A SHORT HISTORY
of
SECOND BOARDMILLS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
by
AIKEN McCLELLAND
Published by Howard Publications, 18 Athol Street, Belfast, 12;
and Printed by Dorman & Sons, Ltd., Holmes Street, Belfast, 2.
1963
OFFICE BEARERS 1963
Front Row (I. to r.) : W. Cairns, J. Jamison (Session). R. .I. Shaw (Clerk of Session), Rev. A. H. Graham. B.A., J. G. Dunn (Session), W. W. McKee (Session), D. Hanna.
Second Row (I. to r.) : G. Martin, N. Martin. H. Martin, J. Martin, E. Martin, W. Shaw, D. Jamison. Back Row (I. to r.) : D. Graham. .I. Baird. T. Jamison, T. McDowell.
 

Office Bearers 1963
Minister
Rev. A. H. GRAHAM, B.A. Session
Rev. A. H. GRAHAM, B.A. (Moderator) R. J. SHAW (Clerk of Session)
J. G. DUNN W. W. McKEE
J. JAMISON A. SHAW Hon. Secretary : R. J. SHAW Hon. Treasurer: W. W. McKEE Hon. Freewill Offering Secretaries
W. W. McKEE Miss NOLA GRAHAM COMMITTEE
 

J. BAIRD T. McDOWELL
W. CAIRNS G. MARTIN
C. GRAHAM J. M. MARTIN
D. GRAHAM N. MARTIN
D. HANNA H. MARTIN
T. JAMISON E. MARTIN
D. JAMISON J. W. SHAW

Organist: Mr. S. FERRIN Church Officer: Mr. WM. McMIN Trustees
SAMUEL ROBINSON ROBERT J. SHAW
CAMPBELL GRAHAM JAMES G. DUNN

Foreword
THIS history of Second Boardmills would be incomplete without the recording of our thanks to Mr. Aiken McClelland. At one time a member of Committee in Second Boardmills Mr. McClelland still retains a keen interest in the church and district. We are greatly indebted to him for all his research, and painstaking work to ensure an accurate record of the history of Second Boardmills. The photographs were taken by Mr. S. Hopkins and we wish to express our thanks to him for all his help.

To mark our one hundred and fiftieth anniversary we are to be honoured by a visit from the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Right Rev. Dr. John Davey. Following his visit on Sunday morning the 3rd February, 1963, the Session plan to have special thanksgiving services in co-operation with Killaney and First Boardmills. The mission will be held each evening from 3rd February, 1963, to 17th February, 1963, and will be conducted by Rev. A. Malcolm Parke, M.A., Orangefield Presbyterian Church, Belfast. We hope that as you read this history and attend our special services you will be the better equipped to serve Christ in His Church during the coming years.

A. HAROLD GRAHAM
The Manse, Boardmilis, Lisburn. 5th January, 1963.

Preface,
ONE hundred and fifty years ago to-day the members of the infant congregation of "Scotch Seceders" petitioned their Synod for an election of elders-a request which resulted in the First Session being formed a few months later.

To mark this sesquicentennial the Rev. A. H. Graham, B.A., invited me to write a brief history of the congregation, a task which has given me great pleasure.

Second Boardmills enjoys an enviable and a justifiable reputation for kindliness, friendliness and generosity - ever the indications of a living and practical religion ; and as they read the story of their congregational life I trust their love and loyalty to the Church may be stimulated and strengthened.

AIKEN McCLELLAND
"Bresa,"
3 Beechhill Park Avenue, Belfast 8.
5th January, 1963.

 

SECOND BOARDMILLS CHURCH AND HALL, 1963  THE MANSE, 1963

EARLY HISTORY

BOARDMILLS lies equidistant from Lisburn, Saintfield and Ballynahinch, and is the name usually given to the townlands which comprise the parish of Killaney-Killaney, Carrickmaddyroe, Carricknaveagh and Lisban--and Bresagh, which lies in the parish of Saintfield. The earliest reference to this name is found in a list of Protestants who were attainted and declared traitors by the Dublin Parliament on the 29th May, 1689, where the name of Hugh Farley of Boardmills appears. Farley was a miller, and as the district was heavily wooded he probably carried on his activities in a wooden building. This may have given rise to the name by which the district is known to-day.

Prior to the middle of the eighteenth century there was no Presbyterian Church in Boardmills, and the people worshipped in Saintfield. But with the growth of population in Boardmills a feeling grew that the district ought to have a church. Following the death of the Rev. Archibald Dickson of Saintfield in 1739, some Boardmills members of the congregation petitioned the Presbytery to have "supply of sermon at ye Boardmil." Presbytery refused, and the matter lapsed.

