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Dreadful Affray at Killeter Fair, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland JULY 1812

Extracted from the STRABANE MORNING POST
Transcribed, compiled and submitted by Len Swindley, Melbourne, Australia

Tuesday July 28 1812

We feel exceedingly sorry to be obliged to notice, that a spirit of discord and party dissention has lately prevailed in some parts of this county, particularly about Killeter and Derg-bridge, the fatal effects of which have on Tuesday last, (being the fair day of Killeter), been too unhappily exemplified. On the morning of that day, the Longfield Corps of Cavalry and Infantry, commanded by CAPTAIN WILKINSON, went to the fair, in consequence, it is said, of it being strongly reported that a large body of countrymen intended to collect there for purpose of rioting, as hitherto been the case in the fairs held there for some time past. A dispute having arisen at the opposite end of the town to where the yeomen were stationed, with respect to the payment of the usual custom that some were neglecting to pay, which created a quarrel. The Yeomen having understood this, and thinking, it their duty to quell, some of the Cavalry were dispatched for that purpose; on their progress, the streets being much thronged, the people endeavouring to make way, caused such a great confusion that several were thrown down; and in particular, a poor woman, being much hurt by the fall, a report got up that she was killed, which caused the crowd to follow the Cavalry, and immediately commenced throwing stones at them. The crowd being great and the Cavalry being closely pursued, they retreated to a high part of the street. They then sounded the bugle for the Infantry to come up, when they were assailed in the same way and some severely hurt, which so exasperated the Yeomanry, that they fired on them, which unfortunately had the effect of killing four of those misguided people on the spot, and twelve, it has been said, are severely wounded. The above are all we have yet learnt; but we have no doubt that an investigation will shortly take place and should any further information come to our knowledge, we will lay it before our readers.