History of Congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
and Biographical Notices of Eminent Presbyterian Ministers and Laymen, with the Signification of Names of Places by Rev. R. W. KILLEN, 1886
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1st Ardstraw, Ardstraw Parish
Aughnacloy, Carnteel Parish
Bodoney, Bodoney Lower Parish
Benburb, Clonfeacle Parish
Carlan, Donaghmore Parish
1st Castlederg, Ardstraw Parish
Clogher, Clogher Parish
Minterburn, Aghaloo Parish
Mountjoy, Cappagh Parish
1st Newtownstewart, Ardstraw Parish
1st Omagh, Drumragh Parish
2nd Omagh, Drumragh Parish
Orritor, Kildress Parish
1st Stewartstown, Donaghenry Parish
1st Strabane, Camus Parish
Urney & Sion, Urney Parish
1st ARDSTRAW, Ardstraw Parish
The first minister was Mr. William MOORCROFT and the second minister of this congregation appears to have been Mr. Adam WHITE. He had been settled in Fannet in 1654, where he was deposed in 1661, and with three others was imprisoned by LESLIE, Bishop of Raphoe, for six years. He resigned Fannet in 1672, and removed to Ardstraw, which was vacant in 1671, probably after the death of Mr. William MOORCROFT, its first minister.
In 1688, Mr. WHITE fled to Scotland, whence by letters he demitted the charge to the Presbytery of Lagan in Jan. 1692, and afterwards settled at Billey near Dunluce. Their next minister was Samuel HOLYDAY or HALIDAY. He had been minister of Omagh, and retired to Scotland at the Revolution. On his return, Omagh congregation declared its inability to support him and ministers being then scarce, in Nov. 1692, he had calls from Donagheady, Urney, and Ardstraw. The two former offered £30 per annum, to provide a farm for him, and build the necessary accommodation, Ardstraw offered £27 per annum, with 27 barrels of corn, and to advance half a year's salary to defray his charges in removing his family from Scotland. He accepted Ardstraw, and was installed here in Dec. 1692. He was the father of Dr. HALIDAY, minister of the 1st Congregation of Belfast, famous in connection with the Subscription controversy. He died in Feb. 1724 but previously, in Mar. 1718 Mr. Isaac TAYLOR had been ordained here as his assistant and successor. In May 1729, Mr. TAYLOR conformed to the Established Church. In 1731, the people called Mr. John HOLMES of Donegal, but the Synod opposed his removal.
next minister was Mr. Andrew WELSH, ordained here 22 Aug 1733. In
1736 an application was made to Synod by a discontented party for a new
settlement but the Synod refused to interfere. Disputes, however continued
and the Synod in 1741 sanctioned a new erection at Clady, and put it under
the care of the Presbytery of Letterkenny. Mr. WELSH died 15 May 1781
leaving a widow and children. In Oct. 1779 Mr. Robert CLARKE was
ordained here as assistant and successor to Mr. WELSH. Mr. CLARKE
becoming infirm, Mr. Matthew CLARKE was ordained his assistant
and successor 21 Sept. 1820. Mr. R. CLARKE died 3 Dec. 1821, leaving
neither widow nor family. On the 21 Feb. 1861 Mr. Leslie A. LYLE was
ordained assistant and successor to Mr. M. CLARKE. Mr. M. CLARKE
died on the 28 Dec. 1875.
Benburb is classic ground. On the 5 June 1646, the Scottish forces led on by MONRO here encountered the Irish Confederates under the famous Owen Roe O NEILL and sustained a complete overthrow. Had O NEILL followed up his victory he might have crushed the Scots in Ulster, but as if given up to infatuation, he marched away southwards and permitted the Covenanters to recruit their strength. Thus his triumph proved almost fruitless .There were Presbyterians in and around Benburb perhaps ever since the time of this memorable battle. A Mr WALKINSHAW appears to have been minister here shortly after the Restoration, but of him little is known. He was succeeded by Mr Archibald HAMILTON, son of Mr James HAMILTON, nephew of Lord CLANEBOY and minister of Ballywalter. Mr HAMILTON settled at Benburb about 1670 and continued in this charge till 1672. He seems to have been very poorly supported and in consequence, he removed to Armagh towards the close of 1672. He is said to have been succeeded by Mr James JOHNSON who died here.
