Sinton Family Trees header image
This transcription is intended SOLELY for the non-commercial use of family history research.
The History of Ballyhagan and Richhill Meetings 1654 - 1793 - 2004
Chapter 9
Reminiscences about some Friends in the Meeting

In recording the history of some churches, the work is simplified in that certain happenings can be classified as taking place during the pastorate of a certain minister. In a Friends' Meeting conditions are quite different, as each individual in the congregation plays a vital part in the life of the meeting. There are those who appear to take little vocal, or public part and yet their service and contribution to the spiritual life of the group maybe incalculable. In looking back over the last hundred years it is inevitable that several individuals must be mentioned by name, as they seem to have occupied a more prominent role than others, whose names are not recorded in this way and yet these un-named Friends played an equally, valuable part in the development of the meeting and their service is not overlooked or forgotten.

The following, letter was written almost thirty years ago, to a Friend, in the meeting, by Edmund Allen (1863-1951) then in his 87th year. These reminiscences carry us back in thought to the Friends who occupied the seats in the gallery of the meeting house more than 100 years ago.

Eventide Home,
Co. Down.

2nd 6th month, 1950

Thanks for your letter received this morning and kind invitation to spend the weekend and attend the Quarterly Meeting at Richhill. I would dearly love to do so, but the fact is that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak and the time has come when I have no desire to move around more than I can possibly help..

Richhill Meeting and its surroundings have a very warm place in my heart, for rny thoughts wander back to more:than eighty years ago, when as a small boy I went regularly on Sunday and Thursday mornings (in the poney gig) with my good old grandfather (98) (who I spent my childhood with) and in imagination I can see the four Friends who sat on the gallery at that time. The Friend on.the left was an old man named Jacob Allen (no relation), who, I think resided where Jackston Chapman now lives. Next to him was Benjamin Mackie, who was a sincere and good old Friend, next him was Ephraim Allen (my grandfather). (98) The fourth was Harriet Nicholson from Tallbridge. (99) They were all old Friends, quite advanced in years and most of them passed away about seventy years ago. My grandfather died in 1878.

Then came a younger generation to occupy the seats on the gallery. Alexander Allen, (100) from the Retreat, my father and mother, Ephraimi Allen and Eliza Allen, (101) Jane Murray, (102) and they in due time were called away. When I came back from Australia a younger generation had taken their places .........

Harriet Nicholson of Tallbridge, referred to by Edmund Allen had earned the reputation both within the Society of Friends, and in the country side at large, as being, "a great woman", (103) one to whom anyone in trouble, pain, or distress; either mental or physical could go for help and would not go in vain.

James, N. Richardson (104) , towards the end of his deep yet humorous book "The Quakri at Lurgan and Grange” (105) first published in 1877, depicts her as a seer, to whom the valiants described in the book, should go for counsel and advice and the words she spoke to them do not seem to be inappropriate today -

"There dwelIs another seer - -
In mansion flower-embosomed
Spring, summer, winter, fall,
Harrietta Nicholsonia dwells
At bridge beside the Taul (106)
There with her daughter Jana
In mecy's deeds her witchcraft
In friendliness her spells
To her many Quakri brethern,
The modern and the old,
To her go forth with humbled mein,
And your sad tale unfold.

Methinks I see them coming
By sheep fold and by stall,
Past the Rich-hillian orchards
Unto the seer's hall.
Methinks I hear her warning
And words of counsel sage -
The stored and garnered wisdom
Of a long pilgrimage -

Thine Quakor, is the 'Stilness'
Quakor, the 'Feeling' thine
The Mystic Gift, unbought, unpaid,
The Gallery's ordered line -
And thine thos note of wisdom,
That woman, with her train
Of balmier moods and gentle thoughts
Doth here co-equal reign".

In Edmund Allen's reminiscences he mentions his grandfather, Ephraim Allen, and his father, also Ephraim, who was prominently connected with the meeting throughout his long life.