The Rev. Dickson's successor in Saintfield, the Rev. James Rainey, had a brief ministry in 1745. The Saintfield congregation became divided over the choice of a successor, the minority favouring Mr. James McKane and the majority Mr. Richard Walker. At a meeting of Presbytery on the 5th November, 1745, it was decided to lay aside the rival candidates and draw up a new list of probationers. This step did not please the Boardmills members of the congregation, who were Mr. Walker's strongest supporters, and they sent three commissioners-John Todd, William Blakely and James Smith-to the Presbytery, to supplicate for the appointment of Mr. Walker as their constant supplier in Boardmills, where they intended to build a meeting house in the spring. They intimated at the same time that if their request was refused, they would require disjunction certificates, and, if these were refused, they would like to know the reason why.

The Presbytery apparently ignored this request, and on the 25th August, 1746, they received an ultimatum from the Boardmills Presbyterians requesting a supply of sermon at Board mills, which, if not granted, would be obtained elsewhere. This communication surprised and troubled the Presbytery, who were desirous of retaining the Boardmills people in connection with the Synod of Ulster. They replied stating that at present they had no man to send on this mission, but that when one was available he would be sent, adding that they would be careful to aid and encourage them to the utmost of their power.

Finally, in February, 1747, the Saintfield congregation called Mr. Walker, presumably to gratify and reconcile those at Boardmills, but it was too late. A meeting house had been built, and seceding preachers had been called in before this decision was made. In September, 1746, the Rev. George Murray of Lockerbie, and Mr. John Swanston, a probationer, were in the field, and by the time Mr. Walker received his call the congregation of Boardmills was practically an accomplished fact.

Who were the Seceders? There have been many books written about the Secession Church, but it is sufficient for the narrative to state that in 1733 a number of ministers of the Church of Scotland withdrew from the jurisdiction of the mother Church and formed themselves into a separate body, the Associate Synod. The Seceders, as they were called, insisted upon the doctrine of grace and asserted the rights of the people in the election of ministers. They sent missionaries into Ireland, where their love of sound evangelical doctrine won them many hearers.

The first minister of the new congregation was the Rev. Andrew Black, who was installed in Boardmills on the 22nd June, 1749. By this time the Associate Synod was divided into two opposing parties, the Burghers and Anti-Burghers; and Boardmills joined the Associate (Burgher) Synod.
At this date each minister of the Synod of Ulster received a share of a government grant known as the Regium Donum (King's Gift), which was first given to the Synod of Ulster by King William III, in recognition of the loyalty of Irish Presbyterians. The Secession Church did not receive this grant, but in 1784 the government made an annual grant of 14 per annum to each Burgher minister, thus giving parity with ministers of the Synod of Ulster. In 1803 the government increased the grant to the Synod of Ulster, payment being made according to the size of the congregation.

The Burghers denounced the Synod of Ulster in the strongest terms for accepting the classified grant, which cut across all Presbyterian ideas of parity. Ministers were de nounced as "Government hirelings" and "wolves in sheeps' clothing," while acceptance of the money was denounced "as selling the crown off the the head of Christ." At the same time, however, a Burgher committee was making secret representations to the Government for an increased grant. This increase was granted in 1809, but on the same lines as the grant to the Synod of Ulster. A large minority of the congregation of First Boardmills was not willing that their minister should take the revised grant, which his Church had been denouncing for six years.

In the midst of the heated argument, on 10th October, 1809, the Rev. Joseph Longmoor, the Rev. Black's successor, died. The congregation, already weakened by the secession of members who had formed Bailiesmills Reformed Presbyterian congregation, became hopelessly split over the choice of a successor. (1) Those who favoured their minister taking the revised grant wanted Mr. John Sturgeon, son of the Rev. John Sturgeon of Ballynahinch and Lissara, as minister, and a call to him was signed by 138 persons, with 91 members dissenting.

The call to Mr. Sturgeon was duly made out, and presented at a meeting of Synod at Cookstown. Those who opposed the call to Mr. Sturgeon appointed a deputation of three (Messrs. John Gill, James Edgar and William Warrick) to go to Cookstown and ask the Presbytery to order a further hearing of candidates. The deputation was not accorded a very favourable reception, for the minister who introduced them (Rev. Samuel Edgar of Loughaghery, and a nephew of James Edgar of the deputation) told the Synod that the deputation comprised "three cross, irreligious and seditious men from Boardmills." They replied, "We are Christ's freemen," and returned home to tell their friends of the reception they had been given.