The next minister was Mr John BOYD who was ordained here by the Presbytery of Tyrone on the 17 Jul. 1706. He died 16 Oct. 1712. He was succeeded by Mr John KENNEDY who was ordained here on the 13 Jul, 1714. Mr KENNEDY died in this charge on the 25 Jun, 1761 at the age of 77. He was succeeded by Mr Alexander JOHNSON who was ordained here on the 23 May 1763. He died 9 Aug, 1771 leaving neither widow, nor family, and aged 52 years.
He was succeeded by Mr James WHITESIDE Jr. probably son of Mr James WHITESIDE Sr of Tobermore, He was ordained here on the 23 Dec. l 72. Becoming infirm Mr Joshua WILLIS was ordained his assistant on the 31 Mar. 1815. Mr WHITESIDE died on the 18 May 1821 leaving a widow and family. In Mar. 1822, Mr WILLIS was suspended for one month for celebrating marriage irregularly. He was afterwards suspended and disannexed, and after a long vacancy, Mr James FULLARTON was ordained here by a Committee of the Synod of Ulster, on the 2 Dec. l836. In June following, he resigned the charge and emigrated to Australia. The next minister was Mr Hugh MONTGOMERY who was ordained here on the 20 Jun. 1838. Mr MONTGOMERY died on the 24 Dec. 1873.
He was succeeded by Mr Gawn MALCOM who was ordained here on the 26 Aug. 1874. On the 11 Apr. 1876, Mr MALCOM resigned this charge, on his acceptance of a call from a congregation in England and was succeeded by Mr William CLEMENTS, formerly minister of Tartaraghan, who was installed here on the 21 Jun. 1876.
CARLAN, Donaghmore Parish
This congregation was originally known by the name of 'Donoughmore. County Tyrone' and included in it the town of Dungannon, by which name also, it was early distinguished. Its first minister was Mr Thomas KENNEDY. He was one of the Presbyterian worthies who lost their livings at the Restoration. He was deposed in 1661, but he settled at Carlan-bridge where he continued in the exercise of his ministry. He was afterwards called Mr Thomas KENNEDY Senior to distinguish him from Mr Thomas KENNEDY Junior, minister of Ballyclug or Brigh. At the Revolution he fled to Scotland. In September 1691, the congregation applied to Synod to procure his return offering “££ 19 per annum and this year to plough and sow ten acres of land, if he will come over by May next” and they having not above a tenth-part of the land there yet planted, they are very hopeful in a short time after his coming thither, that their land may be planted and so his yearly maintenance be increased. They also promised him £ 5 towards building a dwelling house. He returned in 1693 and continued here till his death in Feb. 1714. He died at the age of 89.
At his death the congregation divided and a part was erected into a separate congregation at Dungannon. Mr KENNEDY was succeeded at Donoughmore or Carlan by Mr Robert STUART, who was ordained here 11 Aug1720. He died in this charge 11 Apr. 1746. He was succeeded by Mr William KENNEDY, who was ordained at Carlan, as it was now called, on the 2 Apr. 1754. Mr KENNEDY becoming infirm, Mr Robert STEWART was ordained his assistant on the 9 Oct, 1798. Mr KENNEDY died 9 Apr, 1801 leaving a family. Mr STEWART died in 1812, leaving a family. The next minister was Mr John HOGG, who was ordained here on the 31 Oct. 1815. Mr HOGG died on the 5 Dec. 1846 having previously obtained leave to retire from the active duties of the ministry, and on the 29 Sept. 1846 Mr Stewart CARSE was ordained his successor.