The following account is adopted from the fuller details given in The Annual Monitor for 1917. Ephraim Allen (died 1916, aged 88 years) was a true Friend of the old school, his ancestry dating back almost to the beginnings of Quakerism in Ireland. He carried his principles into every department of his life and his sterling character gained for him the confidence and esteem of all who knew him. He was a constant and punctual attender at Richhill Meeting. He was an elder for forty years and Clerk to the Monthly Meeting for fifteen. Although he was never heard in the vocal Ministry, his life bore witness to a deep inward experience of truth which was rigidly upheld. He was made a Justice of the Peace in 1895 and he carried out his duties with mercy and rectitude.

Apart from a short period spent in business in Dublin, all his life was spent at home on the farm. His marriage to Ann Eliza Robinson was a singularly happy one and her death in 1905 was a lasting sorrow to him. This marriage with a non Friend was the first to occur within the meeting which was not followed by disownment. The south wind was beginning to blow!

Ephraim Allen on his 80th birthday
Ephraim Allen on his 80th birthday

Ephraim inherited the poetic sense in a remarkable degree and has left behind him many poems of literary merit. His strong love of nature and country life found clear expression in many of them. No music appealed to him as the song of the birds appealed and he always looked forward to the return of spring with incomparable joy. The first primrose of the season was to him like the return of an old friend. Always an early riser, he loved to walk through his orchards and fields and interpret God in the glories of His creation.

Ephraim Allen wrote many poems, several of which were published. His longest poem was called "The Song of the Cradle" (107) which describes in narrative form the contemporary events and how it nursed three generations of the Allen family. The following extract from this poem, describes in a graphic way, the marriage of his father Ephraim Allen, Senior, to Ruth Johnson (another member of the meeting), which took place at Richhill Meeting House on 15th of 11th month 1817 (in the reign of George lll).

"This youthful Bridegroom and his Bride
No carriages these guests conveyed
No motors by skilled artists made
This mode of travelling, I may own,
To these good folk was all unknown
For in the good King George's day
Not known or heard of them were they;
But horses, one beyond a score,
Stood saddled at her father's door,
Some for the women, some for men,
And some for both, I know that then
The good old Pillion used to be
A thing that I could daily see,
For horses then were trained, I know,
To carry double, and would go
With pleasant trot and seeming ease
Where'er the rider seemed to please.
Thus on that chill November day
This bridal party went their way,
The women sat behind the men
And clasped their waists, and now and then
A well-timed social, pleasant joke
By either, or by both, were spoke;
Yes, clasped their waists, I've said, this may
Reverse the custom of the day;
But it made them feel secure
And made their balance true and sure.
Then two and two, with one conscent
They left as if on pleasure bent;
Ten dreary miles, both to and fro
This bridal party had to go.
No white robed prelate then was there
To join in one this youthful pair,
No high toned ceremonial rite
This youth and maiden did unite.

No ring was on her finger placed,
No ornaments her person graced,
But neat and simply dressed was she
As country bride might wish to be,
And well she knew the hand of art
No charm to nature could impart
Her Quakeress bonnet hid her face
From vulgar gaze, no costly lace,
No orange blossoms met the eye
Or ribbons of a gorgeous dye;
Not consecrated was the ground
No music filled the air with sound.

The maidens and the stalworth men
Walked arm in arm a pace or two
And sat within the public view
And when a lengthened pause was made
And silence did alone pervade,
The bride and groom were seen to stand
And take each other by the hand,
And with a voice distinct and clear
Which all around might plainly hear,
Said "Ruth I take thee for my wife,
And promise from this day through life,
To loving and to faithful be,
Till death divideth thee and me"
And ere they sat I heard at once
That she in turn made quick response,
And vowed to love, the word 'obey'
No listening ear could hear her say".

