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Fossey Tackaberry



An earlier source of information and particularly portraits is the Dublin edition of the Methodist Magazine (1802-1822). I am attaching an article listing the portraits of Irish preachers contained in these volumes but again you will see that Fossey Tackaberry in not among those listed and he was dead by the time the Irish Evangelist started publication.  (May 2013 - email from Robin Roddie – Methodist Archive Records Belfast)

Birth Certificate


Babtismal Record


Marriage Certificate

Married Eliza Johnston in 1826.

Wife Eliza died circa 1841

Remarried Miss Harriette Pedlow 1842


Children Maria, Jane two of the names referenced in book. Other 3 children are not named

5 Children still alive on his 44th birthday 1840.

1880 US Census


1900 US Census


1901 Irish Census


1910 US Census


1911 Irish Census


1920 US Census


1930 US Census


1940 US Census


Death Certificate


Death Notice

Died 3 June 1847

Death Certificate for Spouse


Death Certificates for unmarried children


Newspaper Clippings




Life and Labours of the Rev. Fossey Tackaberry, Robert Huston

History of Methodism in Ireland (1886) Crookshank

The Encyclopedia of world Methodism (vol.2, J-Z) (1974), Harmon Nolan


Chronology of Events

Source -  Genealogical Facts from book from first speed draft reading of book

Fossey Tackaberry born at Tomagaddy, Wexford on Oct 22 1796

Mother Jane Cranwill

Grandfather Mr Cranwill from Ballymoney

Sister Jenny, Brother John ,Brother Henry ,Brother William, Sister Bessy

Brother John became Methodist minister in America.

Married Eliza Johnston in 1826.

Children Maria, Jane two of the names referenced in book. Other 3 children are not named

5 Children still alive on his 44th birthday 1840.

Stepfather William Johnson died who he knew 35 years by 1840. (when he was 9)

Wife Eliza died circa 1841

Remarried Miss Harriette Pedlow 1842

Died 3 June 1847


TACKABERRY, FOSSEY (1796-1847, Irish preacher, was born in the County of Wexford. He was converted in 1815 under the preaching of Andrew Taylor, one of the General Missionaries and sent into south-east Ireland by the Irish Conference. Even as a local preacher, still with farming as his livelihood, Fossey Tackaberry was more like an itinerant in his work of spreading the Gospel message. So he offered for the ministry and was accepted as a candidate in 1822. He then gave himself fully to preaching, in which he excelled, and had a wide circuit ministry covering all the main centers in Ireland. So much was he beloved of the people that Conference sent him to the Belfast North Circuit in 1843 and there he healed disputes and misunderstandings that had occurred among Methodists in that city. His last circuit was Sligo, to which he was appointed in 1846 in the midst of the baneful effects of the Irish Famine. He threw himself wholeheartedly into the relief of distress, never forgetting the preaching of the Gospel as well. He rescued an orphan boy of ten years of age, after the death of the only surviving relative to care for him, an elder brother of fourteen. From this boy whom he rescued, Fossey Tackaberry caught typhus fever, and within a month was dead. (Information taken from ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WORLD METHODISM,ed. by Nolan B. Harmon. Nashville, TN: United Methodist Publishing House,1974) – source



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pdflogo          The Life and Labour of Rev Fossey Tackaberry. By Robert Huston





Page 31

MR. TACKABERRY was born October 22, 1796. The

place of his birth was Tomagaddy, in the county of

Wexford; within a mile of Ballycanew


Page 33

Mr. Tackaberry joined the Methodist Society in 1811.

It was not, however, until the year 1815, that he was

brought into the enjoyment of Divine favour.


Page 115

The tear of gratitude falls while I write.

This blessed light has shone into the hearts of mother,

father, Fossey, John, and Jane ; and will yet shine, yea,

is now shining, into the hearts of Henry, William, and



Page 134

Having been married to Miss Johnston, of Cortubbin,

near Ballycanew, at the close of his second year in

Dublin, Mr. Tackaberry was appointed to the Drogheda

Circuit by the Conference of 1828,


Page 136

My dear Eliza and I are striving to help each other to



Page 136

The case is that of

old Mr. Cranwill, of Ballymoney, Mr. Tackaberry's

grandfather :

" The news in my dear Jane's last was

extraordinary indeed; it was glorious news. How is

grandfather since? Is he as happy as ever? Is he

recovering, or worse, or gone home?"




Page 144

Jan 1 1829.

