McFarlands & Septs in Ireland: Part 4-The Glorious Revolution, Siege of Londonderry, Battle of Boyne
McFarlands and Septs in Ireland
By Mary Helen Haines, ©2013, revised 2015
The “Glorious Revolution,” the Siege of Londonderry, and the Battle of Boyne
In 1685, King Charles II of England died and was followed by James II, his openly Catholic brother. Catholics of Ireland (both English and Irish) were delighted with the change, and enjoyed the new ascendancy in local politics. When a son was born to James in 1688, opponents in England plotted an overthrow. The Whigs in England invited William Prince of Orange, the Protestant son-in-law of James, to come to England and take the throne in what came to be called in England the Glorious Revolution.
James, however, did not go away quietly; he asked for help from King Louis XIV of France, who sent troops to Ireland where they joined with James and his Irish Catholic supporters. While the Irish Catholic troops were gathering arms and mustering, so too were the Ulster Protestants. One of the most important leaders of the Ulster Protestants was Sir William Stewart, grandson of the first Baron, and now Lord Mountjoy since 1683. This title came from Mountjoy Castle that his family had leased from the monarchy. Lord Mountjoy was also Governor of Derry. Always a loyal supporter of the Stuart kings, Sir William had no good options. Trying to forestall another war in Ireland, William went to Paris to see King James. Upon arrival, he was locked up and then spent the war years in the Bastille. He was finally repatriated in 1692; however, he died in battle a year later fighting for King William. (Gebbie, pp. 41-42)
McFarlands & Septs in Ireland
By Mary Helen Haines, ©2013, updated 2016
Presbyterian Congregations in Ireland
The presence of Presbyterian ministers in Ireland meeting with congregations goes back to the earliest years of the Plantation in 1611; however the first Presbytery was not established until June 1642 at Carrickfergus with five ministers and four ruling elders from Scotland. They accompanied the troops sent from Scotland to defend the Ulster Scots during the uprising that was occurring. In the meantime back in England and Scotland, the Civil War resulted in King Charles I execution. The Ulster Presbytery met in 1649 in Belfast and condemned the King’s execution, which meant they could not be trusted by Parliament. Lord Protector Cromwell made it clear that all Presbyterian ministers would be arrested if they did not take an Engagement Oath (Loyalty Oath), which led many to flee to Scotland. More persecution followed with the Act of Uniformity in 1662 which stated that all ministers must be ordained in the Episcopal manner; therefore the Irish Presbyterian Synod, which last met in Balleymena in 1661, did not meet again until 1690. Everyone had to pay tithes to the Established Church (Church of Ireland), consequently Presbyterian ministers who were willing to financially scrape by with whatever support they could muster locally, conducted services in private homes and occasionally built “meeting houses” outside city walls. (Kirkpatrick, pp. 24, 29, 30, 31)
Nevertheless, the Presbyterians continued to meet and build places of worship. In the area west of the River Foyle, the Laggan Presbytery was established, consisting of today’s County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. There are nine congregations here that trace back to the 17th Century.
The oldest congregation in the Laggan district is Monreagh, where Robert Cunningham was the first minister from 1644 to 1655.
McFarlands and Septs in Ireland
By Mary Helen Haines, ©2014
Immigration to America
Starting in the 1600s, Scotsmen who lived in Ireland began thinking that life in America might offer more economic opportunity as well as full freedom to practice their Presbyterian religion. A classic history of this migration and its many causes can be found in James G. Leyburn’s 1962 book The Scotch-Irish- A Social History. There was minimal immigration before 1700 from Ulster, but the years 1718-1719 opened the floodgates bringing an estimated quarter million Ulstermen to America by the time of the American Revolution. (p. 157) For many Americans of Scots-Irish descent, tracing back to a particular locale in northern Ireland can be difficult. My purpose in this article was to gather as many McFarland names that had dates of passage and places of origin attached. This might prove helpful to some of you searching for that connection. Due to the length of the list, I have limited it to the McFarland surname in the early immigration years; however the sources listed might be useful to Wilsons, Williams, Robbs, Blacks, and the many more MacFarlane septs.
In most of the ship records I have found for McFarland families, the port of departure is Londonderry. This is logical and goes along with the scant records available that show McFarlands mostly living in Donegal and Tyrone, rather than the eastern part of Ulster.
From the research done by Charles Knowles Bolton we know that several McFarland families were part of the big migration that took place in 1718 and 1719. In these earliest years, ships did not keep records of their passengers; however we know by the earliest tax records and church records in Scots-Irish settlements in America who arrived on these early ships. Among the earliest settlers in Massachusetts were Daniel McFarland from County Tyrone, and his sons Andrew McFarland, John McFarland, and James McFarland, who seems to have arrived first. (Bolton, p. 183) James ended up in the area of Brunswick, Maine near the Canadian border. In Chester County Pennsylvania, Robert McFarland and his sons Robert and James McFarland came to an area named by the settlers in 1722 Donegal township that today is Lancaster County. (p. 271)