David Herbison, Ulster Scots poet, was born in Mill Street, Ballymena, County Antrim, third son of William Herbison and Elizabeth Wilson, who kept an inn in the town. Of generally not robust health he went blind when he was three years old, but four years later regained the sight of his left eye. After helping on his father's farm, at the age of fourteen, he was apprenticed to hand-loom weaving. In 1827 on his father's death he and a brother emigrated to Canada but after a pleasant crossing, the ship took on a pilot who managed to steer the ship, the Rob Roy, onto rocks on the St Lawrence where she was wrecked with many fatalities.
Herbison settled in Quebec but found the climate disagreeable and in 1830 returned home and after a few months became a weaver. Later he was a local agent for a Belfast linen firm, Messrs. Finlay Brothers & Co. He published many poems in newspapers in Belfast, Dublin and London, written in Ulster Scots, using some dialect words. He published several volumes of poems and writing, Midnight Musings; or Thoughts from the Loom (1848); Woodland Wanderings (1859); Children of the Year (1876) and The Snow Wreath (1869). He wrote poetry up until the time of his death, but had to adopt standard English in order to get published.
Herbison married Margaret, daughter of Alexander Archibald, Dunclug, by whom he had a large family.
A monument was erected to him by public subscription in 1883.
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