The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), July 27, 1863

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An inquest was held on Saturday morning, before Coroner Jenkins, on view of the body of Johnson Barnes, a sailor, who, it was alleged, had been thrown overboard from the schooner Feu de Follet, lying at the Atlantic wharf, by the mate, Peter LaRue. The case caused considerable excitement among boatmen; and the Council Chamber, in which the inquest was held, was crowded to excess during the investigation. The first witness called was the master of the vessel,

Wm. H. Glendinning, who deposed as follows: Between four and six o'clock last evening, three or four of my crew came and asked me for money, which I gave them. Barnes was one of the men, and I told him when he was going ashore not to drink his money as we were about to start. I afterwards went up town and met two friends, who, about half-past nine, returned with me to the vessel. While we were talking in the cabin, Mr. Rudd came down and offered to give me a load of stone, and afterwards Peter (the mate) came in, when I told him he had better get ready to start to Rudd's quarry. He said he did not think all the men were on board. I afterwards told the mate to let the mainsail alone, as there was no wind. There was then some jawing going on on deck, and I told the boys I would have no such quarrelling on the boat. They kept on, and I went over to the deceased and told him to go to bed or go ashore and return in the morning, when I would pay him. I then took hold of him and pushed him towards the forecastle, after which I turned round and met the mate, whom I told to stop his noise or I would send him ashore too. It was the mate and the deceased who were quarrelling. As I was afterwards going aft, I looked round and saw Peter push deceased over the rail with both hands. I saw no blows struck. I immediately slacked the vessel off, and made every effort to save Barnes. We got pike poles and tried to fish him out, but could not get him. A man named Shea was afterwards brought down, and he got the body up by grappling. Barnes and the mate made a good deal of noise, and both were in liquor. They talked as if very angry. Peter had nothing in his hands to my knowledge. The rail at which deceased stood when he fell over was between two and three feet high from the deck. I heard there was ill-feeling between the two men, but knew nothing of it myself. I shipped deceased at Port Dalhousie on Saturday. He fell overboard abaft the mainmast. The vessel was lying about one and a half feet from the wharf. The man fell over the side next the wharf. I heard a noise like something striking on the wharf, and when I looked round the man was gone.

David Clifford, sworn: I was in the cabin of the Feu de Follet when the mate came down, about ten o'clock. Soon after the men came aboard and began to hoist the mainsail, and had great singing while they were doing it. The captain told them afterwards not to do any more, as the wind was dying away and he would not sail. Barnes was then abusing the mate and calling him names. Barnes demanded his pay from the captain, who told him to go ashore and he would pay him in the morning. Deceased continued to jaw, and the captain went up to him, threw him down on the deck and dragged him away to the forecastle. Barnes got up, and was sitting on the rail, when Peter came along and shoved him over the side, telling him at the same time to go ashore. Barnes fell on the wharf and then rolled over into the water. I at once jumped on to the wharf, but he had gone down like a stone. Peter shoved him over with both hands, I suppose with the intention of throwing him out on the wharf. The mate was then pretty tight, but was not much excited. He did not appear as if he wished to injure him. The prisoner jumped on the dock after him, and used every exertion to save him. Peter became greatly excited when he saw what he had done. Both were intoxicated - the mate a little, and Barnes very much. I saw no wounds on deceased before he was thrown overboard.

Several other sailors were examined, but their evidence did not differ materially from that already given.

Dr. Lavell, being sworn, said - I have examined the body of the deceased and find no external marks of injury. On the left ear and left side of the head there are slight abrasions and marks, the result of a fall or a blow, I would not say which, but it seemed to me that they were more the result of a fall than of a direct blow. There was some blood oozing from the left ear. The body presented none of the external signs of death by drowning. I opened the brain and found a great amount of congestion and a distinct fracture at the base; also some laceration of the vessels in consequence of the fracture, which gave rise to the effusion of blood. The fracture, with the congestion of the brain and the effusion of blood, was the immediate cause of death. I have no doubt that the congestion was the result of either a blow or a fall - the latter I should think from appearances.

The Coroner having summed up the evidence, the Jury, after some deliberation, rendered a verdict to the effect that the deceased came to his death by his head coming in contact with the wharf, he having been thrown off the vessel by the mate, Peter LaRue; but the act was unpremitated by the said LaRue.

The prisoner was then committed for trial.

Navigating the Atlantic In Small Vessels - Norwegian sloop Skjoldmoen arrived at Chicago recently and said to be smallest vessel to cross Atlantic by [Chicago Tribune] - disputed by [Boston Journal] which gives several examples.

p.3 Imports - 24,25.

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July 27, 1863
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Daily News (Kingston, ON), July 27, 1863