Barrister Overboard, 1873

From the Ballyshannon Herald, 21 June 1873:


Yesterday afternoon, after the steamship Sarmatian reached her wharf at South Quebec, a most melancholy accident occurred to Mr JS Barrett, barrister, of Dublin, a cabin passenger on his way to Toronto.  He went on shore to look after the baggage of a lady passenger.  Coming to the edge of the pontoon, the lady being on the dock of the steamer, he made a sign to her by waving his umbrella that all was right.  While holding up his hands he walked over the edge and fell between the pontoon and the steamer into the river.   He evidently must have struck the side of the vessel in his descent for, while ropes were lowered and every effort made to save him, nothing was seen of him after the fatal plunge, but his feet, which appeared for an instance on the surface.  The body has not yet been recovered…

Messrs Allan Brothers & Company, of Liverpool, have just returned the luggage of the unfortunate young gentleman to his sorrowing father and family in Ireland, and also his hat which was picked up immediately out of the water.  The space between the ship and pontoon, or floating landing stage, was only about eighteen inches at that time, and the current was very rapid at that place.  The deceased was eldest son of Mr JB Barrett JP, Greenhills, Co Galway and was in his 29th year a widower.  He leaves one child, an infant son, to mourn his sad fate.  He sailed from Londonderry on the 22nd May for a professional engagement in Toronto.  The lady alluded to in the report was a stranger to him up to the time he went on board.  She was proceeding from Wales to join her husband in Toronto.”

The message is clear – stay well away from stray unaccompanied females on shipboard!

There was indeed a very junior barrister called JS Barrett practising in Ireland until 1873.   Poor Mr Barrett!

I wonder what the ‘professional engagement’ was that called him to Toronto?

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Author: Ruth Cannon BL

Irish barrister sharing the history of the Four Courts, Dublin, Ireland, and other Irish courts.

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