Local author Alister McReynolds launched his new book “Kith & Kin”, The Continuing Legacy of the Scotch-Irish in America, in Ballymoney Town Hall on Friday.
In his book Alister presents a collection of life stories that serves to highlight that the Scotch-Irish contribution to life in America was, and is, more valuable and less of a cliché than the images of rascality, motor sports and corn liquor suggest.
The stories of these pioneers, clergy, cavalry men, presidents, and inventors show how the achievements of these characters have pervaded American society to an extent that is often unnoticed and under-appreciated even amongst the Scotch-Irish communities themselves.
At the Ballymoney launch Alister spoke about those in the book with Ballymoney links, including Rev. George Duffield, a key advisor to George Washington, whose father, also named George, was born in Ballymoney in 1690; Rev. William Martin, born near Ballykelly and licensed to preach by the Reformed Presbyterian (Covenanter) Church at Vow, also preaching regularly at Cullybackey, Cloughmills and Dervock; Robert Dinsmoor, the “Rustic Bard” of New Hampshire who published poems, some in English and some in Ullans, the dialect of the lowland Scots language of his ancestors, subsequently settled in Ballywattick on the Coleraine side of Ballymoney.
The book also charts the rise and fall of the McLellan from Ballymoney and Maine. Bryce McLellan, a weaver from Ulster, presented his credentials from Presbyterian sessions in Ballymoney to the congregational Church at Wells Maine.
Alister has lectured all over the States including at The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. Nearer to home he was the presenter of this year’s Ulster Scots Agency sponsored Whitelaw Reid Lecture in Belfast.
Kith & Kin is published by Colourpoint Books and is available from Easons and Waterstones and copies can also be obtained from Ballymoney TIC.