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Second Donagheady Presbyterian Church Successful Sale & Summer Festival, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland July 1923

Original Article in The Londonderry Sentinel
Transcribed by Dave Mitchell

Comments by Dave Mitchell

Dr James Alexander Mitchell of Drumenny (my grandfather) was a member of 2nd Donagheady Parish who came to South Africa in 1899.  Some while ago I came across in his diaries a newspaper report from the Londonderry Sentinel, covering a big church bazaar/fundraiser fete held in July 1923, which I have now scanned and transcribed.

There are some interesting comments in amongst the flowery (and somewhat repetitive) text -- what is of special genealogical interest is the list of parishioners at the end, showing who did what on the two days of the bazaar, and of course, who of the local ladies won the prizes for the best cakes!

Please note that I have scanned and transcribed from a good quality photocopy.  The original cuttings are packed away in my box of his diaries.  The handwriting on the cuttings is his distinctive longhand.


A pdf file of newspaper article may be downloaded here (Caution - 18mb file).


Below is the complete transcription of the original article.

Second Donagheady Presbyterian Church



Source: Londonderry Sentinel 21/7/1923

(Original newspaper cutting found in the diary of Dr J. A. Mitchell (1/4/1876 – 12/6/1933) of Drumenny, Bready, co. Tyrone, later of Cape Town and Pretoria, South Africa)


Rev. James Connell, B.A., and the members of his congregation are to be heartily congratulated on the success of the summer fete and sale of work, opened so auspiciously on Thursday and continued yesterday, in aid of the repairs fund of their church and manse. The members of the congregation, and the ladies especially, had worked harmoniously and enthusiastically, to make their summer fete worthy of the cause for which it was promoted, and to their energy and self-sacrifice was largely due the excellent arrangements and magnificent display of articles which adorned the various stalls on the occasion. The spacious Lecture Hall was gaily decorated, and presented a very attractive appearance. Here the various stalls were erected, and figuratively groaned beneath their loads of articles, useful and ornamental, many of the contributions coming from friends in other lands and from the members of other denominations in sympathy with the object. Second Donagheady has a history extending back to the year 1741, while a former church from which it branched off was in existence in 1658. During the interval the congregation has flourished greatly, and the present church and other buildings, including Lecture Hall, schools, stabling, &c., are a credit to the district in which they are situated, as well as to the loyalty and liberality of the people. In order to uphold the good reputation of the past and maintain the church, manse, and other property in effective working order the present effort was regarded as absolutely necessary, and the congregation, with a hearty goodwill and a unanimity which was worthy of the best traditions of their church, set about the work in a manner deserving of all praise. As might be expected, the result is sure to be equal to the most sanguine expectations of the promoters. Large crowds of sympathetic patrons flocked to the assistance of the congregation, and a great variety of games and outdoor amusements were provided for the enjoyment of those who were not interested in the saleroom. In a large marquee erected in a field adjoining the church, kindly lent for the occasion by Mr. Joseph Eakin, of Sandeville, refreshments were abundantly served by a willing band of ladies, whose catering was much appreciated.

The Right Rev. George Thompson, D.D., Moderator of the General Assembly, presided at the opening ceremony, which was gracefully performed by Mrs. Smyth, Strathfoyle, in presence of an immense throng of eager stallholders and patrons.

Rev. Mr. Connell, in introducing the proceedings, said they were met there that day under the heartiest auspices, and gratefully extended a hearty welcome to Mrs. Smyth, on her husband’s account as well as on her own, and to the Right Rev. Dr. Thompson, the Moderator of the General Assembly. They felt greatly honoured in having Mrs. Smyth and Dr. Thompson with them. (Applause.) As they were aware, the object of the bazaar was to raise funds to renovate the church property. So far they had been very successful. The ladies of the congregation had been working hard and with the greatest enthusiasm, harmony, and goodwill, and he was sure their efforts would be crowned with success. (Applause.) They had charged him to express their warmest thanks to friends and neighbours, and all others, members of other congregations and other Churches, who had generously helped, and also to former members of their own congregation, some of whom were in other lands, who had in a very practical way remembered the old place. He had much pleasure in asking the Moderator to take the chair.

