The Bridge: Volume 2 / 2003

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FOREWORD It is an honour to be asked to participate in this, the second publication by Coagh & District Local History Group. It is, I feel, very important to keep local history alive especially via the written word. In my life in Coagh these matters or stories were part of our living heritage as we did not have TV or other distractions. Our main socialisation was via the noble art of conversation, which would appear nowadays to be part of a dying art form. This is I hope, the beginning of a major and ongoing project which will continue to draw together strands of information from all members of the community - from the oldest to the youngest and which will finally evolve to become a document worthy of wider recognition. I wish Coagh & District Local History Group every success in future ventures.

Lorna Niven


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EDITORIAL ~ Welcome to “The Bridge” No. 2 ~ The first edition was welcomed by our many friends not only at home but further afield. We hope you will enjoy our second edition as you catch a glimpse of things remembered from childhood and of the distant past. We have thoroughly enjoyed compiling this magazine and wish to acknowledge the help and encouragement from our many contributors and well wishers. Coagh and District Local History Group appreciates the support of our advertisers and is grateful to Cookstown District Council for their financial support. Please continue to keep your articles and old photographs coming in as they would be very much appreciated. If you are interested in becoming a member of the local history group you will be made very welcome. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month in Hanover House at 8pm. We have made every effort to ensure that the facts and dates in this magazine are accurate but it is hoped that any short comings will be overlooked.

Editorial Committee Dymphna Smith, Mary Mullan, Bernadette O’Hagan, Anne McCrea, Muriel Wright, Madge Vine, Valerie McAleece, Rita Hutchinson, Anne McKeown and Pat Howard.


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Bridge CONTENTS Foreword ............................................1 Editorial ............................................2 Coagh Bridge ............................................4 Poem “The Spade” ............................................6 All Done With Water Power ............................................7 The Flail & Scythe..........................................12 Poem “The Field”..........................................13 Memories of Childhood in Coagh..........................................14 Hanover House..........................................17 Poem “Tamlaghtmore”..........................................18 Grandmothers..........................................19 Mills at Templereagh..........................................20 School Days, Harvest Time & Farmer Knipe..........................................22 Drumullan National School..........................................24 Tamlaght Primary School..........................................26 Poem “Socks”..........................................28 Far Call from Suez Canal to Coagh..........................................29 Staff Nurse Rachel Ferguson..........................................30 Prisoners of War..........................................31 Poem “Soldiers Three”..........................................32 The Ogle Family..........................................33 If Walls Could Speak..........................................35 The Clergyman’s Son..........................................36 Coagh Primary School..........................................42 Killybearn Dramatic Club..........................................44 The Memorial Hall, Coagh..........................................45 Advertisements..........................................52


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Coagh Bridge O

N APPROACHING COAGH FROM the Moneymore /Cookstown direction the first noticeable feature about the village is The Bridge. The present bridge was completed in 1879.The bridge previous to this was of masonry and was probably at the same site. We can confirm this by checking “the specification of works to be done in building a bridge over the Ballinderry River, near the village of Coagh, between the counties of Londonderry and Tyrone, on the road from Moneymore to Coagh” These specifications state that the work included, the erecting of two temporary wooden bridges, one over the river and one over the mill race at Mr. Storey’s mill and that some of the stones of the old bridge could be used as filling for the new bridge. Prior to this there could have been a wooden bridge or there may just have been a ford, possibly down the river a little bit. The contractor, Michael Walse Esq., of Limerick ,had to abide by very strict specifications when carrying out the job. The new bridge was to be of stone with five arches each 30 feet span with wing walls and approaches. The whole of the

works were to be carried out in the “most substantial and workmanlike manner, with materials of the best of their several kinds”. The specification states that the work should start immediately upon signing the contract and all completed including the removal of the temporary bridges “on or before the 1st. day of March 1879” If the work was not completed to the satisfaction of the surveyors by that date the contractor was liable to a fine of £10:00 per week for each week the work was delayed. (Quite a substantial amount of money in those days especially as the contract price was only £800:0:0) Also included in the terms was a time limit for the work at the mills of Mr. Newton and Mr. Storey .The work was to be carried on so as to give those gentlemen the least inconvenience possible; and the works at Mr. Newton’s Mill and Mr. Storey’s Mill are to be completed within three months from the date of commencement of these particular works A penalty of £5:00 per week was to be imposed for each week delayed. The temporary bridge, built down stream, was to have six, 20feet spans. It was to be built from larch, spruce or beech and the longitudinal girders were to be made from pine.


As well as building the new bridge the contractor was responsible for keeping the temporary bridges in good repair. If he did not adhere to this the surveyors had the right to repair them and deduct the cost incurred from money that was owed to the contractor. Most of the stones for the building of the bridge had to be purchased from quarries at Gortahurk, some from the freestone quarries at Cookstown and that for facing the wing walls was to be of the “best black whinstone procurable within four miles of the work” A footpath was to be made the full length of the bridge and the approach roads. The curbs again had to be of Gortahurk stone. The footpath was to be bottomed with stone no larger than three inches and topped with two inches of gravel. The road itself was to

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Fair Day on 11th. October 1879, almost seven months later than the agreed date of completion. I would assume that this incurred a hefty fine of approx. £280:0:0. Quite a hole in Mr. Walsh’s profit margin. It is interesting to note that the G.N.R opened a Rail line to Cookstown almost three months earlier on 28th. July 1879. We owe Mrs. Mercer a thanks for giving us a specification for the original has been given Record Office.

be paved with six inches of stone in the centre and four inches at the sides, covered by an eight inch layer of two inch stones and topped with one inch of blinding.

One of the original invitations to the official bridge opening.

The foundation stone for the new bridge was laid by Mrs. Robert Newton of Coagh on Tuesday 26th. March 1878 and it was open to traffic on the Coagh


great deal of copy of the bridge. The to the Public

The Reverend W.J. Crossley Mercer, former minister of Coagh Presbyterian Church, was given these papers by Dr. Ted Patterson, who was an engineer in Scotland. Dr. Patterson visited the manse and became friendly with the Mercers and knowing Mr. Mercers love for local history entrusted him with these papers. Dr. Patterson’s mother was the daughter of the Reverend Ekin, (another former minister of the Coagh Presbyterian church). ■

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the Spade

Whats the price says Sammy Rice Half a crown says Jenny McKeown Bought a spade says Andy McDade Far too dear says Jack Spiers Not at all says Sarah Paul Chape enough says Willie Duff Show me it, in me hands says Robt. Sands Far too long says Billy Stronge Cut it in two says Bob Trew It would do for sinking a well says Willie Bell Leave it back says Hugh Flack Throw it away says Paddy McVey That will settle the dance says Russell Vance I never heard such trade over a spade says Mick McQuaid Submitted by Robert


All these people lived in the village around 70 years ago.


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by Ian Duff

All Done With Water Power ~ Memories of Duff Brothers in the 1950s ~


HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF GROWING up and spending very many happy hours roaming through the various parts of the Duff Brothers business when it was still active, albeit in the early stages of decline and at the beginning of its struggle to survive. This is a brief tour through the various parts of the business as I remember them and the memories of the characters who worked there. Starting at the shop which was where the doctor’s surgery now stands, a shop which sold everything from groceries and tobacco to coal and corrugated iron. This was presided over by Alfie Hickie from his high stool and desk behind a partition beside the door. No fancy shop window; just a plain brown door and outside it a large stone which appeared to have no other purpose other than to provide a seat on which people would pass the time of day. Inside there were two long counters. At the one farthest from the door, Sammy McReynolds could be seen weighing sugar, slicing bacon off the back and cutting cheese from the round cloth covered blocks of cheddar. Pre - packed

were a long way off yet - Oranges wrapped in tissue paper arrived in wooden crates; tea in tea - chests; flour in 4 stone bags; sugar in hessian and later paper sacks; while bread arrived in “tickets” from John Gibson “ Bloomfield” - 4 loaves per ticket I think - and were sold wrapped in newspaper - if you were lucky. There was nothing as tasty as a piece of soft white bread from the outside of the loaf surreptitiously pinched from under Alfie’s eagle eye or a piece of cheese sliced straight off the block. The counter nearest the door was Alfie’s domain where he carefully weighed out the tea and pokes of Gallahers Cavendish Non cut tobacco. Tea was a Duff Brothers speciality with intensely serious discussions involved in choosing from samples in small tin boxes tipped out on the counter by the tea traveller. The coarser the better seemed to be the rule with no smush - a far cry from today’s quick brew teabags! This was the era of the commercial travellers who arrived in shiny cars and good suits and must have wondered what sort of place this was, particularly as they frequently got a pretty abrupt reception.

Hugh Duff and the Tea Rep. on a horse drawn wagon. John Charlton was in charge, invariably smiling and smoking his pipe, as he put the eggs into the keys trays in the boxes and then sold groceries from the collection of well worn wooden boxes crammed into the front of the van. In those days butter was packed in o n e

All grocery shops of the day had mobile shops and Duffs were no different. As I remember this consisted of a (very) basic Bedford van with egg boxes in the back and groceries in the front. Before this the groceries were carried in a large wooden cupboard with felt top (which I still ... John Charlton was in use as a store) on the back of an charge, invariably open lorry and smiling and smoking presumably before that his pipe ... One of Duff Bros. tea bags.


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right: A group of the workers in Duff’s weaving factory in Coagh some 40 years ago. Back row: S.Creighton, A.Charlton, J.Beattie, S.Morrow, M.McIvor. Middle Row: O.Gibson, N.Wright, M.Bell, F.Robinson, A.Simpson,. Front Row: T.Bradley, B.Bell, J.Taylor and T.Rice. Far right: One of Duff’s oldest employees is Miss Elizabeth McCorkell, who is pictured here with Mrs Violet Beatty and weaver Annie Simpson.

pound packages and any lesser quantities were catered for by estimating the size required. Cutting with a knife pulled from one of the boxes and the cut end covered with greaseproof paper pulled from a string hanging from a switch on the dash. Initially no hand washing facilities were provided - I remember my father being incensed at being forced to add these in later years - and hands and knife were wiped on a piece of boiled flour bag. Well boiled flour bags often served as cloths and towels in those days. By today’s standards the whole set up was a recipe for food poisoning and would be put off the road immediately. However to my knowledge no - one complained and it was a very good service for the farmers’ wives of the time - converting egg money into groceries on the spot. Leaving the shop, frequently with my father enjoying a smoke and a bit of a chat with customers, next stop is to run down the steep yard which was between the shop and Mill House, to the vehicle workshop or as we called it the “barn”. This was built over the race bringing the water to the turbines and was the domain of Jimmy Creighton and when not out in the “wee” delivery lorry, Tommy Beattie. It was here that I spent most of my time, learnt much about engineering past and present and caught the engineering bug. Jamie in his well worn and shiny overalls had a great mischievous sense of humour and regaled us with stories of Trafford lorries and Model T Fords in earlier years, but at the same time he could turn his hand to anything, from turning shafts and “stuffing boxes” for

Lough Neagh fishing boats to make do and mend repairs of any motor vehicle. Tommy on the other hand was more meticulous and cautious with a love of clocks. He took exceptional care of both Duffs own vehicles - from his elderly Austin and later Bedford lorry to a well used bicycle and his shining BSA on which he used to head off to motorbike races. Tommy did not like to see equipment misused even by his bosses and frequently told of the day Master Willy (Willie Duff) drove into a wall at Ballinderry Bridge and knocked it down. Working in the Barn certainly taught you not to drop things on the floor, which was wooden with holes through which vital pieces could easily disappear into the race below! Out through the back door of the Barn brought you face to face with the water power which made the whole business possible and had brought Thomas Duff to Coagh in the 1820s. At this time the whole operation was driven by water turbines which replaced the original water wheel. Four turbines produced some 200 horsepower - all driven by the Ballinderry river falling through a head of some 8 feet.

into simple straight cut open gears whose loud growl could be heard for miles as they converted the drive from vertical to horizontal. As you left the back door of the barn you ran across the “rack”. For a child this was a scary place as it was the main chamber where water swirled into the turbines and was covered only with steel sheets which bounced and rattled ominously as you went across them. This was also where the screens stopped the debri getting into the turbines. This material was then dragged up onto the surface where it lay before being taken away - a

The power was relatively low by today’s standard - to a small lorry or two family cars - but powered all operations on site, with occasional help from a large Crossley Oil Engine. Equipment was specifically designed to consume little power and to use gravity where possible. The two main 80 hp turbines had vertical shafts which emerged from the chambers at the back of the “Barn” The sluice gates at the rear of the mill.


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collection of rotting leaves, branches, trees and occasionally dead sheep or even cattle. Running across the rack brought you to a small door into the corner of the “Spinning Room”. This presumably was used for spinning in the past but I only remember it as a large shed with a flagged floor which was constantly wet with water running from the race on one side out through channels to the “back fall” behind the turbines. Passing to the far end of this you went through a door into the “Mechanic Shop” with timber loft above. This housed the lathes, grinders and boring machines which were used to keep the wheels turning and in line, particularly to straighten the line shafts which ran in brass bearings for some 150 metres along the whole site. Today lathe cutting tools are specially shaped and made from exotic materials - in those days if Jimmy wanted to turn something chances were he took an ordinary file and shaped the end to do precisely what he wanted. This typified the ingenuity used to make do and mend at that time. Walking through the Mechanic Shop you went out into the Holmes between the race and the river and into the Saw Mill. Farmers from miles around brought trees in to be sawn into planks for building. The trees which could have weighed several tons were euphemistically called “sticks” and were manhandled onto a simple hand truck and then manually pulled to the saw bench before being levered up slides onto the saw bench itself.

When not in noisy action I remember the eerie quiet broken only by the slow meticulous rasp of a file used by Jimmy Beattie as he sat astride a stool or beside the large saw blade to sharpen it before the next burst of activity. Walking up “Saw Mill Lane” - now the vehicle entry to the “Mill House” over the bridge at the race, brought you on the left hand side to the “Blacksmiths Shop”. I only remember this being occasionally used but was complete with bellows, fire bed and all the tools needed to shoe the many horses and fit rims to the wagon wheels used in earlier years. I still have and use the anvil from that place which clearly shows the wear etched by multitudes of hammer blows and gallons of sweat hitting it over many decades of hard use. Returning back through the Saw Mill, Mechanic Shop and Spinning Room and taking the route along the passage over the back fall where the water escaped from the turbines back into the Ballinderry River took you past the small workshop presided over by Robbie Creighton. This was used by the “Tenters” to repair the belts and make

The rough planks could then be further cut up using a small bench saw for cutting shapes or even a device for turning out spade shafts - all driven by shafts and belts from the turbine some 50 meters away. This was rough, tough dangerous work under the direction if I remember rightly of Wilson Gibson and in later years Jimmy Beattie, helped by Sam Kelso, Dickson Charlton and others drafted in as required. No hard hats or safety clothing in those days just woollen gloves without fingers to try to keep hands warm!

Jimmy and Robbie Creighton. repairs to the looms in the linen factory, which was still working at that time. The passage led to the Engine Room with the Crossley oil engine, used to help the water turbines at the peak demand or at low water, on one side. The controls for the turbines were on the other side - complete with classical ball governs so beloved of physics teachers and text books. Safety guards came in the form of slatted wooden barriers each side of a narrow passage along which you walked - half sideways because it was so narrow - towards the shaft of light from the open door. Emerging into the bright sunlight in front of you was “The Office” with its white door and high sloping desk, so typical of the Victorian era, at which the secretary sat on a high stool keeping all the books and records for the business. All done without a computer in sight - how simple the paperwork must have been in those days! Also in the office or about this area you would have found my Uncle Jim Duff who ran the linen side of the business, appropriately attired in an immaculate white linen work coat. The “factory” consisted of three “ends” or sections. The First end was the winding room where linen thread coming in from the spinning mills on huge steel drums was wound onto bobbins and pirns for the shuttles.

