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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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which he was no mean alumnus, conferred upon him the degree
of Doctor of Divinity.
Rev. Donald Iverach, successor to Dr Mackay, a native of Harpsdale, Caithness, was bom in 1856. First attended the district school at Harpsdale, afterwards the parish school at Halkirk. Was a pupil teacher for four years, and afterwards attended the Grammar School at Old Aberdeen for six months. In 1876 gained a bursary which enabled him to prosecute his studies at Edinburgh University. He took the curriculum and graduated in 1880. During the vacations he acted as tutor to the family of J. H. Davidson, Esq., Old Hall, Caithness. In 1880 he entered the New College, Edinburgh. In the summer of 1881 he was missionary to the Scotsmen who lived at Chapelizod, a village about four miles west of Dublin. In 1882-3, he was missionary in Haddington, and during the winter of 1883-4 acted as assistant to the Rev. Robert Logan, Abington and Crawfordjohn. On the conclusion of his studies at the New College he went to Canonbie, Dumfriesshire, and continued there as assistant to the Rev. A. W. Milne for about ten months.
In 188$ he received a unanimous call to Nenthorn, in the Presbytery of Kelso, where he continued for fourteen years till called to Prestonpans in 1899, where he still officiates with acceptance.
The union of the above churches caused neither sorrow nor rejoicing at Prestonpans, though we remember the time when the United Presbyterian body counted a goodly number of members here. They all attended the late Mr Parlane at Tranent. There are at the present time only four members here who were in connection with the U. P. Church—Mrs and Miss Alexander, and Mr and Mrs George Pringle. George is made of the old covenanting metal; true to the core he will live and die as his father did before him, a genuine United Presbyterian.
The good folks of Prestonpans have not been, as a rule, what may be termed " shifty " in religious matters: true they came out strong at the Reformation period; and no wonder, considering the leaders they had, not only the Hamiltons, who were ever in the van as Reformers, but a Davidson. who—though formerly under the domination of the Pope, latterly, like Knox, whom he followed in denouncing popery—feared the face of neither king nor commoner.
A little over sixty years ago, and while the "ten years' conflict'' raged, a very different lot from the Free Church party attempted to carry the position as ecclesiastical reformers. Who really were the drawers together of this party it would be difficult now to discover. Our impression is that they formed originally a temperance party only, and ultimately met on Sundays and formed a church. Their place of worship was called the " Meeting House "; this was a very large upper flat in Meeting House or Watchmakers' Wynd, a well known close a little to the east of Ayre's Wynd.
This religious body took to themselves the name of " Methodists. " They had no regular preacher, but a somewhat erratic gentleman, a great "total abstainer" or "teetotaler" known as Temperance Thomson, took the leading part. The Meeting House went on for quite a number of years, but the place of meeting never became too small for the Methodists.
The followers of the Prophet Joseph Smith became quite numerous at one time in the district, and they succeeded the Methodists in the Meeting House. Tranent was the headquarters of this body, but between the villages of Prestonlinks, Prestonpans, and Cuthill they had a good following. One or other of these places, as the case might be, was the home and haunt of the three brothers, Johnnie, Ralph, and Willie Smith. Willie worked himself into a good position among miners, becoming coal manager for a time at Prestonlinks and elsewhere. He was a very fluent speaker, and got into great raptures when addressing a crowd. He became a leader among the Mormons.
This was the same Willie Smith who, after getting all his household "dipped" in the "dookin' hole" near Cockenzie, at last prevailed upon his mother-in-law, a sterling old native of the Pans, to get " dipped " too.
The day arrived and the new convert made her way to the " dookin' hole, '' where a large congregation had assembled, for there were many to be "dipped. "
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