The Moderator, who was warmly received, said, apart from the official position he had the honour to hold, it gave him the utmost pleasure to take the chair, and that for two reasons, among others: He had a very high admiration for the worth and work of Mr. Connell, which were widely known and esteemed in many quarters. His faithful services in the ministry there had won for him a large place in the affections of his people, and wherever he was known the same feelings were entertained, and so when he asked him to be present that day he told him that to the half of his kingdom, or even three-quarters thereof, he would cheerfully respond. (Applause.) That congregation, in its long and honoured history, had done some export trade, and had been sending forth from time to time distinguished men, who had done it and themselves honour. One of them, Rev. Professor Moore, they had with them that day, and he was sure of a welcome to his native heath. But the congregation’s resources were too rich to be depleted by its exports, and he could not but mention the Sabbath - school teachers, and congratulate their leader, Mr. William Stevenson, on the half-century’s service he had given to that important department of congregational work. He felt like saying to Mr. Stevenson, “O King, live for ever.” (Applause.) The second reason for his delight in being there was because of the presence of the lady who had honoured the proceedings by her presence, Mrs. Smyth. (Applause.) He had known intimately her father, the late Mr. T. C. Dickie, a gentleman who rose to a high place in the legal profession, an elder and superintendent of the Sabbath-school in Trinity Church, Omagh, of which he (the Moderator) was minister for five years. Major W. B. Smyth’s father had occupied a large place in the business world, and he, too, was an elder, and his co-convener of the Sustentation Fund. From both of them and in their homes he received kindnesses he could never forget. Mrs. Smyth during the war threw herself with self-sacrificing devotion into tending the wounded of their gallant lads, and her like-minded husband put on the khaki and did a man’s work during those terrible years. It was with gratitude they recalled what they had done, and with that gratitude which found in such splendid services a pledge and presage of much fruitful work for the Church and community in the years to come. (Applause.)

Mrs. Smyth, who was cordially received, said that when asked to declare the sale open she mentioned to someone that she was coming to that bazaar, and the remark made in reply was that Donagheady was a great place in which to raise money, and that the bazaar was sure to be a wonderful success. (Applause.) If the lady who made that remark could have attended and seen the beautifully-decorated and well-filled stalls she would have understood that the secret of their proverbial success was undoubtedly hard work. She congratulated the workers on the splendid results which they had achieved. She understood that the object of the bazaar was to repair the church and the manse, and she did not think there was any object dearer to a North of Ireland person’s heart. Personally she was always glad of a chance to repay in some slight measure the unvarying kindness which she associated with the manse, and she thanked them all for the honour which they had done her. (Applause.)

Mrs. Smyth was then presented with a charming bouquet of sweetpea by Miss Nancy Lyons, daughter of Mr. Robert Lyons, J.P., Mountcastle, and a great-granddaughter of Rev. F. J. Porter, a former minister of Second Donagheady congregation.

In proposing a vote of thanks to Mrs. Smyth, Rev. Mr. Connell said it was not by any means the first time that members of the Smyth family had lent their influence and given their assistance to Second Donagheady congregation. The late Mrs. Smyth, of Strathfoyle, on an occasion somewhat similar to that one, graced their proceedings with her presence and opened their sale, and other members of the family on many occasions had given them the great pleasure of enjoying their gift of song. They all knew how worthily Mrs. W. B. Smyth was maintaining the high traditions of Strathfoyle House by taking a keen interest in every object that was for the welfare of the people of Strabane, and far beyond Strabane. He should like, as the minister of that congregation, to give expression to their most sincere appreciation of Mrs. Smyth’s very great kindness. Mrs. Smyth, when asked to come, most readily and most graciously consented, and in a very happy and charming manner had given a start to the bazaar.

Mr. John W. M’Crea seconded the motion, which was enthusiastically passed.

