Former US senator expected in Upperlands to trace American founder

Charles Thomson
Charles Thomson

The stars and stripes will be fluttering in the breeze over Upperlands and Maghera for this weekend’s visit of 80 members of the ‘Sons of America Revolution’ (SAR) from the USA.

The group is coming to visit the birthplace of Charles Thomson, who was born in Gorteade in 1729, before going on to pen the Declaration of Independence.

Thomson, a close associate of the US President George Washington, was first Secretary of the Continental Congress and designer of its Great Seal.

The SAR delegation’s visit is being hosted by Magherafelt District Council with the assistance of Maghera Historical Society.

It was announced earlier this year that the group, which includes retired federal judges, US Navy Commanders, a retired Admiral, a former Governor and several retired US Army and Airforce Generals, was planning to visit south Derry.

It is expected that it will contain a former Senator who is a descendant of one of those who signed the Declaration of Independence.

The local District Council is hoping the trip will help boost tourism to the area.

Local Sinn Fein councillor Gabhan Falone said: “Sunday’s visit to Maghera and Gorteade is one of extreme importance in terms of showcasing our local tourism potential as The Sons of the American Revolution will be publishing a comprehensive report on their visit to Maghera in their in-house magazine which reaches 100,000 readers.”

He pointed ou that there had been much good work done in Maghera over recent weeks in the run up to Sunday’s visit.

“Local people are commenting positively on the artwork which was produced by local school children and others and which has been put on display outside local businesses as part of a local art-trail which tells the story of Maghera and its citizens who shaped our local history and that of the United States,” he continued.

“The art project was funded by PEACE III and facilitated by Maghera Cross- Community Partnership and artist Lucy Turner.”