Mr. Sturgeon was ordained on the 31st July, 1810, and signified his intention of accepting the classified Regium Donum. Those members of his congregation who were opposed to this action formed a congregation, and sent a petition to the Glasgow Presbytery of the Original Secession (Old Light Burgher) Synod on the 3rd November, 1811, asking for supply of sermon. The petition was granted, and ministers were sent over periodically. During their stay they lived among the congregation, and preached in a disused quarry belonging to Robert Cairnduff,

(1) The first reference to Bailiesmills in the records of the R.P. Church is at a meeting of the Reformed Presbytery in Garvagh on the 10th April, 1805, when Mr. John Stewart, a licentiate, was appointed to preach at Bailiesmills on the twelfth Sabbath following the meeting. At this date the Covenanting Societies in the Boardmills and Bailiesmills districts were part of the Knockbracken congregation. At a meeting of Presbytery on the 14th August, 1806, the Societies of Cargycroy, Loughaghery, Carrickmaddyroe and Loughearn presented a petition by their commissioner John Priestly. It stated that "on account of their extreme distance from Knockbracken and the old age and inflrmities of several of their members, they could not attend on ordinances as they wished and prayed that they might be separated from that congregation.

The Presbytery considered the petition, but could not grant it as they were not furnished with documents expressing the sentiments of the Session and Congregation on the subjects. The Societies renewed their petition the following year and it was again rejected. Finally, on the 9th September, 1807, the four Societies, together with the Society of Flush-hilt, were disjoined from Knockbracken.

Bailiesmills congregation is listed as a vacant congregation in 1811, and was supplied by the Synod until 1826, when Mr. John Wright Graham was ordained as the first minister.

Longmoor was opposed to the growth of Covenanting Societies in the parish, and in 1806 he published an attack on the Reformed Church. We have a copy- on our shelves and the title reads: An/Appeal/To/The People;/Wherein/Subjection, in Things Lawful, To the Present/Civil Rulers/In the United Kingdom of/Great Britain and Ireland/is evinced to be agreeable to the Word of God/To which a few things are subjoined/Respecting the Extent of/Christ's Mediatorial Dominion/By Joseph Longmoor/Minister of the Gospel of Killeny.


Bresagh. In 1811, at a meeting in the quarry, plans were made to build a church, and the following committee was formed:Messrs. John Blakely, John Shaw, James Wiley, John Gill, William Blakely and John Simpson, each of whom gave 25 as a personal subscription, while the site of the church with the ground attached, was the gift of William Gilmer, Bresagh.

Building operations were begun early in 1812, and later that year, on the 17th of November, the congregation, being anxious for the settlement of a minister, requested a moderation. The Presbytery, learning that there was no Kirk Session, declined the request until a Session was constituted. On 5th January, 1813, the congregation petitioned Presbytery for an election of elders, and the Presbytery granted the request and appointed the Rev. Robert Aitken of Kirktilloch, to preach and preside. Messrs. John Rogers, Samuel Abernethy, David Shaw, William Martin, John Pettigrew and William Warrick were elected, and ordained in May, 1813, by the Rev. Robert Torrance of Airdrie.

On the 4th August, 1813, the congregation again petitioned the Presbytery for a moderation, offering a stipend of 80, The request was granted, but the Presbytery stipulated that the stipend should be paid in British currency, and that a convenient house should be provided for the minister. The Rev. Alexander Brown of Burntshields was appointed to preach and preside, and a call was made out for the Rev. Robert Aitken of Kirkintilloch, signed by 112 members and 22 adherents.

The Presbytery, however, declined to translate Mr. Aitken, and the congregation, on 12th April, 1814, applied again for a moderation, offering the same stipend as before. The Rev. John McKinlay of Renton, presided at a meeting of the congregation on the 8th September, 1814, when a call was made out to Mr. John Shaw, a probationer, and signed by 73 members and 4 adherents.

Mr. Shaw accepted the call, and was ordained the first minister of the congregation on 18th March, 1816. The Rev. Robert Aitken began the services by preaching from Matthew xvi.18, last clause, the Rev. Robert Torrance preached the ordination sermon from Acts xxvi. 16, and addressed pastor and people, and the services were closed by the Rev. Alexander Stark of Falkirk, who delivered a discourse from Hebrew x. 27. The day of the ordination had been looked to as a great event by the congregation; and although the church was roofless and had no seats, the people regarded these temporary inconveniences of comparatively little account on such a memorable occasion. (1) Towards the close of the service a slight shower fell, and this was regarded by many as a token "that the Almighty was now dropping the dew of heaven as His blessing."

Second Boardmills thus became the first Original Secession Church in Ireland. On the 19th October, 1817, the Rev. Shaw ordained Mr. William Stewart as the minister of Garvagh and Ballylintagh, the second congregation of this communion in Ireland. The next year they requested the Synod to erect them into a presbytery, to be called the Associate Presbytery of Down and Derry. This request was granted, and the first members were the two ministers and two elders, William Shaw of Boardmills and Joseph Warden of Garvagh.

We know nothing of the Rev. Shaw's ministry, and little of his personal life. He was a native of Boardmills, and had been educated by Professor John Rodgers of Cahans for the Burgher, ministry. Opposed to the classified Regium Donum, he joined the Boardmills congregation and was licensed as a probationer of the Glasgow Presbytery of the Original Secession Synod on 4th August, 1813. In May, 1824, he was chosen Moderator of that body, and just a year later-23rd May, 1825-he died of fever, aged thirty-seven.