1st CASTLEDERG, Ardstraw Parish
The congregation of 1st Derg, or Castlederg, now belonging to the Presbytery of Donegal, was established about the year 1700. In July 1699, Mr, HOLMES of Urney, signified to the Presbytery that there was a considerable prospect of a congregation being formed here, provided a part of his congregation, and of Mr. HALIDAY'S at Ardstraw, were joined to the existing nucleus. There is reason to believe that the first minister was Mr. John DUNLOP, who was ordained by the Presbytery of Convoy 15 Sept. 1710, and died, 29 Nov.1713. The next minister was Mr. Nehemiah DONALDSON, ordained here 19 Dec 1716. Mr. DONALDSON was the valued friend and pastor of the celebrated Mr. David CAIRNS, of Knockmany, one of the heroes of the siege of Derry ; and Mr. CAIRNS, at his death, bequeathed to him a pledge of his affection. Mr. DONALDSON died 7 July 1747, and was succeeded by Mr. Hugh YOUNG, who was ordained here 8 June 1748. In 1750, Mr. YOUNG was called to be colleague to Mr. McCOLLUM, of Capel St. Dublin , but expressing his sincere attachment to Derg, the Synod refused to require his removal.
In 1772, it was reported to Synod that Hugh EDWARDS, Esq., had bequeathed to the congregation £10 yearly, for ever, a sum which is, we believe, still regularly paid to the minister. Mr. YOUNG died in this charge in 1789, leaving a family. He was succeeded by Mr. James HENDERSON, who was ordained here 27 May 1791. Mr. HENDERSON was drowned, 20 Dec 1818, leaving a widow and family and was succeeded by Mr. James ADAMS, ordained here 27 Sept. 1820. Mr. ADAMS died in this charge. 22 May, 1837. In Nov.1827, the congregation of Killeter was disannexed from that of Derg. In Sept. 1837, Mr. John CROCKETT, formerly of Killeter, was installed as successor to Mr. ADAMS. Mr. CROCKETT becoming infirm, applied for an assistant, and died on the 11 Feb. 1875 and was succeeded by Mr. James M'CAY who was ordained here on the 20 May 1874.
CLOGHER, Clogher Parish
Application was made to our church in 1848 on behalf of a few neglected families in and about Clogher that they might be supplied with the means of grace. For three years preaching was continued every alternate Sabbath by the Rev. Messrs. KILLEN, HALL, and DEWART, each
remaining for about twelve months. It was then proposed to be taken up by
the students in connection with the General Assembly. To this they agreed
and at the close of the session of
1850-51, the Rev. John BARNETT was appointed their first missionary
to Clogher. Mr. BARNETT remained till June 1856, when he removed to
Carlow. He was succeeded by the Rev. James MEGAW, who left for
Australia in April 1858. The Rev. Samuel JOHNSTON was appointed as
the third missionary in June 1858. The Rev. S. L. HARRISON succeeded
in Jan. 1873, and removed to Dromore West in Mar. 1878. Mr. James S.
SMITH was ordained as his successor in July 1879. Miss Elizabeth
HOLMES, a lady of singular piety and zeal, to whose munificent
encouragement the origin of the congregation must be traced, died on the 9
June 1877. Her remains are interred in the place to which her labors were so
MOUNTJOY, Cappagh Parish
The history of this congregation, formerly called Crossroads is somewhat obscure. It had a minister upwards of a century ago, for it would appear that Mr. James PATTON was settled here in 1775. Mr. James McCLINTOCK was ordained here at Cappagh on the 24 May 1791. Becoming infirm, Mr. John HAMILTON was ordained as his assistant on the 6 Nov. 1821. Mr. McCLINTOCK died in Dec. 1849. Mr. HAMILTON resigned the active duties of the ministry, and was succeeded by Mr. John GILMOUR who was ordained here as his assistant on the 9 Sept. 1862. Mr. HAMILTON died on the 18 June 1874.
