A Twenty-eight Inch Square Parchment
by Rev. David T Myers
It is now a tattered parchment, smaller in size than when originally signed, in the hands of the Historical Society of New Hampshire, recording the names of three hundred and nineteen Scots-Irish immigrants. Most of the names were legibly written, with just thirteen signed with a mark, indicating that they could not write, but who wished to be included in the total number.
The following was attested to by these signatures: “We whose names are underwritten, Inhabitants of ye North of Ireland, Doe in our own names, and in the names of many others, our Neighbors, Gentlemen, Ministers, Farmers, and Tradesmen, Commissionate and appoint our trusty and well beloved friend, the Reverent Mr. William Boyd, of Macasky, to His Excellency, the Right Honorable Collonel Samuel Shute, Governour of New England, and to assure His Excellency of our sincere and hearty Inclination to Transport ourselves to that very excellent Plantation upon our obtaining from His Excellency suitable encouragement. And further to act and Doe in our Names as his prudence shall direct. Given under our hands this 26th day of March, Anno Dom. 1718.”
In short, here was a written appeal requesting approval to move to America to the powers that be of 319 persons, adults and infants. In that request, they would be successful to travel to the new shores of America.
Our focus today is on the appointed agent who was sent to these shores, a Presbyterian minister by the name of William Boyd. The latter minister was educated at the University of Edinburgh, receiving a Master of Arts and Divinity degree. He later studied at Glasgow College and University. Ordained as a minister of the gospel on January 1, 1710, he began to pastor a Presbyterian congregation in Ireland. When given an opportunity to affirm the Westminster Confession of Faith, he gladly placed his name down as a supporter of the confession.
The Presbytery requested that he take the above document to the Governor of New England. He did, and received from the latter his approval, although it may be noted that their idea of welcoming the coming Scot-Irish was to place them up in Maine as a buffer against the French-Indians of Canada!
Sending the welcome approval back to the folks waiting for the green light by another person, William Boyd stayed an extra period of time in the American colonies. Eventually he did return to Ulster, with excellent commendations of Rev. Cotton Mather. The latter wrote that the Rev. William Boyd adorned the doctrines of God our Savior; that he had an unblemished conduct in the quest and left a good name and reputation, with commendable conduct.
Rev, Boyd continued on at McCasky Presbyterian Church, North Ireland until 1725 and finished up his pastoral ministry at another Presbyterian Congregation. After a long pastorate there, he went to be with the Lord.
Words to Live By:
In his only printed sermon, Rev. Boyd preached on Jeremiah 6:16, “Thus says the LORD, Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls.” God’s Way is truly the Best Way, which was Pastor Boyd’s title for this sermon preached in 1719. It was applicable for those who took part in that Scots-Irish emigration to the colonies. It is applicable for our faithful subscribers who seek to serve our Lord and Savior this new year of 2018. Dear reader: Memorize its words, and follow its commands in your home, church, and society. In so doing, God says, you will find rest for your souls this year.