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South Deerfield's contribution the the Mill River flood relief fund was typical of the generosity shown by villages near the disaster-stricken region. Financial contributions totaled $93,000, while goods of all kinds, such as blankets, clothing, and food easily surpassed that. In the 19th century, charitable contributions were the main source of aid after a disaster. When the Williamsburg, Massachusetts, reservoir dam broke on May 16, 1874, it flooded a valley lined with factories and farms, killing 139 and leaving 740 homeless and in need of relief. It was the deadliest dam failure in the U.S. at the time.