Thomas George Farquhar Paterson was the first curator of Armagh County Museum and a foremost historian of the County of Armagh. Oliver Davies wrote of him: "George Paterson was one of the old school of field-scientists who traversed the country and was interested in everything he saw and heard, especially in history, ethnology and folk-lore. He was a welcome visitor at every house where he called, from a country-seat where he could discuss the history of the family to a cottage in the mountains where he would listen to the traditions and stories remembered by country people. He was always ready to respond to any requests, and in later life much of his time was spent in assisting Americans to trace their pedigrees."  Many of the articles in this program on the social history of Markethill and District draw on the notes he compiled on his trips in and around the area.
He was born in Canada in 1888. His father had emigrated to Canada but soon returned with his wife and new son to the family farm in the townland of Cornascreeb, halfway between Richhill and Tanderagee. George went to the national school in Aghory. On leaving school, he became apprenticed to Davison Brothers grocery store in Portadown. He worked in Couser's Provision store in Eglish Street, Armagh from 1911, rising to the position of store manager. During the First World War, he served in the Black Watch regiment until invalided out of the army.
While working at Couser's, he was also a passionate amateur historian and contributed many articles to local newspapers under the pseudonym 'Cornascreeb', the townland where he lived. He was invited to become Honorary Curator of the Natural History and Philosophical Society Museum at its offices in the Mall, Armagh, in 1931. When the museum became Armagh County Museum in 1935, he was its first full-time curator, reorganising the collection for the museum's official opening in 1937. He oversaw the extension of the museum and its reopening in 1962. He retired in 1965, leaving to the museum 25 volumes of typescript notes, the Armagh Miscellanea (or Armachiana).
1. E. Estyn Evans (editor), Harvest Home, the Last Sheaf: A Selection from the Writings of T. G. F. Paterson Relating to County Armagh (Dundalgan Press, 1975) , p. x.
E. Estyn Evans (editor), Harvest Home, the Last Sheaf: A Selection from the Writings of T. G. F. Paterson Relating to County Armagh (Dundalgan Press, 1975) .
In the accompanying audio recording, Greer Ramsay, deputy curator, talks about Armagh County Museum and its first curator, T. G. F. Paterson. Paterson was a pioneer of folk history in Northern Ireland and gathered a huge amount of material from all over County Armagh.
Use the audio controller to listen to this talk, given in 2003.