Edmund Barrett, commonly called “Baron of Irrus” received a grant from King James the first, on March 10th, 1605, as recorded in the Irish Patent Rolls. The grant consisted of the town and castle of Kilbride and the town of Rathlaccan in the barony of Tirawley, as well as a whole series of other lands.
“John Barrett of Kilbridy” is recorded as the owner of a “two-thirds quarter called Carrowmore Kilbridy” along with other lands in the district as recorded in the Strafford Inquisition of 1635.
James Barrett in the Townland of Lower Carrocus, Baroney Tirawley, diocese of Killala, parish of Kilbride, County Mayo, Ireland appears in The Tithe Appointment in 1833 and 1834. The Tithe book also shows John Barrett living in the townland of Kilbride and Peter Barrett living in Lower Carronedin.
James Barrett married Bridget Larkin. James and Bridget had seven children. Patrick (1793-1890), Mary (1794), Thomas (179?-1882), and Peter (1809-1894) moved to Canada. Laurence and/or Dominic, Bridget and Cecelia may also have immigrated. No one knows what exactly prompted the Barretts to leave Ireland, but by the late 1820’s many Irish were uprooting themselves. It may be that the farming land could only support so many families and therefore some of the sons had to find another means of support. It may be that British rule was making life difficult for Irish Catholics. The land they were living on may have been expropriated by the British.
The colonies were looking for strong young men. Thomas, the oldest son decided to try his luck in Upper Canada and was recruited to work on the Rideau Canal by Colonel By. He soon recommended that his brothers, Peter and Patrick, join him. The McCabe list of Irish Canal Workers states: Thomas Barrett has two brothers, Patrick and Peter, who reside in Killala and are known to Philip Gardiner, esqr. of Carnowden.
Peter, our ancestor, followed his brother to the Bytown (Ottawa) area in approximately 1828. He stayed in Bytown for a time and did shoe-making and harness making for John (Buffalo) Heney. He then found work on the construction of the Rideau Canal until 1832. The canal is now a World Heritage Site. There are memorials to the canal workers in both Ottawa and Kingston.
One of the jobs that Colonel By assigned to Peter Barrett was carrying the pay money for the employees of the canal. The pay was almost all in silver, mostly in American dollars. It was the boast of Peter Barrett that although he carried many thousands of dollars on horse-back over long distances, he never lost a dollar.
He was married in Notre Dame Cathedral in 1831 at the age of 22 in what was then Bytown, Upper Canada. He was living in Long Island Village, on the east side of the River near the locks. Long Island is in the Rideau River north of Manotick and locks were constructed there during the building of the Rideau Canal.
He later worked at shoemaking in Bytown but around 1840 he went to Farmer’s Rapids and made long-legged boots for the employees of the G. W. Easton Sawmill and Logue and Hamilton Lumber.
The family moved to a farm in Gatineau in 1844 where Peter lived most of his life. In later years he operated a hotel. It is rumoured that he lost the deed to the hotel gambling at cards. He died at his son John’s, at 39 Redpath St, Lowertown, Ottawa at the age of 85.
He and Mary had 12 children, the 11th of which was our ancestor John Barrett.