The rough, tough dangerous work was under the direction of Jimmy Beattie in later years.


The Middle end where the weaving took place was a noisy scary place for a small boy. It seemed to be frequented by equally noisy and scary women with

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pasteurised and arrived in the houses in a bucket and was then filtered through a simple brass sieve to remove most of the extraneous “solids” before consumption! In walking along the race bank to the village, I never ceased to be amazed at the effort and ingenuity taken to create the dam or carry and construct the head and tail races to conduct the water to the factory at Urbal and the Corn Mill at Coagh. The water flowed alongside Hanover House, past the creamery on to the Urbal side of the Coagh Bridge and then under the roadway on the Coagh side of the bridge to the Corn Mill before passing through the turbine there and flowing back into the river near where the sewage works now stands.

The view from the rear of the Corn Mill. scissors as part of their hands. Only very special men seemed to enter this area - the Tenters - who kept the looms working. Men such as Alfie Charlton, Robbie Creighton, Hughie Beattie and Sammy Creighton. The Far end, which today would probably be known as the quality control department seemed to be occupied only by Willie Lamont who pored over the lengths of cloth through a special magnifying glass looking for defects and then marking them with purple ink. Once cleared by Willie the cloth would be dispatched on the lorry driven by Joe Ferguson to the finishing plants such as Moygashel, Clarkes of Upperlands or Ewarts in Belfast. Coming out of the door through which the finished linen emerged you could climb onto the race bank and walk along it and through the “Pleasure

Grounds” to the village. As you set out you looked across to the “stables” where horses had been kept in large numbers in days gone by, looked after by men such as John Robinson and Fred & Harry Young. In my time the work had been largely taken over by the lorries and the Ferguson tractor driven by Harry Young, so there was only one horse left - Maggie. This was a large Clydesdale mare - looked after carefully by John who was renowned for his pride in the horse brasses he collected and for his passion for, and a house full of, Lambeg Drums! Sam McDonald, who like so many of the people mentioned in this account, gave a lifetime of service to Duff Brothers and the Duff family, at this time looked after the Shorthorn and Kerry cows which were kept in the same area and provided milk for the houses. This was of course not

At that time the Corn Mill was operated by three long time Duff employees led by John Watterson. John operated the two traditional

Harry Young who worked on the farm. grindstones which produced wheat or oat meal and he spent many hours during the summer months facing the granite or quartz rock stones with a hamme* to ensure that they were ready for the next winter’s work. The mill had a wonderful system for getting sacks of grain from the lower to the upper floors using a chain hoist which John could use to perfection. The chain disappeared through split trap doors in the working floor at street level, to the lower floor some 20 feet

The front view of the Corn Mill


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below. A helper on the lower floor slipped the chain over the neck of the bag to be lifted and shouted when it was ready. John then pulled on the rope to start the hoist - again driven by the water turbine - and the chain started to rise silently through a small hole in the centre of the trapdoors. Suddenly the sack attached to the chain burst through the trapdoor and rose towards the roof. At precisely the right moment John released the hoist drive rope, moved forward, grabbed the sack with his free hand and using its upward momentum could stack it with the absolute minimum of effort - poetry in motion achieved from years of practice. Sammy McDonald was John’s right hand man and was always smiling or whistling as he went about his work. The grain elevators and all other available spaces where he worked were

covered in photographs of the boxers and film stars of the day. Behind the corn mill, where the public toilets now stand were the kilns used for drying grain and where Dickson Charlton could be found turning grain on the floor with a wooden shovel. The grain was all put onto and removed from the floors by hand and the drying was achieved with hot air from the coke fires below, this passing up through the grain and out through the special vents in the roof (cockanannies) which turned as the wind changed direction. The coke fired chambers with sliding covers were a popular place to stand on a cold winters day. I hope this paints a picture and provides a useful record of the Duff Brothers business which I had the pleasure and privilege of growing up amongst and that it will bring back memories of some of the many people who made it all possible.

Cockamaney from Coagh Corn Mill, reerected on Mayhook Mill, Crossgar. However none of this would have been there without the carry, races and water power derived from the Ballinderry River. With the concern about world energy supplies and current pressure to develop renewable sources of energy future generations may yet be glad still to have such a useful source of clean renewable energy on their doorstep. ■

Working at corn on Duff’s farm: Hugh Duff (on the trailer), Joe Ferguson (on the thresher), Sam McDonald (on the rick), Dixon Charleton (bottom of rick) and Sam Kelso (with the pitchfork). INTERESTING NOTE FROM THE INTERNET A mill bill is a piece of special hardened steel mounted in a wooden handle. This tool is used to dress (recut the grooves used for grinding) the millstones. Mill stones for grinding wheat were usually French Burr, which is a form of quartz and very hard. Mill stone dressers, who usually wandered from mill to mill, used the mill bill. Small pieces of the steel bill flew off and embedded themselves in the back of the dressers hand. A miller, faced with a mill dresser he did not know, would ask him to “show his metal”, meaning the backs of his hands, so the miller could judge, by the quantity of steel chips in the dressers hand, how much work he had done and, thus, how good he might be! So, the next time you are asked to “show your metal” you know how the saying arose. The quality of the steel would have improved by the 1950’s so iron splinters would not have been the same problem!


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~ In the fields of yesteryear ~

The Flail & Scythe In

1966 J.J. Murphy, writing in “Ulster Folk Life”, claimed that the scythe didn’t appear in Ireland until about a few years before the Great Famine of 1847. The author was surprised that it took so long to get ‘here’; scythes were manufactured outside Birmingham from about 1720. According to Murphy, a young migrant harvester from the Carlingford Lough area of County Down brought the scythe into this country. Evidently this young man had seen it at the hay harvest in Scotland and took a fancy for it. He lost no time in getting acquainted with the implement, and soon made himself the proud owner of one. Shortly afterwards he got the ‘boat’ back home to Carlingford, eager to let everyone see his new acquisition. What is intriguing about the story is that the author names the townland where the scythe was first used: Ballyduelaney. Rumours of the new fangled thing were met with a mixture of fear and ridicule. Up to then the sickle was the traditional reaping tool at harvest time in the small fields of Northern Ireland. It had been used for thousands of years; but this “ Johnny come lately,” it couldn’t be taken seriously, could it? In the folklore literature of Ireland it’s generally agreed among experts that it took three agricultural labourers a whole day, using sickles, to cut an acre of corn; now claims were spreading like wildfire that the same job could be done in the same amount of time by one man using a scythe. It was a bold prediction but there was an entire harvest of sceptics out there still to be convinced; and who better to convert them than the young man himself? A buzz of anticipation ran throughout the local community and a day was set for the first demonstration. On the day

Claims were spreading like wildfire that the same job could be done in the same amount of time by one man using a scythe the people trickled and tripped over the fields and stiles and rutted lanes to witness a piece of agricultural drama unfold in the fields under Edentrumley Mountain. The torturous twist of the scythe handle and the angle of the blade surely raised a doubt or two among the experienced ‘sickle’ men who came to watch. The crowd packed around the little field to get a closer look, but before work could commence the “god of the harvest” was asked to bless and “further the work…….” and with that, the young harvester bent to the task. Soon the sweeping of the scythe had cut a deep swathe through the corn…. and not too long after that it cut through the thick ‘crop’of disbelief that stood spellbound on the roadside. Before nightfall many Doubting Thomases were converted; the scythe had made its ‘point’ so to speak. Though many were impressed it’s not certain if the land owner himself was entirely convinced. The following conversation was overheard between


one old man in the ‘locality’ and the farmer late the same evening: Old Man: “I see John ye got your corn mowed the day.” Farmer. (John) “I did Tom” (he answered sadly) “I got it cut, threshed and bottled all at the same time.” Despite it all the scythe caught on; a little piece of history had been ‘written’ beneath the shadow of Edentrumlry Mountain….and there’d be no going back. In ‘olden times’ when a field of corn was mown the felled cornstalks were gathered in bundles and tied. Later, when the time was right, the bundles were taken to a barn where the grains of corn were separated from the stalks. The bundles were placed in two rows on a wooden platform, then two men working in rhythm set about the task of ‘beating’ the cornstalks; they performed this task using a peculiar implement called a flail. The flail was the best tool for freeing grain for thousands of years. It was of

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simple construction, two separate sticks, loosely joined together with a strip of animal hide. One part of the flail was held in the hand, (it was called the hand-staff) while the other piece was used to strike the heads of corn and was called a ‘soople’. The hand - staff was often made from hazel rod and the ‘soople’ from a branch of a holly - tree. Flail design varied from district to district throughout Ireland, depending on tradition and availability of materials. The simplest design consisted of a single hole bored in the hand - staff where a thin strip of hide was passed through and secured; the other end of the ‘tying’ was knotted around the soople; this type of flail wasn’t very popular as it was tiring on the arms of the user. A number of improvements over time made the flail much more efficient. Instead of drilling a hole in the hand staff a groove was carved around the end instead. One of the ‘tying’ was wrapped around the groove and the other end to the ‘soople’ This simple

The flail however , wasn’t unique to Ireland; it has been used for thousand of years in China, Europe and Africa. alteration allowed the soople to rotate in the air as it swung and made it much easier on the arms. The work itself was more about timing and rhythm than brute strength. As for the ‘tying’ itself many types of animal - hide were experimented with cow, horse, goat, sheep, badger - the bark of the willow was even used. But the most sought after was eel - skin, probably because of the natural oils within that acted as a lubricant in the grooves.

The flail however , wasn’t unique to Ireland; it has been used for thousand of years in China, Europe and Africa. Maybe it was from those distant places that the tradition of putting a horses’ skull beneath the flailing - floor originated. No one knows for sure why this was done; was it some ritual sacrifice to the “spirit of the harvest”? I suppose we’ll never know.

the Field

Joe Kelly

A field with a slight slope in sunlight bathed,

Tears fall at last, unhindered now, what blessed relief!

A once - proud owner relegated to mere trespasser;

Oh! Let them go, let them flow!

One whom there is none to chide, or even notice,

Open the flood gates and, in total abandonment, grab

Standing still as a statute

This rare and heaven - sent gift of privacy -

In this hauntingly lovely uninhabited place.

Surrender to grief and let it heal!

A FIELD fertile with a crop of memories

Touch that ivy - clad post and fathom why, oh why,

Infiltrating and arousing every sense

All this, that in dreams could seem so real

To the highest peak of fettered feeling!

Should now conversely bear All atmosphere and aura of a dream?!

Thoughts from the heart flit through the mind As sparrows now freely wing

Ellen McGurk

Through yon tumbled, silent once - walls.


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by Honorah


Some Memories of Childhood in Coagh and would flick it in his face, if he didn’t watch out!

Coagh village.


N MANY RESPECTS, I STILL THINK of Coagh as ‘home’, in spite of an absence of some 30 years, (apart from two very brief visits, of a few hours each, 1996 and 1998). Quite a lot of my childhood was spent at Hanover House with my mother, Maude George, my aunt Gladys Duff and another aunt Hella Burgess, though I did spend time in Portstewart as well I have fond memories of many people and places, especially of Hanover House and its immediate surroundings: the numerous out - builds and large garden, the mill race and pleasure ground, the creamery beside the house, and the corn mill opposite. There was plenty of space to run about and all sorts of exciting things for a child to investigate and to do; such as quietly climbing the ladder from the old stables to the corn loft, and seeing how many rats I could surprise, as they feasted off the plentiful supply of corn stored there. Many years ago, part of Hanover House was used by my Grandfather, Dr. Burgess. as his surgery, with a waiting room and morgue; but in my memory, the old surgery was used as a small, local branch library - the books being brought from the County Library in Omagh. It was also used for the

distribution of cod liver oil and orange juice to children, probably during the war years. Another large out - building alongside the waiting room, was used during the war as a billet for soldiers, and British and American Officers were billeted in Hanover House. In the days when milk was delivered direct to the door from the churns, I used to get a ride in the trap with Joey Duff on his delivery round; and I was allowed to drive the pony. Joey used to say I was a bit too free with the whip,

At Hanover House there was a well in the inside yard, and a pump which gave access to drinking water, but I recollect going up to the village pump, opposite Elliott’s shop, and fetching buckets of water from there; and sometimes taking a bucket down to the ‘Back - Fall’ (the waterfall between the river and the race) and dipping it in the rushing water of the fall, while holding tightly to the wall - rather a hazardous procedure! The man who helped to look after the garden was known as “Old Robert”, having retired from his regular work, so seeming very ancient to me. I think his name was Robert McGuckin and he lived in a cottage up the Main Street. He had a large enamel mug of tea, with bread and jam in the morning and afternoon, and I was often the bearer of these refreshments. He had a big bushy moustache, which got festooned with droplets of tea when he drank. I remember him wielding a large scythe in what was called “ the upper

Jim McGuckin (left) who worked in Elliotts and (right) Mr Berkeley Elliott.


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Miss Sadie Greer and Miss Louisa Greer (above) who worked in Greer’s shop in Coagh (right).

garden”, and being warned to keep out of the way of the blade. In those days I was keen on fishing, and often ‘fished’ over the garden wall and down into the race, with a primitive tackle, but with a good supple of worms, found under a wooden plank, which was used as a foot rest. I seldom caught any fish, but was always hopeful. The Pleasure Grounds was a bountiful source of small sticks for kindling another job for me, and of course, we could get down to the river from there, though I was not supposed to go there on my own. There was a gate at the end of the garden and a small bridge across the race to a path which led right out to the linen factory and round to Urbal Road. This was a much used short cut to go to Duff’s shop, (now the site of the surgery) and I often went with my Aunt. There sugar and tea were weighed up and bacon was sliced to order, (not much pre packaging in those days), but it was a good opportunity for a chat with Alfie while all this took place.

seemed to stock everything you might need. The creamery was another interesting place to go with all its machinery, and I was often sent to buy a nice bowl of cream for an ‘old’ sixpence, (or 2 &1/2p) This usually meant that my aunt was making delicious brandy snaps! The cream was obtained when the creamery maid (Miss McVey, as I recollect), climbed up a ladder to a very large bath - like container and ladled out the cream from there. I was

delighted to be allowed up these steps to peer into this beautiful big bathful of cream. When the river was in flood, which seemed to be quite often, the water came into the creamery office and the books had to be removed to a safer place, while Miss McVey sloshed about in ‘wellies’. Brightly painted horse drawn carts brought the milk in churns from the country. These churns were unloaded into a big doorway near the road and then collected from another

Another shop I remember was that of J.R.Elliott, which also housed the small post office. Jim McGucken was one of those whom I recall serving in the shop. The office was upstairs, overlooking the shop floor and I well remember Rowley and Berkley Elliott in and around the premises. From time to time I went to Flacks and often to the drapery run by Lousia and Sadie Greer, up the Main Street. They Flack’s house and McVey’s house.


