Coroner's Inquest into death of John Barber

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Inquest into death of John Barber

Notes: The PANB listings of Coroner's Inquests for Charlotte County are misleading, as the guide says they are available only from 1860. In reality there are many going back to 1835 which are available in the original file form, and accessible onsite.

Mike McGarry of St. Stephen is of the opinion that John Barber's wife is Mary Cook, eldest daughter of Isaac Cook who lived about a mile above the place where the Murphy Road joins St. David Ridge Road. Unfortunately the inquest does not give either her name or family affiliation. In the 1851 census she is living in St. James Parish, age 54. She is living with Eliza Trafton, another widow age 33 (and who is probably Mary Cook Barber's daughter), and Eliza's twin daughters. Certainly Mary Cook married a John Barber 19 Dec. 1816, at the farmhouse on St. David Ridge, with the ceremony conducted by Rector Richard Clarke.


Inquest into death of John Barber, 1843,

RS 509, Public Archives of New Brunswick

An Inquisition taken at St. Stephen in the County of Charlotte aforesaid the sixth day of June in the Sixth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lady Victoria, the Queen before me David A. Rose Esquire, one of the Coroners of our Sovereign Lady the Queen for the County aforesaid upon view of the body of John Barber then and there lying dead, upon the Oaths of James Funk, Ninean Lindsay, William Johnston, John McKenzie, Abraham H. Marks, William H. Armstrong, Peter Brown, John W. Moore, Samuel M. Gilman, Zechariah Chipman, James Gillis, William Doran, & Joseph H. Walton.

good and lawful men of Charlotte aforesaid, who being sworn and charged to enquire on the part of our Sovereign Lady the Queen when, where, how and what manner the said John Barber came to his death, do say upon their Oath that the said John Barber at the Parish of Saint Stephen in the County aforesaid on the Sixth day of June 1843 was found in the river Saint Croix, close to the wharf in the rear of his dwelling house, that the said John Barber fell accidentally into the water then and there suffocated and was drowned of which suffocation and drowning he instantly died and so the Jurors aforesaid do say, That the said John Barber in the manner and by the means aforesaid accidentally, causually and by misfortune came to his death, and not otherwise.

Page 2

Evidence taken at the foregoing inquisition June 6, 1843.

James McAlly, Sworn
I went to John Barber's late last evening, I stopt there some time -I heard John Christie and Samuel Courtney remarking that John Barber had gone out after water -I think it was then near two o'clock in the morning - Alexander Campbell, Henry Rogers, Samuel Courtney, John Christie, Thomas McCann, David Clerke and myself were in the shop at the time - Barber not coming in, Samuel Courtney went to let Mrs. Barber know that Barber was not in the shop - we made no search for him, thinking he had gone into the house and might have had too much liquor and gone to bed - when Mrs. Barber came she did not appear to be very uneasy - we all left before day light.

Joseph Johnston, Sworn
This morning while looking for John Barber I saw him in the water near the lower end of the wharf Mr. Kelly's boy got a pick pole from Isaac Hanson and he shoved the body ashore - he was when I first saw him turned on his face about a foot under the surface of the water, partly on the bottom -

Isaac Hanson, Sworn
This morning about seven o'clock while searching for John Barber - Joseph Johnston called to me and said he thought he saw him in the water. I took a pick pole and hauled the body to the shore - he had the handle of a pitcher in his hand, when the tide was gone out I saw the remainder of the pitcher broken on the shore close to where the body was found.

Henry Rogers, Sworn
I was in John Barber's late last evening. I did not see John Barber go out for water but heard John Christie and Samuel Courtney remarking that Barber was long in coming forth the water & we had been drinking - Mrs. Barber was called and we had something more to drink without water - we thought Barber had gone to bed - I do not know when he left the shop.

Alexander Campbell, Sworn
Was at John Barber last evening. I went home and left Barber in the shop - I went away alone.

Samuel Courtney, Sworn -
Yesterday afternoon I saw John Barber and several others by the end of the Bridge, several of my neighbors were among them - and as I thought had too much to drink - I wished to get them home when we got to Barber's some of them set to go in whether or not - I went in with them - we slept til between eleven and twelve, when some one wanting something more to drink, Barber took a pitcher and went to get some water - he did not come back, we waited about an hour and then called Mrs. Barber when she came I asked if Barber was in the house. She said he was not - we thought he must have gone to bed as he was very much in liquor. She did appear to be very uneasy about him - She locked the shop - we left some little time after one this morning - Several of the company were very much in liquor but no quarrelling - John Barber was very much so - he staggered as he went to the door for the water -

John Christie, Sworn
I went into Barber's about ten o'clock last evening and remained thus some time - several others were there - some of them in liquor - I saw Barber when he went out with the pitcher after water - I think it was about twelve oclock. I did not see him afterwards - I remained perhaps three quarters of an hour after he went out - some were playing cards both before and after he went out - there was no quarrelling in the shop - nor did any one appear to have any ill will towards Barber - when Mrs. Barber came she locked the shop door - said Barber was not in the House - did not appear uneasy - nor ask any of us to look for him.

Taken before me David A. Rose, Coroner