Then he adds this

testimony to Mrs. Tackaberry's spirit and character :

" Wife walks very evenly. Her soul is thoroughly converted,

and her temper good. I think she will continue

in the ways of God till she goes to glory.


Page 150

Letter to brother Henry trying to convert him

This letter, written to his brother, concludes by an

affectionate exhortation to consecrate himself and his

services to God :


Henry, a number of young men,

lately converted, near Kingscourt, are already holding

meetings, and doing good. 0! when shall my brother

Henry be thus engaged? Henry, the Bible is true !

It is God's book. It tells much of the love of Jesus,

of His love to you. He died for you wants you to be

happy for ever; and you do not love HIM. Ah! Henry,

how long ! The love of Jesus first broke my heart.



Page 154

Another letter to his brother Henry urging him to convert

Henry, you are very much on my

mind. It is time, high time, for you to give your

heart, your all, to Him who claims you for His own,

and leave the rest with Him. I beseech you, think

more on this subject. Henry, go to your room two or

three times a day, and, on your knees, beg of God to

give you strength to make the needful sacrifices. I

ask you, by all the regard you feel for a brother who

loves you, as well as for ten thousand reasons beside, to

attend to this. Had I a letter from Tomagaddy, to

tell me, ' Your brother Henry died this morning quite

suddenly just dropped down and spoke no more,'

how would I feel? The very thought is intolerable.

0, my brother ! my dear long-sought brother ! give your

heart to Jesus now. I long for this. Henry, make the

effort. Tear yourself from earth. God, who loves you,

and has long waited for your decision, will help you.

Go to one of the classes next Sunday morning; and

may Jesus meet and bless you."



Page 178

My Eliza has been greatly profited

by Mr. Field's conversation and prayers; so I can

scarcely fail to be a gainer myself.



Page 185

Preaching to his children

His mode of instructing his children, though

familiar, was scriptural and impressive. An example is

subjoined: "Before they went to sleep on Saturday

night I went into the room, when Maria said,



we were speaking of Daniel, and how God kept the

lions from eating him because he was good.'


Yes,' I

said :

l he loved God, and God loved him.' '

But, papa,'

said Jane,

' how is it the Bible says God loves every one,

even the animals?' I answered, 'God loves bad men

with a love of pity; but He hates their ways. He not

only loves good people with a love of pleasure, but He

loves their ways too.' Yesterday the little ones were

looking out of the window, and Jane said,

' That girl is

a Roman : I do not love her.' Happening to hear the

remark, I said,


Jane, should you not love every person?'


yes, papa; and I do love her with a love of pity; but

I do not love her ways, because they are wrong.'

Simple as these incidents were, they very much gratified



Page 192

The visit of the Rev. John Tackaberry, of America, to

Ireland, in 1836, was anticipated by the whole familycircle

with lively interest.



Page 208

Letter from William Reilly to Robert Huston with reminiscences of Fossey Tackaberry


Queenstown, December 23, 1858.


"Tons, kind and urgent request to me, to supply

some reminiscences of the late Eev. Fossey Tackaberry,

has imposed on me no easy task; which, however,

though conscious of my own inadequacy, I shall

endeavour to perform.


Page 224

Letter to his mother on his 44th birthday 22 Oct 1840.

"2. Family-mercies are neither few nor smalL A

wife who is truly a helpmeet spared to me, and in

better health than I hare often seen her. Our five

children spared, and in good health. Praise the Lord !

We have much, very much happiness at home. Under

this head I rejoice to include the union subsisting

between all the branches of our family. Thanks to

God, we never had anything like a disruption or breach ;

and I believe we love each other more as we advance in

life. Now, my dearest mother, if the happiness of life

consists in loving and being loved, is not much of it

enjoyed among us ?


Page 226

Death of Fossey Tackaberrys step-father, William Johnston in 1840

Mr. Tackaberry's stepfather died very suddenly,

almost instantaneously, in 1840. The testimony he

bears to his character is honourable to both, and at the

same time suggestive of the mutual duties of persons

standing in their relations :

'" The stroke is very unexpected.

It seems more like a dream than a reality.

All. my dear, dear father's kindly affection to me for

five-and-thirty years rises up before my mind, affection

more marked every year for the last twenty. He has

sometimes thrown his arms around me when I have

been at home, or when about to leave, after my annual

visit, and said,

' I love you as well as any child I have.'

I loved father much, but did not know how much until

now. A strong tie to life is broken. And then he was

a man for whom I never thought of sudden death; no,


"There has been a great change in father's temper

and manner for several years past, but I perceived it

more clearly than ever the last few times I saw him.

