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Presbyterian Emigrations from Ulster to South Carolina; the Cahans Exodus from Ballybay to Abbeville in 1764


Emigrations from Ulster to America of segments of Presbyterian congregations, either led or accompanied by their pastor, occurred with some regularity between 1718 and 1775. See A History of Ulster by Jonathan Bardon (Blackstaff Press 1992), especially pages 176–179. These Presbyterians either followed their ministers, or took them along. Identifying the churches in America that these emigrants formed or joined often helps identify the place in Ulster from which they came.

This page discusses the Cahans exodus from Ballybay, county Monaghan, in 1764, and some similar movements of Presbyterians from Ulster to America in the second half of the eighteenth century. This information may shed some light on the origins in Ireland or Scotland of Robert McGough, his wife Sarah Matilda Carson, and their children, who emigrated from Newry to Charleston, South Carolina. See my web page: A Scots-Irish John McGough—A Seattle Connection; Emigration of Presbyterian McGoughs in 1773.

I have given attention mostly to Seceder Presbyterian congregations in the Piedmont area of North and South Carolina, especially counties surrounding Charlotte, North Carolina, and Abbeville, South Carolina, because those are the areas to which the original McGoughs emigrated in 1773, or in which they settled in the decades following their original emigration.

 Table of Contents 

Cahans Exodus

A group of Seceder Presbyterian families from Ballybay, county Monaghan, Ireland, sailed on the "John," from Newry, county Down, Ireland, on May 10, 1764, and arrived in New York on July 28, 1764. The emigrants were part of the congregation known as the Ballybay New Erection. They sailed under the leadership of their pastor, Reverend Doctor Thomas Clark. By 1767, the majority of the emigrants had settled on farmland acquired for them by Doctor Clark in New Perth (after 1788, Salem), New York. Others settled in Abbeville, South Carolina. In 1779, Dr. Clark visited the members of his Ballybay congregation who had settled in Abbeville. In 1780, he organized them into the congregation of Cedar Springs and Long Cane in South Carolinas. At the same time, McGoughs began to move to Abbeville from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. (See A Scots-Irish John McGough— A Seattle Connection — Emigration of Presbyterian McGoughs in 1773). In 1782 (or perhaps 1786), Dr. Clark permanently joined the part of his Ballybay congregation that had settled in Abbeville. He died suddenly of an epileptic seizure in Abbeville on December 26, 1792.

This emigration from Ballybay is known as "The Cahans Exodus." The story is told in At the Ford of the Birches: The History of Ballybay, its People and Vicinity, by James H. Murnane and Peadar Murnane (Murnane Brothers 1999), at page 174–196. The story of the exodus is told on the Internet at The Cahans Project. In his book, Full Circle - A Story of Ballybay Presbyterians (Cahans Publications 1999), the Reverend David Nesbitt devotes Part 2 to Cahans (pages 194–327).

Emigration from Scotland to Ulster after 1690

In the fifteen years after the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, about fifty thousand Presbyterians emigrated form lowland Scotland to Ulster. In the northern half of county Monaghan, Anglo-Irish landlords, such as Lord Blayney, the Leslies in Glasslough, the Dawsons in Dartry, and the Murray/Clermont estate, encouraged these Protestant Scotsmen to become tenants on property they controlled. They offered these Scots settlers their best land on favorable terms and at low rent.

A good summary, in seven parts, on emigration back and forth from Ireland to Scotland is: The Scots, part of The People of Ireland (Appletree Press, currently out of print), on

In 1748, a Presbyterian Seceder Congregation in the Ballybay area, made up almost exclusively of Scots emigrants, petitioned the Seceder Presbytery of Glasgow that the Reverend Doctor Thomas Clark be sent to them as their regular pastor. On June 27, 1749, Doctor Clark was sent to Ireland with a commission from the Associate Presbytery in Glasgow to preach at Ballybay, Clennaneese (near Dungannon), and elsewhere in Ulster. He accepted the offer of the Seceder congregation at Ballybay to become their minister and was ordained by three ministers from the Burgher Presbytery of Glasgow in the field of William McKinley at Cladaugh, near Cahans, on July 23, 1751.

How Did Robert McGough Become a Presbyterian?

Robert McGough, who emigrated with his family from Newry, county Down, to Charleston, South Carolina in 1773, was a Seceder Presbyterian. Most of the families who emigrated with him were also Seceder Presbyterians. These other families, for example, the Carsons, McDowells, and Pattersons, had originated in the lowlands of Scotland. Descendants of Robert McGough have assumed that his ancestors had also originated in Scotland. For example, see: The McGough Family Page by Carol Scott. Lowland Scotland was predominately Presbyterian after the religious revolution led by John Knox in the mid seventeenth century. See The Scottish Migration to Northern Ireland by Phil Norfleet.

McGough had been an Irish tribal name in Monaghan and north Louth as early as the twelfth century. Some of the McGoughs had emigrated from Monaghan to county Down between 1150 and 1200. A townland and a mountain in county Down were named after the McGoughs. See my page: Where the Mountains of Mourne Sweep Down to the Sea—Ballymageogh and Slievemageogh in County Down. Many McGoughs emigrated from Ireland to Scotland, and many of the McGoughs I have found in Scotland originated in or around county Monaghan in Ireland.

Joshua McGough was a wealthy Presbyterian property owner in county Armagh, which adjoins county Monaghan, when he died at age 73 in 1756. See McGeough Bonds in County Armagh in my page Odds and Ends. Robert McGough may have been related to the family of Joshua McGough. Robert had enough wealth to buy his own land when he arrived in South Carolina, and he left a sizable estate when he died in Mecklenburg county, North Carolina, in 1778.

I have found no solid clues to indicate when or where this McGough family were converted to Presbyterianism. James VI of Scotland became James I of England upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, and within a few years, James I was encouraging the emigration of Scots Presbyterians from Scotland to Ulster. Our Scotch-Irish Heritage. Many Presbyterians migrated from the lowlands of Scotland to Ulster in the 1600s.

In the early decades of the seventeenth century, intermarriage of the Ulster Irish with the newly arriving Scots, and conversion of the Irish of Ulster to Presbyterianism, seem to have been common. In her book, The Catholics of Ulster (Basic Books 2001), Professor Marianne Elliot implies that much of the Catholic gentry disappeared from Ulster, not because they were exiled and dispossessed by their Protestant neighbors, but because they were converted. There were legal pressures to convert to the Church of Ireland. Conversion of the Irish in the 1700s, however, became less frequent, probably because such a conversion lead to ostracism of the Catholic. In The Scotch-Irish—A Social History (Chapel Hill, The University of North Carolina Press, 1962), James G. Leyburn says that intermarriage between Catholics and Presbyterians was rare—at least after the first part of the eighteenth century. There is much debate and little agreement on the subject.

Catholics in Ireland were restricted from owning property, holding office, and voting, during the 1700's. Some of them renounced their religion and converted to the Church of Ireland in order to enjoy such rights, but the advantage of converting to Presbyterianism was not as great. See the Qualification Rolls index 1793-1796, and Convert Rolls 1703-1800 from Irish LDS Microfilms.

A study by G. B. Adams concludes that a significant number of the native Irish population of east Ulster converted to Presbyterianism shortly after the early infiltration by the Scots—even before the plantation of Scots. Adams, in his article Aspects of monoglotism, at page 84, says:

"a considerable part of the old irish population [in east Ulster] seems to have been absorbed into one or other of the reformed churches, usually into presbyterianism, which in the seventeenth and early eighteenth century must have had a considerable Irish-speaking membership. The association of Irish language survival with strongly Roman Catholic area belongs to a later period and to central and west Ulster."

Aodh de Blacan, in The other hidden Ireland, in Irish Studies, xxiii (1934), pages 439–454, supports the same conclusion:

"The schism of the sixteenth century cut geographically across the Gaelic world, Scotland and that part of Ulster which was infiltrated, not planted, became Protestant even before the plantation of Ulster."

The last two citations and quotations are from The Irish Language in County Down, by Ciaran Devine (Ciaran O Duibhinn), which is chapter 17 of Down—History & Society edited by Lindsay Proudfoot (Geography Publications 1997) (page 438).

Charter schools are an example of efforts made at converting Catholics to Presbyterianism in Ulster. The schools were entirely Protestant in management, and the children were reared as Protestants. History of the Catholic Church: From the Renaissance to the French Revolution by Rev. James MacCaffrey, S.J., 1914 (volume II, chapter X, The Penal Laws). In 1734, The Incorporated Society in Dublin for Promoting English Protestant Schools in Ireland was established by a charter of George II.

"A century before Carleton's time the Charter schools were established, and endowed to educate the children of the destitute poor. They were to give industrial as well as literary training, and took religion and learning as their motto. But they became dens of infamy, with incompetent and immoral teachers, who taught the pupils nothing except to hate Catholicism. As such the schools were shunned by the Catholics, and were manifest failures, and yet till 1832 they received government grants."

See: The Irish Charter Schools by Kenneth Milne (Dublin: Four Courts Press 1996).

Other sources indicate that a substantial number of native Irish Catholics in Ulster converted to Presbyterianism. For example, see Ower the Sheugh:

"There is evidence however that a number of 17th century Scots settlers took the Gaelic language with them to Ulster. In his book 'Presbyterians and the Irish Language', Roger Blaney quotes evidence supplied by various historians and states that many of the lowland Scots settlers in Ulster were probably bi-lingual in both Scots and Gaelic.

"The Reverend James Stothers in his unpublished work, 'The Use of the Irish Language by Irish Presbyterians' comments that a significant number of the Presbyterians who settled in Ulster, spoke Gaelic. These Presbyterian immigrants to Ulster would have continued to use their Gaelic language at least for the first generation and possibly longer.

"There was a policy of recruitment and encouragement by the Synod of Ulster of Irish speaking Presbyterian ministers of both native Irish and Scots origin, e.g. Jeremiah O’Quinn and James Wallace. Stothers comments that with the presence of such Ministers and a large number of Gaelic speaking Scots settlers present, the conversion of many Irish Catholics to Presbyterianism is easier to understand.

"There would not have been the same cultural disparity felt between the native Irish and the Scots settlers as there would have been between the native Irish and the English settlers."

