THOMAS GIVEN J. P.
POET AND FARMER
Born in 1850,Thomas Given, who was descended froman ancient Scottish family was a well-known and popular figure in Cullybackey and the surrounding district. In his early life he spent some time in America. On returning he applied himself to the pursuit of scientific farming, possessing some of the best cultivated land in his locality and became a very successful farmer. He took a deep interest in everything to do with the welfare of the farming community and was a member of the County Antrim Agricultural Association since its inception.
He was elevated to the magistracy of the County of Antrim and in this position he exercised his undoubted tact and business acumen. As a Justice of the Peace he frequently presided at Ahoghill Petty Sessions and sat on the bench at Ballymena.
Thomas Given was also a gentleman of great literary talent and an earnest scholar. It was in verse that he showed his great love of nature and some of his poems appeared alongside those of two of his brothers in the book, “Poems from College and Country by Three Brothers,”published in 1900. Some of his poems also appeared in the local newspapers under the nom-de-plume “Cullybackey Auld Nummer.”
A prominent Freemason, it was mainly through his efforts that the Masonic Hall in the village was erected in 1882 for the use of the Cullybackey Lodge.In politics he was a staunch Unionist and took an active part in the political happenings of the time.
Thomas Given passed away on the 2ND August 1917, in his sixty-seventh year, at his residence, Markstown, Cullybackey and was laid to rest at Kirkinriola, Ballymena.