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David Barry (Grenada)

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Margaret Nichols and David Barry of Grenada had seven daughters when he wrote his will in 1794 [PROB 11/1506 Will of David Barry Esq of St Patrick, Grenada, not proved until 1809]. The following year the buildings on Barry’s plantation Soubise were burnt to the ground during the Fédon Revolution but his family escaped unharmed [ Joel Montague, Mariam Montague & Shahnaz Montague, ‘The Island of Grenada in 1795” in The Americas 40:4 (Cambridge, 1984), 531–7]. Barry had been a captain in the St Patrick’s regiment of the Grenada militia in 1787  [Grenada 1787: An almanac, calculated for the island of Grenada and the Grenadines, for the year of Our Lord M,DCC,LXXXVII (Grenada, 1787)].

It is not clear when Barry died – and his will was not proved in London until 1809 – but before 1807 his widow had married Thomas Fryer Layfield in Berbice [ Banns of marriage of her daughter Mary in Essequebo and Demerary Royal Gazette, 22 October 1808]. No children of Margaret Nichols and Thomas Fryer Layfield are known. Margaret Nichols died on 12 July 1820, perhaps in Liverpool where the notice of her death appeared two weeks later [Liverpool Mercury, 28 July 1820].

Elizabeth Jane Barry
Elizabeth Jane, the oldest of the Barry girls, was probably born about 1786 and died in St Helier, Jersey in 1842 [English Chronicle and Whitehall Evening Post, 22 January 1842]. She was married by 1804 to Archibald Johnstone, a doctor in Berbice, and bore two children before he died in 1806 [ Essequebo and Demerary Gazette, 14 February 1807, notice of the marriage of Mary Barry, daughter to Margaret Nichols; Liverpool Mercury, 28 July 1820].  In November of 1804 Peter Fairbairn wrote from Berbice to Lord Seaforth describing how Dr Johnstone ‘a respectable medical practitioner’ had been horsewhipped by his wife’s uncle, Mr Barry. Johnstone issued a challenge through Dr William Gordon. Barry met Gordon by chance and Gordon challenged Barry on his own behalf. A duel was arranged, Gordon’s pistol misfired and Barry shot him in the arm. [NRS GD46/17/26 3 November 1804 Peter Fairbairn to Lord Seaforth].

This was probably Richard Barry, who was named as an executor in Dr Johnstone’s will. Richard Barry, in partnership with Joseph Hinde, had bought plantation No 76 on the Courentyne Coast in 1803. In June of that year Hinde and Barry arrived in Liverpool from Demerara [Liverpool Archives, 920 PAR/II/7/19 June 1803 Eliza Sandbach (Liverpool) to Charles S Parker (Cheltenham)]. In 1811 the plantation was owned by his heirs.

On 20 January 1810 Elizabeth Jane Barry granted a power of attorney to Charles Stewart Parker describing herself as widow and administratix to the late Archibald Johnstone [Netherland National Archives AZ.8.50 F49] and in December of the same year she visited the manse at Kiltearn, along with the ‘Balcony family’ – that is, the Douglas family [ NLS MS19329 f49 Christy Watson, Kiltearn to Thomas Stewart Traill, Liverpool, 14 December 1810].

She later married Hector Downie (from Urray) in Berbice [English Chronicle and Whitehall Evening Post, 22 January 1842].

Margaret Barry
Margaret – the second daughter – married John Bethune (of Alness and Berbice) on 30 November 1808 [London Courier and Evening Gazette, 6 February 1809].

Mary Barry
Her sister Mary (or Maria) – the third daughter – married Thomas George Heyliger in Berbice on 5 November 1808 [London Courier and Evening Gazette, 6 February 1809].

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