An example of a two-step conversion from Catholicism to Presbyterianism is Thomas Campbell, who was born at Sheepbridge near Newry. His parents were Catholics who converted to Anglicanism. Their three sons all became Presbyterians. Thomas became a minister in the Old Light Anti-Burgher Seceder Presbyterian Church. Here are excerpts from Thomas Campbell Writes His Declaration of Independence:

"Born in 1763 in Ireland of Roman Catholic parents who turned Anglican, he [Thomas Campbell] became a Presbyterian and after a few years of teaching school decided to enter the ministry. He spent three years studying classics at Glasgow, and then took the seminary course of his own church in nearby Whitburn. This means that while Irish by birth he was Scottish by education, and there is evidence that he was strongly influenced by the 'common sense' school of philosophy, led by Thomas Reid of Glasgow, which was then dominant and which supported Scottish theologians in their struggle with David Hume, the old Scot who was known as the great infidel.

"He was always a teacher as well as a pastor, conducting private schools of his own both in Ireland and America. He was teaching at a sleepy little village named Ballymena, in what is now North Ireland, when he met and married Jane Corneigle, in whose veins flowed French Huguenot blood, and it was here that his eldest son, Alexander, was born in 1788. He later taught at Market Hill in Armagh county, at which time he became the pastor at Ahorey, a few miles distant. ...

"He was pastor at Ahorey from 1798 until 1807, at which time he embarked for this country [the United States]. The church has always been Presbyterian (the United Presbyterian Church of Ireland), and it has continued without interruption all these years. Dr. Scott has been pastor for 18 years and he has great interest in its Campbell heritage. The environment is still rural, with its rolling hills and white farm houses stretching in all directions, not unlike the terrain in western Pennsylvania and Bethany to which the Campbells eventually came. ...

"Once in this country, he was received into the Associate Synod of North America, which represented all Seceder Presbyterians, the 'Burgher' dispute not having been imported. He was assigned to the Presbytery of Chartiers in western Pennsylvania, which appointed him to an itinerant ministry among Irish immigrants in what was then frontier country. He was among many of his own people, some having immigrated from his own part of Ireland.

"His views, already expanding back in Europe, became even more open in the New World. He was not prepared for the narrow sectarian restrictions that his presbytery placed upon him: to minister to and serve communion to Seceder Presbyterians only. He was soon under their judgement for behaving otherwise. ...

"The presbytery suspended him. He appealed to the Synod in Philadelphia, which was a higher court. After a week or so of hearings his suspension was rescinded, but he was rebuked for his aberrations. The presbytery resented his reinstatement and it was apparent that they were out to get him, first by giving him no appointments, and finally by suspending him again, this time for not submitting to their authority. But by this time he was already out on his own anyway. The break with the Presbyterian Church was complete.

"As a final act of protest he returned to them the $50.00 they gave him upon his arrival in America."

For more on Thomas Campbell, see Thomas Campbell: Seceder and Christian Union Advocate (1935), by William Herbert Hanna, and The Concept of "Church" among Churches of Christ. See also Thomas Campbell at Restoration; The Declaration and Address by Jay Smith from Restoration Quarterly, volume 5, number 3; Thomas Campbell's Ministry at Ahorey by Alfred Russell Scott from Restoration Quarterly, volume 29, number 4; Memoirs of Alexander Campbell by Robert Richardson; The Disciples of Christ, chapter I, The Campbells; and The Campbells are Coming.

Early Presbyterians in Ballybay

About 1690 Presbyterians began worshipping at Derryvalley, about a mile outside Ballybay. In those times, it was illegal to have a Presbyterian church within one Irish mile of a town. Toward the end of the decade, a congregation was formed and a minister called. The congregation first met in an old thatched building and, beginning in 1786, in the present meeting house.

During the 18th century the number of Presbyterians in the Ballybay area grew and a new congregation was established nearby at Cahans. Cahans was the first Seceder congregation in county Monaghan. A small meeting house was built. In 1751, Thomas Clark was ordained in William McKinley's field in the townland of Caddagh. In 1800, another church was established at Derryvalley. In 1972, Cahans and Derryvalley were united with First Ballybay to form today's congregation.

As discussed below, one of the notable events in the congregation's history was the Cahans Exodus in 1764.when Doctor Clark led 300 people from the Ballybay area to begin a new life in America. Ballybay Tercentenary.

The Seceders

There is much literature on the Internet describing the many splinter groups that formed from the original Presbyterians. See What's in a Name? Presbyterian, Covenanter, Seceder, Mountain Men, Burghers and Anti-Burghers, Old Lights, New Lights, Subscribing, Non-Subscribing by Brian Orr. See also The Covenanters by Brian Orr.

The congregation of the Reverend Doctor Clark at Ballybay was a Seceder Presbyterian congregation. His aggressiveness in recruiting members of the Ulster Synod of Presbyterians, and his success in doing so, caused friction between himself and the more traditional Presbyterian ministers. This friction led to the arrest of Dr. Clark in Newbliss on January 23, 1753, described in the following section.

Reverend Doctor Thomas Clark

From about 1745, the seceder Presbyterian congregation at Drumhillery, Ireland, wanted to establish a congregation. A request was sent to the Church of Scotland asking that a minister be sent to Drumhillery. On July 3, 1748 Reverend Doctor Thomas Clark was sent by the associate Synod in Scotland. He preached his first sermon at John Smith's of Dromond, a second sermon at an old rath at John Maxwell's at Tullyglushkaine, and a third on a rock near where the meeting house in Drumhillery now stands. Dr. Clark did not settle in that area, but rather accepted a call from Ballybay. The Past, Presbyterian Church of Ireland—Congregation of Drumhillery.

The congregation that Doctor Clark joined in 1751 was first called the Ballybay New Erection, but later became known as Cahans. An historical oddity is this: Although the emigration of 1764 is now called "The Cahans Exodus," the name "Cahans" did not come into formal use to describe the place from which the exodus originated until almost forty years after the exodus. Until about 1800, the meeting house in the townland of Lisnaveane near Ballybay was called "Ballibay New Erection" in the records of the Secession Presbytery of Monaghan. Not until after 1800 was it called the "Congregation of Cahans," or "the Dissenting Congregation of Cahans, known by the name of Burgher Seceders."

The Cahans meeting house is located in the townland of Lisnaveane, about five miles west by northwest of the town of Ballybay. The parish to which Doctor Clark administered was extraordinarily large, and included most of county Monaghan and parts of counties Armagh and Cavan. It extended beyond Castleblayney and Keady on the east, Emyvale and Derrynoose on the north, Newbliss and Cootehill on the west, and Corraneary in county Cavan to the south. See the "map of catchment area" on The Cahans Project. Corroneary is a townland in the south-central part of the parish of Enniskeen in county Cavan. Atlas of Eastern County Cavan (PDF format).

Thomas Clark was a native of Scotland and the third Seceding minister who was ordained to serve a congregation in Ireland. Some biographies say that he had received a diploma as doctor of medicine at the University of Glasgow, but modern research indicates he obtained his medical training elsewhere. In any event, he combined his ministry with administering to the health needs of his congregation.

In April, 1748, Clark was licensed to preach the gospel. On June 27, 1749, he was sent to Ireland with a commission from the Associate Presbytery in Glasgow to preach at Ballybay, Clennaneese (near Dungannon), and elsewhere in Ulster. He accepted the offer of the Seceder congregation at Ballybay to become their minister. He was ordained in the field of William McKinley at Cladaugh, near Cahans, on July 23, 1751, by three ministers from the Burgher Presbytery of Glasgow.

Shortly after coming to Ballybay, Reverend Doctor Clark married the daughter of a member of his congregation, Elizabeth Nesbitt of Drumaconnon. They had four children, one of whom died young. The other three accompanied him and his congregation to America after his wife died on December 19, 1762.

The Seceding ministers in Ireland impugned compliance with the custom of kissing-the-book in court, and taught the people to take the oath in what they regarded as the scriptural form— with hand uplifted to God. Clark was the first Seceder to publish a pamphlet in Ireland advocating this manner of taking the oath.

Clark was a strong, vociferous, and sometimes intemperate critic of the traditional Presbyterian ministers from the Synod of Ulster. His criticism was part of his effort to establish the new sect of Seceder Presbyterians, which he could do only by disassociating old line Presbyterians from the main Presbyterian body. He created antagonism with the old-line "establishment" Presbyterians. This antagonism was the underlying reason for his spending more than two months in jail in the town Monaghan in 1753, from where he continued to administer to his flock. Because of his refusal to take an oath of abjuration by kissing the book, he was arrested in Newbliss on January 23, 1753, charged with disloyalty, taken to the town of Monaghan, and jailed. When the judge of the assize came on circuit, he dismissed the charge. Dr. Clark was released after having spent two months and eleven days in jail awaiting a hearing.

After Clark's wife died at the end of 1762, he considered emigrating to America. Partly because the Anglican ascendancy in Ireland treated Scots-Presbyterians as second-class citizens, there had been a trickle of Scots Presbyterian immigrants from Ballybay to American for almost fifty years. A call reached Dr. Clark from Volintown, Rhode Island, and a second call came from near Albany, New York. The Albany group petitioned to the Presbytery, who granted the petition and appointed Dr. Clark to go and supply them for one year. At about this time, in the Spring of 1763, Doctor Clark wrote Doctor Harper of King's College, New York, with a list of one hundred families who desired to move to America.

Doctor Clark resigned his charge in Cahans and sailed from Newry on May 10, 1764, aboard the ship John. The ship reached New York on July 28, 1764. The New York Gazette of August 6, 1764, reported:

"Last week, in the Ship 'John', from Newry, Ireland, ... there arrived about three hundred passengers, one hundred and forty of whom together with Dr. Clark, embarked on the 10th, with their stores, farming and manufacturing utensils, in two sloops for Albany, from whence they are to proceed to the lands near Lake George which were already surveyed for them. Their principal view is to carry on the Linen and Hempen manufacture to which they are all brought up. Doubtless, they will meet with the good graces of every friend of this Province, especially at this juncture when their encouragement is so absolutely necessary and it is said that many others will soon follow their laudable example."