One of Ephraim Allen's last poems was written on his 85th birthday, 13th 10th month, 1913, and the following verses are quoted from it -

"Now four score years and five have flitted o'er me,
Swift as the flight of swallow on the wing
Time cannot back one vanished hour restore me,
Or from oblivion one brief moment bring.

And as in retrospect I look behind me,
With vision dim along life's trodden track,
A thousand thoughts crowd up but to remind me,
Of pleasures gone to me that come not back.

I've had my share of mirth and joy and gladness,
And known the sweets of dear domestic bliss -
I too have felt the bitter pangs of sadness,
Too oft experienced in a world like this.

Death with relentless hand my home has entered,
And snatched from me the idol of my heart,
In whose abiding love my joys were centred,
And from whose side 'twas agony to part.

And now while off life's hill-top I am gazing,
O'er a long vista of departed years,
I feel my heart a bounteous Giver praising,
Because He has given me more of smiles than tears.

And when the pale-faced messanger before me,
Shall like a spectre masked and silent stand,
May no dark cloud of doubt be hovering o'er me,
To hide the beauty of the unseen land.

Then may some door be opened to receive me,
Some humble entrance to a home of rest,
Where nought of earth shall come to pain or grieve me
A safe abiding place among the bless'd."

Thomas Chapman on right, with his brother John
Thomas Chapman on right, with his brother John

Thomas Chapman, Battlehill, belonged to a family in the meeting whose members were noted for their longevity. This may have been accounted for in a measure by the simple lives they led, by the plain, wholesome food which they ate, and by the avoidance of excesses in any form.

Quoting from a news item in "The Friend" (108)

"Born on the 11th day of ninth month 1820, it was an interesting event in the history of Richhill Meeting when our dear Friend and Elder, Thomas Chapman attained 100 years.

"On first day the 12th Thomas Chapman made a special effort and got out to meeting, taking his usual seat in the gallery. The attendance was a 'record' one, numbering about ninety, of whom eighteen at least bore the name Chapman. Some ten Friends took part in the meeting, Thomas Chapman himself very correctly and feelingly repeated the Lord's Prayer towards the close of the meeting".

Sarah Jane Chapman's (nee Potts) family, had long association with Richhill Meeting, as her maternal grandfather was Robin Johnson who lived in the neighbourhood of Castle Rawe. He was known to his neighbours as "Thursday Johnson" because of his regular attendance at the mid-week Meeting for Worship at Richhill, four miles away from his home. When his daughter Sarah married a non-Friend, she was disowned, as was the custom of the time. Several of the children of this marriage were sent to Brookfield school, including Sarah Jane, who qualified as a teacher. She returned later to Brookfield as “governess" (head teacher on girls' side), remaining in this position for eighteen years, till her marriage to George Chapman in 1899 in Richhill Meeting House. She was recorded as a Minister of the Gospel in the Society, and her special gift was speaking to the children and young people of the meeting, of whom there was a goodly number at this time. She is remembered for her clear and lively expositions, based on the great characters and events in the Bible. One Friend who was then about 10 years of age remembers Sarah Jane Chapman in her later years. He can, to this day, picture her with the kindly expression on her face, giving the impression of a saint-like quality, telling the well loved Bible stories of David and Goliath, Daniel in the Lions Dens, Samuel and others in such an imaginative and interesting fashion that the children were enthralled. She challenged all to lives of true discipleship, and her various homes, all within a few miles of Richhill were centres of evangelistic effort. Her death occurred in 1932. (109)

In 1886 a Friend from Sibford, England, who was engaged in a clerical capacity in The Bessbrook Spinning Co. Ltd. purchased a fruit farm and fruit preserving business known as Fruitfield, Richhill. (110) This business had been commenced in a small way some years previously by Robert Johnson, a member of Richhill Meeting. Owing to rather poor health and a lack of business acumen together with unwise speculation, the business did not prosper and finally became insolvent. The property had to be disposed of and an arrangement made with the creditors to pay compensation.

