This evening, I am presenting an interesting story linking Paisley, Scotland with the American Declaration of Independence with Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon.

Key link is clergyman John Witherspoon who was born in East Lothian in 1723 and became an ordained minister in the Church of Scotland firstly in Beith, Ayrshire and then at Laigh Old Kirk, Paisley, Renfrewshire.

Witherspoon was concerned with the disparity in wealth between the social classes in Scotland at the time. He moved to New Jersey and became principal of what is now Princeton University. He was subsequently elected to Congress and became a signatory to the Declaration of Independence.

There is an identical statue to that featuring in the image below (Paisley) outside Princeton University.

The actress Reese Witherspoon is a descendant of John.


This is just one aspect of Paisley’s diverse and fascinating history.

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