Professor Moore, B.D., of the Free Church College, Edinburgh, proposed a vote of thanks to the Moderator for presiding. On that occasion, in many of their minds, the personal would rise above the official, and they felt that the favour conferred was the greater because it was conferred by Dr. George Thompson. Dr. Thompson had rendered the Church splendid service, and they were all pleased that he now occupied such a distinguished position. (Applause.)

The motion was seconded by Mr. Wm. Stevenson and passed.

The following were the stalls and stallholders :--

Work Stall—Miss Clarke, Miss Woods, Miss Hunter, Miss M’Crea, Miss Mathers, Miss Dunn, Miss Riley, Miss Frizelle, Miss Marion Frizelle, Miss Bessie M'Crea, Mrs. Johnston, Mrs. Lavery, Mrs Browne, Miss Hamilton, Miss Keys (Killymallaght), Miss Adair, Miss Ruby Kennedy, and Miss Martha M’Govern.

Provision Stall – Mrs. Dunn, Mrs. Patrick, Mrs. Eakin, Mrs. Donnell, Mrs. M’Laughlin, Mrs. J. J. Henderson, Mrs. Nixon, Miss M’Crea, Miss Hamilton, and Miss Graham.

Refreshment Stall—Mrs. Connell, Mrs. Semple, Mrs. Lyons, Mrs. Duncan, Mrs. M’Clay, Mrs. Clarke, Mrs. Currie, Mrs. W. L. M’Crea, Miss Campbell, Miss Thompson, Miss Mehaffy, Miss Lowry, Miss Keys, Miss E. Foster, Miss Kee, Miss Nellie Stevenson, Miss Emma Crooks, Miss M. Dunn, Miss Simpson, Miss Dunleavy, Miss M. Patterson, Miss A. Allen, Miss R. Woods, Miss Falconer, the Misses Crawford, and the Misses Neely.

Flower and Fruit – Mrs. Bannister, Miss Stevenson, Miss Fannie Mathers, Miss Dollie M’Laughlin, the Misses Dunn, Miss Minnie Donnell, Miss Maud Kee, Miss Cissie Hamilton, Miss Bartie Spence, Miss Bella Smyth, and the Misses Semple.

Sweet Stall—Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Stevenson, Miss Lillie Scott, Miss Cowan, Miss Jane Hunter, Miss Foster, Miss Nella Porter, Miss Kennedy, Miss Isa Donnell, Miss May M’Laughlin, Miss Nancy Lyons, Miss Buchanan, and Miss E. Nicholl.

The following gentlemen rendered valuable assistance in connection with the amusements, &c. : --Professor Moore, Dr. Dunn, Messrs. Joseph Eakin, S. Donnell, R. Lyons, J.P., J. J. Semple, J. W. M’Crea, H. Browne, J. S. M’Laughlin, William Stevenson, J. Robinson, J. J. Dunn, A. Bannister, John R. Boak, W. Reid, S. Goligher, Joseph M’Dermott, J. Hall, J. Kee, G. Foster, J. J. Henderson, W. Dunn, Dunn Porter, Stewart Porter, J. Falconer, David Fulton, J. Clarke, J. Doherty, W. Donnell, G. M’Laughlin, D. Falconer, H. Mathers, J. Carnwath, S. Lowry, W. Malcolm, J. Smith, Glenn M’Laughlin, T. Dunn, R. Foster, S. Doherty, W. Clarke, J. Clarke, W. J. Hamilton, T. M’Bride, W. J. Campbell, R. Kee, W. Hamilton, and A. Dunn.

The following was the result of a cake competition held in connection with the sale : --

Plum cake–1, Mrs. M’Clements, Wellington Villa, Londonderry; 2, Mrs. Connell, The Manse.

Sponge cake—1, Miss Campbell, Prospect; 2, Miss Dunn, Tully.

Sultana cake—1, Miss Jamison, Loughnease; 2, Mrs. Stevenson, Killyclooney.