There was something so mild, subdued, a'ffectionate,

about him latterly, that I was struck with the change.

He was becoming more like the inhabitants of that

world to which he has removed. The suddenness of his

end' gives me no uneasiness, except the loss to bis

family, and our sorrow at that loss; but so far as he

himself is concerned, all is well, well, well, and will be

for ever. Glory be to God for this consolation under


such bereavement! Where that Saviour is whom he

loved and served for more than five-and-twenty years,

there will WILLIAM. JOHNSTON be for ever!"


Page 230

The death not only of

his youngest son, but of his excellent wife also, there is

reason to fear, was hastened by a savage electioneering

is the estimate of Mr. Tackabeny formed by the Rev. J. B. Gillman,

as expressed to me recently in a note :

" He was an ardent, energetic,

effective Minister, whose memory deserves to be respected."

mob that broke into his house, in pursuit of some

persons who took refuge there.


Page 230

First breach of family – death of young son James

" The soul of our dear little Jemmy took its departure

to a better world at half-past nine this morning. This

is the first breach in our family-circle : you will, therefore,

not wonder, if it be painfully felt. We had no

child at James's age who gave similar indications of

talent, or attracted the same notice as he did. The

last conversation I had with him relative to religion

was on Sunday last. He asked me to take him in my

arms, and walk the room with him. I did so, and

asked him, Should I sing a hymn for him? '

Yes, papa,


There is a land of pure delight.'

After I had sung a verse or two, he asked me, (

Papa, is

the river Jordan a real river? Is there water in it?'

I told him it was a real river; that God's people who

left Egypt, and had been in the wilderness, must cross

it before they could go into Canaan, the good country

into which God brought them, and which was like

heaven: but the Jordan we had to cross was death;

that Jesus, who loved us, would meet us there; that

then we would be in heaven with Him, and all who

were good, and never be sick again. I then asked him,

'Do you understand me, James? Do you know the

meaning of what I have said to you?' He looked up

with animation, and answered with considerable energy,

'I do, papa; I do understand you; and I wish. I was

crossing Jordan now!' I answered, 'My dear, it is not

far off: you will soon cross it; you will soon be with

Jesus.' This was the last conversation on the subject of

heaven I had with my sweet child. This morning he

asked me to give him a drink, and to lay him by

mamma in her bed : I did so, attended the half-past six

o'clock meeting, and afterwards, while in my study,

Eliza ran down and told me he was dying. He sunk

rapidly. We knelt round his bed, and said, as we

could, 'The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away;

blessed be the name of the Lord.'


Page 232

Mob invaded house

" Our city is much disturbed yesterday and to-day.

I fear the rioting has shortened his days. Three

friends fled for refuge to our house; the mob pursued,

burst the door in after them, and, when they could not

find them, smashed nearly all the glass in the front of

the house in a few minutes. Wife and children retired

to a back-room very much alarmed, of course. When

about to lie down, Jemmy said to me, '

Papa, I won't

sleep any to-night.' I said, 'Why not sleep, my child?'

He replied,

' The noise and the stones frightened me.'

He sleeps soundly and sweetly now !



Page 233

Death of his wife Eliza

"This day and yesterday are the darkest of

my whole life. To-day I walked the floor of my room,

and satisfied my heart's sorrow, while the body of my

placid wife lay dead before me. Ay, it is true: my

Eliza is gone. May the great God pity me ! I feel like

a man knocked down and stunned, who cannot rise

again. I am in a dreamy, strange, stupid state. I see

no comfort anywhere but in the thought of living

nearer to God than I have ever done. Lord, help me !"


Page 234

Letter from Fossy to his wifes sister Mrs Morris after his wifes death.

The morning our

dear child died she stood by his bed-side, with her

hands clasped, watching the last struggle, until he

ceased to breathe, and then, her tears gushing, said,

with an accent and feeling I shall not soon forget,

'Glory be to God!'



Page 237

Second marriage to Miss Pedlow 1842

About this time he was united in marriage to Miss

Pedlow, daughter of the Rev. Daniel Pedlow.


Page 243

Reference to conversion of his eldest daughter Jane

Such meetings

were given, and his joy was enhanced by the conversion

of his eldest daughter in one of them :

" Good meetings

since we came; some distressed souls made happy every

week; but yesterday was the best Sabbath we had yet.

