21/06/2013 – McGinley unveils Ulster History Circle plaque in commemoration of Frances Makemie in Ramelton
Friday, 21st June—The Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Dinny McGinley T.D., will be in Ramelton, Co. Donegal today at 2.30pm to unveil a plaque in commemoration of Frances Makemie, founding father of Presbyterianism in America.
Frances Makemie was born in the Ramelton area in 1658. Barred from attending a university in Ireland because of his religion, he obtained his degree in Glasgow. In 1682 he went as a missionary to Maryland, where he established four Presbyterian congregations. In the following years he travelled throughout the Colonies as a preacher and by 1706 he had seven missions working in the area.
In 1707 he was arrested in New York for preaching without a licence. Refusing to give his word to the authorities that he would stop preaching, he was sentenced to six weeks in prison. He was eventually acquitted of the charges and the case is considered to be a landmark for religious freedom in America.
In 1982 An Post issued a special stamp to commemorate the 300th anniversary of his ordination.
This is the first of five commemorative plaques that the Ulster History Circle will erect this year in commemoration of five famous Ulster Scots. These plaques are funded by the Ulster-Scots Agency.
Speaking in advance of the unveiling, Minister of State McGinley said: “I am delighted that this Ramelton man who worked so tirelessly and so devotedly to what he believed in is being commemorated today. This series of plaques is a very interesting project and both the Ulster History Circle and the Ulster-Scots Agency deserve praise. I hope that the plaques will provoke public interest in the people they commemorate.”