The usual practice amongst Friends at this period was that if a member failed in business and was unable to pay his creditors in full they should be disowned. This procedure was followed in this case, after the matter had been investigated by a committee and considered at two Monthly Meetings.

Charles B. Lamb and his young wife, Charlotte Gray, came to live at Fruitfield in the spring of 1887. Over the years, by application, diligence and hard work he expanded and developed the business into a most successful enterprise.

As both husband and wife came from long lines of Quaker ancestry, it was inevitable that they became involved in the affairs of the local meeting. It was like a new injection of life to have Charles B. and Charlotte G. Lamb, and a short time later his brother, Richard Lamb and wife Mary and family settled in the vicinity, joining whole heartedly in the activities of the meeting with their gifts of service and leadership.

In 1899 Charles B. Lamb was recorded as a Minister in the Society of Friends, he also served as Monthly Meeting Clerk and as the years passed he was called to positions of responsibility in both Quarterly and Yearly Meeting.

Their home at Fruitfield and later at Sandymount became centres of hospitality for visitors to the meeting, and their growing family all contributed to the fellowship which existed within the meeting in the first decade of the new century.

The meeting which up till now had followed the traditional Quaker pattern, gradually became more evangelical in character, as indeed did several other meetings in Ulster. Many of the leading members became interested in the furtherance of Home Mission work, as carried out by the Faith Mission, or by Ulster Quarterly Meeting Home Mission Committee (set up in 1900).

Sunday School work received an impetus by improved teaching methods. Charlotte W. Lamb (later Peile), eldest daughter of Charles B. Lamb had from an early age been interested in youth and Sunday School work; in order to become better equipped and to be aware of the newer methods of teaching she attended a course at Westhill Training College, Birmingham. She returned home and commenced an afternoon Sunday School at her home. This school was run on interdenominational lines and attracted large numbers of children of different ages. This involved quite a lot of organisation such as teachers' training classes and, of course, entertainments at Christmas. The school continued for a number of years.

The Friends' Foreign Mission Association which had grown over the years and was operating on at least five fields, had formed a home based supporting organisation known as The Missionary Helpers Union. A branch was formed at Richhill, which met monthly during the winter at different Friends' homes, or at the Meeting House. The purpose was to create interest and give spiritual support to the missionaries, but there was also a practical objective, as these monthly gatherings took the form of work parties, at which both men and women gathered. The men rolled bandages and the women made up garments or produced some other forms of hand work, to be used in the Hospital to which they would be sent. Richhill Meeting had a special interest in Dr. Lucy Harris, who was a medical missionary in China and a box of prepared materials was dispatched to her from time to time.

During the course of the evening when those who were present were busily engaged with their hands, letters from missionaries were read, telling of their work and witness. On other occasions a returned missionary would be present to tell something of the field in which they served. These gatherings were social opportunities, and were looked forward to both by old and young; they continued to be held up to the outbreak of the first world war.

William Henry and Lucy Sinton, who lived at Tamnaghmore, Tandragee, were members of Richhill Meeting but in 1888 they decided to have their membership transferred to Moyallon Meeting. (111)

It was when they were members of Moyallon that William Henry Sinton became greatly concerned about the spiritual condition of those who lived and worked in his immediate neighbourhood, which embraced those in the adjacent village of Laurelvale. In order to meet this need he arranged for a house on his farm to be adapted for use as a Meeting House. A Meeting for Worship, after the manner of Friends, was held there each Sunday morning. The evening meeting took the form of a Mission Meeting with an arranged speaker and was from the commencement exceptionally well attended. An afternoon Sunday School was also held which attracted large numbers.