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doorway at the top of some steps, further along the building, so there was much activity, with constant coming and going of horses and carts. Another favourite place to visit was the corn mill just opposite to Hanover House. It was on 3 (or 4) levels and driven by water from the mill race. A sluice gate was located alongside the race near to the waterfall. This gate was raised and lowered to regulate the flow of water by John Watterson, whom I remember as the miller. When the horses and red and blue painted carts arrived full of sacks of grain, the horses were backed up facing the road and the tail - boards of the carts let down; John would then put an empty sack on his back, turn his cap round, catch hold of the two corners (or ears of the sacks and hump them into the mill. This was a very dusty place, full of machinery and ladders up and down to the various levels. I sometimes managed to escape up or down, to have a good look round. It was also the place for regularly getting weighed on the same scales as John used for the sacks. The field opposite to Hanover House was known as the ‘Shilling Hill’, (does anyone know why?). I can remember hearing Corncrakes calling from there a bird which is now severely under threat. The field across the river and opposite the creamery was called the

‘Bleach Green’, presumably linen having been bleached there years ago. And, of course, I remember the Honeymug. Immediately across the bridge on the right hand side of the road, stood 2 or 3 small cottages; one had the blacksmith’s forge alongside and George Crooks was the blacksmith. Horses were either being shod inside or waiting patiently outside, for their turn to have a new set of shoes. The sound of the hammer on anvil carried readily across the river, and on a hot summers day, could easily be heard in our garden; as could also the crowing of cockerels from Willie Beatties yard in Ballygoney Lane. By walking further along this lane for a mile or two, it was possible to get down to the river to the ‘Carry’ (upper falls), and this was a good place to see salmon leap as they went up to the quieter waters to spawn. This was also a good lane for gathering blackberries; not so good for dogs; or one in particular, which rushed out of its kennels barking loudly, and appeared ready to gobble up a small girl! It took much holding of hands and encouragement to get me past this “barky dog” as I called him. My Mother and Aunt attended Ballygoney Church, (in the building which predated the present church) and the service at 2pm. was led by the Rev. A J. Gillespie. We were taken there by Jim Duff in his car, at a cracking pace! He sang in the choir as did Hugo Duff and the organ was played by Mary Charlton. As ours was a large L shaped pew near the front, I had to sit still and be good, being in full view of the congregation. Through the plain glass window in front of us, I could see the headstone of my maternal grandparents’ grave, Robert and Matilda Jane Burgess. Sometimes I walked up the hill to the service in Tamlaght Church at 4pm. This is the church in which I was christened by the Rev. Kinch from Ballinderry. When there was a funeral going from the village to Tamlaght Church, it was usual to lower the blinds, before the procession went down the street.

Mrs George and Aunt Mrs G Duff.


Honorah George as a child. Again, I was despatched around the front windows, to pull down the blinds and raise them afterwards, that is if one, (being on a strong spring), had not already ascended of its own accord! From the side windows the cortege could be seen wending its way up Tamlaght Hill to the Church. Only men ever walked behind the hearse in the days which I am writing of. Much water has passed under The Bridge since these days and inevitably, very many changes have taken place. But it is good to be able to relate, even in a small way, to some of the folk who lived out their lives in and around Coagh all those years ago. There are many people that I recollect well but I hope these few childhood memories will have given you just a glimpse of what Coagh was like for me, and so help to bridge the gap over the intervening years.

Honorah M. George February 2002 N.B. Anyone wishing to contact Miss. George please ask a committee member.

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Hanover House U

PON ENTERING THE VILLAGE of Coagh, from the Cookstown and Moneymore roads, just over the bridge and on the right hand side of the street stands Hanover House Hotel. Originally a gentleman’s residence Hanover House was built by the Lennox - Conyngham family, who were responsible for the building of Coagh village in the 1700’s. Hanover House itself was build around 1735. Hanover House.

Over the many years since, the village and its inhabitants have experienced many changes, not least of all Hanover House which has had re - structuring of the building itself and has had several changes of ownership (as can be seen on the list of Deeds and Documents printed on page. Prior to 1856 and up until 1876 its many occupants used the house a family home. When Dr. Burgess came to Coagh in 1876 he lived there and ran his surgery from there until the year 1924 when the surgery was moved to 14 Hanover Square by a Dr. Archer Brown. The house remained empty for many years and in the year 1973 Mr. Bryson Gibson purchased Hanover House and following extensive renovations he held an official opening on 1st November 1978 and thus Hanover House Hotel came into being. Miss Merlyn Wright and Mr. Colin Wright took over the ownership of the hotel in 1995. In the year 2000 the present owners Merlyn Wright and Trevor Love, added a new function suite. This beautiful old house has been transformed into a very successful hotel. ■


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As we wander through life we all want to show But where you come from, most folk want to know To do the place justice when this question I’m asked My answer in verse I now set a task.

Half - way down the hill, Willie Brown he lives there. If you want good advice his wisdom he’ll share. He’ll talk of Heir Hitler and tell you a plan That Britain has made for the good of the land.

Of all the six counties that history makes known There is one I prefer named County Tyrone The townlands of Gortical and Tamlaghtmore combined, The folks may be thrifty but you’ll find them all kind

We have Herbie Black on the brow of the hill And the neighbours I’m sure all wish him no ill His family all have a right to be proud For his gaining promotion we’ll sing praises loud.

‘Tis this place I come from and I’m proud to belong You’re sure of a welcome if you come along. Of the people who live there most names I will state But no words of mine could their virtues relate.

For greyhounds and sports we’re as keen as can be David Irwin has purchased a champion from me If he wins David John will be ready to sell But I doubt if he’ll run since the night that he fell.

There are Purvises, Browns and Dallases The Hamiltons, Bleeks and McKeowns are not few With Crawford amongst us who’s now come to life. To do a service his life he would give.

In the midst of us all stands a grand Orange Hall With Sam Rea as master and head over all. When I see him turned out on that famous 12thday It leaves me a Catholic with little to say.

Jimmy Wilkinson lives on the top of the hill With tables and chairs your house he could fill. He could make you a cart or do ceiling work grand He would rather do this than work on the land.

Of the barber we boast. ‘Oh’ yes, take a rest.’ If you call when in Stewartstown you’ll get your hair dressed, Louis Scott is always ready to give you a shave Or perhaps you would fancy a permanent wave.

Then there’s Samuel McKeown, he’s the best sport of all. If you’re out for a joke on him you must call He never takes drink though he’s often drunk And when he’s this way he just falls in his bunk.

“Shall meet o’er the river” George Walker will shout When full to the brim with whisky and stout At the foot of the mount we find George McKeown, The best breeder of fowl in the Co. Tyrone

His son Samuel James is a sporting man too He has followed the dogs since the year ’22 He will mock you and rile you of girls o’er the foam The only mistake is he lies all alone

Sam Dallas with tractors from England they came He now can grow crops that one couldn’t name, With tractors and ploughs cultivating the land There’s nothing on earth before him could stand.

There is Robert James Hamilton. On him you must call. He’ll quote you the Bible since Adam did fall. You’ve got to believe him or he’ll soon let you know The place you are fit for is far down below.

Now! if all these good people live well and do thrive, Some food it is needed to keep them alive’ So here comes McVey with his bougie well filled, With everything useful and the best flour that’s milled.

On the top of the mount James Walker lives And well worth a visit if time you can spare. A view from his glasses Co. Antrim and all Of the folks far away sweet memories recall.

From each foregoing verses you must now understand, This corner of ours is the best in the land, We never fall out but sometimes disagree WHY BILL CROSSED THE BOYNE IS A WONDER TO ME. Composed by Gerald


Ballymurphy, Ardboe, Stewartstown


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Grandmothers “G

RANDMOTHERS ARE God’s gift to children” - or so it says on a little cross-stitch picture on my kitchen wall. Grannies are renowned for telling stories of days gone by, but when we are young it doesn’t seem to interest us very much, but the years pass by and Granny isn’t with us any more, then we reflect on those wonderful memories and wish we had listened more intently. My Grandmother was born in 1887, an older member of a large family, so, naturally she helped rear the younger ones before training to be a Nurse. She went off to Cleveland (U.S.A.) where she met and married my Grandfather in 1909. A boy was born and then a baby girl arrived and another baby was expected, but, sadly my Grandfather died suddenly in September 1914 and never saw his daughter (my Mother) who was born in February 1915; by which time Granny had travelled back home.

After a few months she left her three children with her sister while she went back to nursing because in those days there was no Child Benefit, no Income Support etc. etc., so she had to earn a living. She (Nurse McClatchie) was, I believe, the first District Nurse in Coagh - she lodged with Mrs. Howe and I think Dr. Burgess was the G.P. at that time. There were many stories told which, unfortunately, I cannot recall, but one I do remember vividly; this happened somewhere in Ardboe in the middle of a moonlit night. Granny had been called out on a ‘case’, so off she went on her bicycle - she came to the top of a hill and looking Martha (nee Hogg) and Alexander McClatchie down the with children David and Florrie. l o n g incline she mind in the hours of darkness, and of ‘saw’ a horse and cart course she would have her ‘mobile’ across the road with her. But in those days only people blocking it completely. who had a business had a telephone These were troubled very few private homes owned a times - what should phone. she do? - She must take the risk and go on My Grandmother also nursed in because someone was Moneymore and lodged with waiting for her - a new Mrs.Huey; she worked for Dr. Todd - born baby and a who resided at Springhill Road for a mother’s life could be short time. His son was the famous in danger. actor, Richard Todd; Granny knew him as a little boy called Peter. She mounted her bicycle and slowly proceeded down the hill only to discover that her ‘horse and cart’ was a shadow cast by a large tree in the moonlight! In 2003 a Nurse would not be out on a bicycle at any time never

Nurse McClatchie and Cadet Nurse Winnie Warnock.


Granny Crawford, as she became in later years, had many good times but also some frightening experiences, such as nearly being shot (by mistake, of course) and thankfully they missed !! If only I had paid more attention to her stories, I could have written a book instead of just these few paragraphs.■

Doreen Brown

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Mills at Templereagh T

EMPLEREAGH IS LOCATED between the Coagh / Stewartstown road and the Annaghone Road. An oat grinding mill sited here from 1611 until 1641 was owned by landlords - the Stuarts of Stuart Hall. The Stuarts came to the Stewartstown area during the Plantation of Ulster. Work had to be provided for the local people. However, the local

people who were dispossessed didn’t take kindly to their landlords, and the mill was burnt and it lay derelict until 1655 when it was rebuilt by Robert Stuart. It remained in Stuart ownership until the early 1800’s when it was bought by Hugh Stewart, the present owner’s great, great grandfather. The mill was solely used for grinding oats. Everybody grew oats as it had a

twofold purpose - the straw, when threshed, was used to thatch the cottages and the oatmeal fed the livestock. Hugh’s son, Robert, born early 1817, followed into the business. He expanded the farm, which was worked alongside the mill, by buying land. The production of wheat encouraged him to open a flour mill at this time. The mill was further extended to grind maize. In fact he was the first person to sell maize meal in Cookstown on the open market in 1847. This was during the potato famine and maize was imported from the U.S.A. to feed the starving population. Maize was bought in Portadown and transported to the mill by horse and cart. The thriving mill gave work to eight or nine men. The workforce were fed by the mill owners thus making the whole household very busy. Six to eight horses were kept which needed daily care. A blacksmith had constant work between shoeing horses and making equipment for the mill and the farm. Local timber was used to make the spades, buckets and troughs. During this era a steam engine was installed. Increased volume of work necessitated this. This mill was different from other small mills in that it worked all the year round. Most other small mills only worked seasonally to benefit local farmers, grinding their crops during the harvest. Templreagh was fortunate enough to have large storage space enabling grain to be bought and stored until it was needed and then ground . By this time travelling and transport was

The water wheel at Templereagh Mill.


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Duncan Stewart - present day owner of the mill. “Templereagh mill was different from other small mills, in that it worked all the year round.”

made easier as the railway system had developed, trains came to Stewartstown by 1860. The ground oatmeal and flour were sent to Belfast by rail, and sold there, although enough was kept to supply the local shops in Dungannon and Cookstown There are dockets dated October 1883 to show that 45 ton wheatmeal, 45 ton oatmeal and a similar amount of cattle fodder were ground during that month. This was a considerable amount of grain to be worked by a country mill. William, the next generation of the Stuart family, took over in the late 1880’s. In 1903 he replaced the water wheel with turbines which were of an American type, bought in Glasgow. These were used in the mill until its final closure. Unfortunately in 1913 William was killed in an accident in the mill. In those days there were no guards to protect the belts of the

machines and he was caught by one and was killed. William’s son, Joe, took over the business and kept it producing until 1916 . He closed it and joined the army to fight in the First World War. He met and married an English girl and they settled and lived in England.

For a period of time there was no milling at Templreagh, farming being carried on by Joe’s brother, Robert. In 1940 Robert’s son, Duncan, reopened the mill. The turbines were overhauled and seasonal grinding was restarted, grinding fodder for the local farmers. At this time Duncan installed a generator to provide electricity for the farm and his dwelling house. The doors were eventually closed 1950 and the milling at Templereagh came to an end. But this was not the end of the line for them! Duncan had a great interest in the working of them, and in 1960 he overhauled them and continued to use them. Nowadays they produce enough electricity to heat his home with the use of storage heaters. An immersion heater is also run to provide hot water. There are three different sizes of turbines. Which one he uses is dependant on how much water is in the dam. One of these turbines has a Coagh connection as it was bought from Duff Bros. when they closed their factory. ■

Current day pictures from inside the once mighty mill.


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by Alfie Charleton

School Days, Harvest Time & Farmer Knipe


HESE MEMORIES TAKE ME BACK to the mid twenties. In those days school attendance was not so strict or important as it is nowadays. If you wanted to earn a few shillings there was always a chance of work such as gathering spuds, tying grass seed, spreading flax or plucking blackberries. Gathering spuds usually happened during school holidays. The master would be told or as they say given the nod by the farmers when the time was right and the school children would have their holidays to suit. One of the many farmers I worked for was Henry Knipe. He lived with his uncle Wilson Knipe. Neither man ever married. Henry owned the farm which is now occupied by Hugo and Bob Junk. The farm is situated about one and a half miles outside Coagh in the townland known as Ballynargin. Some

Bob and Hugo Junk.

View of Horseshoe bend on the Ballinderry river.


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of the outlying farmland bordered on the Ballinderry River. A lot of the crops were grown on this land as this was the most fertile soil. All in all the farm and outlying farmland was roughly fifty acres. The stretch of river that ran alongside this part of the land was known as the Horseshoe Bend, so called because here the river takes almost a turn back on itself. Near by was an area known as the Fox Holes because it was a breeding ground for huge number of foxes. The locals called this whole area the Big Water. On the days we went to work on the farms it was an early start. Our group of six or seven boys would walk the one and a half miles from Coagh and arrive at Henry’s farm at around 8.00 am. We could smell the bacon frying long before we reached the farm house. The smell certainly put a bounce in our step to get to the farm quicker. When we got to the house we would knock on the door and then push our way in as there were no locks or bolts in those days, just a chair jammed against a door to keep it closed. Henry always greeted us with a big smile. In the kitchen a no. 9 stove was going as well as a primus stove which belched out thick black smoke. You could just about make out the person sitting beside you tucking into his bacon, eggs and fried bread. This hearty “feed” would have everyone in great form and give us a good start to the hard day’s work we had in front of us. As the fields we worked in were a long way from the farm house, Henry had a novel way of letting us know when to come back to the house for dinner. He was a member of Kingsmills Lodge and kept the big Lambeg drum at his house. When dinner was ready he would bring the drum outside and give it a few rattles. This was our signal to make our way back. It was of course a very welcome sound for hungry young boys. Tea at 3.00 pm was made and brought in a bucket, stewed and black as tar but as we were always hungry it did not matter. I remember one afternoon Henry coming to the field to tell us he was going to Cookstown and there would be no dinner. Instead he brought us each a soda farl and an

Alfie tied grass seed for Farmer Knipe in this field, which lies into the Horseshoe Bend. apple and said it was apple bread. We had plenty of fun together. We were well fed and the money for young boys then was good so we didn’t have too many complaints. There was no supper at night. Some nights Henry would let us go into the orchard to help ourselves to apples and needless to say we would fill our pockets to over flowing. I remember on one occasion going to another farm to tie grass seed. The farm hand was off sick and this meant there was no one to drive the horses while the other pushed the cut grass seed off the ledge of the mower with a special rake. It was then tied in sheaves and stooked. No easy task for two young twelve year old boys. We got paid about one shilling and sixpence at the end of each working day. We were well satisfied with this. At the end of the day on our way home we would keep ourselves amused by singing songs and whistling. Some of the popular songs were ‘A Bunch of Violets’ and ‘Dr De Jongh’s Cod Liver Oil.’ The money we earned went to buy our clothes or boots. I remember one time buying myself a flashlamp with a bull’s eye magnifing glass. This was something special for a young lad to have in those days. I also bought a French fiddle or a mouth organ as it is


now known . It cost about two shillings and sixpence. My father did not know about this and was anything but pleased when he found out, as he considered it a foolish way to spend hard earned money. Henry was a member of Coagh Presbyterian Church and took up the collection each Sunday. One vivid memory of mine is of him wearing a black leather glove on his right hand while lifting the collection. I suppose this was to cover up his hands which were always black from cooking on the primus stove. Henry always came to church on an old Norton motor bike with upright handlebars. Often the bike wouldn’t start. My father, who was the sexton of the church, would give the bike a push to help get it started . One of my most abiding memories of Henry was of him on his bike putting his hand up in a gesture of thanks and goodbye to my father with his black glove still on. Henry was good at recitations and was always willing to help out at local guest teas and functions. He was a very popular man, kind and caring. If ever there was a gentleman farmer,it was Henry. He died in the early 1930’s and is buried in Ardtrea Churchyard. ■ by Alfie Charleton, My thanks to Mr Bob Junk.

