Barr, Capt. John (1845-1909) UK->USA


JohnBarrV2Capt. Barr was born in Glasgow, Scotland, but removed with his parents at an early age to Gourock on the Clyde. Here the famous skipper sailed his first race and began his career as a yachtsman, which resulted in the first 12 years of racing in an average of 10 winnings a year, all in small boats.
Capt. Barr during his career had charge of the Neptune, a Fife boat, in which he won 35 prizes out of 50 starts, all sailed in Scotch and Irish waters.

He next sailed the Ulerin, a Watson boat, carrying off 27 out of 29 starts. In 1885, he took the cutter Clara, a Fife 20 tonner, the first of the big British yachts to cross over to America. In two seasons he won with her 15 prizes out of 15 starts in one of which he had the Galatea as a opponent.

The next important racing done by Capt. Barr was in the Thistle in 1887:

04518SThe New York Times - August 16, 1887 - The sloop which has crossed the ocean in the hope or carrying back to Great Britain the famous America's Cup, was the famous cutter Thistle, the pride or Scotland, the hope of England, and the joy or the combined British Isles, Ireland included

Capt. John Barr, the commander of the Thistle, receved in a very courteous manner all persons who had business on board his vessel. The Captain is very modest in his manner and tone, but his general appearance does not hide the fact that he is not the kind of a man to trifle with. He hails from the neighborhood or Glasgow, is thoroughly versed in the handling of racing craft, and for the last 12 years has devoted himself to yachts. He has sailed in a large number of regattas, and in the great majority of cases his boat has won the prize.

Edward Burgess repeated his success with the Volunteer against Scottish yacht designer George Lennox Watson's, the challenger Thistle was badly beaten.

The New York Times - October 1, 1887
"It was a good contest and we were badly beaten,” said Capt. Barr to a TIMES reporter.
“I am an old sailor and have won many times, and new to-night I know for the first time what it is to be overcome in a big struggle".

Clara3On January 1890, Capt. John Barr, who sailed Dr. J. G. Barron's cutter Clara last year, has been offered a two year's engagement by Mr. Bell, owner of the celebrated yacht Thistle, but has declined, being engaged for this year by Dr. Barron. In March, Capt. John Barr go to Boston and locate with his family at Marblehead.

In 1891, Capt. John Barr, who sailed the cutter Clara last year, has been engaged by Charles H. Tweed of Boston who brought the cutter Minerva to this country in the Fall of 1888. Mr. Tweed has no definite plane in a yachting way as yet, but, he will probably build a new boat within a year, and he things that Capt. Barr is a pretty good man to have on the list.
In 1892, John Barr sailed Gloriana.
BOSTON, Jan. 8, 1893.— Gen. Paine will put the Volunteer in commission next season, and has engaged Capt. John Barr, who sailed the Thistle, the Clara, and other racing craft, to sail her.


John and Charles Barr Had Each Been Sailing British Yachts.

BOSTON, April 25, 1893.- The two famous skippers John and Charles Barr are engaged in a contest rather foreign to yachting. Two years ago they got their first papers tor citizenship, and recently presented themselves before Justice Putnam or the United States court at Boston to get their final papers. They were accompanied by Mr. P. T. Jackson, Treasurer of the Eastern Yacht Club, and Mr. A. G. McVey. Judge Putnam questioned the two Captains as to their time of residence here and occupations.
“What vessels have you sailed on since living in this country!" was one or the questions his Honor put to Capt. John Barr.
"The Clara, the Cinderella, and the Gloriana."
“Is the Clara a British or an American built vessel?”
“British yacht, though she was owned by an American and carried the American flag."
“You were on a British bottom then during the time of your residence here, and I do not see how I can accept you."

In answer to similar questions Capt. Charles Barr said he had sailed on the Minerva. This being an English-built yacht, Judge Putnam said he could not accept him either.
Justice Putnam then sent for a copy of the United States Revised Statutes, and read to the Messrs. Barr Section 2,174, which is as follows:
“Every seamen, being a foreigner, who declares his intention of becoming a citizen of the United States in any competent court, and shall have served three years on board of a merchant vessel of the United States subsequent to the date of such declaration, may, on his application of any competent court, and the production of his certificate or discharge and good conduct during that time, together with the certificate of his declaration or intention to become a citizen, be admitted a citizen of the United States: and every seamen, being a foreigner, shall, after his declaration of intention to become a citizen of the United States, and after no shall have served such three years, be deemed a citizen of the United State for the purpose of manning and serving on board any merchant vessel of the United States, anything to the contrary in any act of Congress notwithstanding; but such seamen shall, for all purposes of protection as an American citizen, he deemed such after the filing of his declaration of intention to become such citizen."

The Judge said he would not give a final decision then, but would examine the law more carefully. The Barrs have retained Mr. F. M. Stone as counsel and will appear before Judge Putnam again tomorrow.

Capt. Charles Barr is new employed by Mr. Royal Phelps Carroll to sail the Navahoe, and Capt. John Barr is to sail Gen. Paine's cup defender.

00817SBOSTON, April 26, 1893.- Capt. Charles Barr of the Carroll yacht Navahoe, was to-day placed on the roll or American citizenship. His brother, Capt. John Barr, will have to wait until tomorrow for a decision. In 1893, Capt. John Barr is employed by Gen. Paine's to sail cup defender but Jubilee will not shine in the defender selection trials.
In 1895, Capt. John Barr sailed the Howard Gould’s twenty-rater Niagara. He had a very successful season in England, starting in fifty-two races and winning thirty-one first prizes, eight seconds, and one third.
The grand total yachting record of Capt. John Barr is 378 races, yielding 250 prizes.

Capt. John Barr died on January 11, 1909 at his home at Marblehead at the age of 63 years. He had been afflicted for several years with bladder disease. For a week he had not been able to be about. Besides a widow, Capt. Barr left five sons, Archie, a coxswain on the United States battle ship Louisiana, now at Smyrna; John M., mate on the private yacht of G.K.G. Billings, at Jacksonville, Fla.; James, George and William, at home; and two daughters, Mrs. Arthur Shofield and Miss Annie Barr.