Maria Todd

Mrs. Maria Todd had been the organist at Tartarghan Parish Church for over 50 years when she died in a road accident during the blackout in October 1940.


Maria Todd

On 10th October 1940, the lorry of Mr. JG Henderson was involved in a fatal accident on a country lane near Portadown, Co. Armagh. The unfortunate victim of the blackout incident was Mrs. Maria Todd.

Maria Todd of Ballinary, The Birches, Co. Armagh died on 10th October 1940 leaving a husband, John Todd, a farmer near Portadown, Co. Armagh.

Mrs. Todd was the organist of Tartaraghan Parish Church, Portadown, Co. Armagh. At the time of the accident, she was on her way back home from choir practise in a local school room. The incident occurred only a short distance from the school.

The lorry of grocer and poulterer Mr. JG Henderson of Woodhouse Street, Portadown, Co. Armagh struck Mrs. Todd. She died almost immediately from injuries sustained.

Despite the moonlight, tall trees cast shadows over the road, increasing the darkness in the blackout. The lorry drove in blackout conditions and the driver did not see Mrs. Todd on the country lane until it was too late. The inquest exonerated the driver.

The sad affair cast a gloom over the neighbourhood, where the deceased was familiarly known and esteemed for her kindness and devotion to duty.
Portadown News – 19th October 1940

That evening had been the final choir practice before Tartaraghan Parish Church’s Harvest service. At Maria Todd’s funeral, the congregations sang “The Church’s One Foundation”. This was the first hymn Mrs. Todd had ever played in the church as organist. Rev. John Hobcroft, relatively new to the congregation paid a glowing tribute to Mrs. Todd who had served the church for over 50 years.