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Drummullan National School I

N 1824 THE GOVERNMENT DECIDED that a National School system such as was under consideration in England was needed in Ireland. Parliament commissioned a study of the existing education situation here before making its decision. The findings were issued in 1826. The men who conducted the study surveyed all the schools in the country, listing the name of the schoolmaster or schoolmistress, religion, whether school ‘free’ or ‘paying’, the salary of the teacher, description of the school, number of students, both religion and sex and if sponsored by different societies. The Commissioners of the Board plainly showed their lack of confidence in the fragmented and poor state of education, thus the establishment of a National Board of Education came about. In Drummullan the 1824 survey showed a school with a Mr. James Doris as headmaster. It was in a ‘barn’. There were 24 children and they were ‘fee’ paying. In Littlebridge there was a Protestant School in a ‘thatched house’ with 87 ‘fee’ paying pupils with Mr Jackson Fields as headmaster. Both these schools were integrated.

The Old School House, Drummullan, 1866 to 1970. How long this ‘barn’ system of education lasted we have very little documented evidence but we know that the first National School wasn’t built in Drummullan until 1866. From the following letter from Father Laurence Byrne we are given a fine detailed description of the first National School which was built in the church yard, 23 years after the church itself. Detailed documentary evidence exists regarding the school from 1866 onwards in the Registers and Inspector’s Reports. A long list of male

teachers taught in the school and the descendants of some early female assistants are still in the neighbourhood. In the O’Hagan, Muldoon and McLaughlin Families we have descendants of Miss Mary Ann Bradley who came from Desertmartin and taught in the school in 1873. She married a local farmer. In the McElhone families we have the descendants of Miss Minnie McElhone who came from Ballydawley, married Tom Riley, the headmaster in the 1890’s and later went to teach in the Curragh in Kildare. The relatives of the first female head teacher, Miss Ellen O’Rourke, who came in 1927, are members of the Lenny families of Cookstown, one of them being her nephew, the late Bishop Francis Lenny. Mr. Callan who taught in both Coagh and Drummullan schools in the 1920’s is buried in the local cemetery. The ruins of Mr. Henry Vincent’s cottage, the first teacher, are still to be seen in Ballyloughan. The school closed in December 1970 when the new St. Malachy’s opened and amalgamated the pupils of Drummullan and St. Patrick’s Coagh. ■

St Malachy’s School, Drummullan, January 1971.


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These two sheets are the application for aid towards teachers’ salary in 1866.

Drummullan Primary School 1933-1934 Back Row: Sean Ward, Tommy Ward, Harry Devlin, Jack McElhome, Audy Vincent, Francey McCann, Francey Moran, Pat Devlin, Johnny Hughes and J. Morgan. Second Row: Peter McNally, Ita Ward, Nan Tearney, May Ellen Ward, Billie Hughes, Rosie O’Neill, Brigid Moyan, Lauren Donnelly, Peggy Donnelly, Maggie Morgan, May Smith and Terence Devlin. Front Row: Nellie Moyan, Malaghy Moyan, Dymphna Smith, Sheila Smith, Josie O’Neill, Lizzie Ward, Vera Moyan, Bernie Hampsey, Kevin Smith, John Moyan and Tom Hampsey.


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HE FIRST WORKING PEOPLE children come in daily contact with are their primary school teachers. For us Mrs. Mary Mullan (Jeffers) and Mrs. E Irwin were an example of hard work and achievement. For the worth they gave and the results attained at 11 - plus set Tamlaght school quite apart from any other. Pupils flocked to Tamlaght, we literally sat side by side in it. I was a bit of a late beginner at the school and then spent two years in primary seven. I owe most of my education to Mrs. Irwin the senior teacher. Just to put you in the picture,

she taught us algebra and other secondary subjects, time was not for wasting. I might pay her further accolade for enabling me to receive free education at the Rainey. It soon became obvious to me Tamlaght was streets ahead over Rainey Kindergarden and everywhere else for I was getting 90% in maths. with little effort and mind you it took some trouble to teach me arithmetic. Our days were subject packed. Some of us were early starters, the McIntyres Jim, Johnny and David, some of the Currys, W.G.Orr and George McCullum

- when he got older, but I liked to be there first. I could have been there at 7. 30am, such was my enthusiasm, ages before anyone else. It didn’t always serve me to the best advantage. The new toilets were built in my time. Before that the boys piddled in a ring but I don’t know what the girls did. But anyway, one morning a group of us climbed up unto the toilet roof and as luck would have it, Mrs. Irwin saw us as she drove in from the Cookstown road,and that was a certain coming of the ruler. For Mrs Irwin ruled with

Tamlaght Primary School 1957 Back Row: Sam Young, George Crooks, Ian McAleece, David Streahorn, John Ferguson, Roy Irwin, Alex Cowden, Ellison Hagan. Middle Row: Robert Streahorn, Jennifer McAleece, Margaret Stewart, Helen Greer, Margaret Greer, Heather Streahorn, Myrtle Buchanan, Marion Greer, Ann Taylor, Kathleen Cowden, George McAleece, Sylvia Lennox. Front Row: Dorothy Somerville, Joy Somerville, Julie McIntyre, Florence Lennox, Elma Woodward, Dorothy McCullagh, Bertie McAleece, Amy Burnet, Bert Stewart, Grace McIntyre, Jim Calderwood, Donald Burnett. Taechers: Mary Jeffers and Mrs Irwin.


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Tamlaght School, Coagh Back Row L-R - Betty Cowden, Eilleen McCullagh, Arnold Stewart, Meredith Gibson, Sylvia Crooks, Jim McIntyre, Irene Howard, Thelma Knox, Alice Calderwood, Anna Mary Workman and Trevor Ditty. Third Row L-R - Dorothy McCullagh, Florence Lennox, Elma Woodward, Wilma Hagan, Robert Streahorn, Amy Burnett, Alex Gibson, Caroline Hinchcliff and Bert Stewart. Second Row L-R - Hugo Lennox, Donald Burnett, Eilleen Jeffers, William George Orr, Helen Calderwood, Jim Calderwood, George Workman, Robert Bryson and Roy Crooks. Front Row L-R - Johnny McIntyre, Kenneth McKnight and John Hinchcliff. might too and she used her thick ruler invariably when she saw good reason.

this tender age such disclosures would hardly create a best seller.

Another early morning when killing time down around Robert John McIntyre’s, W.G Orr and I disturbed Shellagh, - Robert John’s cross mongrel dog. It had a brown eye and a blue one. We ran up to the playground Wm. George was bigger and faster than me, with the result I ended up with holes in the back of my leg, to which Miss Jeffers kindly applied Dettol. As well as her nursing skills Miss Jeffers also took us for P.T. We often went to the church hall for this. The boys and girls would race against each other.

The school caretaker was Mrs. Sadie Lamont. She and her daughter, Helen, would come up to the school at about 8 15am. - 8 30am, open the doors and let the first comers in. She would straighten up the desks, light the fire, I suppose bring in the coal and do whatever other chores needed to be done. All the pupils seemed to have their own time for coming to school. For example the Lennoxs came at a quarter to nine, as very often did Mrs. Irwin. Miss Jeffers arrived with a carload from Ballinderry. Most people walked, some rode bicycles, to school. Then there were the late comers. I suppose - - Burnett and the Armstrongs come to mind most. Too late without a good excuse could attract Mrs. Irwin’s scorn, and you knew what that could get you!!!

This was a pupil’s thing, a race between the sexes. The boys nominated Roy Crooks and the girls Betty Cowden. Rhoda Lennox was another good runner. Whilst with this rivalry many of the boys had favourite girls though at


As Mrs.Irwin went about calling the roll and marking spelling we would each have to stand in turn and recite our poems. Bad recitations, too many wrong spellings , well you have guessed it - the ruler. Religious Instruction figured prominently in Mrs. Irwin’s teaching followed by arithmetic. Me mastering fractions was the same as a climber conquering Everest, for me and a few others spent many a day with our noses against the blackboard. Tuesdays and Thursdays it was composition after lunch - time. Elizabeth Whyte, who sat next to me in the back row, desks tight together you had to climb over or crawl under, had a favourite word, which was chimpanzee. It seemed to take up nearly a line. Another afternoon subject, usually once a week, was nature study. This was good fun, a bit of relief time, for carrying on, trying to look up the

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girls’ skirts, only when the boss wasn’t watching of course. Then one day she, ‘the boss’ announced the homework “Write about today’s nature study.” You can be sure we were in deep trouble. I wrote a homework - made up something on my own. Amazingly a few did a perfect homework, Anna Mary Workman comes to mind, but many fell down. I don’t remember if my punishment was administered. One person who would not easily be slapped was Johnny McIntyre (Jampot). He always pulled his hand back at the last moment causing the cane to miss. This I’m sure angered the teacher more because it made her hold his hand out and this reduced the force of delivery.

A very memorable annual event to the school was the arrival of the dentist. An experience with no pleasure. It got you out of class for a bit but it was rather like out of the frying pan into the fire. I went home one day with my mouth half shut and my lip the size of my head, the next day it was the other side! Everyone will remember the dentist. Each year the school had I suppose a kind of head boy. This was a children’s thing, to award the position to the oldest, the biggest or simply the boxer that year. Many fights occurred in the school playgrounds. I had my share of black eyes. In my year Hugo Lennox held this position. He must not have been able to get strong enough opposition, for after school he would take on bigger boys


from the Catholic school. These of course were only friendly fights! Perhaps my last pupil to mention and I’ll award him ‘best knowledge of sport pupil’ is, Meredith Gibson. Often questioned on soccer, Meredith had all the answers, not bad going as I think he, like myself, and many others did not have a T.V. at that time. I could not mention everyone, but each one was a star turn. I hope I have jogged a few memories and not caused any offence to anyone. It was wonderful to be part of Tamlaght and to have had the guidance of two such exceptional people, Mrs.Mary Mullan (nee Jeffers) and Mrs. Ellen Irwin. ■

Robert Bryson

What is it with socks they always get lost Or is only mine?

Like rascals caught in a treacherous act, Lurking within the seal

They’re the very bane of my life, they are, Disappearing all the time!

Was a stripy blue sock and a grey one to Conniving heel to heel.

With a look I used on leprechauns I’ve stared there through and through,

Well! - I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry At losing a war to the socks

But having to blink, sure what do you think! I’d one instead of two.

As that stripy one with its upturned toe Just seemed to scoff and mock!

But lo and behold! Fate smiled on me As I was given a gift

The zip was undone - and so was I! And I just gave up in despair:

A netted bag for washing ‘smalls’ Complete with a good strong zip.

They’re possessed by Hudeni’s sprit - they ARE! Each one and every pair!

And within this bag I captured the socks And roared with a witch like scream

Don’t weep for me when I am gone: Just think of me and laugh,

“Get out of that if you can ye socks!” And I flung them in the machine!

And on my headstone put these words To be my epitaph:

The cycle complete I opened the door My washing to retrieve

“Here she lies at peace at last: All frantic searching o’er,

But I nearly dropped right there and then As a sight I could scarcely believe!

‘Tis eternal rest for her to be free Of SOCKS forever more.”



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Far Call From Suez Canal To Coagh I

N 1956 BRITAIN AND FRANCE WERE at loggerheads with Egypt, so Britain recalled it’s reservists and I was one. On the morning I received my papers I went to Duff’s factory to ask my then girlfriend (Martha Gibson) to ask Master Jim Duff for time off as we were going to get married.

for a licence. It was a holiday for shops so I had to get a friend of mine, who knew a jeweller, who came and opened up to let me get a wedding ring. Next to get the bridesmaid, who was Annie Mitchell (nee Mullen) Martha’s cousin. The best man, Norman Shannon, was my cousin.

Martha Stark’s mother Maggie Gibson. Coagh. I was working for Berkley Elliott, who owned a general store in the Main Street. There used to be a weighbridge there. Further up the street was the village domestic water supply. You got water by turning a large metal wheel.

In this picture taken at mother’s house, where the new chapel now is, we see Best Man Norman Shannon (the groom’s cousin), James Stark, Martha Gibson and Bride’s Maid Annie Mullan, who married Thomas Mitchell. Martha lived with her mother (Maggie Gibson) and uncle (Wilson Gibson) at the turn of the back road as you leave Coagh, approximately where the gates of the new chapel are. The ‘wee Gibsons’ as they were known were carpenters and they walked to all the markets, Pomeroy and Draperstown, to name but two, with a horse and cart. The cart was full of wooden turf and wheel barrows, gates, ladders and troughs. We were intending to get married, Martha’s dress was in the making and my suit likewise. The Suez Canal plus the Army changed our wedding day. Our next move was to see the Rev. Mercer. Everything was in order, but we would have to go to Stewartstown

These two were also at work. Sadly now both have passed away. When we finally got to the church, I think everyone from Duff’s factory was there to see Martha getting married.Mary Simms (nee Flack) made a cake, Dr. George Flack took photos and Martha’s mother made a wedding meal.Ten days after reporting for duty I was home for five days, then went to Suez.

I finally left for Scotland in February 1967 and Martha and family left shortly afterwards. Our children are all married with families of their own. I tell my grandchildren about Coagh as I spent many happy days there. Fishing on the Ballinderry river or visiting Flack’s and McVey’s, the local pubs, those were the good old days. ■

Jim Stark

All our children were born in Coagh or in Magherafelt Hospital. We had seven in our house, but Duncan died as a baby and is buried in Coagh. Most of them started school in Coagh, Urbal Road school under Master Nivin. We left Coagh for five years and lived in Pomeroy. When we returned it was to a house in the village, 16 New Row


Uncle Wilson Gibson at Tamlaght Stone with Martha’s eldest son James (Jnr) Stark, who died two years ago with a heart attack and is buried in Coagh.

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Staff Nurse

Rachael Ferguson Rachael’s Military Medal.

