Peter Dupuy Barnet

PETER DUPUY BARNET was born on 6 February 1859. Neither named after his father nor his grandfather; legend goes that he was named after a french sailor of the Anita; a ship that ran aground on Rhone Head. For years after, folk were salvaging coal off the beach to fuel their fires and kids were using flints from her ballast to make sparks fly at school. Pierre grew up at Pan House with his two brothers and three sisters in the shadow of China cups and saucers marked Anita on the family side board.

His early years are still a bit of a mystery but he probably helped out on his father’s farm, was well educated, as the son of the island’s registrar should be, and by 1871 at the age of 12 was going by the name of Pierre Dupuy Barnett rather than Peter. He was the only pseudo Frenchman that lived on the island. Ten years later Pierre was visiting his Aunty Margaret Copeland (nee Simpson) on the island of Holm. Her husband Peter Copeland was a farmer of 41 acres at the croft of Withquoy. Peter was training to be an apprentice joiner but it is unknown whether he was training on Holm. Some years later Pierre decided to emigrate to Argentina to join his brother-in-law John Simpson Hay (who also happened to be his cousin) to work for the Argentine Railway. It’s probable he worked in the Rosario area possibly as a station master, and he bought holdings in Sarratea, Alberdi. By 1891 he was back on the island of Flotta living at his parents house, unmarried and this time working as a clerk. He was still there in 1901, still living at Pan and still working as a clerk. In 1903, at the age of 44, having lived for a little while in Edinburgh; Pierre decided that he should emigrate to the USA. He travelled down to Liverpool, jumbed aboard the Etruria on the 26th September and travelled for 7 days until he landed on American soil at Ellis Island. He had entered the United States as a joiner and was still calling himself Pierre. He traveled into the sunset of a Chicago day with his fellow immigrants; those of all nationalities, Italian, Russian, English, even a few fellow Flottarians and was lost to the passing of time.

One thought on “Peter Dupuy Barnet

  1. Has anyone information about Flotta resident nick-named by the contractors who
    built the oil terminal as “WHISKY MAC” I worked on the terminal during construction
    and remember him,as I did some work on his fishing boat.
    He owned the quarry where the stone was used during construction,I think he may have owned the local shop as well. We were allowed into the local community hall on occasion when there was traditional Scottish nights. Whisky Mac even played the bagpipes. Great times loved it, would like to visit again,

    I H.

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