The Murnane brothers (page 184) tell us:

"While immigrants were resting in New York, preparatory to moving up the Hudson to the land that had been reserved for them, it would appear that an agent for land developers in South Carolina prevailed on a number of the Cahans congregation to separate from the main body and transship to the Abbeville area in South Carolina, where they eventually settled at Cedar Springs. It is thought that a number of passengers disembarked at Delaware before reaching New York."

Ballybay to Salem, New York

Excerpts from An Historical Sketch of the Long Cane A.R.P. Church by  Nora Marshall Davis:

"About the time of the construction of these forts, Providence was shaping events in Ireland. On May 10, 1764, petitioned by members and friends who had preceded him to America, and influenced by favorable descriptions of New York by Robert Harper, of Kings College (Columbia University), Dr. Thomas Clark, with about one hundred families of his parishioners and neighbors, left Newry, Ireland, for America. Their arrival on the following 28th of July was announced in the New York Gazette of August 6th as follows: 

'Last week in the Ship John, from Newry, Ireland, Luke Kiersted, master, there arrived about three hundred passengers, a hundred and forty of whom, together with the Rev. Clarke, embarked on the 30th ult., with their stores, farming and manufacturing utensils, in two sloops, for Albany, from whence they are to proceed to the lands near Lake George, which were lately surveyed for their accommodation, as their principal view is to carry on the linen and hempen manufacture to which they were all brought up.'

"The remainder, who did not go with Dr. Clark to Stillwater and subsequently to Salem, New York, formed the nucleus of Little Run, Long Cane, and Cedar Creek (later Cedar Springs) churches. Dr. Clark and his congregation are said to be the only known ecclesiastical body that came to America as an entirety, pastor, ruling elders, and communicants, with no break in their religious services.

"Long Cane Associate Reformed Presbyterian church was organized in 1771 as Associate Presbyterian church. Whether Dr. Clark visited this part of his congregation when he came to the Waxhaws for three weeks in 1770 in obedience to Presbyterys order of November, 1769, is not definitely stated in available records; but the centennial memorial exercises to Dr. Clark at the meeting of Synod at Long Cane in 1871 give credence to the natural supposition that he did visit his people at Long Cane during his three weeks stay at Waxhaws, and that this church was organized in 1771. Dr. Clark, in 1779, again visited, this time by order of the Presbytery, that part of his former congregation which settled in Abbeville County, S. C.; yet no records show the organization of a church on this visit. When he again visited the congregation, in 1782, Long Cane is listed among the churches at which he preached."

Salem, New York, which was known as New Perth until 1786 (or possibly 1777), is east of the Hudson River, about 4 miles inside the Vermont border, on state highway 22 about 55 miles north by northeast of Albany, New York. See a map showing the location of Salem in Washington County, New York.

Early History of Salem by Al Cormier, town historian, tells us:

"Salem was first settled in 1761 by Joshua Conkey and James Turner who as soldiers in the French and Indian War, passed through the territory. In 1764, Alexander and James Turner acquired a patent which was soon divided up between the New Englanders from Pelham Mass. and a group of Scotch/Irish Presbyterians from Ballibay, Ireland.

"The name of this place was disputed for many years. The New Englanders called it White Creek after the clear creek that ran through the village and the Scotch/Irish called it New Perth since it reminded them of home. In 1788 the New York State Legislature settled the dispute by calling it Salem, a name first used in 1777 for Fort Salem of Revolutionary War time."

Salem Village Landmark Tour:

"First United Presbyterian Church—built in 1797 is one of the oldest churches north of Albany. Church was founded by Dr. Thomas Clark, MD from Ballibay, Ireland. Salem was founded by 140 of Dr. Clark's imported congregation. Salem's first church was built in 1767."

Here is more history of Rev. Dr. Clark's settlement at Salem from Captain Alexander and Deacon Dan'l in The MacNauchtan Saga:

"Turner and Conkey named their new community [near Salem, New York] White Creek, and there in 1765 they received a visit from Dr. Thomas Clark, a Burgher minister from Ballybay in Ulster, who after tiring of battles with Anglicans and two imprisonments for 'irregular' preaching, was looking for land on which members of his flock might settle.  He was a graduate of the University of Glasgow and a veteran of the 1745 uprising, in which he had fought the Jacobites. Early in 1766 Dr. Clark concluded an arrangement with Oliver DeLancey to take over the alternate lots and to collect quitrents from his parishioners to pay the Tory landlord.  Then he re-named the community New Perth.  He was a physician as well as minister: a curer of bodies and souls.  The men of his congregation (organized at Ballybay in 1751) built of logs a small house for Dr. Clark, a small meeting house, and a schoolhouse.

"Meanwhile, Alexander McNitt and his neighbors were moving over from Pelham and establishing themselves on farm-lots, each a half-mile long, alternating with those occupied by the newly arrived Scots from Ulster. For a time they attended Dr. Clark's church, but not liking the strictness of the Seceders and preferring the doctrines of the Church of Scotland, they organized on moderate Presbyterian lines and started building a log church in 1774. When the Burgoyne invasion came they turned their church into a stockade fort and named it Salem, which means peace. Tories burned their church.  They built a new blockhouse and named it for Colonel Williams, commander of their regiment; then presently they built another church, which was replaced in 1844 by a remarkably fine edifice now called the Brick Church.  Dr. Clark's society took the name United Presbyterian, and in 1794 built a large frame church of beauty and dignity which now is called the Old White Church.  So today the little village of Salem, named for the Revolutionary fort, has two Presbyterian organizations as independent of each other as ever they were.  The Alexander McNitt family clung to the more moderate First Presbyterian congregation."

Matthew McWhorter

Robert McGough, the second son of Robert and (Sarah) Matilda Carson McGough, was was born on December 1, 1765, in county Down, Ireland. He emigrated with his parents from Newry, Ireland, to Charleston. South Carolina, in 1773. He married Agnes "Nancy" McWhorter. Their marriage was probably in about 1785 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. See: A Scots-Irish John McGough—A Seattle Connection; Emigration of Presbyterian McGoughs in 1773.

Agnes "Nancy" McWhorter was born on June 8, 1766, in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. She was the daughter of Elbert McWhorter, who was born on May 6, 1731, in New Castle, Delaware, and died in Charlotte (Mecklenburg County), North Carolina, on July 6, 1791. Elbert was the third child of Hugh and Jean (or Jane) McWhorter. The first two children of Hugh and Jean were born in county Armagh: Alexander in 1728, and Hugh in 1729. Hugh and Jean emigrated from Armagh to New Castle, Delaware, with their parents in about 1730. See Ancestors of Betty Sue Freeman Generation No. 7. See also Hugh McWhorter of New Castle County, Delaware (cir1690-1750) on the McWh*rter Genealogy website.

Elbert's father, Hugh McWhorter, was born in Ulster between 1687 and 1692 (or in 1682, according to one source), married Jean (Jane Gillespee) about 1710 (?), and died in New Castle, Delaware, in 1748. Jean was born about 1691. The first son of Hugh and Jean, Alexander, died young—probably after the birth of Elbert and before the birth of their next son on July 26, 1734. Their next son was given the same name as their deceased first son, Alexander McWhorter, who was born in New Castle, Delaware on July 26, 1734, and died in Newark, New Jersey, on July 20, 1807. The ten children of Hugh and Jean McWhorter are listed at Ancestors of Betty Sue Freeman Generation No. 8.

Hugh's father was the Reverend Alexander McWhorter who had been born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in about 1655. Hugh's grandfather was also named Alexander McWhorter. He was born in Edinburgh in about 1620. Hugh's fourth son also became Reverend Alexander McWhorter, and became one of America's best know Presbyterian ministers during the Revolutionary War. He served as a Presbyterian pastor and president of Queen's College in Charlotte (Mecklenburg County), North Carolina (also known as the Charlotte Academy) beginning in 1779—putting him in close proximity to his niece, Agnes "Nancy" McWhorter McGough. He also served as a missioner in North Carolina in 1775 and 1776. Here is part of his biography from Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, (Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM), as published on the Internet in Virtual American Biographies:

"McWhorter, Alexander, clergyman, born in Newcastle, Delaware, 26 July, 1734; died in Newark, New Jersey, 20 July, 1807. His parents, who were of Scotch descent, removed to this country from Ireland in 1730, and settled in Newcastle, where his father, formerly a linen-merchant, became a farmer and an active member of the Presbyterian church. The son was graduated at Princeton in 1757, studied theology with William Tennent, was licensed to preach in 1758, and in the following year became pastor of a church in Newark, New Jersey. In 1764 he was appointed by the synod of New York and Philadelphia to a mission in North Carolina, where his friends were settled, returning to Newark in 1766 after a visit to Boston. In 1775 he was sent by congress to western North Carolina to persuade the royalists to unite with the patriot cause, and in 1776 he visited the American army in its camp opposite Trenton, to confer with regard to measures for protecting the state, and was present at the passage of the Delaware and the surprise of the Hessians. In 1778, at the solicitation of General Henry Knox, he acted as chaplain of Knox's artillery brigade. In 1779 he accepted a pastorate and the presidency of Charlotte academy in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, from which place he was compelled to flee before the approach of Cornwallis's army, losing his library and other possessions. He was recalled to Newark in 1781, where he remained until his death. In 1788 he aided in forming the constitution of the Presbyterian church of the United States, and was a trustee of the general assembly. He was also a trustee of Princeton college for thirty-five years, and took an active part in soliciting funds in New England for rebuilding the college after the fire of 1802. Yale gave him the degree of D. D. in 1776. He published a 'Century Sermon' describing the settlement and progress of Newark (1800), and a collection of sermons (2 volumes, Newark, 1803)."

He was compensated by the Continental Congress for his missionary work in North Carolina in 1775 and 1776. Here is an excerpt from the Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 for Wednesday, October 23, 1776:

"That there is due to Alexander McWhorter, for his salary as a missioner to North Carolina, from 14 December, 1775, to the 4th May, 1776, being 4 months 21 days, at 40 dollars 186.45. That the said missioner be allowed an addition of 16 dollars per month to his salary for the above time. 75.18. 261.63. That he received a warrant of 20th December last for 120 which leaves a balance due to him 141.63/90 dollars."