This was taken from Military Records Women’s Service during the Great War. Staff Nurse Rachael Ferguson Born 29/12/1886 at Ballygoney, Moneymore, Co. Derry, Ireland. Educated at Ballygoney National School and Lady’s School ,Cookstown. Trained at The Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast, 16/8/11 till 1914. Left 23/4/15, now a qualified Staff Nurse. Unmarried, Religion, Presbyterian. Next of kin father, John S. Ferguson of Lanebrooke House, Ballygoney. a Farmer. Also had a brother William,

same address. When asked to give the details of “one lady” to whom application for a reference could be made she nominated Mrs. George Wilson, The Manse, Ballygoney. Notified of acceptance for service 10/9/15. Embarked Malta 3/6/16 and arrived Salonica 6/6/16 where she was posted to No 28 General Hospital. Admitted Red Cross Convalescent home 15/6/17. Transferred to ship in harbour 29/6/17. Rejoined No28 GH for duty 8/7/17. On the 9th. of October 1917, with her contract due to expire on the 12th of November, she submitted an application to extend her service by six months “or until my services are no longer required, whichever should happen first.” This application was accepted.

Taranto 15/11/17. First qualifying overseas date 15/11/17. Theatre of War, Italy. Proceeded on 14 days leave 1/5/18. Rejoined No. 62 General Hospital as a patient 26/6/18, suffering from broncio - pneumonia. Died later that day and was buried in Bordighera Cemetery, Italy. Died intestate. At the time of her death her father was 84 years old and her brother William was 38. Her personal effects were sent to father, these being listed as a wrist watch and strap “(damaged)”, a penknife “(gold)”, Reserve badge ribbon and brooch, pendant, silver pencil case, scarf pin, one small coin and two brooches. Medal entitlement, British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Nurse Ferguson’s father died on the 17th of November 1919 and her brother William took over as executor of her estate. ■

Embarked HM Transport ‘Abbassich’ for Italy with No 62 General Hospital 7/11/17. Disembarked at Lanebrooke House


Mrs Wallace Charleton (left) along with Rachel’s Mother and Aunts.

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Prisoners of War T

WO SISTERS LENA NELSON AND Minnie Mitchell were both fortunate to have their husbands return home safely after the Second World War, as they had both been captured and taken prisoner during the war.

Minnie Mitchell (nee Charleton) and Charlie lived on the Urbal Road Coagh. In January 1940 Charlie joined the newly formed regiment called the Labour Corp and was stationed in France. After a spell of home leave he returned to France, just as the Germans were over running the country. Unfortunately he was caught up in this, and was taken prisoner, first to Germany and then to Poland, where he worked on a farm. The people were good to him. In war all letters are censored, so the family were never sure whether he was dead or alive. Sadie Hagan, his eldest daughter recalls going to the post office and waiting for letters and also receiving parcels of clothing from the Red Cross. When the war was over Charlie returned home to the great joy of his wife Minnie and family.

Charlie Mitchell.

On the 5th April 1939 Lena Charleton married Norman Nelson, from Cookstown, in Ballygoney Presbyterian Church by the Rev. Gillespie .The start of married life did not turn out as planned as war broke out and Norman, who had already served some time in the army was recalled for active service. After a period of time in Perth, Scotland he returned to Omagh where he spent the next eighteen months. As the army did not provide any accommodation Lena stayed with Mrs. Crossan and Mrs. Eakin. Being musical Norman played pipes in the army band. This was relaxation during his training. Then the battalion left for North Africa and Lena returned to Coagh.

managed to escape, Lena thinks one of the camp guards may have helped them. However they didn’t stay together and Norman found refuge with an Italian family, who put themselves in danger by hiding him. On leaving the family he was given a red scarf (which he kept and brought home) and a pair of shoes, which were worn out trying to flee. American soldiers found him and took him to hospital. He was ill, thin and covered with lice. He was transferred to a hospital in England before he was eventually allowed to return home to his wife and family. He kept in contact with the Italian family who had looked after him. Two other young soldiers from Coagh were taken prisoners by the Japanese. They were the late George Hudson and the late Barney Herron, both of whom survived the war. When eventually, Norman and the other soldiers from the village returned home there was a street party, bands paraded the village, a bonfire was lit at the top of the hill and a party held in the Memorial Hall. Unfortunately not everyone returned home safe and well. During this time the wives and mothers were a great comfort to each other. When things returned to normal, Norman resumed his working life as a butcher in Cookstown Bacon Factory. ■

While in the trenches the squadron were ambushed, some were kidnapped and some were killed. Lena first learned about Norman’s disappearance from Sergeant Hughes ,from Dungannon, who was stationed in Coagh. The Sergeant had been reading a paper where he saw that a Private Nelson had gone missing. He decided to go and see Lena, unaware that she didn’t know. A letter then came from H.Q. Norman was missing, presumed dead. Shortly afterwards Sergeant Hughes was able to tell that Norman had been taken prisoner of war and sent to a camp in Italy. Norman and an English friend

Norman Nelson.

Newspaper clipping from 6th July 1940.


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SOLDIERS THREE BY J. McCann ‘Tis of three jolly soldier lads, This story I will tell. Their name and occupation. I’m sure you all know well.

He then erected a blackboard, With letters big and bold Anyone could have read them If they had been blindfold.

But their names I now will mention, In case there are a few Who never heard of Alfie Benson And Hughie Beattie to,

He pointed for them to read it But never a word they said, The Doctor looked dumfounded And his face got purple red.

We can’t forget young Devlin. So full of life and joy For many a day the pranks he played Did yellow Jack annoy.

He roared and stormed you traitors You’ll dearly pay for this. Go in the barrack room Your names on the list.

Away back about the beginning of 1933 These boys took a notion That a soldier they would be

In the barrack room came their chance to escape And home they quickly fled. Took a warm cup of tea And then went straight to bed.

It was in the town of Cookstown, They listed in the ranks. Farewell you jolly weavers. This ends your boyish pranks.

Now they are back at weaving Each one is at his loom And they think the crack of the shuttle Is better than a canons boom.

They hadn’t been long enlisted, Before they knew their doom, And made their plans for to escape In an Omagh barrack room. Beattie’s hand would get him off When the Doctor he came around. Young Charlton and Devlin would pretend were blind If the rest of them were sound. The Doctor tested these three youths And said he had no fears That they would be sturdy soldiers For five long and dreary years


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The by Rob Duff

Ogle Family


O DOUBT MANY OF OUR READERS will remember the Ogle Family, evacuees from Belfast who lived with the late Robert Duff (Rob) Duff’s family in Coagh during the war years. We are privileged to have been given a copy of a letter sent by Jean, now living in Australia, to Rob Duff a few years ago. In it she gives a run down on the family. Ned lives in Dundonald and is married to Jean Gouldson (Bretta’s friend). Queenie (Alexandra), who died quite a few years ago married a Scottish soldier Tony Ranaldi and they emigrated to Canada. Tony is still alive and well. Bretta married quite a well known footballer, Bobbie McLaughlin ,he started with Distillery and went to play for some of the English teams. They live in Southampton. Molly also lives in Southampton. Margaret lives near Jean in Port Augusta Australia and Pat also emigrated to Australia and lives in Sydney. Jean says the family “have all fared well, none of us are millionaires, but with

good, happy and mostly contented lives. I often think perhaps it was the good start we had through being in Coagh and with such great folk as yourselves”. Jean continues: - “I am not a very good sleeper and truly many a night I lie and go over all the things I remember from way back then”. She remembers how Rob used to take them with him wherever he was going, outings to Cookstown and the promise of a penny if she didn’t cry at the dentist. She also remembers being sent messages to Gordon Blackstock’s who would say “Here’s my best girl” and give her a hug. He always gave her apples which she would carried home in her turned up jumper like a spare tyre. Jean also recalls Rob going to play tennis with Sergeant McKnight’s two daughters and on these occasions they were not allowed to go. Jean also had good memories of visiting Rob’s sister Mrs. George, her husband and family at Rousky. The highlight here was Mrs. George’s beautiful cakes and Mr. George lifting her up to pick

The Black Fall at Coagh.


cherries off the tree. She also recalls many people in the area: The Burnetts at Springbank, who had a monkey, the Crooks who lived in one of the cottages over the river, Mrs. Senator Duff “down near the race and the creamery”. She also mentions Mr. and Mrs. Billy Duff, Mr. Hugo Duff, Rosemary Alistair and Malcolm Duff. The Beatties, McKnights, Jeffers, Youngs ,Taylors and Charltons and of course Master Niven. Jean says certain smells and tunes reminder her of Coagh e.g. chocolate reminds her of Mrs. Hugo Duff’s house where they used to go to Rosemary’s birthday parties. The smell of dead fish in the river when someone had allowed flax water into it but the nicest smell she remembers was when they would take tea to the men in the field when they were making hay. Jean concludes by saying that when the family meet up every few years the Duffs are always remembered and they all have a funny story to tell or a kindness to relate. ■

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~ A look back to St. Patrick’s P.E.S., Coagh ~

If Walls Could Speak classroom which was to the left of the building.


HE ONWARD MARCH OF PROGRESS has resulted in the disappearance of many landmarks from our towns and villages and, indeed, the countryside in general. This is very much the case in relation to old school buildings once a focal point of community life, which have now been relegated to history. A case in point is the former St. Patrick’s Public Elementary School on the Ballinderry Road in Coagh which has been transformed into modern homes, albeit retaining the stone façade of the 90 year old building. The school which opened in 1914, was the alma mater of three generations of families from the village and its hinterland. However, this was not the first village school. Records from the middle of the 19th century give details of Coagh No. 2 National School which was the first school newly established parish of Coagh, launched in 1866 with Father Byrne as the first Parish Priest.

attending the school brought along a slate for lessons and a few turf to burn on the open fire which provided heating. St. Patrick’s Public Elementary which replaced the loft school, had the luxury of two stoves for heating - one in each of the two classrooms. While the pupils didn’t have to provide the fuel to keep the stoves going in winter, the older children, particularly the girls, had the unenviable task of cleaning out the stoves and setting the fires. The school had two classrooms divided by a wood and glass partition. One classroom was occupied by the Principal and the senior pupils from Class 3 to Class 7. The baby and senior infants were initiated into the intricacies of school life in the junior

The school was surrounded by a stone wall, and dry closets at the rear of the playground provided toilet facilities for the pupils. They were still in existence when the school closed in 1970 on the opening of the new St. Malachy’s Central Primary School in Drummullan which now caters for the pre - secondary education of the children from both Coagh and Drummullan. The first Principal of St. Patrick’s was a Master Callan from Portadown. Other teachers over the years included Miss May Feeley, who later joined the Sisters of Mercy religious order; Tom Caraher, a nephew of the late Canon Seamus Caraher, a former Parish Priest of Moneymore; Margaret Alice McGuckin, from Ardboe; a Miss Hickson, who hailed from Bellaghy and a Miss Whann, also from the Ardboe area. The last Principal of the Coagh School was Mrs. Moira Carson, of Ballinderry.

The Head Teacher of the school was Francis Neeson, whose wife also taught there. Their daughter, Mary Elizabeth, a pupil of the school in the early 1900s, followed in their footsteps and was a teacher in the old St. Malachy’s Primary School in Drummullan for her entire career.In 1893 - 94, the number of pupils on the roll of Coagh No. 2 was 85, of whom 47 were boys and 38 girls. Surnames from old records suggest that the school was of mixed denominations, and a fair sprinkling of those names are evident in Coagh village and area today. One of Coagh’s best known residents for over 90 years, the late Sarah Jane Wray, was a pupil of this school. She was aged 95 when she died in October 1987, and she recalled that the school was located in a loft over stables beside the present Parochial House. Pupils


Top: The date stone, laid in 1914. Above: Renovated building of St. Patrick’s School, now converted into two dwelling houses.

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At that time decreasing numbers had reduced the status of the school to a one - teacher establishment. Mrs. Carson succeeded Mrs Margaret O’Neill who taught for many years with Mrs. Brigid McCarron, nee McAleer. The latter is now deceased, but Mrs. O’Neill is still alive and well in her 101st. year. She in a resident of Cove Manor Nursing Home in her native Ardboe and has the distinction of being one of the oldest retired teachers in the North of Ireland. Mrs O’Neill’s four children all attended the Coagh School and her eldest daughter, Maura Sheehan who followed in her footstep, is now retired from the profession. The centenarian plus began her career as a monitor in St. Patrick’s Public Elementary School in Ardboe. In those days pupil teachers progressed as monitors to teaching positions. Mrs. O’Neill, nee McKeown, from Tamnavalley, Ardboe, spent 45 years in the Coagh School and fittingly ended her career as Principal.

Mrs. McCarron, who married a Scot and settled in retirement in Cookstown, was a well known teacher who raised the reputation of the school and enhanced her career by winning the Carlyle and Blake memorial Award - the Blue Ribbon of the teaching profession. The two ladies taught together in St. Patrick’s Public Elementary School for many years. Another Principal of note was Mr. Frank Bradley, a native of Stewartstown. He left Coagh to become Principal of a large inner - city school in Belfast where he spent some years. He was then appointed Principal of the Monastery Primary School in Dungannon and where this establishment amalgamated with the Convent Primary School in a brand new building, he was the first Principal. His wife, the former Christina McCaffrey, from Cookstown, was the first Principal of St. Patrick’s Girls’ Academy, Dungannon. The couple are now living in retirement in Omagh.

The closure of St. Patrick’s Public Elementary School during the ministry of the late Father Pol MacSeain in the parish, did not end its usefulness. Over the years until the building was sold in the 1980s, the school was the focal point of social activities in the Coagh end of the parish. Bazaars and other fund raising activities were held there and Sunday Mass was celebrated in the school while improvements were being carried out to the former Oratory Church which has now been replaced by the beautiful Church of Our Lady Queen of Hope. Pupils from St. Patrick’s have travelled to many parts of the world over the years and embraced a variety of careers, trades and professions. But no matter what the success of those who survive, they recall with nostalgia their schooldays in Coagh and the excellent grounding in the three Rs which they received in their old Alma Mater. ■

St. Patrick's P.E.S., Coagh, 1924 Front Row: L.Coleman. J.Heron, J.Hagan, J.Phelan, I.Maynes, P.Phelan, J.McVey, F.Corr. W.McVey, B.McIvor, E.Hughes. Second Row: J.J.McCann, C.Mitchell, T.Bell, W.B.Heron, W.Hancock, T.Hancock, J.Donnelly, J.Loughran, G.Hugan, J.Phelan, J.Walsh, J.Devlin, M.Mitchell, S.Walsh. Third Row: C.Wilkinson, L.Mitchell, M.Mitchell, M.Hughes, R.Donnelly, E.Curran, A.Donnelly, S.Hagan, R.Bell, M. Devlin, K.Hughes. Back Row. L.Devlin, J.Deviin, E.Bell, M.Coleman, T.Walsh, M.Phelan, Mick Phelan, M.McVey, J.Walsh, K.McVey, R.McVey, T.McCann, B.Heron, L.Murtin. R. Martin.


