Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Killen, Thomas Young

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KILLEN, THOMAS YOUNG (1826–1886), Irish presbyterian divine, son of Edward Killen, a merchant in Ballymena, co. Antrim, was born at Ballymena on 30 Oct. 1826. His boyhood was spent at Glenwherry, to which his father removed in 1832. He was principally taught by a private tutor, and in 1842 entered the old Belfast College, where he took several prizes. At the close of his fifth session he was sent by the mission board of the general assembly as a missionary to Camlin, co. Roscommon, where he laboured for two years. On 19 May 1848 he was licensed to preach by the presbytery of Carrickfergus, and on 25 Sept. 1850 was ordained by the presbytery of Letterkenny as minister of 3rd Ramelton, co. Donegal, where his pastorate proved very successful. In 1857 he received a call from the congregation of Ballykelly, co. Londonderry, and was installed there on 31 March. He took a leading part in the Ulster revival of 1859. In 1862 he became one of the ministers of Belfast, being installed on 26 Feb. as the first minister of the new Duncairn Church, which prospered so much under his care that it was twice enlarged. He rose to be one of the foremost ecclesiastics of the Irish general assembly, of which in 1882 he was elected moderator. In 1883 the degree of D.D. was conferred on him by the presbyterian theological faculty (Ireland). He died suddenly on 21 Oct. 1886, leaving a widow and seven children.

He was author of ‘A Sacramental Catechism’ (Belfast, 1874), which ran through several editions, and was republished in America. For four years he edited a monthly magazine, the ‘Evangelical Witness,’ and on the establishment of the ‘Witness’ newspaper in Belfast he wrote much in its columns. He also published several sermons and tracts.

[Personal knowledge.]

T. H.