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Ulster American Folk Park

Meeting House

Old World, building 7

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This Presbyterian Church or “Meeting House” is a replica based on the church at Mountjoy, County Tyrone. Meeting Houses were the focal point of the Ulster Presbyterian community. Ulster emigrants took this idea of community with them to the areas they settled in America. The Presbyterian Church was very important in 1700s-1800s eastern America.

Thomas Mellon worshipped in it as a boy. He described it in his autobiography as ‘The venerable old structure built in the shape of a T and roofed with straw thatch’.

He remembered a visit with his father. He refers to the pew where he sat and the little round pulpit from which Mr McClintock delivered his lengthy sermons.

“There it was a square box with a hinged door, a narrow board seat and very high back. I well-remembered that the backs of the pews were so much higher than my head that I could not see over. And there too about half way up on the opposite wall still remained the little round pulpit with a sounding board some six or eight feet above it. Eight extremely narrow winding steps led up to this sacred desk of a place. The floor was flagstone and the pews and pulpit of hand worked deal boards, a species of yellow pine”.

Look for the sounding board above the pulpit. This acted like a loudspeaker. It helped to project the voice around the church.