Sunday, December 16, 2007

"Watts"-up obeedúid~ ??? (episode 1)

Friends have asked: "Whats up?" "No new posts... everything O.K.?"

I think to myself, New Job... Managing my kids lives... Second job and the long hours... well actually three if you count counseling and praying for friends and family... Christmas Rush season... only 1/3 of my gifts gathered so far... Life in general I guess.

Then I think, Life has always been full and you always managed to write before. Maybe I'm not up to it now. Maybe I'm not interested just now. Maybe, I need a break. But, this used to be my break....

Actually, I have been busy writing, more busy researching actually.

I had planned to do a transcription of the letters as a Christmas Gift Chapbook for friends and family. Then I found myself sidetracking and tangenting.

Right from the get-go.

Here's what happened:
The first transcription (not including the documents from my Great Great Great Grandfather Robert Gilmour's certificates in the Order of the Orangeman) is the hand written marriage certificate dated "Nov'r. 24th 1859."

Here is a transcription:





Robt. Gilmour


Mary Pollock

Nov'r. 24th 1859

This will certify that Robert Gilmour

and Mary Pollock were by me joined

in wedlock, Nov. 24th 1859, according

to the usage of the Presbyterian Church

and in conformity with the laws

of the State of Pennsylvainia


Robt. Watts,


Westminster Church,


Given at Philad"a

Nov. 24th 1859

My Great Great Great Grand parents and their siblings lived much of their earlier lives in Manhattan before moving to 174 Claussen Place in Brooklyn. Robert and his family were Coopers in the busiest port city in America at the time. They started out life and business in "Americae" on Pearl Street just South of the infamous Five Points a few hundred yards south of the Five Points Mission that later replaced the Old Brewery Tenement.

You can click on this image to enlarge for better viewing;
the location is approx where the "t" is in "Pearl Street"
Map legend: B-3 upper right hand corner.
This map is a little newer than the time period and lacks some of my reference points, but I just love its look and style. The Brewery/Mission of "Gangs of New York" fame was located where the "r" is in "Park Street"

They were married in Philadelphia Pa. by Reverend Robert Watts, an Ulster Presbyterian transplant who came to this country from Moneylane, County Down during the famine/diaspora. Mary (Pollack) Gilmour was from Port Rush and arrived in this country with her parents at about the same time. Robert Gilmour was from Killaloo. What made them go to Philadelphia to get married ?

I suspect that Mary's father James Pollock was a member of Westminster and so they traveled there by train to be wed.

NOW FOR THE SIDETRACK TANGENT: As Robert Watts will be a character in "A Wasterly Gale" I have been researching him as well. Guess what, no surprise to me he was quite the character!

...this is what I have gleaned so far:

*WATTS, Robert, author, born in Moneylane, County Down, Ireland, 10 July, 1820. He removed to this country and was graduated at Washington college, Lexington, Virginia, in 1849, and at Princeton theological seminary in 1852. He entered the ministry of the Presbyterian church, established the Westminster church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1852, and became its pastor in 1853.

After the attack on Fort Sumpter in the spring of 1861, at the General Assembly of the Presbetyerian Churh in America, "The Irish-born Rev. Robert Watts of Westminster Church in Philadelphia reminded the Assembly that they “were indirectly called upon by venerable men to divide the Church.” Watts was convinced that the church might yet succeed. “There had been nothing yet to prove that the Old School Presbyterian Church has not in her ranks a conservative power, which might blend together in one Union the entire States of this Confederacy.” Further, Watts argued that scripture called the church to honor the civil magistrate, but it never required the church to pass resolutions of support. It is interesting to note that the only person to question the constitutionality of the Spring resolutions [contenting that they were unconstatutional and called for the Presbetyerian Church in America to indirectly devide into separate entities Union/Confedrate] was an Ulster Presbyterian (who would return to Northern Ireland to teach theology in the Assembly’s College in Belfast from 1866-1895).

In other words, as I interperate the transcrirptions of these proceedings, Reverand Watts wanted the General Assembly to take no action or not take sides, which would thereby force the Southern Presbeterates to take the side of the States that they were located in. I believe that he wanted them to remain nutral and above the conflict, hoping that the Church and the Country would yet avoide Civil War.

This is the title page of a pamphlet he published in 1861

…When conflict became unavoidable and war insued Reverand Watts:

...returned to Ireland, and he was installed as pastor in Dublin in 1863, and in 1866 was appointed professor of systematic theology in the Assembly's college at Belfast.

He later published "Calvin and Calvinism" (Edinburgh, 1866) ; "Utilitarianism " (Belfast, 1868); "What is Presbyterianism? "(1870) : " Prelatic Departures from Reformation Principles" (Edinburgh, 1871) ; "Arminian Departures from Reformation Principles" (1871) ; "Atomism" (Belfast, 1874); " Herbert Spencer's Biological Hypothesis " (1875) ; " The Doctrine of Eternal Punishment" (1877);" The New Apologetic" (Edinburgh, 1879) ; " The Newer Criticism" (1881) ; and "The Rule of Faith and the Doctrine of Inspiration" (London, 1885). (1)

Robert Watts made a name for himself in 1874 by replying to John Tyndalls famous address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Tyndall used his address to argue for the superior authority of science over religious or non-rationalist explanations.

Obviously conflict followed him...

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