Mr. Shaw married Anne Warden, a sister of Joseph Warden, the Garvagh elder, and she survived her husband for almost half a century, dying on the 29th July, 1874, at her eldest daughter's home in Coleraine. This daughter, Margaret Anne Shaw, had married her cousin, Joseph Warden Caskey, a Coleraine dentist, in 1839. The Rev. Shaw's only son, John Warden Shaw, emigrated to Canada in 1846.

(1) The church had a slab inset over the entrance, with the taunting inscription "For Christ's freemen." In the Ordnance Survey Memoirs (1837) the church is described as a plain oblong building, white-washed and slated, 66 ft. x 42 ft., and holds 560 persons. The congregation numbered 900, compared with 1,100 members of First Boardmills, and 12 Episcopalians, who worshipped in Carricknaveagh schoolhouse.

BOARDMILLS DURING MR. SHAW'S MINISTRY

When the Rev. Shaw was ordained living conditions were very different to what they are to-day. Farms were very small, ranging in size from four to twenty acres, though a very few were thirty acres or over-for example, the townland of Killaney with 147 acres had thirteen farms, and Carrickmaddyroe had forty-one farmers on 969 acres. The farm houses were one storey, and were beginning to be slated-the first slated house in the district was John Kilpatrick's of Bresagh.
All the farmers were tenants of the Marquis of Downshire, and paid between 40s. and 45s. rent per acre, while window, hearth or land tax, county cess and tythes amounted to about 4s. 6d. or 5s. per acre.

 

Weaving was a common occupation in Boardmills. There were about sixty full-time weavers in the parish of Killaney, and in addition most of the farmers were part-time weavers. The linen and yarn was sold in Lisburn and Saintfield. Weavers wages were comparatively high-from 12s. to 18s. a week, compared with the 6s. received by farm labourers.

Our ancestors lived on a Spartan diet. "The basis of their food is potatoes and oatmeal; their drink, buttermilk and skimmed milk. Most of the farmers have salted pork, and many salt beef for their winter's store, but the food of the poor is rarely better than potatoes and salt, or a small herring, and sometimes butter. Oaten bread and oatmeal porridge is unfortunately a treat to the poorer classes."

The chief crops grown were potatoes, corn and flax (R. Fitzsimmons had corn and flax mills in Carrickmaddyroe, and J. Simpson had corn and flax mills in Bresagh), and the farmers chief source of income was selling salted butter and pork. In 1816 a young pig sold for 3s!

REV. JOHN DOWNES, A.M.
REV. JOHN DOWNES, A. M.

Following the death of the Rev. Shaw the congregation called Mr. John Downes, who was born in Falkirk, Stirlingshire, on 24th July, 1802. He received his education at the local grammar school and at the University of Glasgow. As he had also received calls from Longridge and Kennoway in Scotland the matter was referred to the Synod, which decided on the 10th May, 1826, that he should accept the call to Boardmills and appointed his ordination to be gone about in due form. He was ordained in the following year.

The Rev. Downes was a man of great versatility and talent, and his sermons, extending often to an hour and a half in length, were characterised by great vigour and poetic beauty. During his pastorate in Boardmills he published a sermon "The God of Bethel."

We also have a copy of "The Harmonic Meeting, and Other Poems," which he published in 1848. The author tells us that one of the poems "was written during a soiree held in Carrick naveagh Schoolhouse, 28th January, 1842, and read at the close of the meeting, as a small contribution to the bill of fare of the evening." The following extract, a description of the schoolhouse, is a fair sample of his poetry:-
'Low is its site, and, being made of dust,
Nor wonder ye this caravansary
Should wish to have an anniversary-
One time the platform of some tithe heatings-
Again of Missions and of Temperance meetings-
"The rising hopes" each day the master teaches;
And, now and then, a minister here preaches;
And every Sunday here, like English clergy,
The grave, good Vicar reads the Liturgy.
It serves for all-for every noble purpose-
For books and tracts, for speech, and tea, and surplice.

In 1839 the Original Secession Synod - the Old Light Burghers-joined with the Church of Scotland, leaving a small minority to protest, of whom Mr. Downes was one. They formed a Remanent Synod-Downes was Moderator in 1840-and opened negotiations with the Original Secession Synod (New Light Burghers). In September, 1841, a basis of union was prepared, and in January, 1842, agreement was reached. The union took place on the 18th May, 1842, and the new body was known as the United Original Secession Synod, and as such joined the Free Church of Scotland in May, 1852.

The Boardmills congregation was not involved with the latter union, as on the 7th July, 1851, Mr. Downes and the congregation had applied to the Belfast Presbytery to be received into the General Assembly (1) A year later, on the 7th July, 1852, the General Assembly sanctioned the action of the Presbytery in receiving them.

