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Reverend William Martin: Covenanter Preacher and Revolutionary Patriot

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 18, 2002


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by Heather South

'The venerable form of Martin, the preacher, came in sight… he was a large and powerful man, with a voice which it is said might have been heard at great distance.’

"There have been many descriptions applied to Reverend William Martin; Presbyterian, preacher, patriot. Each term expresses a definitive characteristic. However, it is not until these notable individual qualities are combined and placed into their historical context that an accurate portrayal of Martin and his significance to the Carolina Piedmont can be ascertained.

William Martin, son of David Martin, was born on 16th May, 1729 at Ballyspallan, parish of Tamlaght Finlagan, County Londonderry, Ireland. He entered the University of Glasgow, Scotland, in 1750 where he studied for three years. Upon graduation in 1753, Martin began his studies of theology and on 10 October 1756 he was licensed by the Reformed Presbytery of Scotland. "

This article looks at Reverend William Martin, the first Covenanter minister ordained in Ireland. He was installed as pastor of the Ballymoney societies in County Antrim on 2nd July, 1757.