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Priest's American Civil War buggy rolls into town

By Linda Stewart

Published 08/01/2016

Peter Kelly, head of operations at the Ulster American Folk Park, with the buggy
Peter Kelly, head of operations at the Ulster American Folk Park, with the buggy

An American Civil War buggy that once belonged to a Co Armagh priest who performed a memorable role in the Battle of Gettysburg has gone on display here.

The Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh is marking its 40th anniversary by displaying the wagon and revealing the story behind it.

The horse-drawn vehicle once belonged to Father Arthur Michael McGinnis, who was born in 1835 and was originally from the Dorsey area of Co Armagh.  He left Ireland in 1856, was ordained a Catholic priest and sent to the small town of Gettysburg in 1861. 

Oral family history has it that Father McGinnis was called upon in 1863 to give the last rites to a dying soldier in the Confederate camp outside Gettysburg. 

By the time he got back to the town, the bloodiest battle in the American Civil War was about to start. 

The kindly priest was the first to open his church to receive the dying and wounded of both the Union and Rebel armies.

The buggy will be displayed in the emigrants gallery at the museum.

Further details of events to mark the museum's 40th anniversary can be found at www.nmni.com/uafp

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