This step did not meet with the approval of some members of the congregation, the result being that several, who had thought it a duty to travel some miles on the Sabbath to worship at Boardmills, connected themselves with other communions or joined congregations more convenient to their homes. This weakening of the congregation, plus the fact that a few years later he became involved in a theological dispute between the Rev. George Hay Shanks of First Boardmills and the Rev. Thomas Clugston of Killaney Secession Church, encouraged the Rev. Downes to consider leaving Second Boardmills, as it was known since it joined the General Assembly. He received a call to Hobart, Tasmania, in circumstances highly honourable to himself. A Boardmills man whom Mr. Downes had educated when orphaned, influenced a call to that distant field. The call was accompanied by a cheque for 400 to bring him and his family over. Mr. Downes accepted the call, and resigned his congregation on the 7th August ,1855. Accompanied by his wife and seven children he sailed in "The Champion of the Seas" for Hobart, where he arrived in October, 1855. After several years in Tasmania he became minister of Learmouth in Victoria, and later of Clunes in the same state, where he died on the 29th May, 1866.

Boardmills National School (now (he church hall) with Second Boardmills Church in the background.

The Rev. Downes was twice married. His first wife, whom he married on the 17th October, 1833, was Mary, eldest daughter of David Jamison of Prospect. She died on the 3rd September, 1840, aged 26. He then married, on 11th October, 1842, Martha, third daughter of John Gilmore, Ballycarnagannon, who survived him, dying in 1909, at the ripe old age of 96.

During the Rev. Downes' ministry seven members of the congregation entered the church. They were Rev. Thomas Meharry, Myroe and Bolay; Rev. James Bennet, St. John's, New Brunswick; Rev. David Walker, Kirkwall and Canada; Rev. John Blakely, Kirkintilloch; Rev. Andrew McBride, Aughnacloy; Rev. David Simpson, Dollar and Laurencekirk; and the Rev. Samuel Pettigrew of Mullabrack and Belfast. The Rev. Pettigrew's daughter married the Rev. John Moody of Killaney Secession Church.

An interesting link with Mr. Downes' ministry was broken in 1958 when the Session decided to use cardboard communion tokens, instead of the old leaden tokens which bore the date 1827.

(1) The Burgher and Antiburgher Synods united in 1818 to form the Secession Synod. In 1840 the Synod of Ulster and the Secession Synod united to form the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

Early photograph of Rev. Alexander Dobbin and his Session.

REV. ALEXANDER DOBBIN

Following the Rev. Downes' resignation the Belfast Presbytery appointed Rev. Professor John Edgar, Rev. Professor W. D. Killen and the Rev. D. Hamilton of York Street to take charge of the vacant congregation. The choice fell on a young probationer, Alexander Dobbin, and in November, 1855, they invited him to be their pastor, at a stipend of 35 per annum, the legal minimum. The Presbytery advised him not to accept the call until the congregation increased their offer, and he was eventually called at a stipend of 50 per annum.

Alexander Dobbin was born at Cappagh, near Banbridge, in 1829, and as his father sold his farm when Alexander was a tiny baby and bought another one at Cranfield, near Randalstown, he was brought up as a member of the Old Congregation, Randalstown. His father was a pious man with a keen interest in church affairs and a great admiration for the Rev. David McKee of First Annaghlone. (1) He encouraged his eldest son, William, to enter the Christian ministry, and he was ordained in Second Annaghlone in 1839. (2) Alexander decided to follow in his brother's footsteps, and after finishing his education at the Belfast Academy he became a missioner in Co. Cork, working under the Rev. William Irwin of Bandon, who had charge of a large district in which schools and mission stations had been established. After three years in Munster Dobbin returned to Belfast to pursue his theological studies under the Rev. Henry Cooke.

After his ordination on the 27th December, 1855, the Rev. Dobbin entered heartily and loyally into the work set before him, and succeeded in a short time in securing the esteem and affection of his own congregation and the respect of the whole neighbourhood. He was a most faithful pastor, regular and systematic in his visitations, and most attentive to the wants of the sick and dying, whilst his pulpit ministrations gave ample evidence of extensive reading and careful preparation.

During his long ministry many improvements were made to the church property, a manse was built in 1860-61, the schoolhouse was re-built in 1892, and the church was renovated in 1880 and 1901. On the occasion of the re-opening after the latter renovation the service was conducted by Rev. Dr. Lynd of May Street, and the Rev. Dobbin was privileged to announce that all the church property was entirely free from debt.
In September, 1903, owing to increasing years, the Rev. Dobbin felt compelled to act upon the permission given to him by the General Assembly to retire from the active duties of the ministry, and he died on the 8th September, 1909.