Reverend Alexander McWhorter's younger sister, Agnes McWhorter (not to be confused with his niece Agnes "Nancy" McWhorter McGough), the ninth child of Hugh and Jean McWhorter, born September 23, 1746, married Colonel Alexander Osborne.

These McWhorters, and their connection to the family of Robert McGough and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, focus attention on Mathew McWhorter of Washington County, New York (about 1725–1804), who accompanied Doctor Clark on the emigration from Ballybay to Salem:

"It appears that Mathew McWhorter [db#204] came to America in 1764 as part of the migration of a Presbyterian congregation from Ballibay, Ireland. About the year 1748 some 200 Presbyterian families 'in and about Monaghan and Ballibay' in the north of Ireland petitioned the Associate Burgher Presbytery of Glasgow in Scotland soliciting a preacher. On 27-Jun-1749 Thomas Clark 'probationer' was appointed as missionary to the petitioning families of Ireland. Dr. Clark preached his first discourse at Ballibay on 3-Jul-1749 and was ordained on 23-Jul-1751.

"During his tenure as pastor Dr. Clark was imprisoned for his beliefs and 'the several months of imprisonment to which the arbitrary laws of the country had subjected him ... served to wean him and a large portion of his flock from their attachment to the land of their birth, and induced them to seek a new home in the wilds of America, where they could enjoy their religious sentiments free from the strong arm of civil authority...' [See reference # 1, page 6].

"On 10-May-1764 the pastor and 300 of his congregation sailed from Newry and arrived at New York on 28-Jul-1764. The congregation’s original plan to settle at Stillwater near Lake George was supplanted by a new plan. The new initiative brought most of the flock by 1767 to what was first called New Perth and in 1788 became Salem Township in present day Washington co., NY.

"Mathew McWhorter seems to have been among those who came with Dr. Clark in 1764. He was titled an 'Elder' of the congregation and the first funeral in New Perth was from the home of Matthew who is referred to as 'kinsman' of the deceased, Solomon Barr.

"Mathew is listed in the land records of White Creek [another name for New Perth], Albany co., NY on 23-Nov-1770; New Perth, Charlotte co., NY on 7-Jan-1783; and Salem, Washington co., NY on 30-Dec-1789, 3-Jul-1792 and 13-Mar-1795. Mathew possessed lot 162 of the Turner Patent and at some time also lot 163. Both lots are in or near Salem Village.

"From 1780-1782 Mathew was a member of the Assembly of Salem, NY and is said to have been a member of the State Legislature at Albany, Kingston and Poughkeepsie during those same years. He was 'active' in the Revolutionary War (Charlotte co., New York Militia) and received a soldier’s land grant. He was a 'fenceviewer' in Salem in 1788 and owned a pew in the United Presbyterian Church in Salem in 1792.

"'Mathew' is listed as a head of household in the 1790 census of Salem Town, Washington County, NY. His household at the time included four (4) white males age 16 or older; one (1) white male 15 or younger; and, three (3) females. He died in Salem, NY on 19-Dec-1804 and is buried in the Old Graveyard there. His tombstone states his age as 79 giving us a date for his birth of about 1725. His will [Book 2, page 57] dated 6-Mar-1798 and recorded 24-Dec-1804 makes no mention of a wife, but names his children and a sister, Jane. The name of Mathew’s wife is not known although one researcher reports that Mathew was mentioned as 'son-in-law of James Turner'."

The quoted material is from McWh*rter Genealogy, which refers to the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, volume 34, July 1903 & Oct 1903, page 158–166, 235–248, "The Old White Church in Salem, New York" by Dr. Asa Fitch.

Matthew McWhorter is not on the list of members of the Cahans congregation who emigrated to America and who are included in the publications of the Murnane Brothers and Reverend David Nesbitt. McWhorter was not a name shown by Ballybay Presbyterian records of the time. My guess is that Matthew McWhorter was from county Armagh and was a member of the same family as the McWhorter's discussed above. Matthew McWhorter was born about the same year, 1725, as Robert McGough who migrated from county Down in 1773.

Irish Ancestors lists the McWhorters under McWhirter, and shows 21 of them in county Armagh in the 1850s, 15 in county Antrim (including one in Belfast city), and one each in counties Cavan, Down and Louth.

The Witch of Salem, New York

The story of Doctor Clark's investigation of an accusation of witchcraft against a member of his congregation is told by John Henderson on his web page: The Witch of Salem, New York. The story is worth reading in its entirety. Here are excerpts:

"In the spring of 1765, seeking a permanent home for his congregation, Clark bought half of a 25,000-acre tract of land in what is now Salem, New York. This patent was divided up into 308 lots, plus a large pine lot reserved for the common benefit and three lots set apart for the use of the preacher and a schoolmaster. They traveled up the Hudson and settled first in Stillwater, just north of Albany, where they lived for two years under primitive conditions while engaging in desperately hard work to clear land on the patent Clark had purchased in the new frontier. They built houses, but first they constructed a church. While still in Stillwater, yet another controversy broke out, whether its nature was religious or secular is not clear, but the disharmonious Presbyterians split up again. Half of the congregation left for Abbeville, South Carolina. The other half remained with Clark, and in time before the winter of 1767, 140 men, women, and children were ready to establish themselves in New Perth. Through it all, of course, Clark never missed a Sunday service.

A Few Comparisons

" ... Among Presbyterians, Seceders were known for doctrinal rigidity and conservative theology. One sign that Clark's congregation could be argumentative, uncompromising, and disharmonious (as many Presbyterians throughout America were depicted by their fellow colonists) was that the congregation split in two before the new settlement was completed, and almost a hundred households moved to Abbeville, South Carolina. Another is that many Presbyterians from outside Clark's original congregation after joining the Clark congregation, found the Seceders "too exclusive" and so within two years of the first Presbyterian church's founding organized their own church, affiliating themselves with the main body of Presbyterians in America (The New England Presbyterians' first house of worship, however, was not built until 1774.). After all those negative things said about them, I should conclude these comparisons by saying that the Presbyterians were not known for witch-hunting.

Margaret and George Telford

"The accused witch of Salem, New York, was a member of Clark's congregation named Margaret Tilford [or Elizabeth Telford]. ...

"The Telfords joined the congregation about seven years after its founding. Since they chose Clark's congregation over the 'New England' Presbyterian church, there is a strong possibility that they were Seceders before joining the church. Margaret Tilford was born in 1725. Her husband, George, was three years younger. Both were born in the Scottish border region. In late May of 1772, with their young family of five children, they emigrated from the rural parish of Castletown, in Liddesdale (the valley around Liddle Water) in the shire of Roxburgh. ...

"It is likely that the families were recruited by an agent for Clark to settle in the Salem valley. When a large part of his congregation removed themselves to South Carolina, the Rev. Dr. Thomas Clark needed additional tenants for his part of the patent. It is only speculation when or how the Telfords would have been recruited, but after they arrived at the port of New York City with their Liddesdale neighbors, the Blakes and Bells, the families immediately traveled up the Hudson. ...

Witchcraft hysteria

"It began when Archy Livingston's cows began producing cream that couldn't be churned into butter. Archy Livingston was a neighbor of the Telfords, both their friend and fellow church member. Like the Telfords, Livingston was not an original member of the church. Archy, bemused by his cows, went to see a peculiar individual named Joel Dibble. Dibble also lived nearby; in fact he had moved into an abandoned house that had once been inhabited as temporary shelter by the Telfords. Dibble had been a veteran of the old French War, but was known by most as a worthless Yankee. He was not a member of Clark's congregation. Among other nefarious activities, Dibble told people's fortunes by cutting cards. When Archy Livingston asked for his help, Dibble shuffled the cards. Archy cut them. Dibble pondered the cards and then told Archy that the milk or the cows were bewitched. And Dibble then proceeded to tell Archy who the witch was—a short, thick, black-haired woman who had a red-haired daughter.

"Margaret Tilford accused

"This description could only apply to one woman, Margaret Tilford. Archy accepted the word of the fortune-teller and announced to the community that his neighbor was a witch. As the word spread, the whole community, already terrorized by the war, was thrown into further ferment. Livingston's father-in-law supported the Telfords and censured Archy for going to a 'malevolent designing scoundrel.' However, others began to shun the Telfords. Some parents forbade their children to associate with the Telford children. The local magistrate refused to get involved. Or perhaps he was not asked—the Presbyterians might have thought that would have violated the separation of church and state. Because both families were members of Dr. Clark's church, they agreed that the church was the proper authority to decide the matter.

"Although it was not a trial, a formal investigation was instituted by Clark. Witnesses were called. Several church members testified that Margaret Tilford was an upstanding Christian woman and her moral character was exemplary. Clark then agreed to examine Joel Dibble. He did so with some reluctance, since Dibble was not a church member. During the examination, Dibble said he had learned his art in French Canada, and had paid good money for his lessons. He defended the art of cutting of cards on the grounds that, like any other art or trade, it had rules. He said he wasn't naming any names. He just followed the rules of the cards and, through them, learned indications. With that, Clark cut off the examination, saying there was 'nothing tangible here for the church to take hold of.'"

Hopewell Presbyterian Church, Abbeville District, South Carolina

A marker in the McCormick County, South Carolina, woods says that Hopewell Presbyterian Church was started in 1760 by Patrick Calhoun and that the church closed in 1950. See the article on the Hopewell Presbyterian Church on the website of the McCormick County South Carolina GenWeb Project. According to the book "History of the Presbyterian Church in South Carolina" by George Howe, the first important settlement of the Long Canes area was by eight Presbyterian families who emigrated from Pennsylvania to Upper Virginia and North Carolina then to South Carolina. The majority of these settlers were Calhouns. Previous to the arrival of Patrick Calhoun and his friends there were two white families in the region, the Gowdy and Edwards families.

