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Ulster American Folk Park

Vestry

Old World, building number 8

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This vestry building sits in the corner of the square yard like the one that partnered the Presbyterian Meeting House at Mountjoy. The vestry is where the minister carried out his study.

Thomas Mellon was born in 1813. He went to church with his family at Mountjoy, less than two miles from his home. He had emigrated to America when he was five years old but details of his life in Ulster always remained fresh in his mind.

When he returned to County Tyrone on a visit in 1882, he recalled childhood memories of the meeting house and vestry. He still remembered very clearly ‘impatiently sitting still’ listening to the long sermons in the meeting house.

On one occasion, before service, his father showed young Thomas this building. He drew his attention to the minister through the window. Thomas’s father told him that Mr McClintock was studying his sermon. Thomas remembered wondering how sitting in there for a long time would have ‘the effect to make him talk so long and so loud up in the pulpit’.

Thomas also remembers asking his father if the preacher ‘could speak like other people if he wished to, or if he always spoke so loud and cross when at home with his children’.    

Look out for the desk, and the bookcase filled with reference books. Imagine the minister sitting at his desk preparing his sermon for the Sunday service.