Talking to Strangers

One of my favorite things in Ireland was meeting people. Everyone was so nice and helpful and willing to talk. Our visit to the Kilraughts Reformed Presbyterian Church was no exception.

We hadn’t planned on attending the meeting there, but we were happy we did. The greeter at the door helped us get hymnals and Bibles for the service and then showed us to a pew on the right side of the room just in front of a mother with two teenagers. She kindly welcomed us and asked a few questions about who we were and what brought us to the area. After the sermon, we talked some more with the family and learned they were the reverend’s family. I told her about my connection to the area and she took me to talk to her husband. That conversation led to the revelation that the first minister of this congregation was William John Staveley, one of the son-in-laws of my 7th great-grandfather, John Adams.

William John Staveley (WJS) was born 12 October 1780 to William and Mary (Donaldson) Staveley. WJS followed his father’s career path in becoming a minister about 1803. He married John Adams’ youngest daughter, Jane, in 1807. They would have seven children. Before coming to Kilraughts in 1805, WJS was the reverend of a church at Kirkhills, about 5 miles to the north. He was the reverend of the Kilraughts Reformed Presbyterian Church for 28 years. WJS died 4 December 1864 at the home of his son-in-law.

The current reverend pointed us to the plaque in the vestibule with a list of all the reverends of the church and to the headstone in the churchyard out front. Then he took us to the session room behind the pulpit where pictures of each of the reverends hung.

We probably would have missed all of these things had we not engaged with the other church goers.

This post is part of my Ireland Genealogy Trip series.

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