The Progeny of Captain John McBride

(See accompanying chart III)

In the year 1935 a certain historical writer, Sam Henry, published an article in the Ulster-Society Year Book, outlining the Pedigree of the famous American poet, Edgar Allen Poe. From his excellent article we discover that the McBride's, whose story we tell, and the poet of international fame have a common ancestor: none other than Captain John McBride, circa 1620. In the pursuit of Poe's genealogy, Mr. Henry tells us, through brief summaries, of the accomplishments of a dozen or so individuals, of whom he gives this appraisal: "A brief resume of the story of these men will interest - -readers, and indeed, all who admire the qualities that go to make supermen."

Having spoken of Captain John McBride respectfully as a Cromwellian Officer, Mr. Henry then labels him "The Covenanter." Early in his life this John associated himself with a great many others who championed the cause of religious freedom by supporting the famous document known as The Solemn League and Covenant. His signature, affixed April 8, 1644, stands as a pledge to help make it meaningful.

His son John, known as "Reverend," gained great eminence in his ministerial duties." The product of turbulent times in the reigns of King Charles II and King James II, he stands out as an independent thinker. It is said that he not only opposed tyranny, but spiritual arrogance as well, often taking exception to some of the dogmatic views of his fellow churchmen. But despite his controversial nature he carved his niche in the hearts of his fellow men. Indicative of the esteem in which they held Reverend John is the credit given him for providing his parish with a new church in a most desirable location. Mr. Henry tells us that members in those days could say with pride: "Here we are in Rosemary Street, by the help of our good McBride. On this pleasant spot of ground he planted us, when it was an open field with the scent of rosemary about it."

In 1697 Reverend John was a moderator of an ecclesiastical council, The Synod of Ulster, Northern Ireland. He died July 21, 1718, near age sixty-eight. His body lies interred in the churchyard at St. George's, High Street, Belfast, Ireland.

The people of whom Mr. Henry writes are in the direct line of descent from Reverend John. His son was another reverend, Robert of Ballymoney, Antrim County, Ireland. Robert's son, another John, gained great distinction as an admiral serving in the Royal Navy. The admiral's son, John David, became a highly learned and respected educator, the Principal of Magdalen Hall at Oxford. Thus, one in each of four successive generations, these men stood out as uncommon men. Each dared, in his own element, to stay in the public eye and promote the work he had espoused. In strength of character and in deeds, they seemed to be above the ordinary.

Of these men Mr. Henry gave this further appraisal: "The McBride's were a fighting stock. John (the reverend) fought tyranny and spiritual arrogance. (His son) Robert of Ballamoney fought shy. (Do not know what he means by the word shy) His (Robert's) son, John, Admiral of the Blue, fought the enemy; David, his (Admiral John's) brother, fought disease; and (Admiral) John's son, John David, Fellow of Magdalen Hall, Oxford, fought ignorance."

Of special significance is the Reverend Robert of Ballamoney and his progeny. Though not of the controversial nature of his father, this man, nevertheless, followed him into the ministry. Robert gained great admiration in his own parish where he served forty-three years. Mr. Henry writes this of Reverend Robert McBride: "Those who enter St. Patrick's Church, Ballamoney, will observe on the left-hand side, a few pews from the door, a metal tablet on which is inscribed:

Near this place lies the body of Rev. Robert McBride, Minister of the Presbyterian congregation in this parish. He was universally loved and lived in friendship with the good men of all persuasions. He died on 2nd September, 1759."

It seems few men have won the esteem of his brethren as did this Robert. In 1728 he served as Moderator of the Ulster Synod, the capacity in which his father had also served.

Other than John, the admiral of whom we have already spoken, Reverend Robert had two other children, David and Jane. A great deal can be said about David. He became a medical doctor, first a surgeon in the Royal Navy, later a practitioner in both Ballamoney and Dublin. Aman of an inquisitive mind, an ardent student and experimenter, he received medals of honor from the Royal Dublin Society and the Society of Arts. A man of great fame and wealth, Dr. David McBride fought scurvy and other maladies. According to Mr. Henry he somehow became "the proud possessor of the original document (Solemn League and Covenant, which his great-grandfather, Capt. John, had advocated) so signed, which finally found its way into the Belfast Museum."

The story of the attainments of the generations of the McBrides from Captain John does not end here. (See accompanying chart - marriage of Jane McBride to John Poe.) As already mentioned, the Reverend Robert had a daughter, Jane McBride; and it is through this talented young lady that the world acquired one of its most renowned personages, none other than the internationally famous poet, Edgar Allen Poe.

Jane McBride married John Poe in 1741. John was the son of David Poe, a farmer. This couple migrated to America (Pennsylvania), in 1748-'49. Of ten children born to them, a son David became a quartermaster in the army during the Civil War. This man's son, also named David, studied law in Baltimore. He married a widow named Elizabeth Arnold, an actress.

The second son of this marriage was Edgar Poe. When Edgar was two years old his parents died. Subsequently adopted by a Mister Allen, a tobacco magnate, Edgar took his new father's name; hence, Edgar Allen Poe.

The fame of this personage of irrepressible temperament need not be reviewed here. His unique talents spiraled him to the pinnacle of attainment as "America's first great critic, its greatest poet and its greatest short story writer." The accompanying chart clearly shows Edgar Allen Poe as one of the men of remarkable achievements in the descendants of Captain John McBride, through his son, the Reverend John.

We note with more than a passing interest that this Captain John McBride, whose progeny is the object of Mr. Henry's article, is the same individual with whom our family story begins, as outlined in chapter I and indicated by the chart on page IV And though research has produced but a faint profile of the man, it has identified in his descendants, a lengthy retinue of people of worthy achievements, and of more than ordinary moral and spiritual fiber.

Beyond the one whom we know as Captain John are many other Scottish ancestors we would like to get acquainted with; not just names, but real people, who would, no doubt, help us appreciate more fully the attributes that go to make our lives more interesting and productive. The compelling desire to know the stripe of men and women from whom our heritage is derived is the stuff that fuels the fires of genealogical research.

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