Decorated cake – 1, Mrs. M’Corkell, Ballyheather; 2, Miss Britton, Hazelwood.

Sponge sandwich—1, Miss L. Robinson, Liscloon; 2, Miss Mahaffy, Strabane.

Seed cake – 1, Miss Dunn, Tully; 2, Mrs. Arbuckle, Donemana.

Madeira cake – 1, Mrs. Stevenson, Killyclooney; 2, Mrs. W. M’Crea, Bready.

Cocoanut cake—1, Miss Robinson, Liscloon; 2, Mrs W. M’Crea, Bready.


Donagheady Summer Fete


Source: Londonderry Sentinel 21/7/1923

(Original newspaper cutting found in the diary of Dr J. A. Mitchell (1/4/1876 – 12/6/1933) of Drumenny, Bready, co. Tyrone, later of Cape Town and Pretoria, South Africa)

The bazaar at Donagheady was reopened yesterday in the presence of a large audience.

Lieutenant-Colonel John M’Laughlin, Portstewart, presided, and in introducing Mrs. Hay to perform the opening ceremony said he appreciated very much the compliment Rev. Mr. Connell had paid to him in asking him to preside on that occasion. It was a long time since he made the acquaintance of Second Donagheady. Many changes had taken place since then, but the old church still stood and was still going strong. Long might it continue to flourish and remain a historic landmark in that beautiful countryside. After stating the objects of the sale, he was pleased to inform them that the ladies had already made it a success as they always did. In some ways it was hardly necessary to have a chairman that afternoon. Mrs. Hay, who was to declare the sale open, was well known not only in that parish but in the neighbouring parish also, as well as in the city of Londonderry, where her husband was one of the leading ministers and had gathered around him a large congregation. He had much pleasure in asking Mrs. Hay to reopen the sale. (Applause.)

Mrs. Hay, in declaring the sale open, said she had much pleasure in being present that day, and commended the sale to their generous support. Anyone who had anything to do with church bazaars knew something of the great amount of trouble they entailed, and if it were not for the worthy objects in view few would have the courage to start one. Mr. and Mrs. Connell were very good friends of hers, and she was very pleased to be able to assist them in any way in her power. She had much pleasure, therefore, in declaring the sale open, and hoped it would have a most successful conclusion.

Master Billy Semple, son of Mr. J. J. Semple, Cullion, then presented Mrs. Hay with a bouquet and fancy bag.

Rev. Mr. Connell moved a hearty vote of thanks to Mrs. Hay on behalf of the ladies of Donagheady for the part she had taken in the proceedings. That parish was not very far from Donemana, and they all knew what a firm hold Mrs. Hay had, and still held, on the affections of the people there. For the past few years they had heard from time to time excellent reports of Mrs. Hay’s good work in Carlisle-road Church and how worthily she was helping her husband, the success of whose ministry was a source of great joy and satisfaction to all the people of that district. Mrs. Hay had a charm all her own, and wherever she was she spread goodwill, gladness and joy all around. By her coming there that day and by the words she had so fittingly spoken in her reopening remarks she had placed the congregation of Second Donagheady under a very deep debt of gratitude. He was sure Mrs. Hay would be glad to know, and everyone else present, that the sale on Thursday proved a great success. (Applause.) With a similar result that day he had no doubt the ladies would have achieved the object for which they had been working with all their hearts.

Mr. Robert Lyons, J.P., seconded the motion, which was passed by acclamation.

Mr J. J. Semple proposed a vote of thanks to Lieutenant-Colonel M’Laughlin, which was seconded by Mr. J. J. Dunn. Mr. Semple said they almost looked on Colonel M’Laughlin as one of themselves, his ancestors having had a close connection with that congregation, and he himself was intimately connected with four prominent families. He was a most obliging gentleman, and had very readily consented to preside on that occasion.

The motion was passed with enthusiasm.

Mr. David Godfrey and Mr. Joseph Stevenson rendered valuable services in connection with the Men’s Committee.