Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 2004-05 > 1084848482
From: Scott and Catherine Hunter <>
Subject: Searching For Ulster Scots
Date: Mon, 17 May 2004 19:48:02 -0700
I'm new to the list and thought I'd write and see if anyone can help
me with my search for my Ulster Scot ancestors.
The earliest indiviudual we know of is Nathan Hunter, born in 1643
in the Township of Randalstown, County Antrim, about fifteen miles
northwest of Belfast. In about 1787, Nathan and his wife, Mary Young
Hunter of County Down, brought their nine children to the US,
settling in Frog Level, SC, now known as Prosperity. (My book on the
Hunters, if I ever write it, will of course be called From Frog Level
to Prosperity, the Hunters of Newberry County, SC). They joined a
group of fellow Ulstermen already in SC, who had emigrated in 1774.
They were led by James Young, Mary's brother, one of the first elders
of the Prosperity Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church. Because
this church was the American version of the Scot and Irish Seceder
Church, I have assumed that Nathan and hid family had been Seceders
According to Volume 19 of Ordinance Survey Memoirs... Parishes of
County Antrim VI, there was a Seceders' Meeting House in Randalstown
, built in 1753 for the Burgher Associate Synod, then taken over by
the Presbyterian Synod of Ireland ("Seceders"). But it also says that
the first"Seceding minister"in the parish, the Reverend John Smith,
was ordained to it in 1786.The town's first Presbyterian meeting
house was built in about 1630. This same book states that the
inhabitants of Drummaul Parish were almost exclusively of Scottish
descent emmigrating first in about 1611, then again during the
"persecution of 1641", but especially between 1680-1695, encouraged
by Rose O'Neill, Marchioness of Antrim and an ardent Presbyterian.
But then two paragraphs down the author states, "The family of Hunter
allege that their ancestors came to this country with Henry II."
Presumably, this would have been in 1171, when Henry brought an army
to Ireland and took control of the island for England. I'm told it's
highly unlikely that many soldiers would have made it up to Ulster if
they had remained behind after Henry went home, but the question
As if this weren't confusing enough, a few years ago a fellow Hunter
genealogist reported that he has seen a "church letter" written in
Clough, County Antrim in 1787, and signed by Pastor, Rev. Joseph
Douglass and elders Thomas Gaston, Robert Boyd, and Nash White. This
seems to be a kind of letter of reference for the bearer, Robert
Drennan, so that he and his family "... who have all behaved
themselves honestly, soberly, and inoffensively, may all be received
into any Protestant dissenting congregation in the universe, for
anything ever heard of or known by us". Robert's son married a
daughter of Nathan Hunter and, we believe, emigrated with my Irish
ancestors. Clough is about ten miles north of Randalstown, and not to
be confused with the Clough in County Down.
In the winter of 2000 I traveled to Northern Ireland, where I spent
several days at PRONI and spent a day in Randalstown. I looked at
many records of County Antrim Hunters, viewed the various essential
sources, such as the Drummaul Parish's Protestant Householders List,
rental records, Griffith's Valuation, Randalstown's Presbyterian
Church records, etc., but, found no definite traces of my ancestors.
Now I am planning a second trip and will have at least several days
to continue the search for my ancestors. Can anyone offer any advice?
Does the information I've given here make sense? I plan to spend more
time at PRONI running down the Clough lead, and see what additional
records are in the files, and I'll probably visit Clough itself,
although I'm told there's not much there in terms of genealogical
sources. Can anyone offer any suggestions, or other help? Any advice
will be greatly appreciated.
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