The Ulster-Scots Language Society, formed to promote the Ulster-Scots language, our own hamely tongue

Samuel Turner

Taken from the Introduction to The Complete Works of Samuel Turner

Samuel Turner was born in Ballyalbana, in the parish of Ballyeaston, in 1804, of humble but honest parentage. His education was, therefore, limited; three months at a night school being all the learning he got after he was 14.

While still a young man he met with an accident, which prevented him following an active occupation, and being of a retiring and studious disposition, he bent his energies towards self-improvement, and so far succeeded that he was capable of teaching school before he was 20 years old. The ruins of this old house in Ballyboldy may still be seen. After spending a number of years in Ballyboley he was appointed schoolmaster in Loughmorne National School, near Carrickfergus. At that period he wrote articles, prose and verse, for the Larne Monthly visitor, a periodical then in circulation. He also compiled an almanac, known as "Smyth's Belfast Almanac" for a number of years, and contributed charades, enigmas, etc., which he received from all counties in Ireland, as well as from America. In 1835 a schoolhouse was built in Ballycorr, about a mile from Ballyclare, and some time after he was appointed teacher, and removing from Loughmorne he resided at Ballycorr till his death, which occurred in 1861. He was married twice, one son survives the second marriage.

He was practically a self-taught man, who by sheet perseverance attained a wide reputation for his educational abilities, while his kindly disposition and unassuming manner mad for him a host of friends. He was a keen antiquarian, and possessed a large collection of curios, such as petrifies, old flints, and coins of ancient date, specimens of which are still in the family. His efforts at verse, though crude and wanting in polish, nevertheless contain some merit and sentiment, and are mostly composed in the dialect of the locality where he lived so long, while the exploits of the Freebooters Ohaughin are a household word to the present day.

David Turner (son of Samuel)