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The Burning to the House of Thomas Donaldson, Coolmaghery, Donagheady Parish, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland 1828

Extracted from the Belfast News Letter, Friday, August 29, 1828
Transcribed, Compiled and Submitted by
Len Swindley, Melbourne, Australia


On the night of Sunday the 17th inst, the dwelling-house and offices of Mr. Thomas Donalson (sic), of Coolmaghrey, parish of Donagheady, were maliciously set on fire, and from the progress which the flames were making, there can be no doubt that he and his family would have been the victims of this diabolic outrage, had not a girl and a boy, who had been at a neighbouring town, and were returning home, aroused them to a sense of their danger. An alarm was given, and the neighbours collected in great numbers, and rendered such effectual aid as to save most of the property. The fire, however, was not subdued till the roof of the dwelling-house was almost destroyed. Five coals were found in different parts of the premises, so that it was certainly the work of an incendiary. This is the individual who was in danger of being shot shortly antecedent to the last Tyrone assizes, because he was too honest to be induced by a bribe to violate his recognizance by absenting himself. He attended and did his duty, and was mainly instrumental in the conviction of the following persons: - Patrick Collins for robbing his house of money and wearing apparel to a considerable amount, and Peter and James McCall, for stabbing a policeman at the Lent Assizes of Omagh. Collins is to be transported for life, and the two latter to be imprisoned two years, and kept to hard labour. What a vindictive spirit there must be in that part of the country, for a man discharging the duty he owes to society is so persecuted, that he feels it necessary to the safety of himself and his family to quit a place, where if he were allowed to follow his business as a farmer in quietness, he could realise a comfortable living! He has his crop advertised, with a view of disposing of his interest in his farm. This is the peace which the Association* produces: they may boast of it! (Londonderry Journal)

*The aims of the Catholic Association can be found here: Catholic Rent & the Catholic Association, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland 1825: Petition of Protest to the Earl of Caledon (

Thomas Donaldson followed through with his intention to quit the farm and he left the district.