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How to be a Rascal or

The Clergyman’s Son


EING A MINISTER’S SON IS only easy in a country village if the boy is good. I mean “good” in the sense that the child should be above any suspicion of breaching all the silent rules and regulations applied to being what he is: “A clergyman’s son”. That was a phrase which came out again and again, sometimes said in good humour, sometimes emphasised to make the boy feel embarrassment at being confronted with a silent comparison in which he knew that he had been found out. I should not dare to say that I was ever “good”, but surely with a little research there must have times between the ages of eleven and fifteen when I was not up to mischief. Both my children are past that critical stage, so that I am now aware of what a source of anxiety I must have been to my parents, because I developed a love which became a dangerous, almost uncontrollable, passion - the river, what was in it, and above all else how to extract fish from it by every conceivable means involving hooks - no electricity,

no torch lights, no lifting, no netting, just hooks, probably because of the struggle that ensued and because it required a great degree of stealth. Tossing bait with a hook on it to a fish is a form of sophisticated cunning, and fish are not easily fooled. Hooking a fish without the bait requires cunning and a deal of patience too, but let me a lift a corner of the veil for those who have never infringed upon the water bailiff’s code; this technique does not always work! When I was eleven, My Mother gave in to my regularly renewed pleas for a fishing rod. It was a second - hand six - foot fibre - glass orange - coloured spinner with a Mitchell reel purchased in an ironmonger’s shop in Molesworth Street in Cookstown. Oh, incidentally, I shan’t be mentioning any names. If anyone reading this feels that he contributed to my expertise in the handling of a rod, let me be fair and say that I did not learn all my skill without being a willing apprentice in the art of catching fish. Being a fisherman from the “old school”

is of course a much nobler pursuit, although in all fairness I did have my moments, not many perhaps, but then being a successful rascal takes concentration, imagination and the confirmed ability to listen to one’s teachers. My beginnings, as a traditional spin fisher at the age of eleven were highly successful. Even on my first outing in heavy water, a couple of yards down from the water which breaks over the rocks marking the end of the “Green Hole”, a four - pound Dollaghan committed suicide on my number 3 Mep. The struggle and splash of such a large fish for such a small boy, whose novice casting was clumsy and highly unorthodox, silenced the stream of sarcasm from two or three onlookers, because a “Clergyman’s son” with a rod in his hand must surely have been perceived as an attraction. But that is one way for a boy to make friends, for the fish would never have been landed, had not one of these hitherto scornful experts, seeing that I had no net, acted generously and cleverly, and jumped in to well above his knees to pull the salmon up on the bank. His generosity towards me continued when he forthrightly refused a claim to any share in the catch, which I took home quite proudly, though aware that I had not done it all on my own. But it was under the first arch of Coagh bridge that a casual acquaintance, gave me an astonishing demonstration of the dexterity involved in removing what we called spricks with a single hook and no bait! He had the patience, the steadiness of hand and the visual judgement that prompted him to strike and succeed every time in those shallow waters down from the flour mill. Fascinated by the facility of his technique, I became an assiduous pupil who rapidly vied in skill with my counsellor at this little game, which laid the foundations for an effective alternative when traditional techniques failed me in my wanderings about the

The Manse as it stands today.


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river between the “Fourth Footstick” and the “Camel’s Hole” beneath the “Carry”. That may seem a very short stretch of water, but to be successful, whatever version of the art was practiced, a thorough knowledge was required of stones and the promising eddies behind them, the eelbeds and the sunken branches from both banks. To know three to four miles of river takes time and dedication. These requisites explain why City folk could not partake of our share of the fare, and when their antics with a rod were observed, even from afar, there was no danger of the Belfast coaches’ emptying the Ballinderry! The lack of the skill of some who came down on Saturdays from the City was often a pitiful caricature. One evening, after a saunter down to the Carry to give the “Hole” a good sweep, I had barely walked half - way down the bower path to the pool when I heard a succession of splashes which bore no resemblance to fishing at all, but rather more to the throwing of stones. In the gathering dusk, I met a man whom I did not know. He had a swarthy unshaven face and was wearing a black hat. He too had a rod, but leaning lazily up against a stump, he showed no inclination to use it, but just smiled when I approached him and jerked his head in the direction of the noise: “Thir’s two fellas from B’fast down thonder, and a pair of more handless craithers you nivver saw! Wan o’them has been clawdin’ spoons the size of duir hannles into thon pool for most of the afternoon, and the other eedjit has been crackin’ flies into the sthream beneath the ”Hole” ‘til there’s not a leaf on the tree behind him, and only a couple a hairs left on the hook!” “Well, I may go home to bed,” said I, disappointed at having cycled down for nothing. “Not at all; not at all” murmured the voice of experience. Their bus leaves in an hour or so, and to find their way to Coagh bridge, they’ll have to start in ten minutes. Hang about, there’s fish in there yet. In three quarters of an hour they’ll be sedated. Wait you and see.” And so I waited and legally extracted a sizeable Dollaghan and couple of trout. After having written the above few lines, I paused to think back on the boy who handed me down his illegal fishing techniques, for, whatever words are used, let’s call a spade a spade. This manner of removing fish from the Ballinderry was

Ballinderry view of the river. illegal. In the company of the boy who bequeathed me his illegal science in the capture of fish, and yet who did not fish himself, I often waded the Carry as a watchman for water bailiffs, whilst his deft hands slipped up the gills of a stout Dollaghan or two, maybe three, in the space of a few minutes, even though the escape route lay clear ahead across the “Mill Race”, whereas the bushes, thickest down by the first waterfall, had been thoroughly searched before any attempt was made at “lifting fish”. We led a happy conspiracy together, and those plump black backs that he harvested from behind the stones where they rested on their way up the fall were stored away in my fishing bag until we had reached the safety of the “Race” side. As the watch keeper I was paying my debts to my teacher in another field of poaching, for I never lifted fish, nor would take one as a reward when he was about to make for home and carefully lined his coat with salmon. Call it a misdemeanour and me an accomplice before and after the fact if you will, but at least that evening his family had a square meal, which put the apparent misdeed in the category of an act of necessity. It must not be forgotten that post - war villages in Northern Ireland had some hard times, which should not be conveniently consigned to cobwebs. The only reason I developed a penchant for occasional illegal alternative methods for catching fish was the excitement it produced. In the defence of those who had a justifiable reason for taking fish, whereas I had none, I should appeal to


objective, not selective memories that cast hardship aside to relegate it to convenient amnesia. There is no question of inventing stories in the name of misplaced nostalgia, so that all continues to appear bright and cheery. Although it is with indescribable pleasure and pride that I look back on my childhood and adolescence in Coagh, let us not forget that almost forty - five years ago, a fat trout or a juicy salmon was a very welcome change at lunch or tea time to replace an egg or two and a “bap”. The illegal removing of fish from the Ballinderry was not at that point an activity of mass destruction liable to lay low the river’s resources. Just like rabbits, pigeons and ducks down at the Lough, fish from the river was part of the menu, whether it meant survival or not. I spent some of the happiest years of my life in Coagh, and had a privileged upbringing surrounded by beautiful forests and fields. Nevertheless, hardship was often perfectly adequate justification for making every reasonable attempt to pluck a living from a social tissue which was not always suitably understanding towards everyone’s daily difficulties. But I am losing the thread of my adventures. Eavesdropping and investigating the slightest rumour enabled the attentive boy to read the river, although there was no point at all in walking miles just because somebody claimed they had heard what was referred to as a “powerful plout”. The best “plouts” I remember were ones I saw and heard on my own, which I was careful to keep to myself, after seeing a huge half - curved silver belly leap a good foot out of the water in

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“The Carry” a few of the calm holes I knew. It would seem to play, airing its fins in the morning air, or just sport the drive of its weight as flies milled over the evening water. However, this, and I have never known why, was never a favourable sign that there was any fish to be captured by using any technique, the classic one that is or the alternative one in a moment of desperation. Indeed, it should be underscored that the promising waters of all of my haunts but one for illegal antics needed to be clear, which meant that the river had to be relatively low, and that a school of salmon or Dollaghan had decided to halt and go no farther, but rest and rise for flies late in the evening when the illegal high jinks were a physical impossibility. The water bailiffs knew that, for as soon as visibility dropped, they dropped out of sight too. Then for us, because I had another crony who knew the Green Hole inside out, it was up the Pleasure Ground and out on to the big thick branches which dipped gracefully over the school of fish, which we observed like cats padding about a goldfish bowl. “What are they feeding on?” would come the question as we slid over the boughs to scrutinise the details of the rise. “It looks like a white fly, almost like a moth.” And a fat lot of use that was to either of us who had not a fly rod between us, although putting on a bit of fluff up from the hook on a Mep was a ploy which so rarely paid off that we put it down to a fluke hardly worth bothering about. The thrill of seeing some of these

whoppers close up motivated us even more to wring our imagination until it was dry. Seeing was believing. And believing was better therapy than all the Government orange juice, cod liver oil and school milk that was being handed out to fortify small children after the Second World War. I know that I had no extenuating circumstances in my life as an occasional incorrigible poacher, and that nobody bullied me into adopting a technique I knew perfectly well was forbidden, but who discovered it and who passed it on to enhance the vast knowledge of poaching or the imagination of my mentor? He was older than I was, which perhaps dissuaded him from confessing that his was not the art, but that he had inherited it from another acquaintance. However, once I could “fend for myself” and had learned the basics, I encountered another friend, a faithful henchman and advisor, who incidentally did not fish either. He shared invaluable intelligence with me on what he had seen in the waters accessible from the beginning of the Pleasure Grounds up from the Bridge, and as far as that enormous black pool at the foot of the “Turbines” which seethed and throbbed with fish after a good drop of rain and a “run” to bring up the salmon. Above and across the “Turbines” ran a corrugated iron - covered wooden gangway, up and down which the owner of the premises patrolled, sometimes breaking into a furious frenzy of rebuke at the presence near the black pool of one fellow with a rod and another who was


beyond all doubt the “lookout” man. Nevertheless, on occasions such as these, the tin roof and the wooden structure resonated like a war drum, giving us ample time to run up, back down, or even flounder across the river, which for a small boy could be chest high. I had heard on several occasions that it was forbidden to fish, even using legal techniques, within, I still do not remember, was it twenty or thirty yards of a waterfall, i.e. the “Carry” or the “Turbines” where fish were liable to congregate before continuing their journey? Whatever truth there was in this comment, I had never taken the trouble to consult the commandments to be complied with by an angling sportsman, perhaps because I might have discovered something else that I ought not to have been doing. Anyhow, the mischief I was up to would not have brooked a great deal of quibbling about rules. Much later when the juvenile fever of illegitimate fishing techniques had cooled off, I did ask whether this rule was written in tablets of stone by the fisheries, but without being able to quote chapter and verse, those I questioned simply replied that this was a rule they had chosen to abide by. They were patient gentlemen prepared to give fish a chance. The impatience of youth did not exhibit the same elegant behaviour. How then was it performed? Basically, there were two methods. One involved the use of a number 4 Mep, because it had a handsome treble hook, and the other involved a treble hook, equally handsome in size, but without the trimmings of the Mep. The three shanks of the treble hook converging towards the eyelet were cloaked in a thin strip of lead so that it sank where it hit the water. The nylon on the spinning reel had to be of heavy breaking strain, but not too thick, otherwise the coils slithering up the rod when the cast was made tended to become entangled. A shop in the village had the very item, although it might have been more discreet to purchase the goods in Cookstown, since wandering into commercial premises where others could hear a boy’s request for fifty yards of nylon with a 20 / 25 pound breaking strain was a giveaway for the initiated. I am sure that when I walked out of the shop, someone would say: “Ah there’s wee Mercer off to the river with a couple of spools of very thick nylon. Boys, but he’s optimistic! And Yer Man who lives next to the river hasn’t

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taken a fish in six weeks!” However, I knew that, although “Yer Man” wielded a far better gentleman’s rod than I could ever hope to, he had his moments when exasperation took the upper hand, if only to have something tasty for his tea. But let us return to manoeuvres at the riverside. If the theatre of operations was to be the black hole beneath the “Turbines”, the waters leading up to the hole from the river had to be closely examined to be sure that there was movement of fish, coming in, misled or misdirected by the water falling down from the Race. The platform from which the not so perfect angler lowered his lead weighted grab hook into the hole was too high for there to be any hope of “banking” a fish, and I had no net. The beautiful triangular orange - coloured foldable one, which my Grandfather had bought me in Belfast, was lost in the “Race Waterfall” just up from Coagh Bridge when I was twelve years old. Once the hook had been lowered and reached the bottom of the hole, the slack line was reeled in, before describing a swift upward snatch in the hope that the hook barbs would sink into a fat Dollaghan’s yielding flesh. The ratchet on the reel was locked before the snatch; the excitement was at culmination point. Success was occasional only.

to run with a “catch”. That we were never caught was just luck, not good luck, just luck. The other haunt, the “Green Hole” was much less dangerous for the practising of this alternative fishing technique, since the vast extent of grass slope down from the “Carry Road” made any would - be inspectors, law - enforcers or onlookers immediately visible, so that the necessary measures to adjust one’s tackle could be taken in time. Even if the bag were frisked, there was nothing illegal about possessing a treble hook, even with a strip of lead. Anyone who has fished for pike with live bait will tell you that. The Pleasure Ground trees opposite were not tightly packed enough to hide furtive movement of any sort. So the field of vision was just the ticket. This long stretch of water was often a resting station for a couple of schools of Dollaghan until the level rose and encouraged them to move up to the Carry and beyond to what I think was called “ The Big Water”. The same tools were employed, except that the treble hook was brightened up by a band of silver cigarette paper to make the weapon visible once in position on the sandy bottom. The school of salmon usually had their favourite resting stations in the “Green Hole”, so that it was important to

be able to move them up or down before casting the silver hooks in anticipation of their coming to rest over the cigarette paper on the hooks. To encourage the fish to swim up or down - stream, a handful of pebbles was all that was required. A couple of well - placed pebbles plopped into the water behind or in front of the fish made them swim lazily off to their next station. The silver hooks were then cast into the clear water where the Dollaghan had been. Next I reeled in the slack and waited for the infantryman to cast his stones and to herd the fish back to their original station. As soon as a silhouette hid the twinkle of the silver - covered hooks, there was a fair chance that a swift snatch of the rod would drive the hooks into the flesh of the fish. The location on the fish’s anatomy where the hooks fastened in the fish determined the fierceness of the fight that ensued, which, even in these favourable surrounds with shallow water and low banks to land the fish, was far from ensuring success every time. The only guarantee was excitement, and for the young fool that I was, hypnotised by the river and magnetised by its pull, the challenge was irresistible.

However, since there was no telling what size of fish was to be hooked and where on its body the hook would strike, the resistance could vary from a manageable wriggle and thump to a plunging writhing invisible mass, materialised by the fibre glass rod bent double, a few concentric circles rippling outwards from the taut line. Fate had bitten off more than the boy could chew, leaving him no other choice but to quickly cut the nylon without having had even a glimpse of the creature that he could not handle. When the prize hooked was hoistable, I was aided by my faithful helper who wrapped his hands in the sleeves of his coat, for taut nylon cuts to the bone, and winched the fish to the platform of earth where the catch stunned and then secured in the fishing bag after the treble had been extracted and sliced from the line,. Then it was helter - skelter through the Pleasure Grounds until we were sure that our mischief had not been discovered. Occasionally we were “chased” by the angry owner pounding on his “war drum”, but I have no memory of having

Billy Duff, Conservator of Coleraine Board.


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View of Ballinderry River. This forbidden practice attracted many asides and cutting quips from those who felt that they were virtuous beyond reproach. Do you remember those old green and white buses which rattled in and out of Cookstown, and in which the conductor stood at the back and pulled the bell? The passenger boarded at the back of the vehicle and could sit on one of two long raised seats above the wheel wells facing each other. One sweltering summer afternoon I found myself on one of those seats bound for Cookstown. Opposite me, holding her empty shopping basket, sat a very prim lady whose ice - white hair peeped out from underneath a blue taffeta bell - type hat with a sloping brim. I saw her very often in Coagh, so that a polite greeting was imperative. It takes great social experience to be able to carry on polite harmless conversation. A young boy could hardly have been expected to make exactly the right comment. I was no exception, and my immature attempt at politeness was annihilated by the fact that in the wake of my “Hello”, I foolishly made a reference to the extremely low water lever in the river.