1st NEWTOWNSTEWART, Ardstraw Parish
Livingston in his "Memoirs" mentions among his acquaintances, in the ministry in Ireland, Mr. William MOORECROFT of Newtownstewart, in the Presbytery of Lagan, in the year 1654. He was deposed in 1661, and probably soon after went to Scotland. For a long time the Presbyterians of Newtownstewart belonged to an adjoining congregation, and they had no place of worship in the town.
In 1802 they supplicated the Synod of Ulster to be erected into a separate charge, and their request was soon afterwards granted. The first minister was Mr. John McFARLAN, who was ordained here by the Presbytery of Strabane on the 19 Dec. 1804. In 1824 he was suspended for the irregular celebration of marriage and other misconduct. At length in 1825, leave was given to the congregation to elect another minister, Mr Charles ADAMS was ordained to the pastoral charge on the 9 Aug. 1827. On the 12 May 1830, Mr. McFARLAN was degraded for again celebrating marriage irregularly. On the 17 Aug. 1842, Mr. ADAMS was suspended and on 29 June 1843, Mr, John McCARTER was ordained to the pastoral charge, Mr. McCARTER soon became unable to perform his ministerial duties and, in consequence, Mr. Robert C. DONNEL was ordained as his assistant on the 28 Feb. 1849. Mr. DONNEL died very shortly after the Assembly of 1881. He was succeeded by Mr. William G. BLACK, who was ordained here on the 15 Mar. 1882.
Mr. Samuel HALIDAY was minister here before the Revolution. He seems to have been here as early as 1664. He fled to Scotland in 1688, but returned in 1692. At his return he settled in Ardstraw, Omagh having declaimed its inability to support a minister, in which destitute
state it continued till they obtained Mr. James MAXWELL, who was ordained here 8 Nov. 1699. He died in this charge 1 Feb. 1750 aged 89 years and was succeeded by Mr. Hugh DELAP, who was ordained here by the Presbytery of Strabane 5 June 1751. In the same year they apply to be annexed to the Presbytery of Letterkenny, as the Presbytery of Strabane had sent supplies to some malcontents who had resisted the settlement of Mr. DELAP. Mr. DELAP died 12 Jun. 1787 and was succeeded by Mr. Hugh DELAL, probably his son, who was ordained here 15 Apr. 1790.
On 21 May 1805 he was degraded for immorality by the Presbytery. Their next minister was Mr. Samuel CUTHBERTSON who was ordained here 11 Jun. 1806. Mr. CUTHBERTSON being irregular in his conduct was required to demit the charge, by a committee of Synod appointed to visit the congregation but was permitted to retain part of the 'Regitim Bonnm'. Mr. John ARNOLD, formerly minister of Clontibret, was installed as his assistant and successor 15 Jul. 1835. Mr. ARNOLD becoming infirm, Mr. James MACONAGHIE was installed here as his assistant on the 7 Apr. 1875. Mr. ARNOLD died on the 22 Jul. 1881. Mr. MACONAGHIE on receiving a call from Fortwilliam in Belfast, resigned this charge in the spring of 1886 and was succeeded here by the Rev. William COLQUHOUN, formerly of Ahoghill.
This congregation originated in the dissatisfaction which existed at the time of the settlement of Mr. Hugh DELAP as minister of the old congregation. In 1752, commissioners consisting of Mr. William SCOTT, Mr. James NIXON, and others, appeared before the Synod of Ulster, representing fifty families in the place, who prayed to be erected into a separate congregation.
Their application was granted, and they were annexed to the Presbytery of Strabane.
