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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)


Pat Purcell Papers


John O'Brien, Esquire

Source: Michael Purcell c.2010



January 6th, 1789.

Died John O'Brien, Esquire, next brother to the Earl of Inchiquin, he was buried on the 8th January in Carlow Churchyard.

His connection with Carlow was his relationship to Sir William Vigors Burdett, Baronet, who had married John O'Brien's sister Henrietta.

John was formerly a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, Commissioned in 1747.

Lucky or what?...John O'Brien 1789.

PPP. Book 1 - Page 87. St Mary's Church, Carlow town.

January 6th, 1789.

Died John O'Brien, Esquire, next brother to the Earl of Inchiquin, he was buried on the 8th January in Carlow Churchyard.

His connection with Carlow was his relationship to Sir William Vigors Burdett, Baronet, who had married John O'Brien's sister Henrietta.

John was formerly a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, he was commissioned in 1747.

Few Men Have Been More Unfortunate And Yet So Fortunate As Lieutenant John O'Brien late of his Majesty's Royal Navy.

In 1745 John O'Brien was on board a ship that was wrecked off the coast of India, all on board were lost except for John and four other sailors.

On his voyage of return to Europe he was cast away near the Cape of Good Hope but managed to make it to the shore.

Shortly after coming ashore John met with the Dutch Governor of the Cape who recognised John as a man of high birth and a member of the Gentry class.

The Governor immediately offered John passage to England on the Merchant ship "The Indiaman" the Captain of The Indiaman informed the Governor that the ship was allowed to carry only the Captain, crew and staff of the East India Company and besides having a British Naval officer on board ship might invite trouble.

The Indiaman was but a day out of port when it got into difficulties and sank with the loss of all souls on board.

In 1747 John O'Brien served on board the ship, "The HMS Dartmouth" a ship of 50 cannon-guns when it was engaged in battle with the 7O cannon-gun Spanish man-o-war, "The Glorioso" during the battle a gunner ran to John in despair and exclaimed:

 "Sir the powder room is about to ex.......! "  at this moment the ship was blown to smithereens with the loss of most of the crew.

John was blown out through a porthole and survived.

Later found floating on a piece of timber with his clothes in tatters, he was picked from the sea by the ship "The HMS Duke Privateer".

John was treated for his injuries and was then introduced to the Captain of the Duke Privateer, aware of his rank and standing to attention John declared to the Captain --

"Captain Sir, you will excuse me for not being in proper uniform appearing before you in this manner, I left my ship with so much precipitation that I had not the time to put on some proper clothing".

(report from the Dublin Chronicle of January, 1788. - research compiled by Pat Purcell in 1939 for Rev. Canon Ridgeway, St Mary's Church.)


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