The Garrett Barry family came from Aghada, County Cork, Ireland, in 1834 to Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. The family consisted of Garrett, his wife Bridget Lynch and their children. Members of the family were sons Michael, James, Thomas, Jeremiah and daughter Abigail (later O’Neill). Frank Barry, a descendant of the Jeremiah Barry family, indicated there were other sons; Patrick, John and Garrett. One supposedly died at sea on their trip from Ireland, one died “working on the Erie Canal and a third son “went west and was never heard from again”. Unfortunately, Frank did not give any citations for this information. However, on the website TheShipslist.com there is a notation from the Brig Robert McWilliam that a Patrick Berry (sic), age 16, died at sea on the 13th of April, 1834. The McWilliam had sailed from Cork on April 4th. Upon arrival in British North America it was held in quarantine at Grosse Island, Quebec, on the 14th of May. The brig was released from quarantine on May 23rd. On the same website I found a list for a Garrett Barry family on the steamer Voyageur out of Quebec on May 24, 1834.. The Voyageur was heading for Montreal with connections to Cornwall, Ontario. Because of the dates this seems to be the Barry family of Fitchburg. An obituary for Jeremiah Barry said his entrance to Cornwall, Ontario, Canada was in 1834 with a subsequent move to St. Lawrence County, New York, in 1837. James Barry’s naturalization papers indicate he entered the United States at Louisville, New York in 1837.
Bridget, her sons Michael, James, Thomas and Jeremiah moved to Wisconsin in 1848. It is possible the father, Garret, was deceased by that time. He probably died in the state of New York. The 1840 Federal Census from St. Lawrence County in the state of New York indicates Michael was the head of a Barry household. No names other than head of household are listed. Only hash marks for various age and sex are delineated. Abigail and her husband Thomas O’Neil came to Wisconsin several years later.
Bridget died in Fitchburg in 1854. In a column called Jud Stone’s Gleanings in the May 15, 1902 issue of the Wisconsin State Journal, the columnist documents a stroll through the Greenbush Cemetery on what is now the site of St. Mary’s Hospital. Among the gravestones he cites is one for Bridget Lynch Barry, 1786 -1854, County Cork, Ireland, aged 68 years. When the hospital was being built contents of the graves were moved to a special section in Calvary Cemetery. It is not known if Bridget’s remains were moved to the new Catholic Cemetery. However, her name is on the tombstone of her son Jeremiah Barry. When St. Mary’s put an addition to the facility in 2006 more remains were found and they were also moved to the special section of Resurrection Cemetery. A Dane County Historical Society marker marks the area.
After their arrival in Wisconsin, Michael and James each purchased land in Greenfield Township (later renamed Fitchburg). Through the years each of the Barry siblings raised large families. The families of Michael and his wife Mary stayed in Fitchburg the longest of any of the Barry families. James and his wife Elizabeth both died young, within five years of each other. Thomas and his wife moved to Rutland Township. Jeremiah moved to Madison where he was a house mover. Several of Abigail and Thomas O’Neill’s children left their homestead in Oregon Township for opportunities in the village of Oregon and the city of Madison.
Michael Barry was married to Mary Barry (daughter of a Samuel Barry) while they were still in New York. Five of their children were born in New York before they came to Wisconsin. Their family eventually grew to include twelve children although two died in infancy.
It is unclear if James Barry married Elizabeth McDonald in New York before their move to Wisconsin or shortly after arriving in Dane County. Their first child was born in Wisconsin. It was the James Barry family that included his mother, Bridget Barry, on the 1850 Federal census of Wisconsin. In the same household are listed John Lynch age 55 and Margaret Lynch age 17. John could possibly have been Bridget Barry’s brother. He might also have been one of the Lynch families that were on the Voyageur. Mary McDonald, Elizabeth’s mother, was living with James and Elizabeth on the 1860 census. James filed his citizenship papers in Dane County Circuit Court in 185x.
James and Elizabeth had nine children before he died in November of 1867. He was 48 years old. A tenth child was born shortly after his death. There is nothing to tell us how James died but he left a will which was written the day he died. His signature is extremely shaky. It appears it was known death was imminent. It could be speculated that a farm accident was responsible for his death. Elizabeth died five years later leaving six children under the age of fifteen. She was 40 years old at the time of her death. The minor children were cared for by their older sister Ellen Barry Byrne and her husband Edward.
Thomas married Margaret Barry (also a daughter of Samuel Barry) in Hogensburg, New York on March 28, 1848. When they arrived in Dane County they lived in Greenfield Township (Fitchburg) for a time and then purchased land in Rutland Township. They had a family of eleven children. In their later years they retired to the Village of Oregon where they lived until their deaths. (Two of Thomas and Mary’s sons married two sisters who were the daughters of Moses and Maria Lacy.)
Jeremiah also lived in Greenfield (Fitchburg) for a time. He married Mary Lucas at St. Raphael Church in 1853. He later moved to Madison. He was a house mover and contractor. His family included a son-in-law, Thomas Shaughnassy, who at one time was the Police Chief in Madison, and a grandson-in-law, Edward Page, who was a Fire Department chief in the city of Madison.
The daughter Abigail and her husband Thomas O’Neill came to Wisconsin in 1851. They were married in Hogensburg, St. Lawrence County New York, in 1845, before coming to Wisconsin. They were the parents of eleven children. Their farm was located on the northern edge of Oregon Township abutting Fitchburg.
As for the three other possible sons of Garrett and Bridget we can only account for the sixteen-year old son who is listed on the manifest of the Brig Robert McWilliam as having died on the voyage from Ireland in 1834.