In seventh month 1900 Wm. H. and Lucy Sinton, together with their five children had their membership transferred back to Richhill. (112) Shortly afterwards a request was received from Ulster Quarterly Meeting that the care of the Allowed Meeting at Tamnaghmore should be handed over to Richhill Monthly Meeting and any applications for membership be made to this body. (113)

Early in 1901 a report to Monthly Meeting was received from a committee, which had been appointed to visit Tamnaghmore. This report was to the effect that the visit had been paid, that there were thirty or forty present, and it was felt to be a favoured time and other Friends were encouraged to visit from time to time. (114)

After a few years Tamnaghmore became a Preparative Meeting and a constituent part of Richhill Monthly Meeting. (1906)

The meeting at Tamnaghmore seemed to fill a useful place in the community, but at times its continuance was uncertain after Wm. H. and Lucy Sinton passed away, as a lack of leadership was evident. However, a new impetus was given, when their youngest son John Henry, and his wife, Dorothy M. Sinton, came into rich spiritual blessing early in the 1920's. As a result the Meeting House was enlarged to accommodate the numbers attending the evening gatherings. A Christian Endeavour Society was commenced at this time which proved to be a source of strength and blessing over the years to many in the district and it still continues.

John Henry and Dorothy M. Sinton on their Diamond Wedding Aniversary
John Henry and Dorothy M. Sinton on their Diamond Wedding Aniversary

John H. and Dorothy M. Sinton bore vocal witness to the change that had taken place in their lives when they responded to the claims of Christ. It became evident that both these Friends had unusual gifts of vocal ministry; one seemed to complement the other. Their special concern was to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and to encourage all who heard to an acceptance of Him. They were both recorded as Ministers of the Gospel in our Society and they exercised their gifts widely within the Quarterly Meeting, as well as amongst the larger Christian Community where they became well known.

They were active workers in Ulster Quarterly Meeting Home Mission Committee for many years. During this period they were involved in evangelism and other forms of Christian service.

In 1935 they were appointed as delegates from Ireland Yearly Meeting to attend Friends' Five Years Meeting, held at Richmond, Indiana, U.S.A. Following this, doors were opened and visits paid to several Friends' Meetings in America where they held missions. This initial visit was followed by ten others, in subsequent years, some of which continued for twenty-three months at a stretch. The purpose of these visits was to hold mission services in Friends' communities, in many of the western states. The message of salvation through Christ alone, found a ready response from many hearts, and the links with American Quakerism were very deep and real. For them it was a joy to be closely associated, during these visits, with R. Ernest Lamb, a former member of Richhill Meeting, who was so widely known throughout the Five Years' Meeting. We are thankful that these Friends are still with us; they celebrated their Diamond Wedding on 19th May, 1979.

R. ERNEST LAMB, 1887 - 1973

Perhaps one of the best known and loved personalities amongst Quakers in the Western States of America, in the middle of this century was a Friend who grew up in Richhill Meeting, R. Ernest Lamb. He was the eldest son of Richard H. and Mary Lamb of Wheatfield, Richhill.

Whilst still a very young man, Ernest left home and spent some of his formative years in Canada and the United States and it was there that he met his future wife, Ruby Hill. After their marriage in 1915 they returned to Ireland. Ernest was closely involved in the management of the home farm at Wheatfield. It was at this period he exercised his acceptable gift of vocal ministry; he also served as clerk of the Monthly meeting and it was evident that he had rare abilities for administration, which made him acceptable throughout the Yearly Meeting. A wide field of service and usefulness seemed to be opening up for him in his home country.

However, his leading was to return to America, which he did in 1922, together with his wife and two young daughters. He linked up with Pastoral Friends in California Yearly Meeting. It was in this enlarged sphere that his main life work seemed to develop. He served as Pastor in several important Quaker Meetings, eventually becoming Superintendent of California Yearly Meeting of Friends, and later Chairman of the Mission Board of the Yearly meeting. A still wider field of service followed as he took up important administrative appointments under the Five Years' Meeting (115) , whose central office was at Richmond, Indiana. Ernest was held in high esteem by the wide circle of Friends amongst whom he served. His gifts were used to the full in promoting and developing Quaker interests in many diverse fields.

