Legal papers and accounts, etc, of Wilson and Simms, Solicitors, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, 1645-1964. As the firm acted for a number of local authority bodies in Counties Donegal and Tyrone, there are correspondence and accounts for Strabane Town Commissioners and Strabane Rural District Council, c.1870-1914, including: material on building, railways, canals, gasworks, markets, water supply, etc., in the area, 1890-1927; and some Donegal Grand Jury Records, including presentments from 1855, and late 19th century briefs, warrants, bonds, etc. There are also a number of political papers reflecting the firm's activity as election agents for Unionist candidates in the North Tyrone constituency and elsewhere, c.1885-1920. Business records are represented by legal papers and copy title deeds pertaining to the Strabane and Letterkenny Railway Company and other railway and tramway concerns, c.1890-1949. There are cash books, ledgers, wages books and correspondence etc. of the Longvale Brick and Lime Works Ltd., 1901-16, and some briefs and correspondence relating to Herdman's Ltd of Sion Mills, Co. Tyrone, 1881-1960. Landed estate papers relate to various estates in Co. Donegal: the Hayes estate at Drumboe, 1873-1908; the Colhoun estate at Corncammon from 1731; the Knox estate at Clonleigh, 1799-c1940; the Johnston estates at Churchill and Edenmore, 1713-1833; the Law estate at Castle Cunningham, 1851, relating to the impact of the Great Famine; the Humfrey estate at Cavancor, 1651-1898 (and papers of the related families of Keys, Jones and Allen with a wide geographical spread). Co. Tyrone papers relate to: the Abercorn estates (leases for the Newtownstewart area from c.1840); the McCarter estate at Strabane, 1833-90; the Robertson estate at Ligfordum, 1834-80. There are two early Stuart grants to James Clapham and Sir William Stewart of Mount Stewart, both of lands in the barony of Strabane, 1610 and 1638 respectively; papers of the Holmes and McCrea families, 1789-1904; papers of 'Mrs Colquhoun' of Strabane from the early 19th century; Irish Land Commission sale papers relating to the Knox estate at Urney Park, 1799-c.1904; Other papers, dating back to 1645, relate to property accounts and to Wilson and Simms and their predecessors. A small collection of emigrant letters from Canada, 1848-1856, are also to be found.
The huge quantity and quality of this collection renders it a very important source for students of estate ownership and management in Counties Tyrone, Donegal, Londonderry and elsewhere from the 17th century onwards. It is one of the largest and most important of its kind to have survived for the benefit of modern day researchers.
c.25,250 items comprising a range of documents, volumes, maps and plans occupying c.410 PRONI boxes.
See PRONI references D/2298 and D/3608 for catalogues of the papers. The catalogues are available for consultation in PRONI's Public Search Room.
The greater part of the collection (i.e. D/2298) was accrued as an indefinite loan. However, that part of the collection under D/3608 was purchased by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in 1982.