn the human character. Be this the consolation of his surviving relatives, that the whole tenor of his conduct warrants the cheering confidence, that his immortal soul, washed in the blood of the Redeemer, and renewed by the energy of the sanctifying spirit, is now a free-born denizen of
“That land of pure delight
Where Saints immortal reign;
Infinite day excludes the night,
And pleasures banish pain.”
I remain, Gentlemen,
Tuesday, February 1, 1825
On Tuesday the 11th instant, JAMES McCORMICK, of Moneycannon, parish of Donagheady and county of Tyrone, was barbarously murdered by two of his neighbours, PATRICK and JAMES LYNCH, in the face of the day, and in presence of his son, THOMAS McCORMICK, who, in making an unavailing effort to save his aged parent, was near sharing the same fate - indeed, would also have been their victim, had he not sought safety in flight, from the consequences of an unequal and desperate contest, he being unarmed. The Lynches, who are brothers, and both young men, were found by deceased trespassing upon his ground; as we have been given to understand, digging earth for the purpose of removing it to enrich their own. Old McCORMICK very naturally forbid them to proceed at their peril, as if they did, he would appeal to the law for the protection of his property; when, without any provocation, they fell upon him with their spades, and beat him so unmercifully that they broke his skull. - After glutting their rage upon him, and as we have observed, severely beating his son, they left him, and he was soon after borne to his own house, a sad spectacle indeed for his afflicted family, covered with blood and his brains protruding. He survived till the Saturday morning following at five o’clock, when he expired. The Rev. FRANCIS GOULDSBURY attended him on the evening he received the beating, and took his examinations, when he swore positively against the Lynches; and on Saturday the same Gentleman and another Magistrate, HUGH LYLE, ESQ. held an inquest on the body, when THOMAS McCORMICK having fully corroborated his father’s dying testimony, the jury returned an unanimous verdict of wilful murder against PATRICK and JAMES LYNCH.
They have absconded, but their apprehension is almost certain, from the strict pursuit which has been instituted. They are from 23 to 25 years of age, about five feet eight inches high, rather slender, but well made. One of them dark complexioned, with black hair and whiskers, the other, rather fair, with brown hair. The deceased was 75 years of age - was a member of the Presbyterian connexion, and had ever borne a respectable character - the Lynches are Roman Catholic, and, as we have heard, violent partymen. - Derry Journal.
Tuesday, February 22, 1825
APPREHENSION OF THE MURDERERS OF JAMES McCORMICK:
We received a letter last week from TREVOR CORRY, ESQ. a Magistrate in Newry, informing us that on Sunday the 30th ult. two young men were apprehended there, on suspicion of their having been the perpetrators of the foul homicide which was committed at Moneycannon, County Tyrone, on the 11th of the same month, and of which an account was published in this paper. It appears that these two persons enlisted there on the 13th, two days subsequent to the fatal deed and were marched to Newry, the depot for recruits, and SERJEANT HAMIL, the paymaster’s clerk there, having read our paragraph, detailing the murder, was so struck with the resemblance which they bore to the persons accused, that he had them taken into custody.
There were other circumstances, too, which warranted their detention. They admitted that their name was LYNCH, that they were from within ten or twelve miles of Derry; and they could assign no satisfactory reason for abandoning their relatives and their land to enter the army, besides they endeavoured, by feigning bodily indisposition, to evade the personal examination which recruits have to undergo by the Staff Surgeon. HUGH LYLE, ESQ., the Magistrate who held the inquest on the body of McCORMICK, and whose tenants the prisoners are has dispatched a person to Newry to identify them, but we have not yet learned the result. - Derry Paper.
Tuesday, September 20, 1825
On Wednesday evening last, as MR. RICHARD ELLIS, of Benoan, in the neighbourhood of Donemanagh, and county of Tyrone, a publican, was on his return home from this City (in which he had been renewing his stock of liquors) accompanied by his wife, his son, a youth of 18, and another individual, he met with instant death from the following occurrence:-
The party were ascending a steep hill, about four miles hence, the woman a little in advance, on foot, the son at the horse’s head, and the other young man sitting in the cart with MR. ELLIS who was a bulky, unwielding person, when the horse either from restiveness or inability to proceed, began to retrograde, and, in spite all the efforts of the ---- continued doing so, until the cart reached the foot of the acclivity, and unfortunately the edge of the road, where there was a deep and almost perpendicular fall, when it went over, dragging the horse with it, and capsizing, the boxing struck the ill-fated MR. ELLIS upon the head, and fractured it in a shocking manner. Immediate death ensued. The other individual sprung from the cart before it reached the fatal spot, and escaped unhurt. It is remarkable that the horse, cart, or goods, sustained no damage. - There was, among other things, a jar of liquor, and it was found safe in a little glen into which it had rolled a few yards from where the cart lay. MR. ELLIS was 66 years of age, was a man of unspotted character and great respectability in his situation, and is much regretted in the neighbourhood. --- Derry Journal.