Congregations good, and a crowded and blessed sacramental

service. We have a Tuesday night's prayermeeting,

which has been the means of immense good on

this Circuit. My own Jane was among the number of

those who obtained peace with God at the last one. All

my other children were greatly affected. This has

made my heart very glad.€


Page 249

Reference to tomb of wife Eliza and deceased children and confirmation that he remarried

Attending the Cork Conference, in June, 1845, he

records :

" Paid my first visit to the tomb of my loved

ones; wept at the recollection of former days; and then

thanked the Good Being, who permitted me to be left

without my sainted Eliza, for the wife He has now given

me,- a help meet to love and care for me and my dear



Page 255

Return to Tomagaddy 1846

Having visited his friends in Tomagaddy, in the

spring of 1846, Mr. Tackaberry writes to his mother on

his return :

" Short as my visit was, it did my spirit

great good. To see my dear family, even for a little, is

to me no small gratification; while the hasty nature of

our interviews, and the constant separations, tell me

afresh, 'This is not our rest.' mother! if we get to

heaven after all, will it not be glorious? My mind

turns to it; my heart longs for it; I hope yet to be

there." He was distinguished for fraternal kindness as

well as for filial tenderness: "Kemember me to my

dear, dear, dear sisters and brothers. It does my heart

good to see them." Here ends his correspondence from



Page 262

Last letter to his mother with reference to young boy he saved from death but who he caught fever from which killed him.


"Mr DEAREST MOTHER, Since I wrote you last, I

have had to conduct the business of our District-Meeting,

attend Missionary Meetings, and look after various

other matters, beside my ordinary duties. However,

I have been very well, and very cheerful, everything

considered, excepting the one day's attack of which I

wrote you. Sunday and Monday, April 25-6, a burning

wind passed over this part of the country, which

was very injurious to vegetable life. The hedge-rows

appeared indeed, appear still as if a red-hot brand

had been passed along them; and nearly every second

person was attacked with bowel affection.

"I was driven, on Monday last, to seek shelter for

self and horse, from a violent shower, in a poor cabin.

In a shed, at the end of it, lay a poor orphan boy of ten

years old, who was taken from the side of his brother's

dead body, in a wood, four days previously. The little

wretch soon had his story told. 'His father, a tailor,

died five years ago; his mother, soon after, leaving

three sons. The eldest, sixteen, went off seeking work,

and was not heard of since ; the second, aged fourteen,

worked in spring and harvest for his bit, but this hard

year could get no one to employ him. They begged,

but got little for begging, every one bidding them go

away. They became ragged, dirty, sickly-looking; the

people were afraid they had fever, and would not let

them in. They slept under hedges, went into the wood,

lay under a holly-tree; the elder gave all he got to the

younger, and lived himself on water-grass. He soon

became weak, and died four days ago.' This poor child

was all but dead when discovered. There he was now

in the shed, and the poor man could get no one to take

him away; while his own large family were not far

removed from starving.

"On Tuesday I hired a car, took cap, shirt, vest, coat,

trousers, stockings, boots; comb, scissors, soap, towel,

brush. His condition I shall not attempt to describe.

I had his hair cut close, and himself washed and brushed

with soap and warm water again, and again and again;

lifted him naked into the cabin, and dressed him from

head to foot. His first remark was, 'Ah! if any one had

done this for my poor brother, he would not have died.'

"I have him at lodging in this town. He is an intelligent

little fellow; and, I think, of an affectionate disposition;

and I hope Patrick Feeny will soon be able to

go out as an errand-boy or servant, if we can procure a

place for him. He could not have lived many days in

the shed. All very well; and all send loves to grandma.

" Your affectionate old son,




Page 264

Death of Fossey Tackaberry

June 3 1847

This letter was written on the 13th of May; and on

the 20th he returned to Sligo from the Boyle Circuit,

where he had been at Missionary Meetings; on which

day he first complained of indisposition. His disease

proved to be typhus-fever, which baffled all medical

skill and attention. He did not speak much during his

illness; but, while consciousness remained, frequently

uttered short exclamations of praise and prayer. "Thank

God," he said at one time, "my lamp is trimmed." He

frequently repeated Heb. iv. 16, and with peculiar

emphasis, pausing at each, clause, as if to ponder its

meaning: "Let us therefore come boldly unto the

throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and

find grace to help in time of need." His disease

soon rendered articulation imperfect, and in a few days

impossible. This eminently devoted and useful servant

of Jesus Christ entered into the joy of his Lord, June 3,

1847, in the fifty-first year of his age, and twentyfifth

of his ministry.