Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Rev. David and Mary MacGregor of Londonderry

This stone is located in Derry, New Hampshire at the Forest Hill Cemetery, in the section known as "First Settlers". These honored gravesites of the Scots Irish founders are marked by an iron fence around their plot. The town was known as Londonderry at the time the Reverend James MacGregor was pastor of the First Church, which is located adjacent to the cemetery. Please note, he was not married to the Mary inscribed across the bottom of his stone!

Memento Mori
Eth mors indies accelerat tamen
Virtus poit Funera vivet
Here lies the dust of him who did provide
Salvation to lost souls in Jesus's Name
His Master call'd to give the great Reward
To those who here ye Flock of Christ regard
The Revd Mr. David Macgregore Son of
The Revd James Macgregore first
Minister in Londonderry
Died March 5 1729
In the 68th Year of his age
To his Memory this Monument
is erected by his Relict and Children
Relict of
Rev. David McGregore
died Sept. 28, 1783

detail - click to enlarge
As his gravestone states, James MacGregor was the first minister of Londonderry, and was considered the leader of the band of Ulster Presbyterians who traveled from Northern Ireland to the New World in 1718. He was probably born in Scotland about 1677 and ordained on 25 June 1701 in Northern Ireland. It is said by tradition that he was in Londonderry, Ireland at the time of the Seige, and he ws the young man who climbed the city wall and fired a gun to tell the inhabitants that the relief ships approached. When the settlers arrived in New Hampshire in 1719, he lead the first religious services under a nut tree near Beaver Lake, which was why it was first called "Nutfield" until renamed "Londonderry".

His son David became the minister of West Londonderry and his wife was Mary Boyd, who is memorialized here at the bottom of her father-in-law's gravestone. Reverend James MacGregor's wife was Marion Cargill, daughter of David Cargill and Janet Smith, married in Aghadowey on 29 August 1706. Mary Boyd was supposedly orphaned at a young age, and was a foster child of James and Marion.

For more information:

Memoir of the Rev. James MacGregor, D.D. by Rev. George Patterson, Philadelphia, 1859

The History of Londonderry, Comprising the towns of Derry and Londonderry, NH., by Edward Lutwyche Parker, Boston: Perkins and Whipple, 1851

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. I am grateful to Heather Wilkinson Rojo for posting this. I hope to visit this grave next month to honor the life of my ancestor, the Rev. James MacGregor.

    1. I'm so glad you made this connection! Don't forget to visit the First Church, too, and the Derry History Museum.

  2. I, too, am very grateful to Heather Rojo for this posting! We are headed to Londonderry and Holderness in October. I will now be able to visit my 7th great grand uncle, Rev. James MacGregor. You are amazing, Heather!

    1. I'm glad you found my blog, and soon you'll find the gravesite. It's easy to find if you park behind the First Parish Church and walk straight through the gate and down the lane to the "First Settlers" about half way down on the left.

  3. He is my 8th great grandfather :)

  4. Thank you for posting these beautiful pictures and information. I was very surprised to find this information on my 6th great-grandfather Reverend James McGregor. I find it very interesting that he was instrumental in bringing potatoes to North America. I remember helping my grandparents on their Farm in Michigan plant and harvest potatoes. Little did I know the connection I had to this awesome food when I was a teenager in the fields helping my grandparents.