“Well, staying away from there will keep you out of mischief!” What was there to say to that? The rest of the trip was spent in embarrassing silence. I expect that if I had ever unquestionably been caught red - handed, there would have been no point in my writing down this summary of five years of insouciance. Nonetheless, in the firm hope that there is prescription for the repentant adolescent poacher, I must emphasise that to admit publicly to having deprived the Ballinderry of a few fat salmon does not amount to gloating over unpunished misdemeanours. My confession amounts to admitting that I was not a regular gentleman of the rod, whereas others were. From that statement, it can be surmised that it is easier and more tempting to be a rascal than a man of principles. There were a couple of close shaves though. In the first encounter with a water bailiff, we were absolutely blameless. In fact, the faithful spinning rod was propped up against the hedge at the bottom of the small Weir or Carry that rushes down to the left of the Big


Water. Having drawn a blank in every technique that afternoon, we decided to have some harmless fun, which consisted in rolling a hefty log down the wee Carry from the Big Water above, just in the same way as children throw stones or rocks in the sea. Hardly had it thundered down the smooth watery incline and plumped into the churning water at the foot of the fall, but out from behind the bushes jumped an angry looking little man wearing a tweed cap. We must have looked quite brazen, for we did not budge, although that only came from the firm conviction that there was nothing wrong with pitching a log down the “Carry”. The accusation came at once, as if we were surrounded by a bevy of bailiffs: “We’ve been watchin’ you pair, so we have!” This announcement came as a surprise, first of all because apart from us, there was not another sinner in sight, and also because we were still wondering what there could have been to watch! We hoped we had not said anything indiscreet or roared a curse word or two, for that also could be mongered about and repeated to the detriment of the fast - disappearing species known as the “Clergyman’s son”, about whom I was beginning to feel a little puzzled, if not thoroughly confused. It was an attempt to frighten us, for the next words came as the usual form of warning: “Now you boys watch yerselves! Rolling a log down the Carry trying to crush fish at the foot of it could put you in court!” Aha! But here was a technique which we had never heard of. Whether it worked at all, we never knew, for we never tried it, nor did we meet anyone who had. I still think it was just bluff to leave a couple of suspicious characters panic - stricken. The surprise effect left us babbling and spluttering incoherent indignation, because, despite being blameless at that moment, our consciences were working overtime about misdeeds ranging from trespassing, poaching and raiding other people’s orchards. My friend had a much readier wit than I had, but even he felt that it was wiser not to be cheeky and try to say something “clever”. Eventually, he tramped off in anger after seizing my rod to inspect the Mep. No luck, no fish scales on the treble hook, and nothing in the bag. My aid’s after - wit surfaced as soon as the bailiff with his wee tweed cap had disappeared; said he sombrely a few seconds later: “He’s right, you know; we’ll

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“An’ this wee lump out of his back, how d’ye explain that?” A bolt of inspiration must have struck me, as without the slightest stutter I unashamedly described the hazards to which small boys were exposed, as they could not ”lepp” barbed wire fences and had to crawl under them. “Ach, that’ll be thon fence back there down from yer man’s farm, for I had to drag myself under it and ‘strue, now that I think of it, as I pulled myself through, I heard a bit of a rip!” have to watch ourselves. You know, we could have been up to anything right now, and nabbed on the spot!” The closest shave of all came after a successful outing to the Turbines one afternoon. My friend and I had taken our separate ways home, not out of any strategic purpose, but because he always dropped off home before I went back to the Manse. As I strolled with what I thought was a clear conscience towards the Bridge, across the long field, which covered the length of the Green Hole, there strode towards me a man wearing a familiar tweed cap. Out of the back of my fishing bag flapped the dark - silver tail of a 5 or 6 - pound Dollaghan. Since I felt that there was no reason to show any sign of anxiety or embarrassment, I matched him stride for stride, until we were face to face, and in the middle of the field just down from the Bridge where the first volley rang out like a bark: “What ye got?” “Just a wee Dollaghan.” “Let’s see.” And I showed him the fish I was taking home. “Where’d ye get this boy?” (The answer was obvious, but I resisted the temptation to be rude.) “Up the river.” Silence then set in while he scrutinised the catch: “And what is this mark here on his back? Hiv ye bin snatchin?” “Ah, now this boy was caught on this number 4 Mep here,” (quite true, though I omitted to explain the technique), said I shaking the rod and the jangling evidence at the end of the line in front of his bug eyes.

In the light of this explanation, the threats intensified in a familiar vein: “We’re watchin’ youse”, yet there was still no sign of anyone else’s being involved in this singular surveillance. “Ye’re in furrit now, so ye are!” At the age of barely fourteen, I felt that silence was the best counsel, at least until I found out what the next step was to be. However, the evidence was obviously far too tenuous. The wee tweed - capped man behaved in the same way as he did at the Carry that is he tried to frighten the wits out of the person intercepted, in the hope that there might be a cry for mercy, which would amount to a confession of guilt. But, neither wisdom nor wit could tell me what to do. Next, the time - worn phrase came ringing in my ears yet again: “And you a Clergyman’s son too!” “Ye’re in furrit so ye are; I’m reportin’ ye.” So it was a shaken and worried little boy who dragged his rubber boots up the Manse drive gravel that afternoon, although I had been allowed to keep what I had been told was incriminating evidence.

poaching on the river? Would you stop it now? I have responsibilities, and so have you” . No more was said. I was dismissed from his study to reflect on my newly found status, and on at least one of the particularities of being a “Clergyman’s Son”. Forty years later, this short talk was perhaps the only practical illustration I ever had of the implied meaning of local expressions such “A son of a Man of the Cloth”, “A son of the Manse” and more frequently, “A Clergyman’s son”. You may be wondering whether or not immediately after this brush I became converted to traditional and irreproachable fishing techniques. In an idealised scenario for a story with a happy ending, the answer would have been “Yes”. My memory tells me that subsequently I gradually weaned myself away from reprehensible fishing practices, turning my attention to Ballinderry pike which were neither revered nor considered a delicacy as they are in France, where I now live, but no longer fish. My life in Coagh did come to a happy conclusion, simply because by the time I left the village in 1967 to study in England, my happiness was “not having what I wanted but wanting what I had”. Incidentally those words were expressed by a Jewish Clergyman, Rabbi Hyman Schachtel in his book on the “Enjoyment of Living.” published in 1954. ■ T.C. Mercer - June 2003.

My Father was very partial to salmon, and that evening the evidence was swallowed with great relish, without the slightest warning call having come through from the “Local Authorities” about an impending indictment. Nevertheless, it was shortly afterwards that the “Clergyman’s son” became aware for the first time that he had a responsibility towards his Father, who softly used the following words to stress the degree of my stupidity. I can easily recall the brief sermon delivered in the privacy of his study: “Listen to me boy,” (a phrase of warning I have repeated many times to my own children, whilst thinking of Daddy), “How can I preach from the pulpit on a Sunday, if my son is out

A young Timothy Mercer.


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Coagh Primary School This is a new school building which had its official opening on 14th. September 1938. Picture taken on this occasion of the members of Cookstown Regional Education Committee and includes Minister of Education Mr. J.H.Robb. K.C.

Coagh Primary School 1948 or 1950 Back Row: Erroll Wright, George Gibson, Sammy Beatie, John McGaw, Alec Bradley, Charlie Mitchell, Jim Booth, Fred Mitchell (dog), Florence Robinson, Kathleen Niven, Madge Collins, Elizabeth Young, Yvonne Mitchell, Eva Crighton, Harold Gibson, Hugo Junk and Samuel David McBride. Forth Row: Mrs Gormley (teacher), Tom Booth, Sammy McCorkell, Noreen Wright, May Beattie, Mary Robinson, Hazel Mitchell, Faith Mitchell, Dorothy Gibson, Robert Watterson and Johnnie Charleton. Third Row: Ann George, Norma Nelson, Letitia Rice, Barbara Marley, Audrey Charleton, Hilda Marks, Jean Beatie, Betty Robinson, Violet Creighton, Taylor, Grace Somerville and Elizabeth Elliott. Second Row: John Booth, Leslie McIlree, Irene Charleton, Hilary Somerville, Maureen Beatie, Rita Robinson, Yvonne Buick, Ruby Taylor, Pat Collins, Roberta Buick, Eileen Booth, Eileen McDonald, Denise Rigley, Elizabeth McCullough, Roy Elliott, Laura Niven and Miss P.Simmons (teacher). Front Row: Jim Beattie or James Mitchell, Noel Watterson, Brian George, Dessie Creighton, Henry McGaw, Ronnie McGaw, Ian Duff, Jackie Watterson, Sandy Mitchell, Colin Watterson and Bert Hagan.


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Coagh Old National School 1924 Back Row: S.McCorkell, G.Blackstock, S.Simms, Bertie Patterson, Big John Hutchinson, T.Hutchinson, H.Hagan, W.Mitchell, S.Scott, J.Armstrong, D.Charleton, S.Hagan, R.Ashcroft, R.Duff, A.Bell, J.Young, J.Bell, W.Ashcroft, W.Jordan, WJ.Hagan, W.Hagan, John Somerville, Fred Hutchinson. Second Row: J.Ashcroft, S.Hagan, E.Scott, E/.Young, E.Armstrong, M.Bell, S.Blackstock, M.Wright, L.Somerville, M.Flack, M.Crawford, R.Bell, F.Burnett, G.Wright, F.Patterson, B.Watterson, M.Gibson. Third Row: B.Simms, J.Taylor, M.Gibson, W.McGuckin, N.Bell, R.Scott, Anna Hagan, A.Flack, M.McGuckin, L.Charleton, L.Somerville, E.Somerville, L.Mitchell, A.Hagan, May Hagan, E.Charleton, J.Charleton, M.Patterson, M.Burnett, Alfie Charleton. Front Row: G.Flack, J.McGuckin, J.Taylor, A.Charleton, J.Watterson, R.Bell, J.Jordan, E.Rankin, Anon, G.Hagan, S.Young, M.Charleton, L.Young, R.H.Hagan, WH.Armstrong, T.Swinerton & Joe Somerville.

Coagh County Primary School 1983 Back Row: Simon Mitchell, Simon McAleece, Ronald Young, Peter Howard, Adrain Dallas, David Wilson, John Ferguson, Geoffrey Wilson, Gary Gibson, John Cowden, Mark Hughes, Alistair Wilson, Christopher Slane. 4th Row: Mr. McCartney Joanne Davidson Mary Elliott Rosalind Gibson Alison Mitchell, Yvonne Megaw, Janice Robinson, Diane Bradley, Sharon Buick, Elaine Dallas, Joanne McGaw, Rachel Howard, Andrea Martin, Joyce McMullan, Cathy Cowden, Jacqueline McGaw, Karen Booth, Dawn Bullimore, Glenda Wilson, Leanne Cowden, Mrs.Cummings, Mrs. Booth. 3rd Row: Susan Creighton, Gary Dallas, Jonathan McAleece, Jason Taylor, Jason Robinson, Warren Martin, Paul Harkness, John Howard, Alan Dallas, Jeremy McFadden, Paul Scrace, Derek Wilson, Robert Booth, David Bullimore, Alistair Kennedy, Rachel McAleece. 2nd Row. Hazel Mullen, Joanne Slane, Lisa McIntyre, Elizabeth Mullan, Dorothy Elliott, Lynsey McAleece, Caroline Slane, Gillian Davidson, Jill Richardson, Joanne Buick, Janine McGuckin, Elizabeth Spratt, Helen Howard, Joanne Kennedy, Julie McGuckin. Front Row: Helen Richardson, Colin McKay, Andrew Booth, Nigel McKay, Henry Gibson, Leslie Marks, Dean White, Ian Crooks, Alan Spratt, Darren Taylor, Charles Cowden, Charleen Booth, Rosalyn Bownes, Jacqueline Kennedy.


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Killybearn Dramatic Club Killybearn Dramatic Club A dramatic entertainment entitled 'Pike O'Cullaghan', was given in the Hibernaian Hall on Friday evening and proved great success. It was followed by a laughable farce entitled 'Pat Molloy'.All the parts were well sustained. A Ball was afterwards held, that lasted until the small hours of the morning. Mr.W. Rooney acted as MC. Mr P. Devlin gained rounds of applause in dancing a Horn Pipe, as did Mr. J.J Dodds in an Irish jig.The following contributed songs, J.Morgan,T. Devlery, J.J Dodds, C. Morgan, J. Meenagh, Miss B. M'Donald, Miss S Doms and others. The singing of God Save lreland brought the entertainment to a close. "Irish News"

The Killybearn Accordion Band also met for practice in the hall.

Extract from Mid Ulster Mail 4th December 1908.

Photo kindly supplied by Desmond McVey.


HE TERM “YOUTH CLUB” OR “Recreation Centre” wasn’t in our vocabulary in 1934 when Killybearn Hibernian Hall meant both these things to the young folk of the area. My Uncle James Meenagh, would perhaps in today’s terms be known as a ‘Youth Leader’ and it was he, with imagination and flair, kept us occupied during those pre TV and even radio days. The drama club had been going for many years previously. From the Dec. 4th. issue of the Mid - Ulster Mail 1908 we have a report of Killybearn Dramatic Society producing the play “Pike O’Callaghan” and a farce “Pat Malloy”. This was produced in Barney Vincent’s barn - a short distance from where the hall now stands. The latter wasn’t built until 1912, using local stone quarried from the ‘Rocks. The stone mason being a Mr. John Higgins who lived locally and whose grandchildren are still in the area.

I was sixteen years old in 1934 when myself and other young people of Killybearn,,mostly the Rooney, Corey and Meenagh families staged the play ‘The Redeeming Dawn’ - a drama by J. Malachy Muldoon. The theme of the play was the Rebellion of the United Irishmen 1798. The dramatist himself was dead and the royalties of 3 guineas were paid to his wife. My Uncle James Meenagh was producer and what we lacked in resources, we made up for in ingenuity and team work. We had no electricity - our lighting effects were hurricane lamps and oil lamps. Our scenery was painted locally and our costume designer and maker was a local lady Mrs. Boone. After staging the play in our own hall we staged the production in the old National School in Drummullan, at the request of the then Parish Priest Fr. Peter Donnelly. We had to erect our own stage. There were no wings, so a window in the classroom was taken out and a small tent erected in the school yard. This was our dressing room


and we entered the stage by means of steps. We were invited to Ballinderry, Cookstown and Moneymore and were received everywhere with enthusiasm. This gave us the incentive to follow with the ‘Con the Seachran’ and ‘The Collen Ban’. The old hall still stands, perhaps a trifle lonely and deserted, but time moves on and the marvels of modern technology can only be welcomed by both young and old. ■

Killybearn Hibernian Hall as is stands today.

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The Memorial Hall, Coagh C

OAGH & DISTRICT, IE. TAMLAGHT, Ardboe and part of Artrea had by far the most shining record of war service. No fewer than thirty of its men fell in the field - of battle and four of them gained military honours. It was only natural, therefore that at the close of a meeting of the Farming Society, held on Monday 27th. January 1919, under the chairmanship of Dr. Burgess, Mr. Rowley Elliott should draw attention to the question of a memorial to perpetuate the memory of the men of the district who served in the Great War 1914 - 1918. This matter was discussed also by the ladies of Coagh Working Society and they contributed ÂŁ18:00 to further any suitable Memorial Scheme.

Newspaper clipping 11th December 1915.

The Group endorsed the proposal and a further meeting was ordered to be called on the following Monday. At this second meeting on the 30th. February, the Working Society presented Sergeant Joseph Mitchell with a watch in acknowledgement of the honour he had brought to the

Newspaper clipping 1st February 1919.


Mr John R Elliott JP, the donor of the site for the new hall.

