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Captain Edward Barrington (1866-1898)

Arctic & Northern Biographies

Northern Ships and Shipping

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Saturday, September 17, 1898



Body Is Brought to Seattle on City of Seattle - Deceased Engaged in Steamboating
on Sound for Years - Had a Large Circle of Friends

    One of the saddest deaths of a Puget sound mariner that has occurred in years was that of Capt. Edward M. Barrington, who ended his career at Dawson, Alaska, and whose body was brought down on the steamer City of Seattle, that arrived here yesterday. Seattle relatives were notified by telegraph from Victoria of the death and were at the wharf to meet the remains. The body was in the care of E. M. McCrohan, an uncle of the captain; Sydney and Hill Barrington, his brothers, and Chris Fisher, a brother-in-law.

    The City of Seattle steamed up to Yesler wharf at noon with flag at half-mast, and the box containing the embalmed remains was carefully taken to Bonney & Stewart's undertaking parlors, where they rested during the day. They were taken to San de Fuca, on Whidby island, on the steamer State of Washington last night, where they will be interred beside the grave of the young captain's father. The funeral will be held at 3 o'clock this afternoon.

    Captain Barrington was taken sick early in August while running his Yukon river steamboat Willie Irving from Dawson to White Horse rapids. He returned to Dawson and went to the house of Mrs. Burrell, where he was cared for during his illness. All that could be done to save him had no effect, although he had the best of attention at Mrs. Burrell's, and Dr. Llewellyn Day remained with him night and day. Violent symptoms of typhoid fever developed and he expired August 29, surrounded by his brothers and other relatives. The body was embalmed and taken aboard the Willie Irving, his own boat, and with his brother, Sydney, as master, carried up the Yukon to White Horse rapids, whence it was taken down the lakes, over the Dyea trail and put aboard the City of Seattle.

    The Klondike Nugget, of August 31, had the following account of his sickness and death:

    "Capt. E. M. Barrington is dead. He died Monday after a lingering illness of a month. Typhoid fever was the immediate cause of his demise, though probably hard work and wearying attention had worn him down to the point where the disease took such a hold on him that he could not shake it off. The deceased came in last fall with his brother, Sydney, and afterward went out on the ice. Returning this spring he joined with Messrs. McConnell and Hamilton in purchasing the Willie Irving, with which boat he successfully navigated the Upper Yukon until stricken with his mortal iliness. The captain made a host of friends tn this section, and was expecting another good boat of his to arrive shortly."

    Mr. Barrington was born in 1866 at Oak Harbor, Whidby Island. His father was Capt. E. J. Barrington. who was born in England in 1830, came West and ran a bay steamer between San Francisco and Sausalito, Cal., in 1848-49; came to the Sound in 1852; built the famous schooner Growler in 1858, and died in 1883. Edward spent his youth on the water front and steamers of the Sound, early acquiring an intimate knowledge of nautical matters and evincing an unusual adaptitude for all pertaining to life on a steamer. He commenced actual steamboating on the Gazelle in 1882, and after serving in various capacities secured a master's license in 1886, making him the youngest captain on the Sound.

    His first charge was the steamer Seattle, built by James Nugent. He operated this vessel until 1888, when she was sold to Mr. Lord, of the Frazer river cannery. He then joined the steamer Al-Ki, which he commanded for a year, going from there to the Wasco. He was master of the Wasco, Idaho and Hassalo for about a year, and later took the steamer Greyhound, which he handled on the Everett route for two years, making oceastonal trips on the same run With the Sehome. He alse had charge of the steamer Cricket for a time.

    He left the Greyhound to go to the Yukon in July, 1897, and in company with George Nunan and Sydney Barrington, left on the steamer Al-Ki for the north the day after the Portland arrived with her famous cargo of gold. The party went over the Dyea trail and spent the fall in the Klondike. The captain led nearly all the great stampedes of that season and staked out a number of valuable claims. He was the first to reach here over the ice last December, making the trip from Dawson to Seattle in twenty-three days. He returned to the Kiondike last Spring, then buying the steamboat Willie Irving, which he successfully operated until he was taken sick.

    Capt. Barrington was the first man to go through the White Horse rapids without roping his boat, and it is common talk to this day of how he calmly sat in his pilot house with a cigar in his mouth guiding his craft through the eddies and around the dangerous rocks of the rapids while passengers were wringing their hands and shouting in terror, expecting to be dashed to pieces any moment. The Irving is now in charge of Capt. John Greene.

    The captain leaves a mother, who is living at San de Fuca; fhe following sisters: Mrs. Chris Fisher, of San de Fuca, and Mrs. J. E. Monroe, of Coupeville, and these brothers: Yorke A. Barrington, the druggist on Second avenue and Pike street; Capt. Harry Barrington, master of the steamer Greyhound, and Sydney and Hill Barringtoon, who accompanted the remains to Seattle.

Edward Murray Barrington at Find A Grave

Sternwheeler Willie Irving running Miles Canyon in 1898

The Sternwheeler Willie Irving running Miles Canyon in 1898. Yukon Archives #2236.