The Cahans Exodus

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In the 1690s and early 1700s Presbyterians came to the Ballybay area of Co Monaghan in sizeable numbers. They began to worship together at Derryvalley, 2 km west of Ballybay. The first congregation was known by the parish name of Tullycorbet. About 1698 the first minister, Humphrey Thomson was ordained and ministered until his death in 1744. His successor died after 3 years and no minister was found for a further 3 years. Then came Thomas Clark.

A Patronage Act (1712) resulted in appointments to Presbyterian congregations in Scotland being made by patrons. This right of congregations was inhibited, if not totally denied them. The Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) was divided and with the withdrawal from it (November 1733) by Rev Ebenezer Erskine and others (Erskinites), a Secession Church came into being.

In time Secession ministers appeared in Ireland. An outstanding one was the Rev. Dr. Thomas Clark He arrived from Scotland in 1749, having studied medicine as well as theology. For two years he was an itinerant evangelist for the Secession cause in Tyrone, Armagh, Down and Monaghan, before settling in 1751 as minister of Ballibay (sic), later to be known as Cahans.

Dr Clark was imprisoned from January to April 1754. It was alleged by an envious neighbor that he held "treasonable principles". He was adjudged wrongfully imprisoned eventually.

Perhaps this experience and a general feeling of oppression led Clark and about 300 other emigrants in what is called the Cahans Exodus, to make the pilgrimage of Scotch-Irish to America. After corresponding with Robert Harpur, it was arranged for a boat to be at the Narrow Water, near Newry, from where they went via Stillwater, New York to Salem, New York. A splinter group went to South Carolina upon arriving in New York.

The Cahans Exodus was a remarkable undertaking, with up to 300 members of Clark’s congregation making a move to the American Colonies, traveling from Ballybay to Newry, sailing 10th May 1764 on the Ship “John”, arriving in the New York harbor 28th of July, 1764. The primary account reads that two ships were used from New York, to then sail north towards Albany.

After several years in Salem, New York, Dr. Clark again migrated in 1782 to lead Lower Long Cane Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and Cedar Creek (later Cedar Cane) in South Carolina.

The goal of this project is to connect the many families that trace their roots to the exodus. Holders of the Turner Patents correspond closely to Dr. Clark’s group. The Argyle Patent predates Dr. Clark’s arrival as do many of The Sundry Patents of Washington County. The other group of settlers of New Perth, now Salem, have been called The Pelham, Massachusetts group.

Here are some of the tasks that need to be done. We could use your help:

  • Identifying wiki tree pages of members of Dr. Clark's Congregation
  • Assembling a list of sources

Salem United Members noted by Asa Fitch are:


Salem United Members recognized by Church records or other sources are:


Long Cane Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church Members are:

While various references state a number of Cahans Exodus members migrated with Rev. Dr. Thomas Clark to North Carolina, specific original sources need to be located. Many of the below parishioners likely arrived on the ship The Earl of Hillsborough, Christmas Eve, 1766, and arrived in Charleston, South Carolina February 19, 1767. The Hillsborough group has been described as: two hundred and thirty protestant settlers, encouraged by the large bounty given by this province, and the success their countrymen have met with in their several settlements here." (South Carolina and American General Gazette, February 20, 1767 as cited by MacMaster)


  • Robert Bibson
  • Robert Foster
  • James McBride
  • Arthur Morrow
  • Mr. Patterson
  • William Robinson
  • Elijah Sinclair


The 1797 Membership list:

  • David Anderson
  • James Anderson
  • John Anderson
  • Adam Beard
  • Hugh Beard
  • John Beard
  • John Beard
  • Simon Beard
  • Simon Beard
  • Charles Beaty
  • John Beaty, Sr.
  • John Beaty, Jr.
  • John Black
  • Mary Black
  • William Black
  • Elizabeth Boggs
  • Mary Boggs
  • James Bonner
  • Robert Bradford
  • Patrick Bradley
  • William Buck
  • John Campbell
  • John Campbell
  • Elizabeth Chalmers
  • Alexander Clark
  • William Clark
  • Andrew Cochran
  • David Cochran
  • James Cochran
  • William Cochran
  • George Con
  • James Conn
  • John Cooey (Couey?)
  • Robert Corley
  • Joseph Couey
  • Robert Cravin
  • Robert Crawford
  • Enos Crawford, Jr.
  • William Dale, Jr.
  • John Deal
  • William Deal, Sr.
  • John Devlin
  • John Diffur
  • John Douglas
  • Martha Downey
  • Andrew English, Jr.
  • William Etward
  • Andrew Ewart
  • William Fife
  • Griel Findley
  • Collen Forbis
  • James Forbis
  • James Foster
  • John Foster
  • Robert Foster
  • William Foster
  • James Foster, Sr.
  • James Foster, Jr.
  • James Foster, Jr.
  • Samuel Foster, Sr.
  • Samuel Foster, Jr.
  • Alexander Gaston
  • John Gaston
  • Elias Gibson
  • John Gibson
  • Robert Gibson
  • Pat Gibson, Jr.
  • John Gilmer
  • Mary Glasgow
  • James Gray, Sr.
  • James Gray, Jr.
  • Jane Hannah
  • Frederick Hart
  • James Hawthorn
  • James Hawthorn
  • George Hearst
  • John Hearst
  • Joseph Hearst
  • Robert Hearst
  • Thomas Hearst
  • William Henderson
  • Adam Hill
  • William Hill
  • Francis Hunter
  • Agnes Irwen
  • Andrew Jones
  • Joseph Jones
  • Robert Jones
  • Thomas Jordan
  • Malcolm Kays
  • David Kenedy (Kennedy?)
  • John Kewn
  • Robert Kewn
  • Rowland Kewn
  • John Kown
  • John Kown
  • John Leard
  • Samuel Leard
  • Samuel Leard
  • John Learry
  • James Lesley
  • John Lesley
  • Ann Lessly
  • Joseph (James?) Lindsey
  • Thomas Lindsey
  • Abraham Little
  • George Macbeath
  • Robert Margey
  • Angus Massey
  • Hugh McBride
  • James McBride
  • James McBride
  • James McBride
  • John McBride
  • John McBride
  • Thomas McBride
  • Thomas McBride
  • William McBride
  • Michel McClimmins
  • James McClinton
  • John McClinton
  • Samuel McClinton
  • Samuel McClinton
  • Samuel McClinton, Sr.
  • Samuel McClinton, Jr.
  • Andrew McCormick
  • Hugh McCormick
  • James McCormick
  • Arthur McCrery
  • Hugh McCullough
  • John McCullough
  • Robert McDonald
  • William McDonald
  • William McDonald, Jr.
  • George McFarlin
  • John McGaw
  • Rosanah McKinney
  • Robert McMical
  • James McMillan
  • Thomas McMillan
  • Margaret Meaben
  • Thomas Mealey
  • John Miller
  • Archibald Morison
  • James Morrow
  • John Morrow
  • Arthur Morrow, Sr.
  • Arthur Morrow, Jr.
  • John Morrow, Sr.
  • John Morrow, Jr.
  • Mary Ann Nannaway
  • James Nelson
  • William Nelson
  • William Norris
  • Jane Patten
  • Alexander Patterson
  • James Patterson
  • John Patterson
  • Samuel Patterson
  • Andrew Paul
  • John Pinkerton
  • John Pressly
  • Samuel Pressly
  • William Pressly
  • Gennit Quin
  • Pat Quin
  • Marget Riley
  • John Robertson
  • William Robinson
  • Agnes Rogers
  • Timothy Russell
  • James Shanks
  • Matthew Shanks left Belfast on the Earl of Hillsborough on Christmas Eve, 1766 and arrived in Charleston, South Carolina February 19, 1767 as part of a group of "two hundred and thirty protestant settlers, encouraged by the large bounty given by this province, and the success their countrymen have met with in their several settlements here" - South Carolina and American General Gazette, February 20, 1767. (as cited by MacMaster)
  • James Smith
  • Robert Smith
  • Alexander Spence
  • Samuel Spence
  • Samuel Stewart
  • William Stewart
  • Robert Taylor
  • Archibald Thompson
  • James Thompson
  • John Thompson
  • Archibald Thompson, Jr.
  • Anthony Tittle
  • Peter Totten
  • John Tygart
  • Jane Vickery
  • John Waddle
  • Edward Wailes
  • Nat Weed
  • Reuben Weed
  • Nathanial Weed, Sr.
  • Henery (Henry?) Weems
  • Bart. Weems, Sr.
  • John White
  • William White
  • Andrew White, Jr.
  • David Wiley
  • Thomas Wiley
  • Gilbert Wilson
  • John Wilson
  • John Wilson
  • James Young
  • John Young
  • Samuel Young

  • Membership list actively being researched. Dual listings likely represent multiple generations. The 1797 list included in Dr. Nora Davis’ work in 1940 is above, located at


Salem, New York Source Library

  • The Asa Fitch Papers
  • Winston Adler,The History of Salem 1764–1976: A Bicentennial Project of the Asa FitchHistorical Society(Salem, N.Y.,1976).
  • John Farmer and Jacob B. Moore,A Gazetteer of the State of New Hampshire(Concord, N.H.,1823) andHistory of Pelham, Mass. From 1738 to 1898(Amherst, Mass.: Carpenter and Morehouse,1898).
  • Patten, J. (1928). History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near sandwich, De Kalb County, Illinois : With ancestral lines of the early members : Patten, Jennie M., 1854- : Free download, borrow, and streaming : Internet archive. Internet Archive. (p. 1-6)

McCormick, South Carolina Source Library

  • Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. (1905). The Centennial History of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church 1803-1903.


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My 7x great grandfather Archibald Tod was a part Dr. Clark's Cahans Exodus from Ballybay, County Monaghan. We are connected in that his son John Todd, brother of my 6x great grandfather Robert Todd, along with another Tory named John McCloughlin (and married to John's sister), stole a yoke of oxen from your ancestor John Lytle. They drove the team to the camp of British General Burgoyne. For his Tory sympathies, John Todd eventually was forced out of Washington County and removed to Ontario.

I would love to be part of this Cahans Exodus page.

With regards, Rick Todd

Archibald Tod —> Robert Todd (b.c.1740 —> John Todd (b.c.1765-1814) —> John Todd (b.c.1792-1870) —> John Todd (1815-1861) —> Charles Russel Todd (1846-1916) —> William Alexander Todd (1871-1961) —> Charles Ralph Todd (1896-1977) —> Richard Riggs Todd (1929-2018) —> Richard William Todd (1953-)

posted by RW Todd