Their expectations were to set up a Presbyterian Church. They set up an altar in the wilderness until February 1, 1760. The Cherokee Indians killed 22 of them and captured 14. The survivors fled to the Waxhaws, the Low Country, and to the Stones Creek congregation. A marker was commissioned by Patrick Calhoun of Andrew McComb. Patrick's mother Catherine Calhoun was one of the persons killed. That marker is still in the woods in McCormick County, South Carolina. [See Indian Massacre Grave, McCormick County, South Carolina, USA location: Go north from McCormick on Highway 28 to road S-33-38. Turn right and travel approx. 2 miles to dirt road FAP S-530. Follow this road approx. 2 miles and turn right at Indian Massacre marker. Following inscription is 'hand printed' on stone marking grave: "PAT CALHOUN ESQ., In memory of Mrs. Catherine Calhoun, Aged 70 years who with 22 others was here murdered by the Indians the first of Feb. 1760."]

In 1763 the Calhouns returned to the Long Canes with many persons added to their number. At the end of 1763 the Creek Indians killed 14 persons on the Savannah River. A letter of December 26, 1763, from Patrick Calhoun published in The South Carolina Gazette said there were 27 men and 103 women and children at Fort Boone (Calhouns), 34 men and 105 women and children at Arthur Patton's on the Long Cane and about the same number at Dr. Murrays on the Hard Labor Creek.

A Long Cane Settlers List in the Abbeville/Long Cane Research Archives shows that Patrick and William Calhoun first acquired land on northwest fork of Long Cane Creek in July 1758, and through a series of land acquisitions into 1785, Patrick Calhoun became the major landholder in the Calhoun Creek Watershed. The same source shows that Arthur Patton had acquired 250 acres on the northwest fork of Long Cane Creek on October 17, 1778; and another 450 acres there on January 23, 1759.

Hopewell is a neighboring Southern Presbyterian church of Lower Long Cane Lower Long Cane ARP, which is operating today. See Lower Long Cane Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and the second following section.

Salem to Abbeville District, South Carolina

The members of the Cahans Exodus who migrated to Long Cane area near Abbeville, South Carolina, formed the congregations of Little Run, Long Cane and Cedar Creek (later Cedar Spring) churches. Doctor Clark visited this part of his congregation in 1771. He also visited the church in 1779 and 1782. Dr. Clark spent the remainder of 1782 and the greater part of 1783 at Long Cane, Little Run (Little River) and Cedar Spring (organized in 1782). He returned to the north, but moved permanently to Long Canes in 1786.

Doctor Clark eventually settled at Abbeville, South Carolina, and spent the last years of his life there.

"In his old age, nearly thirty years after he had bidden farewell to Ballybay, his mind reverted fondly to the people among whom he had bidden farewell he had spent his early years ... and he addressed to them a Pastoral Letter dated March 15, 1791, which was published after his death. ... Dr. Clark was found dead in his study, on Monday, the 26th of December, 1792, with a copy of his Pastoral Letter spread out before him." Witherow, page 92. Historical and Literary Memorials of Presbyterianism in Ireland (1731–1800) by Thomas Witherow (second series 1880), Chapter LXIV, Thomas Clark, M.D. (1751–1764), Minister of Cahans, county Monaghan.

The Associate Presbyterian (Seceder) Churches formed before 1801 in the Carolina Piedmont include: Providence, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, before 1790; Long Cane, Abbeville District, South Carolina, in 1779–80, which was united with Cedar Springs in 1786; Little River and Rocky Springs, Abbeville District, South Carolina, before 1801; Tirzah, (Waxhaw), Union County, North Carolina, before 1790; and Joppa, Lincoln County, Georgia. before 1790. "Sketches of Congregations," in The Centennial History of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, 1803-1903, prepared and published by order of the Synod; Charleston, South Carolina (Presses of Walker et al., 1905, pages 407–613).

Long Cane Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church

An article on the Long Cane Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church on the website of the McCormick County South Carolina GenWeb Project tells us:

"The beginning of the church at Long Cane was in a fort where the settlers would go for safety. After the Cherokee and the Creek massacres people built Fort Boone which served as a haven of safety as well as a 'school house' and also served as a 'meeting house' where the settlers assembled for worship. In an Act, dated February 7, 1780, the church at Fort Boone was incorporated as the 'Presbyterian Church called Fort Boone congregation at Long Cane settlement.' Prior to this Long Cane Associate Reformed Presbyterian church was organized in 1771 as Associate Presbyterian church. A number of the congregation [left] Ireland for America. They arrived in New York on the 28th of July on the ship John. This large body of passengers were all part of the Rev. Clarke’s congregation from Ireland. Part of this group went to Salem, New York and the other part migrated to Long Canes section and formed the congregations of Little Run, Long Cane and Cedar Creek (later Cedar Spring) churches. Dr. Clark visited his congregation in 1771 as a result of this visit the church was organized. He also visited the church in 1779, as an order of Presbytery and again he visited in 1782. Dr. Clark spent the remainder of 1782 and the greater part of 1783 at Long Cane, Little Run (Little River) and Cedar Spring (organized in 1782). In the summer of 1783 he was called North and identified himself with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (organized in 1782); and during this time he labored as a missionary among the churches of this branch in the North.

"Sometime between 1772 and 1775 Rev. William Martin [who] came to America in 1772, from Ballymena, Ireland, and who was pastor at Catholic church, Chester County came, preached at Long Cane. Another supply minister Rev. William Ronaldson also preached at the church as well as at Joppa, Jefferson County, Georgia, and at Poplar Springs, Georgia. Dr. Clark preached his last sermon at Long Cane Meeting House, December 25, 1791, he died soon afterwards. A larger church replaced the same site of the original log church on land that was given by James Hutcherson survey. Following Dr. Clark’s death Long Cane had supplies for four years. The first year, the Rev. Peter McMillan (frequently written as McMullan) pastor of Due West, supplied when he was able.

"In 1770, Rev. Alexander Porter, the first native-born minister of the Presbytery of the Carolinas and Georgia was born. He was born and grew up near Parsons’ Mount (named by the owner of this mount and surrounding land, James Parsons, a lawyer, of Charleston), Abbeville County. After completing his education and theological training at Dickinson College, Pennsylvania and having been licensed to preach by the Second Associate Reformed Presbytery of Pennsylvania, he returned home and began to preach at Long Cane and Cedar Spring, January 1, 1797. On March 22, 1797, a call was moderated for him, and signed by the following members ... "

From The Centennial History of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, 1803–1903, by the A. R. P. Synod, 1905, page 507:

"Long Cane, Abbeville Co., SC, is the historic church of the Associate Reformed Synod of the South. About the year 1779 or 1780 Rev. Thomas Clark of the Presbytery of Pennsylvania paid a visit to those of his old charge *(pastor at Ballybay, Co. Down, North Ireland from 1751 to 1764 when he and 300 others sailed for Salem, NY. He was there until 1780.)* who had settled on the 'Long Canes' in the Carolinas, and organized the congregation of Long Cane, so-called from the creek on the west bank of which the house of worship was built. On March 7, 1786, the congregation of Cedar Springs and Long Cane united and subscribed a call for Mr. Clark, and on May 5, the same year, the call was sustained by Synod. In 1791, when the Associate Reformed Presbytery of the Carolinas and Georgia met at Long Cane, a petition was presented praying that Rev. Thomas Clark be installed pastor of Long Cane, but it is not known whether the installation ever took place, probably not, as he died at the close of the following year."

In August of 2002, John C. Grier opened a promising new website on the Lower Long Cane Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Grier is a member of the Congregation. In his announcement of the website, he said:

"Most of the site consists of history papers written over the years and some photographs/images. This is my first attempt at doing a Web Site, and I plan to expand and improve it. Some of the history papers contain long lists of names of early members."

The Frequently Asked Questions on the website gives a good history of the Long Cane Church and make it clear that Long Cane ARP Church still has an active congregation. Most maps showing historic landmarks will show “Long Cane Church” located on the western side of Long Cane Creek about 4 miles west of Troy. The present sanctuary at Long Cane was built in 1856.

"According to Dr. Nora Davis M. A., D. Lit., the current building is the third occupied by the Long Cane congregation. The earlier buildings were crude log houses. Their exact location is not known, but the sites must have been quite close to the current building. This may be inferred from the fact that many of the graves in the Long Cane Cemetery predate the current structure."

The site also publishes: An Historical Sketch of the Long Cane Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church by Nora Marshall Davis, M. A., D. Lit., and several other historical sketches of the church listed on its Long Cane ARP History page.

See also: The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church—Who We Are.

Reverend William Ronaldson

Reverend William Ronaldson is another Presbyterian minister whose history is intertwined with the history of Presbyterians in the Abbeville District of South Carolina. A notation of Ronaldson's earlier history was published by Southern Historical Press Inc., c/o Rev. Silas Emmett Lucas Jr., P.O. Box 738, Easley SC 29641-0738. ISBN: 0-89308-350-X:

“The Irish Presbyterians of Saint George Parish (Burke County) built their own churches, on Big Creek and, apparently, on Briar Creek and Walnut Branch. They also had their own ministers starting in 1769 with Reverend Thomas Beattie who died two years after immigrating to Georgia from Ireland. Reverend William Ronaldson replaced Beattie in 1773. Although born in Scotland, Ronaldson was ordained in Ireland where he had a bad record of causing political dissension, something that did not change when he moved to Queensborough in Saint George Parish. During the American Revolution, he fled to Charleston because of his Tory sympathies. He died there in 1783.” (page 82). Contact:"

There is a hint that Reverend Ronaldson may have been in Ballybay in 1751, the year that Doctor Clark was ordained there. Here is material from the web page: Long Cane Presbyterian Church:

1. From white on black copy in the Carolinana Library, 9/4/1991.

Newspaper, The Leader, (Serving) Dromore, Ballynahinch, Saint Field, Hillsborough, Dromama, Castlewellan, Etc., Etc., 36th Volume, Number 1788, Friday, December 21, 1951, Reg. @ CPO as Newspaper (From ) Loughaghery Presbyterian Church.

1750 Burger Seders [Seceders?] County Downs
1st Rev. Andrew Black of Boardmilk
Rev. Thomas Main of Drumgooland
1st Building close to lough
Rev. Rawlingstone of Rawlingston
Scottish Minister Presbytery Ballybay in 1751
Removed to America in 1773 and from 1774 to 1781 acted as stated supply at Long Cane, SC, Poplar Springs, and Joppa, Ga. Succeeded at Long Cane by the noteworthy Rev. Thomas Clark, formerly of Ballybay. At the revolution Rev. Rawlingston remained loyal to Great Britain and was banished as a Tory. He returned in 1783 to Charleston, SC, and died there of ship fever the same year.