 

(1) Rev. D. McKee was the son of Hugh McKee, Poagsburn, Carricknaveagh. (2) Rev. W. Dobbin (1816-1901) was an active member of the Tenant-Right movement, and was author of several pamphlets and many magazine and newspaper articles. The subject on which he wrote most was Assurance of Faith, and in connection with this doctrine he engaged in a controversy extending over many years, till at length it reached a climax in a debate in the General Assembly.
Front Row : Mr. Dales, Rev. A. Dobbin, Mr. Jas. Lvttle. Back Row : Mr. Robert Innis, Rev. J. Dobbin, Mr. James Shaw. The Manse in Early Days

REV. JOHN WILSON DOBBIN, B.A

The Rev. Alexander Dobbin married Marianne, youngest daughter of Andrew Ringland, Killyleagh, by whom he had a family of three daughters and six sons, and was greatly pleased when the congregation chose his third son, John Wilson Dobbin, as his assistant and successor, and he was ordained on the 26th November, 1903.

The new minister had a somewhat varied and remarkable career. After leaving the Belfast Model School at the age of twelve he had entered a linen firm as an apprentice, and rose to the position of manager. He decided to enter the Christian ministry, and to have more leisure for study joined a firm of accountants. When qualified as an accountant he became registrar of Campbell College, and in 1900 graduated B.A. with honours in History and Political Science from the Royal University of Ireland. He then took a theological course at Assembly's College, and became assistant to the Rev. John McDermot of Belmont.

After a brief ministry, Mr. Dobbin resigned on the 14th February, 1907, to accept a call from the congregation of Houghton-le-Spring, Co. Durham. He later emigrated to Canada and became minister of Qualicum Beach, Vancouver, where he died on the 10th October, 1924.

 

JOHN DUNN (former Treasurer) and JOHN GALL (former Committee Member) DAVID MAXWELL, J.P. (Former Clerk of Session)

REV. ROBERT KELSO

The Rev. Alex. Dobbin's next assistant was the Rev. Robert Kelso, who was ordained on the 31st October, 1907.

A native of Co. Donegal, he was born at Tullygay, Letterkenny, on the 11th March, 1877, and brought up in First Letterkenny Church during the ministry of the Rev. John Kinnear, who was elected Liberal M.P. at Westminster. He studied at Magee University College, Derry, and Assembly's College, Belfast. After being licensed by the Presbytery of Letterkenny on the 14th of April, 1903, he became assistant in Donegall Road Presbyterian Church until he received his call to Boardmills.

When the Great War broke out many young men in the district joined the Forces, and in August, 1916, the Rev. Kelso joined the Army as a Chaplain, and was immediately sent to France. He served with the Royal Irish Rifles until his demobilisation in November, 1919. During his absence the congregation was in charge of the Rev. R. W. Dodds, superintendent of the Kinghan Mission and the Rev. Dr. R. H. Beattie, a retired lieutenant-colonel from the Army Chaplain's Department.

As a token of thanksgiving for victory, the congregation installed an organ and decided to purchase individual communion cups. These gifts, together with a brass shield with the names of those who had fought in the Great War, were dedicated on the 6th June, 1920.

The esteem and respect which Mr. Kelso was held in the countryside was shown in 1924, when it was learned he was about to be given a call from a Co. Derry church. A deputation from his own congregation and Killaney Secession Church asked him to remain as minister of the united congregations (1). He agreed, and in June, 1925, Mr. Moody, minister of Killaney Secession Church, and his congregation, were received into the General Assembly. Mr. Moody then resigned for reasons of health, and on the 30th July, 1925, Mr. Kelso was installed as his .successor.

For the remainder of his long ministry-he died on the 16th June, 1950-Mr. Kelso worked to weld his two flocks into one, a task which he fulfilled. He was an outstanding figure both in the life of the Church and in public life, and his ready and jovial manner and keen sense of humour, made him a welcome visitor in the homes of his people.
 

(1) See Appendix.

 

REV. A. HAROLD GRAHAM. B.A.


REV. A. H. GRAHAM, B.A.

The present minister of the congregation is the Rev. Arthur Harold Graham, B.A., who was ordained on the 17th October, 1957. He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Graham of Ballymena, and was brought up in connection with the High Kirk Church in that town. Educated at the local Model and Grammar Schools, he then went to Magee University College, where he distinguished himself by obtaining a first prize in Mental and Moral Philosophy, and a first prize in Ethics. He graduated at Trinity College, Dublin, and completed his theological studies at New College, Edinburgh, and Assembly's College, Belfast. After being licensed by the Presbytery of Ballymena Mr. Graham then spent two years as assistant minister of Sinclair Seamen's Church, Belfast, under the Rev. J. A. McFarland, M.A.

On the 26th August, 1958, the Rev. Graham married Miss Frances Olivia Hemphill, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Hemphill of Drumquin, Omagh, and is the father of three young sons.

