As the 1st of October is National Poetry Day we have some details about Rev. William Forbes Marshall - one of the most prominent folk poets in Ulster during the Twentieth Century. Marshall was also an Orangeman.
Born in 1888 at Drumragh, Omagh, he went on to study at the Royal School Dungannon and Queen’s College in Galway.
In 1908 he entered Assembly College in Belfast to train for the Presbyterian Ministry.
Licensed in the Omagh Presbytery, he became the assistant Minister at First Ballymacarret Presbyterian Church before being installed in Aughnacloy and then returning to his home congregation, Sixmilecross, in 1916.
In 1928 he was installed as the Minister of Castlerock Presbyterian Church and remained there for the rest of his life. It was during his time in Castlerock that he wrote most of his poetry and prose, with ‘Me and Me Da’ and ‘Hi Uncle Sam’ becoming some of his best known works.
His verse was found in many homes across Ulster and he gained the affectionate nickname – the Bard of Tyrone.