2. From The Centennial History of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, 1803–1903, by the A. R. P. Synod, 1905, page 507

"Joppa (Congregation or Church), Lincoln, Co., Ga. --- Organized before 1790. (probably between 1774 and 1781 as a mission church or society of Hopewell Church which was organized by Rev. Rawlingstone in 1774

From the context, it looks as if Rawlingstone should be Ronaldson. I have found no trace of either a Reverend Ronaldson or Rawlingstone in Ballybay in 1751, or any other year, however. He did precede Dr. Clark as the pastor of Long Cane congregation in the Abbeville District.

In his book, Full Circle: A History of Ballybay Presbyterians (Cahans Publications 1999), the Reverend David Nesbitt notes, at page 378, notes a reference in the History of Congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland:

"On p.604, Loughaghery, it is noted that when William Ronaldson, minister at Loughaghery from 1762 to 1773 went to America he served as stated supply from 1774 to 1781 at Long Cane, Poplar Springs, and Joppa, Georgia, being the predecessor of Thomas Clark at Long Cane."

Reverend Nesbitt was kind enough to answer my inquiry to him about Reverend William Ronaldson. He solves part of the riddle by pointing out that, in its early years, the Ballybay seceder congregation was in Down Presbytery:

"I have now found some information on him [Ronaldson]. It comes from the History of Congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, but a quick look at your website suggests that you have most of this already. It seems that he was born, educated and licensed for the Christian ministry in Scotland, then came to Ireland, working mainly in Co Down—but Ballybay Seceder congregation (Cahans) was in Down Presbytery and Ronaldson may well have assisted in Monaghan from time to time. He was the first minister of Scarva congregation, and perhaps moved to Loughaghery in 1762. 'Perhaps' because 'there is also evidence which appears to nullify this'.

"From Scarva he 'superintended' nearby Glascar congregation for some years from 1760. 'He was of a very disputatious nature, often in conflict with his fellow presbyters, and in 1769 he was rebuked by Synod for his behaviour. He appears to have left the area and ministered at Loughaghery before emigrating to Abbeville County, South Carolina in 1773. He supplied there in several areas from 1774–81, was banished as a Tory, returned to Charleston in 1783, and died of ship's fever'.

"The History of Congregations says, 'Apparent contradictions in the records create difficulties, as can be seen in this extract from the Rev David Stewart's book The Seceders in Ireland:

'In 1764 the Presbytery of Down was divided by deed of the Synod, and in this year we find Mr Ronaldson consulting Glascar Session as to whether he should remain in the Presbytery of Down or join the new Presbytery of Monaghan'.

"His name does not appear in the index of the monumental 3 volume History by James Seaton Reid published 1867."

Loughaghery, to where Ronaldson moved around 1762, is in the parish of Annahilt, county Down, and is the name of a Presbyterian church in Clintagh (or Cluntagh) townland in Annahilt parish. Place Names of County Down: L. Loughaghery Meeting House was begun in 1750 in Annahilt/Hillsborough in Ballykeel-Ednagonnel townland. [Ros Davies' County Down Research Site is a good source of information, and contains a map of the townlands of the parish of Annahilt, including Cluntagh and Ballykeel, which are close to each other, but on opposite sides of the town of Annahilt.]

PRONI has published a map of the civil parishes of county Down. See Civil Parishes in Ireland.

"Ballykeel- Ednagonnel townland; called Loughaghery Meeting House; started when the minister was away; the new congregation was started by Rev John Semple in 1750; built 1755 & rebuilt 1761 in Cargygray townland near the earlier one." Annahilt/ Hillsborough 20:26/54 & 20:30/55. Presbyterian; Secedes. Churches and Graveyards of County Down.

There was a Robert McGough in the nearby town of Waringstown, townland of Tullyherron, parish of Donaghcloney, county Down, in Griffith's survey of 1864. See: McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in Ireland in the 1820–30s and 1850–60s: By County, Parish, and Townland. The parish of Donaghcloney is around 22 miles southwest of Belfast, about half way to Armagh. Donaghcloney is around two miles south of Magheralin. For a map showing the parish of Donaghcloney on the west central boundary of county Down, adjoining county Armagh, see Parish of Donaghcloney. The Ulster Historical Foundation has published a map of The Civil Parishes of County Down. The parish of Donaghcloney is to the immediate west of the parish of Dromore. The village of Waringstown is in Donaghcloney parish, in Tullyheron and Magherana townlands, 4 kilometers northwest of Donaghcloney town.

There are two William Carsons buried in the same area:

Down: Donaghcloney, Dromara, Dromore, Garvaghy, & Magheralin—Gravestone Inscriptions:

Donaghcloney Graveyard  (O.S. 20 Grid Ref. 131535). county: Down. Country: Ireland. Carson. The family burying place of William John Carson. See "Down, Ireland: Parish and Probate Records" on

Waringstown Graveyard (O.S. 20 Grid Ref. 103552), county Down, Ireland. Carson. Here lieth the body of William Carson of Waringstown who departed this life 23 May 1772 aged 45 years. Twelve of his children are deposited with him.

Here are more excerpts from An Historical Sketch of the Long Cane A.R.P. Church by  Nora Marshall Davis:

"The first stated supply of Long Cane Meeting House was the Rev. William Ronaldson (sometimes written Donaldson) [Rawlingstone?], who came to America in 1773. The Rev. William Martin, who came to America in 1772, from Ballymena, Ireland, and who was pastor at Catholic church, Chester County, preached at Long Cane some time between 1772 and 1775. Whether other visiting ministers did we have found no record. The Rev. William Ronaldson was the stated supply from 1774 to 1781, at the same time he was stated supply at Joppa and at Poplar Springs, Georgia. This term of service at these churches is supported by Dr. Lathan's statement that it is probable that from the fall of 1779 to the summer of 1782, there was no Associate minister in the South, in good and regular standing, except a Mr. Ronaldson. Because of Mr. Ronaldson's strong Tory sentiments, he was requested to discontinue his preaching at Long Cane. 

"Very little has been recorded about this Rev. William Ronaldson. He was a man of wealth and influence; was born, educated and licensed in Scotland, and was ordained at Scarvagh (Scarva), near Loughbrickland, in 1759. As previously stated, he came to America in 1773, and became a member of the Associate Synod. He served as stated supply at Joppa, Jefferson County, Georgia, at Poplar Springs, Georgia, and at Long Cane, South Carolina, 1774-1781. After being banished from these charges for his objectionable Tory views, he returned to Charleston, South Carolina, where he died of ship fever, 1783. ...

"In May, 1785, Long Cane Church and others destitute of a settled ministry desired to be taken under the care of the Associate Reformed Synod; whereupon the Synod Resolved, 'That the desire of these people be complied with, and that the Second Presbytery be directed to take them under their immediate change, and that Mr. Clark and Mr. Houleston be appointed to supply the people in North Carolina and South Carolina as soon in the fall as practicable'. 

"Dr. Clark came South sometime during the latter part of that year (1785) and began to labor permanently, as subsequent events proved, in Abbeville County. 

"On June 1, 1786, at the meeting of the Associate Reformed Synod, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a call to the Rev. Thomas Clark, with a petition from the united congregations of Little Run, Long Cane, and Cedar Creek (Cedar Springs) to admit the said Dr. Clark to the pastoral charge of the said congregations was read. This call had previously been made out, March 7, 1786, and, according to tradition was signed by Robert Foster, John Cochran (two of those who had accompanied him from Ireland), Elijah Sinclair, and a Mr. Patterson. Synod sustained the call; and as Dr. Clark was then laboring among the very people who petitioned for his settlement as pastor, Synod directed that he continue to labor among them till provision be made for his regular installment. 

"Since Dr. H. T. Sloan, who had the Minutes before him when he wrote his sketch of the two churches, states that the Minutes contained no record of an installation service, the natural inference is that Dr. Clark refused to be installed on the same ground that he had refused a similar service at the Salem, New York congregation: that he had been installed pastor at Ballibay, Ireland, July 23, 1751, and that the relationship had not been severed. That he was not installed is given definite support by the fact that at the meeting of the Presbytery of the Carolinas and Georgia at Long Cane, June, 1791, a request was made for the installation of Dr. Clark over these two churches. Dr. Clark died the following December, and there is no known record of his installation between June and December.  

"During Dr. Clark's pastorate, a larger and better church replaced on the same site the original log church. The enthusiasm of the pastor was shared by the members. All the nails in that new church were wrought. Too, tradition relates that Miss Jennie Young, who lived where Mr. Cowan Young now lives, forded Long Cane Creek each day with warm dinner for the workmen, a deed that is still a memorial unto her.  ...

"Dr. Clark's last sermon was preached at Long Cane Meeting House, December 25, 1791. On the same day he read the citation of the death of Robert McCarter. Dr. Clark died in the evening of the following day, December 26, 1791. (His probated will and the sale of property and the notice of his death in the Charleston Gazette prove that he died in 1791, NOT 1792, as is frequently stated). On his desk, at which he was found dying, was A Pastoral and Farewell Letter to the Associate Congregation of Presbyterians in Ballibay, Ireland, the last sentence of which was, 'What I do thou knowest not now, but shalt know hereafter.' Thus passed a man whose godly example was his best advice, a man of great eccentricities, but wholly devoted to the cause of Christ, and in active labors exceeding abundant." 