Shortly before the Rev. Graham's ordination the congregation suffered a serious loss in the death of the session clerk, Mr. David Maxwell, J.P., the third generation of his family to act as elders in Second Boardmills. Mr. Maxwell loved his church, served it zealously, supported it liberally, and counselled it wisely. His gift for friendship, his warm hearted nature, his upright example, made him a much loved member of session. As its Clerk for many years, and as Congregational Treasurer, he served his church tirelessly. (1)

During his lifetime Mr. Maxwell had presented the church with a new organ in memory of his wife, and a bequest he made to the church enabled the choir box to be removed, and a choir platform made. This improvement, together with new choir chairs and other furnishings, was dedicated on 4th January, 1959, by Rev. Professor (now Principal) Wilson, D.D. This is an important date in the history of Boardmills Presbyterianism, as that evening, for the first time, a united communion service was held with First Boardmills, and has been repeated every year since.

Mr. Graham's ministry has witnessed large scale improvements in the congregational property-a new kitchen and cloakrooms have been built to the hall, both church and hall have been redecorated, the manse has been modernised, and to meet changing social conditions an extensive car park has been provided.

During his brief ministry in Boardmills the Rev. Graham has gained the hearts of his people by his sterling character, earnestness and transparent sincerity, and we pray that he may be long spared to exercise his varied gifts among the people who have called him to lead them as they seek to advance the Kingdom of God in Boardmills.
 

(1) Memorial Minute.

ELDERS IN THE CONGREGATION

Unfortunately no record remains of the names of elders during Mr. Shaw's and Mr. Downes' ministries. I have, however, been able to trace a list of representative elders during this period:-1817, John Bennett; 1824, John Edgar; 1828, 1838, John Dunwoody; 1829, 1839, 1840, Richard Corry (Currie) ; 1830, Thomas Skelly; 1832, George Alderdice; 1835, Thomas Wilson; 1836, James Martin.

The members of session at the time of the Rev. A. Dobbin's ordination were:-John Bennett, Drumalig; William Walker, Creevy; James Shaw, Loughenny; Andrew McBride, Carrickmaddyroe; and John Pettigrew, Drumra.

On 25th February, 1857, the following members were added:-Joseph Crothers, Bresagh; Orr Bennett, Ballycarngannon; David Maxwell; and William Martin, Drennan (clerk).

About 1874 William Baxter, David Maxwell, John McKee, Drennan; and James Little, Carricknaveagh (clerk), became members of session.
During the ministry of the Rev. J. W. Dobbin, on 12th May, 1904, the following were ordained as members of session:James W. Shaw, Robert Innis and John Dales, who became clerk following the death of James Little in January, 1912.

Mr. Kelso's ministry saw the ordination, on 22nd May, 1924, of Samuel Wm. J. McKee, David Maxwell (clerk), William Welsh, and Andrew Shaw, the latter still happily with us.

Four new names were added to the session when James G. Dunn, J. R. Jamison, W. W. McKee and R. J. Shaw (clerk), were ordained, during the ministry of Rev. Pickering.




 

List of Elders who attended the General Assembly
1853 James Bennett 1914 James W. Shaw
 1854 John Pettigrew 1915 James W. Shaw
 1856 Andrew McBride 1916 James W. Shaw
 1857 John Barnett 1917 Robert Innis
 1860 Orr Bennett 1918 Robert Innis
 1861 David Maxwell 1919 Robert Innis
 1862 David Maxwell 1923 Robert Innis
 1868 John Dunn 1924 Samuel Dunn
 1869 David Shaw 1925 David Maxwell
 1870 David Shaw 1926 Wm. John McKee
 1872 John Dunn 1927 Andrew Shaw
 1876 John McKee 1928 William Welsh
 1878 James Little 1929 Samuel Dunn
 1879 William Baxter 1930 David Maxwell
 1880 John Dunn 1931 Wm. John McKee
 1882 John McKee 1932 Andrew Shaw
 1883 David Maxwell 1933 Wm. Welsh
 1885 James Little 1934 Samuel Dunn
 1887 John McKee 1935 David Maxwell
 1888 David Maxwell 1936 Andrew Shaw
 1889 John Dunn 1937 Wm. Welsh
 1891 John Dunn 1938 Wm. Welsh
 1894 John Dunn 1939 David Maxwell
 1896 David Maxwell 1940 Andrew Shaw
 1897 John Dunn 1942 Samuel Dunn
 1898 John Dunn 1943 David Maxwell
 1899 James Little 1944 Andrew Shaw
 1901 James Little 1947 David Maxwell
 1903 James  Little 1948 Wm. Welsh
 1905 James  Little 1950 David Maxwell
 1906 James  Little 1951 Wm. Welsh
 1907 James  Little 1952 David Maxwell
 1909 James  Little 1954 David Maxwell
 1910 James  Little 1955 David Maxwell
 1911 James  Little 1956 David Maxwell
 1912 James W. Shaw 1962 J. G. Dunn
 1913 James W. Shaw