Their first minister was Mr. Robert NELSON, who was ordained here in Jul. 1754. He died in this charge on the 8 Apr. 1801 and was succeeded by Mr. David GILKEY, who was ordained here on the 3 Feb. 1803. Mr. GILKEY, becoming infirm retired from the ministry, and was succeeded by Mr. Josias MITCHELL who was ordained here on the 2 Feb. 1842. Mr. GILKEY died on the 15 Aug.. 1850. At the Assembly of 1879 Mr. MITCHELL obtained leave for his congregation to choose an assistant and successor and on the 16 Dec. the same year, Mr. Thomas M'Afee HAMILL was ordained his assistant and successor. Mr. MITCHELL died on the 22 Jul. 1882. On the 12 Feb. 1884, Mr. HAMILL resigned this charge. on his removal to 1st Lurgan, and was succeeded by Mr. William JOHNSTON, who was ordained here on the 30 Sept. following.
In 1824 the inhabitants of the parish of Kildress supplicated the Synod of Ulster for permission to be erected into a distinct charge. Their case was referred to the Presbytery of Tyrone, who sustained their claim. Mr. John G. MAGOWAN, the first minister was ordained here on the 26 Apr. 1825. In 1831, the congregation obtained 'Regium Donum' in the third class, that is £50 yearly, late Irish currency. On the 1 May 1855 Mr. MAGOWAN availed himself of permission granted by the Assembly in 1848, for his congregation to choose an assistant and successor. On 7 May 1856 Mr. William WRAY was ordained to the pastoral charge and Mr. MAGOWAN died on the 19 Sept. 1867.
This congregation formed originally, a part of Brigh. In 1788, a petition from 100 persons, twenty-three of whom formerly belonged to Brigh, was presented to the Synod of Ulster, stating that they were building a meeting house in Stewartstown, and supplicating to be erected into a distinct congregation. The concession was not immediately made, but in 1789, when Mr. David PARK appeared as commissioner the request was granted. Their first minister was Mr. William HENRY, who was ordained here on the 23 Mar. 1790. He resigned this charge on the 5 Jan. 1791, and removed to Armagh. He was succeeded by Mr. James ADAMS, who was ordained on the 6 Dec. 1791. Mr. ADAMS died here on the 26 Dec.1801 leaving a widow and family.
The next minister was Mr. Moses CHAMBERS, who was ordained on the 7 Sept. 1802. Mr. CHAMBERS died on the 20 Aug. 1813 leaving a widow and family. He was succeeded by Mr. Robert ALLEN, who was ordained on the 7 Jun. 1814. Mr. ALLEN on his appointment as Superintendent of the Connaught Mission, resigned this charge and on the 31 Jul. 1849, Mr.
Isaiah N. HARKNESS was ordained his successor. Mr. ALLEN died on the 1 Apr. 1865. Mr. HARKNESS becoming infirm, Mr. J. A. CAMPBELL, a licentiate of the Presbytery of Athlone, was ordained as his assistant and successor on the 20 Aug. 1885. Mr. HARKNESS died on the 23 Oct. following.
The first minister of Strabane on record is Mr. Robert WILSON who was ordained here in 1659. He died in the city of Derry during the siege in 1689, having fled there for safety. His successor was Mr. William HOLMES. He was born in Ireland but had emigrated to New England, from which he returned in July 1691, and having produced to the Presbytery of Lagan satisfactory testimonials, he was received by them, and having gone through second trials, was ordained 21 Dec. 1692. He was married to the daughter of Mr. CRAIGHEAD, minister of Derry. In 1715 he demitted this charge, and again returned to New England.
In 1716 the people applied to the Synod of Ulster for supplies, stating their reason for this step to be "that the place is of such consequence as to require particular regard." The application was granted, the congregation promising to pay each of the supplies ten shillings every Lord's day, and to bear their expenses while with them. They soon after obtained Mr. Victor FERGUSON as their minister. He had been licensed by the Presbytery of Derry in 1713, and was ordained by the Presbytery of Convoy to this charge 24 Apr. 1717. The same year the Presbytery of Strabane was erected, of which consequently this congregation formed a part. Mr. FERGUSON died in this charge 15 May 1763 leaving a widow, but no family. He bequeathed a house and farm to his successors, which they still enjoy.
