One of the first Presbyterian churches in Ireland, established during the Plantation era in the early 17th century, was built in the townland of Kilraughts, County Antrim. The congregation later moved 1.5 miles east, but burials still took place at the old churchyard.
My ancestors, John and Elizabeth (Borland) Adams, likely attended this congregation. The church was a little less than 5 miles from the Adams’ home. They would have spent much of the day at church, perhaps even taking a small meal with them to eat between sessions. John and Elizabeth, along with two of their daughters and other extended family, are buried in the Old Kilraughts Churchyard.
The churchyard is set back from the road, surrounded by farmland, and is reached by a grassy lane lined with trees on both sides. At the end of the lane is an iron gate set into a stone wall that marks the boundary of the churchyard. In the middle of the yard, on a slightly raised area, stand waist-high ruins of the wall of the small church. Headstones are found inside the ruins, as well as through out the churchyard.
Just past the the church’s ruined walls, in a tight clump, are the headstones of the Adams and Boreland families. John and Elizabeth’s headstone is in the center of the group with a large table-like headstone for their grandson set against it. Their daughters’ stone stands tall behind them, erected by their wealthy nephew in Augusta, Georgia. Several other headstones of other relatives surround these.
An interesting headstone inside the church walls is for one of ministers of Kilraughts. It reads as follows:
Lieth the Body of
The Rev. Robert Ewing,
Who Was 35 Years, Minister of
The Presbyterian Congregation
He Departed This Life On The 23rd
Day of September 1785,
Aged 67 Years.
By Order of John Adams, Chequer Hall
While the language used is a little funny (did John Adams order Rev. Ewing’s death?), it’s not clear what connection John had with Reverend Ewing outside of church. It has been suggested that the reverend married John’s sister, but any evidence of that hasn’t been found.
This post is part of my Ireland Genealogy Trip series.