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Dr. Henry O'Neill M.D. M.Ch. J.P.
About 1854 in Crossnacreevy (Townland), Castlereagh, Belfast, Co. Down, Ireland, United Kingdom
16 May 1914 in "Benburb", Knock, Belfast, Co. Down, Ireland, United Kingdom [ s1268 ]
Born 15 February 1862 - Died 20 February 1953
11 February 1887 in College Square East Presbyterian Church, Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland, United Kingdom [ s1781 ]
 Child 1
Born 9 October 1888 -
 Child 2
Born 12 June 1896 -
 Child 3
Born 12 June 1896 -
Ancestral View
1901 Census record taken on Sunday, 31 March.
Residents of a house 14 in Knock Road, Belfast (Pottinger, Co. Down)
SurnameForenameAgeSexRelation to headReligion
1O'NeillHenry47MaleHead of FamilyPresbyterian
2O'NeillJane Owden39FemaleWifePlymouth Brethren
3O'NeillHenry Hudson12MaleSonPlymouth Brethren
4O'NeillGeorgina Eliza4FemaleDaughterPlymouth Brethren
5O'NeillThomas Malcolmson4MaleSonPlymouth Brethren
1Co. DownDoctor (see below)Read and writeMarried-
2Lisburn, Co. AntrimHousekeeperRead and writeMarried-
3Belfast CityScholarRead and writeNot Married-
4Belfast CityScholarReadNot Married-
5Belfast CityScholarReadNot Married-
6Markethill, Co. ArmaghCookRead and writeNot Married-
7Markethill, Co. ArmaghNurseRead onlyNot Married-
Occupation of Henry O'Neill - M.D., M.Ch., R.U.I., J.P. County Borough of Belfast, Editor Belfast Health Journal, Member of County Borough of Belfast, Consulting Surgeon Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast.
[RFSS Dec 2010]

1911 Census record taken on Sunday, 2 April.
Residents of a house 25 in King's Road, Belfast (Pottinger (part of), Co. Down)
 SurnameForenameAgeSexRelation to headReligion
1O'NeillHenry57MaleHead of FamilyPresbyterian
2O'NeillJane Owden48FemaleWifePlymouth Brethren
3O'Neill Henry Theodore22MaleSonPlymouth Brethren
4O'NeillGeorgina Elizabeth14FemaleDaughterPlymouth Brethren
5O'NeillThomas Malcomson14MaleSonPlymouth Brethren
6GardineHannah Jane34FemaleServantIrish Church
7WalshMaud19FemaleServantIrish Church
 BirthplaceOccupationLiteracyMarital StatusYears MarriedChildren BornChildren Living
1Co. DownMedical DoctorRead and writeMarried2433
2Co. Antrim-Read and writeMarried2433
3BelfastMedical StudentRead and writeSingle---
4BelfastSchoolgirlRead and writeSingle---
5BelfastSchoolboyRead and writeSingle---
6Co. ArmaghDomestic ServantRead and writeSingle---
7Co. MonaghanDomestic ServantRead and writeSingle---
[RFSS Dec 2010]

Ireland Civil Registration Death Indexes
Name: Henry O'Neill
Age: 60
Registration District: Belfast
Registration Quarter and Year: Apr - Jun 1914
Volume Number: 1
Page Number: 295
Index Number: ?
[RFSS Feb 2020]

No Death Certificate at February 2020.


THE announcement of the death of Dr. Henry O'Neill was received in Belfast and throughout Ulster with very great regret. Dr. O'Neill had not been quite in his usual vigorous health during the last year or two, but his indomitable spirit drove him on to work which would have put a strain on a much younger man. He suffered from an attack of pneumonia and heart weakness last Christmas; and although he rallied and was able for a short time to resume his duties, he was forced again to become an invalid, and was confined to bed till his death, which took place at his residence, Benburb, Knock, Belfast, on May 16th.

Dr. O'Neill was one of the most striking personalities of the city. He was born at Crossnacreevy, Castlereagh, Co. Down, and was a lineal descendant of the O'Neill family of Dungannon. He became an apprentice to the well known chemists, Messrs. Wheeler and Whitaker, Belfast, and soon entered the old Queen's College, Belfast, and Queen's University of Ireland, where he obtained the degrees of M.D. and M.Ch. in 1877, and in the same year he was appointed House-Surgeon in the old Belfast Royal Hospital and Assistant Surgeon to the Samaritan Hospital; in 1879 he was appointed Assistant Surgeon to the Royal Hospital, and entered upon his duties as teacher; in 1882 he was appointed full Surgeon, and in 1884 he undertook the duties of Pathologist. In 1891-2 he was President of the Ulster Medical Society, and in 1898 President of the North of Ireland Branch of the British Medical Association; in 1886 he founded and was first President of the Belfast Medical Students Association, and in 1884 he attended the Sanitary Congress in London as special health correspondent of one of the local papers; in 1892 he founded the Belfast Health Society and published the Belfast Health Journal. In 1893 he was elected a councillor of the city as representative for St. George's Ward, and he continued to represent that ward without a break until his death; it is of pathetic interest that he practically completed his twenty-one years of service on the city council, and a few weeks ago was offered the aldermanship of the same ward in the vacancy due to the death of Sir James Henderson. In 1900 he resigned his post of Visiting Surgeon to the Royal Victoria Hospital and became Consulting, Surgeon.