Their next minister was Mr. William CRAWFORD, who was ordained here 6 Feb. 1766. Mr. CRAWFORD was great-great-grandson of Mr. STEWART minister of Donegore, one of the fathers of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. He wrote a " History of Ireland," and several other works. Mr. CRAWFORD taught an academy in Strabane, one department of which was a species of collegiate institute, at which several ministers of the Synod of Ulster, and among the rest, the late Rev. James HOUSTON, of Ballindreat, received all their theological training. In Oct. 1798, Dr. CRAWFORD resigned the charge of Strabane, and removed to Holywood.
He was succeeded by Mr. William DUNLOP, formerly minister at Badoney, who was installed here 10 Nov. 1798. Becoming infirm, Mr. John ADAMS, formerly minister of Monaghan, was installed here his assistant and successor 31 Aug. 1820. Mr. DUNLOP died 24 Nov. 1821, leaving a widow and family.
On 30 Jun. 1827, Mr. ADAMS resigned the charge of this congregation, and died 17 Dec. 1827. He was succeeded by Mr. William MULLIGAN, who was ordained here 20 Mar. 1828. Mr. MULLIGAN resigned the charge of this congregation on the 1 Aug. 1832, having been appointed Professor of Mathematics in the Royal Belfast Institution. Their next minister was Mr. Alexander Porter GOUDY, formerly minister of Glastry, who was installed here 20 Mar. 1833. Mr. MULLIGAN was drowned while bathing at Loughbrickland on the 7 Aug. 1834.
Dr. GOUDY who possessed much influence in the General Assembly, and who was Moderator in 1857, died 14 Dec. 1858. One hundred ministers are said to have been present at his funeral. He was succeeded by Mr. James GIBSON, who was ordained 26 Sept. 26 1859. Mr. GIBSON (now D.D.), on his removal to Perth, resigned this charge early in 1873 and was succeeded by Mr. John MacDERMOTT, formerly of Armoy, who was installed here on the 11 Dec. of the same year. Mr. MacDERMOTT, on his removal to Belmont, resigned this charge on the 3 Nov. 1880 and was succeeded by Mr. John IRWIN who was ordained here on the 29 Sept. 1881.
This congregation is of ancient date. In 1654 Mr. James WALLACE was ordained here. He died in this charge in Nov. 1674. His successor was Mr. David BROWN, from the Presbytery of Stirling, who was ordained here in 1677. He fled to Derry in 1688 and died in the city during the siege. He was succeeded by Mr. William HOLMES, who had been received by the Presbytery as a probationer on the 25 Jun. 1695, and who was ordained to this charge on the 22 Dec. 1696. In 1697 he was suspended from the ministry on account of some " scandalous carriage " in the house of Mr. ROWAT. He was appointed to appear before the Synod at Coleraine in February following but having acknowledged his scandal before the Presbytery in January his suspension was removed. He died in this charge in Oct. 1734.
The next minister was Mr. William MacBEATH, who was ordained here by the Presbytery of Strabane on the 22 Dec. 1737. He was removed to Usher's Quay Dublin in 1745. The next minister was Mr. Andrew ALEXANDER, who was ordained here by the Presbytery of Letterkenny on the 31 Aug. 1749. He died here 30 Apr. 1808 leaving a widow and family and was succeeded by Mr. John GILLESPIE, who was ordained here on the 26 Jan. 1809. He died here on the 28 Jul. 1823 leaving neither widow nor family.
The next minister was Mr. James PURSS who was ordained here on 20 May 1824. He died on 29 Aug. 1836, leaving neither widow nor family. He was succeeded by Mr. John McCONAGHY, who was ordained here by the Presbytery of Strabane on 14 Jun. 1837. In 1881 it was reported to the Assembly, that the Presbytery of Strabane had effected the union of the congregations of Urney and Sion and on the 11 Aug. of the same year the Presbytery installed the Rev. Matthew NEILL, formerly a minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the congregation of Urney and Sion as colleague and successor to the Rev. John McCONAGHY.