Monday, 8 August 2016

Martha Craig (1866-1950) - a Sesquicentennial Commemoration

Martha Craig was born on this day in 1866. I first noted her name as a reputed neighbour of the McKinley family of Conagher, between Ballymoney and Dervock. I decided to go in search of Martha last year but found her not in north Antrim but in south-east  Antrim, on the high ground between Larne and Carrickfergus and close by the village of Gleno.

Martha, the astronomer

She was born in Carneal, in the parish of Raloo, the daughter of William Craig and Mary Nelson. Mary was a close relation of teenager Willie Nelson who was hanged in 1798 during the course of the United Irish rebellion. Stories about events surrounding the rebellion appear to have had a profound influence on young Martha. She was a remarkable woman yet her remarkable exploits have almost completely disappeared from the public mind. What follows is a brief glimpse into an extraordinary life:

Martha, member of the Henry Joy McCracken Literary Society




Martha on the trail of Hiawatha




Martha, the inventor

 Martha, first woman to lecture at University of Salamanca


Martha, the poet




Martha's final resting place
St Columba's graveyard in Gleno

Canada's Early Women Writers
[added 15 August 2016]