Tuesday, January 31, 1826
On Friday last, the 21st inst, an inquest was held on the body of HUGH CARBERY, a resident of the town of Donemana, in the County of Tyrone, whose sudden and melancholy death had caused a very great sensation in that neighbourhood. About two o’clock on that day, the REV. FRANCIS GOULDSBURY of Alla, and HUGH LYLE, ESQ. of Oaks, Magistrates of the County, entered the town and proceeded to investigate the circumstances of his melancholy death. In the absence of the Coroner they empanelled a jury, who, after a lengthened and patient investigation, returned as their verdict, “that the deceased, HUGH CARBERY, had come by his death by shooting himself with a carabine, he, at the time, being under the influence of temporary derangement.” The body of the unfortunate man presented a most shocking spectacle, as he had placed the muzzle of the gun to his mouth, and literally fired the contents into his head. That he had long contemplated the act was apparent, this being the second attempt he made to accomplish his wicked purpose. Two years ago, it appeared on the inquest, that he had fired a pistol at his head, but it burst and blew off a part of his hand.
Tuesday, October 3, 1826
On Saturday week a dreadful occurrence took place at Raspberry-Hill, near Donemanagh, in this county. A farmer, named JOHN ROSBOROUGH, had, on that night, what is called “a Churn;” that is, a merry-making which generally follows the conclusion of the harvest - and at this Churn had been JOHN CALLAGHAN, JOHN RODGERS, and a number of others. In the course of the evening, CALLAGHAN, it appears, had evinced bad feeling towards RODGERS, calling him opprobrious names, and telling him that all his “breed,” were thieves and robbers. This, however, RODGERS did not resent, knowing, that if he did, he would probably be killed. About twelve at night he left ROSSBOROUGH’S, and apprehending, it is supposed, he might be badly treated, he asked CALLAGHAN’S wife and daughter to convey him part of the way. They did so, and as they were, proceeding, he said to them that, notwithstanding what had occurred, he would fight for any of the family, and insisted on going back. The wife, as we have heard, caught him and entreated him not to do so, but disengaging himself, he was returning, when he was met by JOHN CALLAGHAN, armed, as report says, with a pair of tongs, by which a violent blow was aimed at him. The consequence was melancholy indeed. RODGERS had his reaping hook, and with it he struck CALLAGHAN a fatal blow immediately behind the ear. The point penetrated the skull. The unfortunate man never spoke afterwards - he lingered till Tuesday morning and expired. We understand that RODGERS was soon afterwards almost killed himself by deceased’s two sons, who lay in wait for him, and, altogether ignorant of what had happened to their father, beat him most dreadfully - inflicting seven cuts upon him, one of which nearly severed his arm from his body. We fear this deplorable affair originated in party spirit. - Deceased was a Roman Catholic, and RODGERS is a Protestant. MR. ELLIS, of this city, held an inquest on the body, but there being no surgeon present to ascertain if the wound was the cause of his death, the Jury had not all the evidence they could have wished. The law makes no provision for the remuneration of professional men when they attend at Inquests and had Mr. Ellis employed one, the probability is he must have paid him himself. He had no reason to expect the Grand Jury would, as from motives of economy, they greatly curtail the allowance to himself which the law authorises. The Jury’s verdict was: “That the deceased came by his death by a blow of a shearing hook, inflicted on his head by JOHN RODGERS.” - Derry Journal.
Tuesday, April 27, 1830
On Tuesday the 20th inst. a boy of about eleven years of age, named CHARLES McDAID, brought the root of an herb, called Monkshood, or Wolfsbane, (or as generally known by the name of Blue Rocket,) with him, to the school at Sandville, in the Parish of Donagheady, and divided it among some of his school fellows. Those who ate any of it were suddenly seized with vertigo giddiness in the head. One boy named JAMES DIVINE, about nine years of age took unwell in the same manner, and when going home to dinner, was unable to proceed till carried by his brother; when his brother was conveying him he said he thought the fields were all covered with snow. He spoke none after he went home except for his mother not to be uneasy but put him to bed, as he would soon be well; but melancholy to relate, he was dead before the expiration of an hour. Another boy named FORSYTHE, about ten years of age, ate some of it, and was affected in the same manner, but having caused vomiting, and some medicine having been given him to counteract the poison, his life has been preserved. Some other boys of the same age ate of it likewise, but they are recovering. On Friday, the 23rd inst. an investigation was held by the REV. CHARLES DOUGLAS and WM. H. ASH, ESQ. and a most respectable Jury, to ascertain how Divine came to his death. SURGEON PHILLIPS, R. N. was called upon, and described the herb as the most deadly of poisonous ones. The Jury gave in their verdict to the following effect, “That deceased came by his death from having eaten the root of a poisonous herb called Monkshood, given to him by C. MCDAID (a boy of about eleven years of age), without any knowledge of its baneful effects. It is but justice to state, that the teacher knew nothing of the scholars having the root in the school, or of their having eaten of it, till after, or about the time of the boy’s death.
On Friday last, as three or four children were playing about a burning lime-kiln in the townland of Ruskey, about a mile from Dunamana, one of them belonging to a man named HENRY CRAIG, somehow stepped or fell into the kiln, and lay there, until one of the children ran for its father, who came running in a state of despair, leaped into the kiln and brought it out. The child was most severely burned about the legs, and extremity of the body, and only lived twelve hours after.