The map to your right shows the approximate location (in red) of the Parish of Raloo, County Antrim, Northern Ireland today. The community was built by immigrants from Scotland in the late 1500's or early 1600's. Raloo's relative distance from the towns of Larne and Carrickfergus is about six miles. The distance across the North Channel to Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland, the home of our Scottish ancestors, is about 55 miles.
To picture to the left is believed to be the home of Samuel Blair and Esther Crawford as it appears in modern times in the Parish of Raloo, Northern Ireland. Samuel and Esther lived in this house until their deaths, Esther in 1852 and Samuel in 1866. In his will Samuel went on at length that the property he bequeathed was "not to be sold to anyone who was not of the BLAIR name." This house was the birthplace of Nancy (Blair) Knox. Note that Samuel was a very common name in many Blair families and this Samuel was just one of many in this line.
The "new" Raloo Church was built in 1838 and exhibits the plain Scottish style of architecture. Immigration and the famine of the 1840's certainly took its toll on the area. While the village of Raloo in 1995 has two churches, only one family lives in the area, while nearby Larne & Carrickfergus have prospered.
To the left is pictured the Raloo Cemetery. The old Raloo church was in the middle of the graveyard. Its existence today is evidenced by a mound of stones. As you can see it has not been well cared for over the years. The arrow points to what appears to be a GHOST! The spooky image showed up on the film after development. It appears as a dense floating cloud of gray. I guess an ancestor just wanted to say, "Hi", to photographer and descendant, Nancy Knox Schaffer.
Below left: This is the oldest surviving tombstone in Raloo Cemetery. It is the stone of Nancie BLARE Crawford. It reads: "Here lyeth the body of Nancie BLARE wefe of Patrick Crafovrd Febry. 21st Arie 1691." Below center is a picture of the front gate of Raloo cemetery. Below right is the tombstone of the Nancy (Blair) Knox's parents, Samuel and Esther (Crawford) Blair. The badly flaking tombstone reads:
"Erected by Samuel Blair in memory of Esther Crawford, his loving wife
who died 4th Mary 1852 aged 68
She trod the path of honour bright
The whole course of her life
She was a tender mother
Likewise a loving wife
Also the above Samuel Blair of Ballyvallough
who died 2nd March 1866 aged 82 years."
(Photos on this page were taken by Nancy Knox Schaffer. Translation of Esther Crawford stone "honour bright" supplied by N. Lister on 4/8/2016- she found a gravestone for a Ross ancestor buried in Glynn with the same inscription.)
For a listing of other BLAIR tombstones in Raloo cemetery visit, "The Blair Society."