Ernest Lamb
Ernest Lamb

A book has recently been published in America tracing in some detail the work he was enabled to carry out by the Grace of God, which was so evident in his life. (115)

Quoting from this book we are permitted to look back to his early days and his reminiscences of Richhill Meeting.

"Being a son of the soil Ernest not only worked on the farm but finally managed it when his ageing father needed him. In Ernest Lamb we have witnessed the blend of home, hard work, diligence in education and the spiritual sensitiveness that was nurtured in an important way by the Quaker Meeting for Worship at Richhill. From the depth of silence he rose ultimately to the stature of a world Friend. He never forgot his debt to his boyhood Meeting.

Ernest Lamb portrays the gathered Meeting for Worship:

'Meeting, in those days was strictly segregated, the women on the right of the central aisle and the men on the left. So far as I recall no woman Friend ever invaded the men’s domain. Later when some marriages had recently been consummated, the man, under authority, would cross over and sit with his bride. Since my father occupied a seat in the gallery (facing benches) I was obliged to sit with my mother on her side of the house. It was a red-letter day when I was judged competent to move across the aisle and put my hat with the men's under my seat.

Centering down in worship was always an impressive experience. As the Quaker poet expressed it God "dropped his still dews of quietness till all our striving ceased". Vocal ministry came out of the silence, sometimes from the body of the Meeting, but more frequently from the gallery where some eight or ten ministers and elders were seated. One of my favourite speakers was Sarah Jane Chapman, who seemed to sense the spiritual needs of the young people and thus spoke to our condition. If the Apostle Paul could have heard her, I think he would not have prescribed silent worship for women. Quakers, however, have never taken seriously, his admonition in that respect.

He remembered Ephraim Allen, who sat as head of the Meeting, and on whom the assembled Friends depended in “timing" the Meeting for Worship. Friend Ephraim seemed to know When Friends “minds were at ease" and the time had come for shaking hands right and left in "breaking" the Meeting, yet Ernest could ‘never remember seeing Ephraim look at his watch’”. (116) (No clock was then installed in Meeting).

A local Friend recalls, that during one of Ernest Lamb's return visits to Ireland, possibly in 1964, when speaking to a gathering in Richhill Meeting House, he pointed out that the old stone steps, at the entrance door to the Meeting House, had been worn smooth, by the feet of men and women and children who for many generations had come here to worship God.

It was something no one else had ever noticed, or referred to, but this fact has deep associations with our heritage at Richhill and is worth pondering over.

“If but one man or woman were raised up by His power to stand and live in the same Spirit, that the Prophets and Apostles were in, who gave forth the Scriptures, that man or woman should shake all the country in their profession for ten miles around". George Fox 1652 (117)

These words of George Fox remind us of the potential influence of the individual who is under the power and control of the Holy Spirit. How we live and act effects others, not only in our own brief lifetime, but also through succeeding generations, who are raised up to carry on the work and witness. This has been evident in Richhill Meeting in a marked degree. John Walker Pelle, was descended from a long line of Quaker ancestry in the North of England. He came to live at Fruitfield, Richhill, after his marriage to Charlotte W. Lamb, in 1913. His quiet, faithful, and consistent life, in the home and in the Meeting, in which he was so fully supported by his wife, had, we believe, a formative place in the lives of the young people who were growing up at that time.

Edith Lamb, the third daughter of Charles B. and Charlotte G. Lamb, attended Richhill Meeting from her earliest days. As a girl, she heard and responded to the call of God. In her case it meant leaving home, training as a Faith Mission Pilgrim and entering the Mission. Edith had a charming manner and personality and her influence on the young people of the Meeting was considerable. Later on, the call came to go out to Japan as a missionary, and it could be said of her that she "was not disobedient to the heavenly vision". After returning from Japan she and her husband, G. Burnham Braithwaite lived in England.

It was through Edith's influence and ministry, that her younger brother J. Charles Lamb, was led into a life of commitment to Christ. He sought to bring this transforming experience into every department of life. His service to the Meeting included acting as Monthly Meeting Clerk and as an elder.

