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Strabane TownHall Meeting Great Flood 1815

Transcribed, compiled and submitted by Len Swindley, Melbourne, Australia
December 31, 1815

At a MEETING of the inhabitants of Strabane, convened for the purpose of taking into consideration the best mode of administering Relief to the Poor, who have suffered by the late calamitous Flood:
Resolved that a Committee be formed, both for the purpose of ascertaining the Sufferers, and the amount of their losses, and also for raising Subscriptions
Resolved that the said Committee shall apply to the neighbouring Towns requesting Aid
Resolved that the said Committee shall apply to the neighbouring Landlords and Gentlemen in the Neighbourhood for their Assistance
Resolved that Mr. BARCLAY shall be Treasurer
Resolved that the following Gentlemen do form a Committee for:

Sir J.J. Burgoyne
Rev. Stewart Hamilton
Rev. Mr. McHugh
Rev. Mr. McCloskey
James Orr
William Fleming, sen.
Joseph Barclay
Patrick Fleming
James Gaston
Francis Rogan
Gerrard Irvine
John Smyth
Robert Smith
John Scott
Leslie Gault
Joseph Knox
John Stewart
Bernard Rogan
Josias Kerr
Samuel Hunter
James Hughes

Rev. Francis Brownlow
Mr Hugh Ovens
Rev. Mr. McCafferty
Rev. Mr. Mansfield
Andrew Austin
Robert McCrea

Sir James Galbraith, Bart.
Rev. James Jones
Rev. Mr. Dunlop
Rev. Mr. Scott
Rev. Mr Henry
Oliver Lecky
Edward Joyce
William Henderson


On Friday last, this town was visited by one of the highest floods in the memory of the oldest inhabitants, and more destructive in its effects, that can well be imagined. It was at its height about at nine o’clock at night, and owing to the great amount of snow on the ground, was slow in its decrease. A new range of houses built within the last five years at the Bridge-end has suffered most, some of which were entirely carried off, with the entire effects of the unfortunate owners, who fortunately escaped a short time before they finally gave way; the whole of that range has suffered more or less, some of them have the greater part of their back walls carried away; others with the flagging of their halls and kitchens torn up, and the windows driven in:
at the present moment they exhibit a melancholy spectacle. The humanity of the respectable inhabitants was principally directed to the lower end of the town; horses were employed the whole of the day, and to a late hour at night, in supplying the sufferers with bread and other necessaries, and bringing away aged and infirm persons. Many poor families residing below the town, had, on the evening, hoisted flags of distress, but unfortunately there was no boat on the canal that could be removed, nor was it possible to afford them assistance in any other manner. At about half past three o’clock, two boats started from Lifford, and brought off those in the greatest distress; one of the boats was afterwards brought to the town, but owing to the force of the currents, from openings to the river, could not be managed, and not withstanding the exertions of the hands, was twice upset. It would be impossible to enumerate individual loss – several cows and pigs were drowned, and innumerable articles of furniture and clothing, with potatoes, turf, &c. carried off.

We have on no former occasion witnessed so much promptitude in affording immediate relief: some Gentlemen opened their turf houses next morning, and distributed large quantities gratis, which afforded a very seasonable supply. In the course of the day, a public Meeting was held, and subscriptions to a considerable amount raised – but notwithstanding the unexampled exertions of the Committees, and liberality of the inhabitants, there will remain, from the statement of losses, a large sum deficient. We understand, it is intended to apply for relief to the neighbouring Gentlemen and Landholders: we hope their beneficence on the present melancholy occasion will be worthy of being held in remembrance.

The Road from this town to Lifford exhibits an awful proof of the violence of the element; it is rendered almost impassable, and the pailing along its sides, put up last summer, is, for the greater part, torn up and carried off.

We understand, the extensive embankment enclosing the lands of John Austin, Esq. at Grange, has been broken down by the flood.

Strabane Morning Post, Tuesday January 2 1816
(Taken from Strabane and West Ulster in the 1800s, History from the Broadsheets: The Strabane Morning Post 1812-1837 – Logue (Strabane History Society, 2006)
ISBN 0952892030