THE life of one of the world’s most wealthy and powerful men is to be marked at the place of his birth in County Tyrone.
Thomas Mellon was born 200 years ago on February 3, 1813 in a small farm at Camphill in the townland of Castletown in Co.Tyrone to humble Scottish immigrants, farmers Andrew and Rebecca.
To mark the 200th anniversary, the Ulster American Folk Park near Omagh is bringing back to life his iconic birthplace, the Mellon homestead which is the centrepiece of the outdoor living history museum, by re-enacting Mellon’s return to his roots when he was 69 years old, his first visit since emigrating at the age of five.
The event, “How It All Began” will take place on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 February. On Saturday the re-enactment will be followed by a talk from Dr Brian Lambkin, from the Mellon Centre of Migration Studies, on the Life and Times of Thomas Mellon.
Richard Hurst, Visitor Services Manager at the Ulster American Folk Park said the event has profound historic resonance.
“Thomas Mellon is the embodiment of the American dream; his achievements from humble origins to an exceptional career are still held up as a model of the American ethos,” said Mr Hurst.
“The special event which re-animates aspects of Mellon’s life including a return visit he made to the place of his birth, is both informative and entertaining and a very clear reminder of the cultural proximity that exists between Northern Ireland and the US,” he said.
In 1818 Thomas and his family joined his great-grandfather, Archibald Mellon, who had emigrated to the United States, settling in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s life story, Mellon enrolled at university and later embarked in a remarkable career as a judge, banker, entrepreneur, and millionaire. The founding father in Pittsburgh of one of America’s richest business dynasties, he died on his 95th birthday in 1908, survived by his wife Sarah and five children.
The re-enactments will take place Saturday 2nd February at 12.00pm and 2.00pm and on Sunday 3rd February at 1.00pm and 3.00pm. Normal admission rates apply. For information visit http://www.nmni.com/uafp