Over a long period "Charley" as he was known locally, so as to distinguish him from his father, was deeply interested in the mission work carried on by Friends' Service Council and he endeavoured to attend the council meetings in London as frequently as possible. The particular field which claimed his support and interest was Madagascar, and his link with this island was further strengthened when he paid a visit there in 1950. He loved the native people, met the missionaries and saw at first hand the various centres where they operated. Another organisation on whose Council he served was the Faith Mission, which had his whole-hearted support in a number of ways. Perhaps his first love was the work carried on by The Ulster Quarterly Meeting Home Mission Committee on which he served for many years, including a period as treasurer. The maintenance of the Sunday evening meeting in Friends' Hall, Rathfriland, was for many years one of his concerns. This involved providing speakers and keeping in touch with the local committee, a service which was faithfully carried out so long as health permitted.

As was remarked at his funeral, J. Charles Lamb was no man's copy, he was a unique character and he made an impact far and wide. He brought zest and enthusiasm to everything he undertook. His death in 1978 followed a prolonged illness.

One source of new life which was felt in the Meeting was on account of several Friends from England and other parts of Ireland, who settled in the vicinity of Richhill and had their membership transferred. (118) Besides, (in addition to those already mentioned) other local people were led to join in worship with Friends, some of whom later on came into full membership. Abraham Loney and his brother Joseph Loney are typical examples. Both these brothers had had a spiritual experience before commencing to attend Meeting. Later on they applied for membership and were warmly received and given the right hand of fellowship. From time to time they were led to participate in the vocal ministry and later on when they set up homes of their own, it seemed the right thing for their wives and families to join the Meeting.

Towards the end of last century, a boy, or rather a young man grew up in Richhill. His father was a member of another denomination in the village. Living near to this family, was an elderly Quakeress of the old school. She wore the Quaker garb and was most particular as to what she said or promised. Her name was Anne Haydock. The young man in question, was profoundly influenced by Anne Haydock and he formed a secret plan to see for himself what a Quaker Meeting was like, and so he plucked up courage to attend. He told the writer, that the first time he went, the Meeting had already gathered, so with considerable trepidation he ventured to turn ?the handle of the door, walk in and take his seat among the assembled worshippers. He was welcomed to the Meeting and returned again on other occasions, soon afterwards he went to Belfast to gain further experience in his chosen trade of Cabinet-Maker. When lodging in Belfast, he found his way to the large Friends Meeting in Frederick Street. It was here that an Elder in the Meeting noticed him in the hall, and spoke to him, enquired his name, where he was from, and where he was staying in Belfast. When he had answered these enquiries, this Elder whose name was John Pim, said “I will go with thee to thy lodgings". So they set out after Meeting to walk to where the young man was staying. When they arrived at the house, John Pim said “I am interested in this young man. Could thee show me his room?" So he went with the landlady and inspected the room and had a general look over the house. He said he was satisfied that it was a suitable place for the young man to stay. He told the landlady to look after this young man well, as he, John Pim, was interested in him and might call again. Thomas William McDonagh, for this was the young man's name, never forgot the kindly practical interest which was shown to him, a young stranger from the country who had attended the Meeting for the first time. During the years spent in Belfast, he continued to attend the Meeting and the Adult School.

When in Belfast, he met and later married a young woman called Madeline Ross. When he returned to Richhill to commence business on his own account, Madeline joined with him in attending the Meeting. Later on they both applied for membership. Madeline, although brought up in another denomination, became a regular and devoted attender of both the First Day and Fifth Day Meetings for worship and she is remembered as one who adorned the doctrine of Christ in an unique way.

Henry Pearson was a member whose antecedents went back for many generations, in fact to Ballyhagan days. From young manhood, Henry was known as a well concerned Friend, and his life might be summed up in the words of Whittier ?

