Ties ‘strong and deep’

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Ties ‘strong and deep’ thumbnailUS Consul General Dan Lawton is presented with a book on Dervock. WK09-14TMBM

WE AMERICANS celebrated President's Day this year on February 19.
It's a federal holiday and a holiday in most states as well.
I am very pleased to be making five visits over the course of five days this month to five sites in this region that have strong family connections to American Presidents. And I am particularly happy that this "Five Presidents in Five Days" outreach takes me to Dervock, where William McKinley, our 25th President, has strong ancestral ties.
This year marks a significant milestone in the remarkable story of the Ulster-Scots, or Scotch-Irish, and how their contributions helped shape the destiny of the American nation. Three hundred years ago, the first organized groups of emigrants from this region boarded ships in Belfast, Larne, Londonderry, Newry and Portrush for the New World.
In the years leading up to the early 1800's, over a quarter of a million men and women made the journey.
One of these emigrants was James McKinley, a farmer from the townland of Conagher near Dervock. While history has clouded much of the detail surrounding his passage, we do know that 100 years after his departure in 1743, his great, great grandson - our 25th President - was born.
William McKinley received his first education in the public schools of Niles in eastern Ohio. His father was an iron manufacturer. In 1852, the McKinley family moved to Poland, Ohio, so that the children could attend a private school there. Graduating from Poland Seminary in 1859, William attended Allegheny College in Pennsylvania for a short time before illness forced him to return home.
*Read the full story in this week's Chronicle


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