This small business was set up by the Maginnis family, in a single room of their home near Mountjoy, Omagh, County Tyrone, in 1861.
The post was a family occupation for the Maginnis’s. Nathaniel was the first postmaster of Mountjoy, and his children all worked for the Post Office. His eldest, Andrew, served as superintendent of posts in Belfast, and Alexander as a postman in Mountjoy and Belfast. After Nathaniel’s death, in 1887, his daughter, Rebecca, took over as sub-postmistress. She resigned on her marriage in 1907, and the post office moved to a site on the main Omagh to Derry Road.
A rural post office like Mountjoy was a vital link between local communities and to the wider world. Between 1851 and 1901, 135,000 people emigrated from County Tyrone, and the post office meant they could keep in touch with family and friends they left behind. Letters, parcels and photographs from America were very welcome, and money and postal orders were sent through to help others to emigrate. The Post Office Savings Bank, established in 1861, helped thousands of people to save for their journey to a new life abroad.
Look out for the ‘VR’ on the post box outside the post office. It stands for ‘Victoria Regina’, and tells us that it was installed during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901).