Kathryn Hatcher was kind enough to furnish two references to records of the emigration of William Ronaldson to South Carolina from Ulster in 1773: Passenger and Immigration Index, 1500s-1900s, page 67, from "Names of Some Ministers, Licentiates, Students, or Emigrants Who Went from Ulster and Served in the Ministry of Presbyterian Churches in North America during the Period 1680-1820" by William Forbes Marshall, (The Quota Press, [1943], pages 61–68, reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1984.) (Permanent entry number: 2592964, Accession number: 8005766.) Also at pages 16–20 of "Ship Passenger Lists, National and New England (1600–1825)," edited by Carl Boyer, 3rd (Newhall, California, 1977, 270 pages. Reprint. Family Line Publications, Westminster, MD, 1992.) Kathryn Hatcher also called my attention to this reference from the section of the website of Lisburn, County Antrim, Northern Ireland on Loughaghery Presbyterian Church:

"A meeting-house was erected near the lough, and the first minister, Mr. William Knox (lic. Down) was ordained in Aug. 1755. In 1762 by a movement unrecorded we find Mr. Knox installed in Scarva and the Rev. William Ronaldson, the minister of Scarva installed in Loughaghery. There is also evidence which appears to nullify this. Mr. Ronaldson was born, educated and licensed in Scotland, and was a friend of Mr. Knox (see Scarva and Glascar).

"The demission of Mr. Ronaldson and the ordination of Mr. Samuel Edgar (lic. Down) were announced to the Synod in May 1771, the date of each not being stated. Mr. Ronaldson removed to America in 1773, and from 1774 to 1781 acted as stated supply at Long Cane, S. C. Poplar Springs and Joppa, Ga. It is noteworthy that he was succeeded at Long Cane by the Rev. Thomas Clark, formerly of Ballybay. At the Revolution Mr. Ronaldson remained loyal to Great Britain, and was banished as a Tory. He returned in 1783 to Charleston, S. C., and died there of ship-fever the same year. The Rev. Samuel Edgar erected a new meeting-house on the site which still remains in the possession of the congregation. Like many of his brethren, he conducted a classical school to eke out a scanty livelihood. He died at the age of thirty-eight on 9th May 1785. His widow survived him for upwards of forty years. Rev. Samuel Oliver Edgar, Armagh, was his son, and the Rev. Samuel Edgar, Brookvale, a grandson."

She also included this excerpt from the Presbyterian Church in Ireland Website:


"One Sabbath day in August 1750 the Rev. John Semple of Anahilt was absent from his pulpit, assisting at a Communion elsewhere. The Seceders seized the opportunity of conducting a service within the bounds of Anahilt congregation, and accessions followed. Really the prime cause of disaffection was distance from Anahilt, for Mr. Semple was strictly orthodox and evangelical.

"The Rev. Andrew Black, lately installed in Boardmills, conducted services occasionally at Loughaghery, and was assisted from time to time by the Rev. Thomas Mayne, Drumgooland. A meeting-house was erected near the lough, and the first minister, Mr. William Knox (lic. Down) was ordained in Aug. 1755. In 1762 by a movement unrecorded we find Mr. Knox installed in Scarva and the Rev. William Ronaldson, the minister of Scarva installed in Loughaghery. There is also evidence which appears to nullify this. Mr. Ronaldson was born, educated and licensed in Scotland, and was a friend of Mr. Knox (see Scarva and Glascar).

"The demission of Mr. Ronaldson and the ordination of Mr. Samuel Edgar (lic. Down) were announced to the Synod in May 1771, the date of each not being stated. Mr. Ronaldson removed to America in 1773, and from 1774 to 1781 acted as stated supply at Long Cane, S. C. Poplar Springs and Joppa, Ga. It is noteworthy that he was succeeded at Long Cane by the Rev. Thomas Clark, formerly of Ballybay. At the Revolution Mr. Ronaldson remained loyal to Great Britain, and was banished as a Tory. He returned in 1783 to Charleston, S. C., and died there of ship-fever the same year."

For more information, see: Rev. William Ronaldson, d. 1783 SC - Charles Town District, by Kathryn Hatcher, and Long Cane Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.

Emigration Aboard the Newry in 1764

The Murnane Brothers tell us in a footnote at page 184 of their book:

"Although Dr. Clark does not refer to him, Rev'd George Henry, the Minister of Narrow Water had also emigrated in 1764. He possibly travelled from Newry in the second ship that sailed that year, the 'Newry'. Mr. Henry was a native of Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan, and was licensed by Monaghan Presbytery. He was minister of Narrow Water, also known as Warrenpoint and linked then to Carlingford. He was ordained in 1743 and resigned in 1764."

Queensborough Township, Jefferson County, Georgia

Here is an excerpt from "Scotch-Irish," "Real Irish," and "Black Irish": Immigrants and Identities in the Old South by Kerby A. Miller (in Andrew Bielenberg, ed., The Irish Diaspora (London, 2000):

"Private land speculators also encouraged Irish immigration. For example, in 1765 John Rea, an Ulster-born Indian trader, advertised in the Belfast News-Letter for 'industrious' immigrants from the north of Ireland to settle at Queensborough Township, on his 50,000 land grant in the Georgia backcountry, promising the newcomers one hundred acres per family, plus horses, mules, and other supplies.

'The land I have chosen,' he declared, 'is good for wheat, and any kind of grain, indigo, flax, and hemp will grow to great perfection, and I do not know any place better situated for a flourishing township than this place will be. People that live on the low land near the sea are subject to fever and agues, but high up in the country it is healthy [with] fine springs of good water. The winter is the finest in the world, never too cold, very little frost and no snow.' Rea candidly admitted that he would not advise any person to come here that lives well in Ireland, because there is not the pleasure of society [here] that there is there, [nor] the comfort of the Gospel preached, no fairs or markets to go to. But we have greater plenty of good eating and drinking, for, I bless God for it, I keep as plentiful a table as most gentlemen in Ireland, with good punch, wine, and beer.'

"Rea concluded with the clinching enticement that, 'If any person that comes here can bring money to purchase a slave or two, they may live very easy and well.' ...

"Outside the Middle Colonies, a large minority of Irish immigrants were Loyalists during the American Revolution, and in the Carolinas and Georgia the conflict degenerated into a vicious, bloody civil war between rival Ulster-American factions, some motivated by political ideals, others by greed and revenge—eager to ride to wealth and power at their neighbours’ expense. For example, most of John Rea’s Ulster settlers in Queensborough Township, Georgia, remained faithful to their king, and in reprisal the victorious patriots confiscated their lands and obliterated the very name of their settlement.

"Many ships brought Protestant Irish immigrants from Belfast, Ireland to Savannah, 1768 to 1774. Not all of them had manifests and not all have left records.

"Queensborough Township was a rectangular 50,000-acre reserve, set aside in 1767, for Protestant Irish immigrants. It extended mainly northeastward from present day Louisville, Jefferson County, Georgia, with its southwestern boundary the Ogeechee River and its southeastern boundary, Dry Creek, a branch of the Ogeechee. A 250-acre town site, about 50' X 90', a town common and a glebe area was included for a church.

"A William Little (Sr.), had a warrant dated December 12, 1769, and his 300-acre grant was dated September 6, 1774, with the words "Queensborough Township" underlined.

"Numbered town lots were entered on land grants if individually requested by the Irish immigrants. There is some doubt as to whether any houses were built on the town site, but the records show that meetings were held at "Queensborough". Apparently either a meeting house or a church was built in the "glebe" area.

"William Little's 300 acre grant does not show a numbered lot in the town site. His grant was located approximately 4 miles from the site.

"The entire town site was granted, book BBB page 272, October 20, 1793, to the Rev. David Bothwell, Reformed Presbyterian Minister, who came to the area in January 1790.

"Records show that a large number of the remaining passengers in Savannah, who had landed December 10, 1769, had warrants for survey of land in Queensborough Township, (inland about 125 miles), dated December 12, 1769, with an ending fixed date of July 3, 1770, for the grant of land."

"On the 12th of January 1796 was the marked date of the first session of the General Assembly in Louisville. It was begun and held at the town of Louisville in the County of Burke. Jefferson County was created. Jefferson County was home to many Scotch-Irish in which they founded Queensboro before the Capital era days. The General Assembly in 1766 had passed an act to encourage settlers to come into the province and granted 1,800 pounds sterling for this purpose. George Galphin and John Rae had advertisements appearing in the newspapers in Ireland during 1766 telling about this wonderful new country and the township which would be established. Galphin would send a ship for the settlers. By 1768 no Irish had arrived to live on the land reserved for them. They had refused to leave their native soil until their passage was paid and land laid out free of expense to them. Thus was the beginning of the township Queensboro as nearly 100 immigrants arrived in Savannah in December 1768 aboard the ship 'Prince George.' Another 200 came in 1771." Welcome To Jefferson County, Georgia. See: Old Town: The Forgotten Years, 1780-1810.

"The records indicate that William Little Sr. gave the 300 acre property to his son, William Little Jr., who gave it to his son, Robert. Evidence of this found in a Jefferson County deed dated the 6th of October, 1804, deed book pps 308, 309, when Robert Little sold the lower 2/3rds or 200 acres of the 300-acre tract to George Washington Chisolm, wherein it was stated that the 300 acres was 'bequeathed' by William Little d. 1800, the father to Robert Little. (Robert would have been 17–18 years old.) Robert had previously sold the upper 100 acres to Elizabeth Ronaldson, widow of Rev. William Ronaldson of pre-Revolutionary War fame. The date of Robert Little's marriage to Mary Collins Spikes was October 18, 1804. The marriage was twelve days after he completed the sale of the 300-acre original home place." Robert Little's Journal and other pieces of information.

The 300-acre "old home place" was on Black Jack Creek around four miles outside Queensborough Township, Jefferson County, Georgia. Jefferson County was originally part of Wilkes County. Just west of Savannah. (Matthew Rea was the land promoter for this settlement.)

Emigration Led by Reverend William Martin in 1772

Several Presbyterian pastors led their congregations in emigrations from Ulster to America in the decade following Doctor Clark's emigration from Ballybay in 1764. The most notable of these was the emigration of Covenanter Presbyterians, led by Reverend Willam Martin, in 1772 from the area of Kellswater in central county Antrim. We are interested in Reverend Martin because he settled in the general area of Abbeville, South Carolina (Rocky Creek in Chester County), and after his church was burned by the British in 1780, he took refuge in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

The emigrants led by Reverend Martin traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, in five ships from Belfast, Larne, and Newry, and settled throughout western South Carolina, many in the Abbeville area. The story is told in Scotch-Irish Migration to South Carolina, 1772: Reverend William Martin And His Five Shiploads of Settlers by Jean Stephenson (Shenandoah Publishing House 1970).