"The Quaker of the olden time
How calm and firm and true
Unspotted by its wrongs and crime
He walked the dark earth through" (119)

He enjoyed reading old Friends' books, of which he acquired a considerable number. One felt that had he been called on to endure persecution or imprisonment for his faith, he would have been prepared to suffer martyrdom, rather than recant one iota, or violate a principle.

When taking his seat in meeting his hat remained on his head and was only removed when he felt the presence of the Holy Spirit - he was known to put it back on if some message was not in "right ordering".

Henry was specially drawn to those members of our Society who held similar views to his own, irrespective of where they lived. From time to time he felt called to visit groups or individuals which led to visits to the United States (twice), to the only known Friend in Iceland, also to Norway and Germany (without knowledge of any language but English) and several Visits to England and Scotland. On his return home, he loved to tell of the interesting Individuals he had met.

He was apprehensive that The Society of Friends was loosing their distinctive message and witness, and were becoming more and more influenced by what other Churches thought and taught. He thoroughly disapproved of singing, especially of congregational singing, and would refuse to accept a hymn book, if offered one, at an ,evening Meeting, where singing was a feature of the service. He was fearless in letting it be known where he stood in these matters, and he was respected for displaying the courage of his convictions. Henry was in a way slightly eccentric, but he was loved and respected by those who knew him best. His death occurred in 1951.

(98) Ephraim Allen Snr. 1797-1878 married Ruth Johnson. Castlerawe.
(99) Harriet Nicholson (nee Greer) 1807-1888 M. John Nicholson, Tallibridge, 1788.1859.
(100) Alexander D. Allen, The Retreat, Armagh (1816-1900).
(101) Ephrahaim Allen J.P. 1828 - 1916; Ann Eliza Robinson 1836 - 1905, Grange. Cottage, Portadown.
(102) Jane Murray, 1826-1908, Tallbridge, daughter of John and Harriet Nicholson.
(103) 2 Kings 4: 8.
(104) James N. Richardson (1846 - 1921), Bessbrook, son of John Grubb Richardson, Moyallon House.
(105) Story in verse in which certain Ulster Quakers are portrayed. Modelled on Macaulay's "Lays of Ancient Rome".
(106) River Tall was a tributary of River Blackwater rising near Richhill which flows into Lough Neagh.
(107) Published 1912.
(108) "The Friend" 1st October 1920.
(109) Based on an account in "Friends' Witness" Fourth month, 1932by Charles 8. Lamb VOL XXV No. 4.
(110) Genealogies of the Harris and Lamb Families.
(111) Minute Richhill Monthly Meeting held 6th 9th month 1888.
(112) Ibid - 5th 7th month 1900.
(113) Ibid - 7th 2nd month 1901.
(114) Ibid - 7th 3rd month 1901.
(115) P. Ernest Lamb, Irish American Quaker. The life, work and wit of a World Friend by Errol T. Elliott 1977.
(116) Ibid - Pages 11 - 12.
(117) Christian Faith and Practice in the experience of the Society of Friends. London. Paragraph 393.
(118) (M) William W Davidson - Late Headmaster, Brookfield, School, also his wife Sarah Jane and daughter Margaret W.
(E) Sarah Jane Chapman (née Poots) - from Brookfield Meeting - wife of George Chapmen. Sarah Sophia Dawson - from Cootehill. Edith E. Lamb (sister of Charles 8. Lamb) - from Sibford, Nr. Banbury, England.
(M) Joseph Spink Gray and his wife Mary - from York, England.
(O) Henry Hardcastle - from York, England - also wife (O) Edith Mary and family.
(119) Poetical Works of John Greenleaf Whittier "A Quaker of Olden Time".
This site is FREE but it does need money to fund research and for upkeep.
If you would like to contribute then please click on the Donate button.
Thank you for your support.
Responsive elements by BOOTSTRAP
Produced using software developed by Bob & Robert Sinton
All rights reserved   © 2002 - 2024 Sinton Family Trees