Coagh Book 2003 text 10/11/03 7:27 pm Page 46

The Day the Foundation Stone was Laid: The above photograph was taken on the day the Foundation Stone of Coagh Memorial Hall was laid by Mr RJ MacKeown MP on 1st July 1920. In the photograph are, Back Row: Messrs JB McKeown, the builder, Wallace Charleton, William ferguson, the architect, Senator Hugh Duff JP, Rev DH Hanson BA MC, Messrs Hugh Flack, Wm G Blackstock and John I Speirs JP. Front Row: Dr Robert Burgess, RJ McKeown MP, WA Lennox Cunningham DLJP, Hugh C Thompson JP and Rowley Elliott JP MP.

village by winning the Military Medal. Sergeant Mitchell had gained this recognition by the gallant leading of his platoon in two counter attacks at a time when all officers had been killed or wounded. The watch was presented by Mrs. McClelland and Mrs. Wilson. It was decided, after further discussion on the war memorial, to erect a Public Hall on the motion of Mr. Hugh Thompson, seconded by Mr. Thomas Ferguson. The ladies of the working Party with the local clergy were appointed as a committee to raise the necessary funds.


Some weeks later a sum of ÂŁ500:00 had been collected from the surrounding area. A free site for the hall was given by Mr. J.R. Elliott, Coagh. On the 28th. January, trustees were appointed for the management of the proposed hall. It was under their guidance that plans were made for the forth coming Bazaar and they were also responsible

Newspaper clipping 1st March 1919.

Coagh Book 2003 text 10/11/03 7:27 pm Page 47

for the gifts of various kinds of livestock to be sold for the benefit of the bazaar funds. The bazaar was held on Thursday and Friday 6th. and 7th. November 1919. Coagh Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall was opened by Lady Craig on Saturday 16th. July 1921. The programme from the opening ceremony makes interesting reading. Amongst the dignitaries present were : - Rev. J Entrican, Dr. Burgess, Mrs. Lennox - Connyham, Mrs McKeown, Lieut. - Col. D.H.Hanson and Captain R.C.Elliott

During the Second World War, the building was used as a Court - House and until 1980’s was used as a social security office for the area. From the time the hall was opened it was the centre for various kinds of entertainment such as variety concerts, sales of work, Jumble sales, dances and socials. The pupils of Claggan P.S. held an annual variety concert there also. The local Young Farmers Club held their meetings there. Young and old alike were entertained to refreshments after tennis tournaments which were held on the court at the rear of the hall. Unfortunately, as time passes and with the coming of T.V. and the easy mode of transport to - day, people travel further afield for entertainment.

Newspaper clipping 1st April 1922.

This hall, which was once the pride of the village has become like a modern dinosaur and no longer fulfils modern day needs. Few today revere the fallen or the brave men and women who served their country in the past wars. The Memorial Hall has recently been purchased by the Southern Education and Library Board. â–

Newspaper clipping 1st January 1916.

Newspaper clipping 21st October 1922.

Newspaper clipping 7th November 1919.


Newspaper clipping 30th September 1922.

Coagh Book 2003 text 10/11/03 7:28 pm Page 48

Program for the Opening of Coagh Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall


Coagh Book 2003 text 10/11/03 7:28 pm Page 49

Coagh & District

Roll of Honour Names Of The Fallen John SM Lenox-Conyngham (Lieutenant Colonel) ..................6th Connaught Rangers Hubert M Lenox-Conyngham (Lieutenant Colonel) ..............................................ADVS Robert H Burgess (Sapper) ............................................................East African Pioneers Albert Bell (Lance Corporal) ..............................................................New Zealand force James Creighton (Corporal) ..............................................................Machine Gun Corps Fred Curry (Private) ..........................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers William John Corr (Private) ..............................................1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Thomas Devlin (Private) ....................................................1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Rachel Ferguson (Sister) ....................................................................................QAIMNSR Robert Howe (Sergeant) ........................................13th Canadian Expeditionary Force Matthew Haggan (Trooper) ..................................................................North Irish Horse Peter Lyttle (Private) ..........................................................1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers James Mitchell (Private)....................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Robert Mitchell (Private) ................................................................108th Mortar Battery Joseph Mitchell (Private) ..................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers William T Mitchell (Sergeant) ..........................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Robert Mitchell (Private) ..................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers SJ Junk (Private) ................................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Thomas McReynolds (Private) ........................................................16th Royal Warwicks P McGuckin (Private) ........................................................................Machine Gun Corps John C McKeown (Corporal) ....................................United States Expeditionary Force John McMullan (Private) ..................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Frank O’Neill (Private) ......................................................2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Peter O’Neill (Private)........................................................................Connaught Rangers Joseph O’Neill (Private) ..............................................................1st Connaught Rangers Patrick O’Neill (Private) ........................................................................Canadian Division Samuel Rice (Private) ........................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Robert Sands (Private) ......................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers George Shields (Private) ..............................................................8th Royal Irish Fusiliers Samuel Young (Private) ....................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers John White (Private) ........................................................................9th Royal Irish Rifles

Names Of Those Who Served William A Lenox-Conyngham (Major) ..................................10th Worcester Regiment Hugh Ashcroft (Sergeant) ..............................................................2nd North Irish Horse Albert Ashcroft (Trooper) ..............................................................2nd North Irish Horse Norman Allen (Private) ....................................................................9th Royal Irish Rifles Thomas Anderson (Private) ............................................................6th Royal Irish Rifles Charles H Burgess (Captain) mentioned in General Allenby’s despatches ..........RAMC Harold J Burgess (Staff Sergeant) ..............................................1st South African Rifles Alexander Beatty (Private) ....................................................................Munster Fusiliers James Beatty (Private) ......................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Edmund Beattie (Driver) ................................................................1st Canadian Division RJ Buick (Private) ............................................................................14th Royal Irish Rifles RJ Buick (Corporal) ..................................................................................Royal Irish Rifles John Bradley (Private) ............................................................2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers William E Carnaghan (Captain) mentioned in despatches ......2nd Connaght Rangers Joseph Carson (Captain) ..........................................................................................RAMC John Cowan (Lieutenant)................................................................Royal Naval Reserves James Crooks (Sergeant) ..................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Patrick Corr (Sergeant) ........................................2nd Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders William T Collins (Lance Corporal)..................................................1st North Irish Horse Joseph Cooney (Private) ........................................................................Munster Fusiliers Thomas Creighton (Private)..............................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Joseph Curry (Private) ......................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Lewis Coyle (Private) ................................................2nd Kings Own Scottish Borderers Joseph Corr (Private) ........................................................2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers John Canavan (Private) ....................................................2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers John Dickson (Gunner) ............................................................Australian Siege Artillery Thomas Doyle (Private)............................................................Royal Army Service Corps John Devlin (Private) ........................................................3rd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers John Doherty (Private) ....................................................2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Rev RC Elliot (Captain) ........................................................................................Chaplain Jeannie Ekin (Sister) ..........................................................................................QAIMNSR William Freeburn (Private) ........................................United States Expeditionary Force Mathew Gibson (Lieutenant) ..................................................................................RAMC David Gibson (Rifleman) ..................................................................1st Royal Irish Rifles Charles Howe (Sergeant) ..............................................................12th Royal Irish Rifles Thomas Howe (Private)....................................................Canadian Expeditionary Force Bernard Heron (Stoker) ............................................................................H.M.S. Empress Thomas Harkness (Private) ..............................................................3rd Royal Irish Rifles William Harkness (Lieutenant) ................................United States Expeditionary Force James Hudson (Private) ....................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Robert Hudson (Private) ....................................14th Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders William Hogg (Private) ............................................................1/4 Devonshire Regiment Patrick Higgins (Private) ..................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers James Johnston (Private) ................................................Canadian Expeditionary Force John Johnston (Private) ..................................................Canadian Expeditionary Force George Jardine (Stoker) ................................................................................H.M.S. Tiger William J Kempton (Private) ..........................................12th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

John Kielty (Private) ..........................................................................11th Scottish Rifles H Kelly (Corporal) ..........................................................................Royal Marine Artillery John Lamont (Private) ..............................................United States Expeditionary Force William Lynn (Private)......................................................2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Patrick Lenaghan (Private) ..........................................................6th Connaght Rangers Michael Mallon (Gunner) ..................................................................Royal Field Artillery James Marks (Trooper) ....................................................................1st North Irish Horse Joseph Marshall (Private) ............................................................1st Royal Irish Fusiliers James Martin (Private) ............................................................Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Thomas Mitchell (Private) ................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Joseph Mitchell (Sergeant) Military Medal ....................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers George Mitchell (Private) ..................................................1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Fred Mitchell (Private) ......................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers David Mitchell (Private) Military Medal ..........................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers George Mitchell (Private) ..........................................1st Kings Own Scottish Borderers John Mitchell (Private) ......................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers William Mullan (Private) ................................................10th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers William McKee (Captain) mentioned in despatches, Croix de Guerre ................RAMC Austin McReynolds (Gunner) ......................................................Royal Garrison artillery Edward McGuckin (Private) ..............................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers William McCollum (Private) Military Medal ....................1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Nellie McKeown (Staff Nurse) ..........................................................................QAIMNSR George McKeown (Sergeant)..............................................................Leinster Regiment Robert McKeown (Aircraftsman) ................................................Royal Naval Air Service Robert McKeown (Captain) mentioned in despatches ....CF 2/5 West Yorkshire Regiment Samuel McKeown (2nd Lieutenant) ......................................................14th Worcesters Thomas McKeown (Private) ............................................Canadian Army Services Corps William J McCann (Lance Corporal) ........................................7th Royal Dublin Fusiliers William Porter (Private) ....................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers James Phelan (Private) ....................................................2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Thomas Rollins (Private) ..............................................................9th Royal Irish Fusiliers Matthew Robinson (Private) ............................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Joseph Rooney (Private) ..................................................8th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers James Spratt (Private)..............................................................Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers William Shaw (Drummer) ................................................3rd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers David Sands (Private) ......................................................................9th Royal Irish Rifles Fred Sands (Private) ..........................................................1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Andrew Sloan (Private) ..................................................Australian Expeditionary Force Thomas Watterson (Private) ............................................1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Patrick Walsh (Private) ......................................................1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers George Wilson (Reverend) ......................................................................................YMCA Robert Young (Gunner) ..............................................................Royal Garrison Artillery William Young (Bombardier) ............................................................Royal Field Artillery William Young (Private)....................................................9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers David Young (Driver) ........................................................................Royal Field Artillery John Young (Private) ........................................................1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers


Coagh Book 2003 text 10/11/03 7:28 pm Page 50

Easter Rising talk for Somme Group T


subject of a talk at the Friends of the Somme Mid-Ulster branch meeting next Thursday, March 27. Connor Kostick of Military Heritage Tours, Dublin, will be the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Somme group which will begin in Cookstown Royal British Legion premises at 8pm. The year 1916 was to cast a long shadow over the history of Ireland, north and south, at home and abroad, particularly in northern France where many young men died in the Great War. Among those involved was Lieutenant TJ Kennedy from the townland of Tyressan on the Coagh side of Cookstown. He served an apprenticeship as a reporter with the Mid-Ulster Mail and went on to become editor of the Northern Standard in Monaghan.

When war was declared he was in the South Irish Horse and took a commission in the 36th (Ulster) Division but was transferred to the 16th (Irish) Division which was mainly made up of National (Redmond) Volunteers formed to agitate for Home Rule for Ireland. While in Dublin, Lieut Kennedy became engaged in the Easter Rising by negotiating with the leaders of the rebellion for a 15 minute ceasefire. This ceasefire enabled food to be brought into the Catholic Pro Cathedral where a large number of people were seeking refuge. PRAISED For his efforts, Lieutenant Kennedy was praised by the administrator of the Pro Cathedral. While leading his Iniskillings in the clearing of German trenches on September 9 1916 at Ginchy, Lieut. Kennedy was killed. One of the many soldiers killed on the Western Front in 1916 was Private John O'Neill from Aughacolumb, Ardboe, of the 7th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Pte O'Neill was killed in a German gas attack in Loos Salient during Easter week - on April 27. He was among 60 men of the 7th and 8th Inniskilling battalions of the 16th Irish Division buried by Fr William Doyie SJ on May 1 1916, at Philosophe British Military Cemetery in Mazingarbe, northern France.

Private John O’Neill from Ardboe. who died in Northern France during Easter week in 1916, one of the many men who lost their lives in the Great War 19141918.

Lieutenant TJ Kennedy, Tyressan. Dungannon to Cookstown to catch the 4.25pm train. As they went through the Killymoon area of Cookstown there was a slight confrontation with some loyalists. A shot was fired by one of the Volunteers and acting Sergeant Ryan from Stewartstown Station identified the man who fired the shot, John McQuillan from Belfast. He was arrested at the train station for shooting at persons unknown at the start of a week which was to have major repercussions in Irish history.

Back in Ireland, on Easter Sunday April 23, 1916, there was a meeting of National Volunteers from Belfast and volunteers from Mid-Ulster in Dungannon.

Everyone is invited to come along to the Somme group meeting next Thursday night to hear more about this period. There is no admission charge and new members are welcome.

During this meeting, Volunteers from Dublin arrived with what was described as “disturbing news”, so much so that the conference was immediately broken up. It's believed the news concerned the imminent Rising which began the following day. The Belfast contingent of around 100 men marched from



Lieutenant TJ Kennedy, who served his apprenticeship as a reporter in the Mid Ulster Mail. The Cookstown man helped negotiate a ceasefire during the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. He died on the battlefields of northern France.

Coagh Book 2003 text 10/11/03 7:42 pm Page 51


Home Guard

Back Row William Lamont, Robert Duff, Thomas Hutchinson and John Watterson. Forth Row: William Buck, John Taylor, John Jeffers, Ernest Gibson, William Rice, Robert Hagan and Fred Young.

Third Row Fergie Cosby, Stewart Ashcroft, James Creighton, Thomas Elliott, RJ Buick, Robert Young, Samuel Taylor.

Second Row TB Buick, James Somerville, WD (Billy) Duff, James P Duff, William McCorkell, Hugo Simms and Bertie Simms. Front Row William Mitchell and Fred Taylor.


Coagh Book 2003 text 10/11/03 7:43 pm Page 52


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Coagh Book 2003 text 10/11/03 7:43 pm Page 53


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Coagh Book 2003 text 10/11/03 7:43 pm Page 54



Licensed Restaurant Tel. Coagh 028 867 37530 Built in 1720, this listed Building is a fine example of






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Coagh Book 2003 text 10/11/03 7:43 pm Page 55


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Coagh Book 2003 text 10/11/03 7:43 pm Page 56

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Coagh Book 2003 text 10/11/03 7:43 pm Page 57

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Coagh Book 2003 text 10/11/03 7:43 pm Page 58


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Coagh Book 2003 text 10/11/03 7:43 pm Page 59

Noel McCrea BVM&S MRCVS David McCrea BVM&S MRCVS 14 Hanover Square, Coagh - telephone 028 867 37202 fax 028 867 37202 6 Union Street, Cookstown - telephone 028 867 66444 Evening Surgery Monday to Friday 6.00pm to 7.00pm BY APPOINTMENT

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Coagh Book 2003 text 10/11/03 7:43 pm Page 60

Thomas Hutchinson & Sons Ltd. Animal Feed Millers Since 1929

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NR Template JULY07.qxp


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Coagh Book 2003 cover 10/11/03 7:07 pm Page 2

Suppliers of Domestic, Agricultural & Commercial Oils Check out our website for our latest offers 9a Clare Lane Cookstown BT80 8RJ Contact us at

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