Martin Barrett, Unsung Hero

While I have written much about Patrick and Mary Barrett, the patriarchs of the Catawissa Barrett clan, famine refugees, and Missouri homesteaders, I’ve neglected Patrick’s father Martin. Death records that surfaced this weekend got me thinking about him.

He and his wife Ellen Miles were the ones who got their family of six children out of famine-devastated Mayo in 1847, through the yellow fever epidemic of New Orleans, to the tumultuous St. Louis riverfront.

One of the newfound records is from the collection of U.S., French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1695-1954. It says he was buried on October 6, 1851.

While he is counted in the 1850 U.S. census, living with Patrick, Mary, and their newborn John, the fate of his wife Ellen has yet to be found. The French record above indicates he was 73 years old, 13 years older than scribbled on his census enumeration. Interesting to think he may have been one of those old Irish bachelors who didn’t start a family till he was in his forties.

The entry from the Missouri Death Records, 1834-1910, indicates he died of [something] fever. Typhoid? Yellow? Several others on the same page also died of [something] fever, so there was probably an outbreak. It feels like a sad ending for a guy who had gotten his family through so much. If he made it to 73, I wish he had died quietly in his sleep, finding his long-awaited rest.

He was buried in Rock Spring Cemetery. Here is what I found out about that :

The Rock Springs Cemetery was located between Sarah Street, Duncan, Boyle and Clayton avenues in the city of St. Louis. The cemetery was established in 1849 by the Roman Catholic Church. It was the chosen spot for the Catholic dead, and many of the more prominent members of the church were to be buried there. However, the cemetery was mainly filled by victims of the cholera plagues of 1849, 1854 and 1866. After 1866, few bodies were interred there, and families began moving their loved ones to the newer Calvary cemetery in St. Louis County. In 1899, the Catholic Church officially abandoned the cemetery and the balance of the remains were to were moved to Calvary Cemetery and a vault beneath the now closed St. Bridget of Erin Catholic Church in St. Louis City. The land is now an urban industrial and commercial area. However, remains continue to be found and moved: As recent as 2014, remains were found when excavating during construction. When found, these remains are moved to Calvary Cemetery in an area that holds other unidentified remains from Rock Springs Cemetery.

Find A Grave

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