The background of the Rev. William Martin is in History of Kellswater Reformed Presbyterian Church: A Short History by Robert Buchanan. He was born the oldest son of David Martin of Londonderry. The Rev. Martin was the only Covenanter minister in counties Down and Antrim at the time. In 1760 he resided at Kellswater. He had oversight responsibility for societies at Cullybackey, Laymore, Cloughmills, and Dervock. He preached also in Londonderry and Donegal. The Presbytery was founded in 1743 and Kellswater became the center in 1760.

See also: Kellswater Reformed Presbyterian Church. Chapter X: Irish and Emigrant Places and Lineages:

"First things first. Where is Kellswater? The name, is unofficial and not found on the maps, is wholly familiar to folk in Mid-Antrim. Local authorities suggest that it is most accurately applied to the district which lies between Ross's Factory, on the Antrim-Ballymena 'line', and Kellswater railway station, truly the 'terminus ad quem'. Here, in other words, is a general name, for an area beginning in the townland of Ballymacvea, but crossing the burn into Tullynamullan. What, then, about Kellswater Reformed Presbyterian church, the Covenanters' meeting-house at 'the back of the Water', above the Shankbridge, in the townland of Carnaughts. This oldest congregation (1760) in its denomination, the 'capital of Covenanting' in the phrase of Principal Adam Loughridge, is some miles distant. As the late Superintendent Robert Buchanan (R.U.C.) pointed out in his recently-published Short History, the congregation of Kellswater (like the sister cause of Faughan, county Londonderry) ... does date its title from a river, but no fastidious local (as opposed to anyone using 'Kellswater' in imprecise association) would apply the name to that place."

"Kellswater is in the townland of Carnaghts in the Parish of Connor.  See Kellswater Reformed Presbyterian Church, Co. Antrim, A Short History, by Robert Buchanan, published by The Congregational Committee, Kellswater Reformed Presbyterian Church, 21 Grove Road, Shankbridge, Ballymena, Northern Ireland, BT42 3DP, June 1989.  The Rev. William Martin is listed as the Minister from 1760 to 1772." County Antrim, Ireland to Chester County, South Carolina to Randolph County, Illinois—Dispersal of Some of the Descendants of John LYNN and Jennet MALCOLM by James H. Lynn.

From "Back to 'Bonnie Kellswater, 2'", by Eull Dunlop (of the Cambridge House Boys' Grammar School, Ballymena, Co. Antrim), in Familia, the Ulster Genealogical Review, volume 2, number 6 (1990), pages 91, 94:

"The Presbyterian preponderance in the parish of Connor has already been emphasised, but how many of those who emigrated from Kellswater in the last century (the 19th) were also ... members of the Orange Order? ... even today, men of senior years remark how, in their own youth, striplings in a homogeneous community 'rode the goat' (were initiated) as a matter of hereditary course. How much more so in the last century when, despite the transatlantic travel under discussion, the world was small and, as local marriage registers show, many married within their own townlands? What, on the other hand, about the mobility of the privileged class that was the Presbyterian ministry?.... Had not the Covenanting minister of Kellswater, Rev. William Martin, gone to South Carolina in 1772, taking with him five shiploads of settlers? While Jean Stephenson's volume (1971) on Scotch-Irish Migration presumes that Martin's fellow travellers were drawn from north as well as mid-Antrim, inspection of surnames reveals no small number (e.g. Allen, Dunlop, Hanna, McKee, Miller) that are still typical of the parish of Connor. From Maccadoo to Muddy Creek?"

Jean Stephenson expands the territory of those who emigrated with Reverend Martin to the north of Kellswater:

"The majority of them were probably from the vicinity of Ballymoney, Ballymena, Kellswater, and Vow, County Antrim." (page 15).

Ballymoney is a town in north Antrim, on the east side of the Lagan River, not far south of Coleraine.

There were five ships in the emigration led by Reverend Martin. All sailed in 1772. The first two sailed from Larne, the next two from Belfast, and the last one from Newry. For a map of the emigration ports from Ulster in the 17th and 18th century, go to Brian Orr's Emigration—the Ulster-Scots (Scots-Irish): What made them seek a better land?

The James and Mary sailed first on August 25 from Larne. There was smallpox on board (five children died) when they arrived in Charleston harbor on October 16, and they were required to remain on board in quarantine, lying off Sullivan's Island for over seven weeks, until the first part of December. Dickson, Ulster Emigration to Colonial America: 1718–1775, page 253. English America: American Plantations & Colonies, by Thomas Langford, contains ship lists of voyages to English America from 1500 to 1825. The site may be searched both by the name of a ship or by the port of destination. See also The Vessels, Voyages, Settlements, and People of English America 1500 - 1825.

The next ship to sail was the Lord Dunluce that left Larne on October 4 and arrived in Charleston on December 20. This is the only ship that listed "Rev. Wm. Martin (Kellswater)" as an agent. The original sailing date was to have been August 15. The sailing was delayed until August 20, and then rescheduled for September 22. On August 28, the ship announced that passengers must give earnest money by September 5 since a greater number had offered to go than could be taken. On September 15, the ship advertised that, since some families had drawn back, two hundred more passengers could be accommodated. Reverend Martin was on this ship when it finally sailed on October 4. One man and several children died of smallpox on the trip (Dickson, page 254).

The Pennsylvania Farmer, whose destination had originally been advertised as Philadelphia, sailed from Belfast on October 16, 1772, and arrived in Charleston on December 19 (Dickson, page 248). The Hopewell sailed from Belfast on October 19 and arrived in Charleston on December 23 (Dickson, page 248). The Freemason sailed from Newry on October 27 and arrived in Charleston on December 22 (Dickson, page 252).

The five ships and the people who came with the Rev. Martin are discussed on the English-America website. A website that is no longer active, <>, can be accessed through the Internet Archives Wayback Machine. The names of the emigrants have been reconstructed from letters written home to Ulster and published in the paper and from extractions of the South Carolina Quarter Session Minutes, by Janie Revill and Jean Stephenson. There is on the Internet a Surname Summary of those who came with the Rev Martin.

There were five Patersons aboard the Hopewell, part of the emigration led by Reverend William Martin in 1772: Agnes (350 acres), Janet (100 acres), John (250 acres), John (100 acres), and William (350 acres). Aboard the FreeMason were: Samuel Patterson (350 acres) and Mary Patterson (100). Aboard the Pennsylvania Farmer was Andrew Paterson (250 acres). A Long Cane Settlers List in the Abbeville/Long Cane Research Archives shows that Samuel Patterson filed a plat on 100 acres on Long Cane Creek (Bold Branch) on September 3, 1772.

Sketches of North Carolina, Historical and Biographical, Illustrative of the Principles of a Portion of Her Early Settlers by William Henry Foote Electronic Edition.

In 1750 Presbyterians from Octoraro, Virginia, and North Carolina, came to South Carolina and settled at Rocky Creek. By 1755 Irish immigrants, many of them Covenanters, began arriving. Various groups (Associate, Covenanter, Burgher, Anti-Burgher, Seceders) formed the "Catholic" (meaning a union of various groups of Presbyterians) church on Rocky Mount Road, 15 miles southeast of Chester. In 1770 Covenanters began holding society meetings and wrote to Ireland for a minister. Reverend William Martin answered the call in 1772, and preached many times at the Catholic church. In 1774 the Covenanters, under the leadership of Reverend William Martin, withdrew from the Catholic congregation and built their own meeting house, a log building on the same road as the Catholic church, and two miles east of it. In this context, a Catholic church means a church made up by a union of various groups of Presbyterians. (See Emigration Led by Reverend William Martin in 1772, above, and Stephenson, page 20).

"In County Down Ireland, James Blair's family was part of the congregation of Rev. William Martin, called the 'seceders' they were a splinter Presbyterian group. In 1772, Reverend Martin received a 'call' to South Carolina; about one thousand seceders, five shiploads, went with him. James Blair's ship was the Lord Dunluce, which left Larne Ulster, 4 Oct. 1772 and it arrived at Charleston, South Carolina on 2 Dec. 1772, after sailing against contrary winds. The land in America was to cost five pounds, and the acreage was determined by family size. If the immigrant had no money the land was free. Since, these were Scotsman and thrifty with their money, the book says not too many of them could come up with the five pounds. This was a large group, and as such they were scattered around the Abbeville district of South Carolina. James was given 230 acres on the shores of Fishing Creek near Rev. Martin in Craven County, later Chester County." Blair Ancestors of Barbara Blair Feldhaus.

See also: Porter, Howard Leonard (1985). Destiny of the Scotch-Irish: an account of a migration from Washington County..., Winter Haven Fla.: Porter Co. P.O. Box 7533, Winter Haven.

Emigration from County Monaghan Aboard the Needham in 1773

The Murnane Brothers tell us, at page 186:

"The five year period during which the colony were to have the land free of charge was due to end in 1770, after which time, the yearly rent of one dollar per acre would commence. It was important, therefore, that the lands should be fully let before the due date, otherwise the existing tenants would be debited with the entire rent including that on the unlet portion. Dr. Clark's personal commitment was a very real incentive for him to make sure, as far as he could, that the entire plots should be let. To that end, he corresponded with his friends in Ireland and in Scotland and one member of his congregation is said to have returned to Cahans to inform the people there of the advantage of moving to Salem. Many were convinced of the benefits of emigrating and the Salem congregation increased accordingly. Dr. Clark permitted his name to be included in Irish newspaper advertisements recommending emigration to an area not far removed from Salem which was being promoted by a William Smith of New York. Special mention was made in a 1773 advertisement of the success of Dr. Clark's settlement.

"The vessel 'Needham' was chartered to sail from Newry in March 1773. The ship's master canvassed Monaghan, Castleblayney, Clones, Cootehill, Ballybay, Caledon, Armagh, Stewartstown and Dungannon beforehand with such success that when the 'Needham' sailed, there were over 500 emigrants on board. A large contingent from Ballybay is said to have sailed on her, some of whom might have had in mind Salem as their destination."

Presbyterian Emigrations from Ulster to South Carolina; the Cahans Exodus from Ballybay to Abbeville in 1764
Updated March 13, 2010  
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