He presented reports to the Corporation on the meat supply, the milk supply, and the housing of the working classes. He was then attending law terms, and was called to the Irish Bar in 1902 and to the English Bar in 1909; he had an extensive practice in workmen's compensation cases; he won the famous heat-wave case, and the decision was confirmed on appeal to the House of Lords. In 1908 he was elected Chairman of the Markets Committee, and retained that position to his death. He was instrumental in obtaining the erection of a modern and well-equipped mortuary, and, while High Sheriff in 1905, in renovating the Belfast County Courthouse; the old public mortuary was a scandal and disgrace, a regular death-trap; and the increased accommodation in the courthouse was much appreciated by all doing business within its precincts; he was also instrumental in obtaining the new building by-laws regarding the laying of sewers and several other matters of public hygiene. In 1905 he erected the O'Neill Memorial School in memory of his late brother Mr. James O'Neill, from whom he had received much of his early elementary education. He was twice mentioned for parliamentary honours. Finally, in September 1913, when symptoms of cardiac trouble were appearing with increasing frequency, even while in the chair at meetings of the Market Committee, he attended the opening of the new public abattoir by the late Lord Mayor, for which he had worked for many years, and for which he was chiefly responsible; it was his last and perhaps his greatest work.

Such a record of work shows the man; no sooner had he reached one goal and gained a prize, when most men would have considered they were entering on their lifework, than he tossed it aside and looked out for some new object; he had openings, and had already climbed sometimes the first few, sometimes tile higher, rungs of the ladder as a surgeon, as a gynaecologist, as a pathologist; when he abandoned his advantages and turned to public health. His true bent was to this field, and it was his life-work, but even here he blunted the wedge of his force by turning aside to law and then to the Workmen's Compensation Act. However, for twenty-five years he insisted, in season and out of season, on the necessity, on the right of every individual, to a pure food supply, a pure milk supply, and to good housing accommodation.

Dr. O'Neill was a voluminous writer, chiefly on sanitary and professional matters; he was a ready and; at times, eloquent speaker, and while surgeon at the Royal Hospital a clear, emphatic, and definite teacher. He was at his best when sore pressed by opponents and apparently hemmed in on all sides without chance of escape; his smiling face would show that he was not disconcerted, and at the psychological moment he would, by a string of statistics, by apt and humorous ridicule, and by a worthy appeal to all the higher feelings of the audience, turn the tables and escape from the net that had been drawn around him. Although he had many opponents in his varied career, he had few, if any, enemies, but hosts of friends. It is a difficult, if not a hopeless and useless task, to estimate the "what might have-been" but it is surely not an exaggeration to say that if Dr. O'Neill had had more of the judicial and quiet painstaking faculty, had chosen wisely and well one of the departments of human activity, and had concentrated all his indefatigable energy into his undertaking, he would, with his great physical strength, his rapid and subtle mind, his shrewdness and faculty of reading character, his general capacity, have made himself a power not merely in the town of his adoption, but in the nation itself.

Dr. O'Neill leaves a widow and three children and with them and with his brother, Dr. Charles O'Neill, of Belfast, great sympathy is felt.

[RFSS Dec 2010]
Marriage Certificate of Henry O'Neill and Jane Owden Greeves - 11 February 1887Marriage Certificate of Henry O'Neill and Jane Owden Greeves - 11 February 1887
[RFSS Feb 2020]

Ireland, Civil Registration Marriage Indexes
Name: Henry O'Neill
Spouse's Name: Jane Owden Greeves
Registration District: Belfast
Registration Quarter and Year: Jan - Mar 1887
Volume Number: 1
Page Number: 430
Inex Number: 111
[RFSS Jul 2011]
[ s1268 ] Obituary - Published in THE BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL 23 May 1914 - OB1914-23-05-HO
[ s1781 ] Marriage Registration - Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes - Marriage of Henry O'Neill and Jane Owden Greeves registered 1st Quarter 1887 in Belfast Registration District, Co. Antrim, Ireland, United Kingdom - Volume Number: 1, Page Number: 397 - MR1887-11-02-HO-JOG
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