 

 

 

 

List of members of Second Boardmills congregation who subscribed to the Church and Manse Fund of the General Assembly in 1854

         
  James Shaw   John Rice  
  John Bennet    Robert Gillespie  
  William Walker   David Martin  
  Robert Dunn   Robert McCullough  
  Andrew Shaw   David Dunwoody  
  James Martin   William Baxter  
  Mrs. Wm. Martin   Thomas Martin  
  Hugh Graham   James Graham  
  John Welsh   Robert Graham  
  Wm. Shaw   James Corry  
  Robert Lecky   Thomas Graham  
  James Gibson   Wilson Stewart  
  James Maxwell   Hugh Nesbitt  
  Aaron Moorecroft   Joseph Lecky  
  Andrew McBride   William Meikle  
  Samuel Welsh   Hugh Martin  
  Thomas Corry   John Graham  
  John Gibson   Mrs. Patterson  
  John Dunn   Joseph Dunn  
  Orr Bennet   John Gilmer  
  Misses Maxwell   David Medoll  
  Anne McCartney   Alexander McIlveen  
  James Simpson   William Ball  
  Andrew Robinson    Sarah Ferguson  
  Thomas Kelly   David Maxwell  


 

Appendix

ORIGIN OF KILLANEY CONGREGATION

In 1818 the Burgher and Anti-Burgher coalesced to form the Secession Synod, and in 1840 the Secession Synod and the General Synod of Ulster united to form the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. Although the union was welcomed by the great majority of ministers and congregations, some sixteen ministers protested against the union, but in the following year eight of these joined the Assembly. The other eight instituted themselves into the Original Secession Synod, and declared that, in future, they intended "to embrace such openings, as may fairly present themselves, for the continuance and extension of the Secession cause."

Such an opening soon presented itself in Boardmills. A large number of the congregation of the former Burgher Secession Church (now First Boardmills) objected to their con gregation having joined the General Assembly. The objectors seized the meeting-house and refused to let their minister, the Rev. George Hay Shanks, conduct the services. The Rev. Shanks sought the intervention of the Assembly in 1845, and Dr. Cooke and Dr. Stewart, two eminent clergymen, were appointed to seek the intervention of the landlord, to settle the matter. His Lordship's mediation resulted in an amiable settlement, in which the congregation agreed to pay the retiring members the sum of three hundred and fifty pounds on condition that they resigned all claims to the meeting-house.

The Seceders used the money to build a new church within sight of the church they had left. The church was opened in 1846, and the first minister, the Rev. Thomas Clugston, a native of the Newtownhamilton district, was ordained on the 11th March. The site of the new church was given by John Dunwoody, Carrickmaddyroe, a cousin of the Rev. Ebenezer Martin, Drogheda, and the Rev. John Dunwoody Martin, Tullyallen. Mr. Dunwoody's granddaughter married the Rev. George Laverty of Tyrone's Ditches, who is still remembered by the older members of Killaney.

Mr. Clugston and his congregation did not live in harmony with Mr. Shanks and his. During the winter of 1854-55 an outbreak of cholera swept through the district, and in the face of death animosities were temporarily forgotten, and the two congregations, together with that of Second Boardmills, held united prayer meetings. It was at one of these prayer meetings, in January, 1855, that the Rev. Clugston, referring to the union of 1840, rather tactlessly described the General Assembly as being composed of a "set of mongrels," and those Seceders who had joined the General Assembly as "nothing better than a pack of vile apostates." At these remarks the meeting went into an uproar, and the Rev. Shanks rose and proposed that Mr. Clugston and he should meet on a week-day and hold a public debate on the subject of the 1840 union.

Mr. Clugston agreed, and a public debate was held before a crowded audience in First Boardmills Church on the 8th March, 1855. It had been agreed that a report should be pub lished, but each speaker later claimed that his opponent's report of the debate had been altered and improved. As a result, both reverend gentlemen published their own version of the debate, and we possess a copy of each.

In 1869 the Secession Synod sounded its death-knell, when its ministers decided to receive the Regium Donum as a terminable annuity rather than commute, as the Presbyterians did, thus founding the Sustentation Fund. The Killaney congregation thus became liable to pay the whole of their minister's stipend, following the death of Mr. Clugston on 23rd December, 1884.

Mr. Clugston was succeeded by Mr. John Moody, B.A., a nephew of the Rev. Joseph Moody of Cullybackey R.P. Church. Mr. Moody was an excellent pastor who succeeded in moltifying the mutual asperities aroused in the preceding generation, and when it became obvious that a successor would be difficult to obtain, due to the lack of licentiates in the Secession Synod, and the fact that each congregation had to be self-supporting. Mr. Moody and his congregation of 93 families were received into the General Assembly. Mr. Moody died on the 23rd December, 1926.