barretts of catawissa family history

Patrick Barrett & Mary Gardiner Barrett

Great-Grandsons: The Fallen Soldiers

The Barrett side of my mother's family distinguished itself in contributing young men to the maw of World War II. Her father’s family, more precisely.[1]

Lost were six great-grandsons of Patrick and Mary, those Irish potato famine refugees who wound up in St. Louis in the late 1840’s. Six great-grandsons marched off to war and never returned.

USMC Pvt Francis Pedrotti 1919-1941. Grandson of Catherine Barrett and William Timlin; son of Mary Timlin and Dennis Pedrotti. 7 Dec 1941, Marine on USS Arizona, Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii when the Japanese bombed. He received a Purple Heart. His body was not recovered and is still listed as "missing in action/buried at sea."

Private Robert Barrett 1919-1942 (photo above). Grandson of Francis and Ellen Barrett; son of Tom and Catherine Barrett; my mother's brother. 1 May 1942, in a plane crash in Utah, coming home on leave from California before being shipped out to the Aleutians. He was in the 32nd Infantry Band. He left behind a saxophone – a silver treasure my mother took charge of – but took with him the talent to play it. (More... including "Kitty Keeps On Singing" audio program)

Pfc. Barrett McLaughlin 1912-1944. Grandson of Mary Barrett and Michael McLaughlin; son of Thomas and Julie McLaughlin. died 22 Nov 1944, in Germany. 175th Infantry 29th Division. Purple Heart Medal. Buried in the Netherlands. Brother of Thomas, below.

Thomas McLaughlin 1926- abt 1945. Grandson of Mary Barrett and Michael McLaughlin; son of Thomas and Julie McLaughlin. MIA, last seen in Kommerscheid, Germany (declared dead in 1949). Brother of Barrett, above.

Pfc. Francis P "Frank" Barrett, Jr. 1917-1945. Grandson of Francis and Ellen Barrett; son of Frank Barrett and Molly Curran Barrett; husband of Marie Barrett. 38th Infantry 2nd Division. He died in Germany on 17 Apr 1945 in the last days of World War II (V-E Day was 8 May 1945). "It seems that he was walking down the street after the war was over and he was shot by a sniper" (KBPrice). He is buried in the Netherlands. Brother of Florrie, below.

Frank and Florrie BarrettMarine Sgt. Florance "Florrie" Barrett 1919-1944. Grandson of Francis Barrett and Ellen Gibbons Barrett; son of Frank Barrett and Molly Curran Barrett. 16 Dec 1944, in Guadalcanal, of leukemia. Apparently, he knew he was ill, came home on leave, then chose to return to Guadalcanal. He saw action in the campaign of 1942 as an aviation mechanic. He was reburied 13 Jan 1949 in the National Memorial Cemetery of The Pacific, Honolulu, HI 96813, Section C Site 1623. Brother of Frank, above.

Barrett Brothers Park in north St Louis (Goodfellow and St. Louis Av.) was named after Frank and Florrie. The park was dedicated in 1947 through the advocacy of Alderman Matt O'Neill, who was from the same ward as Francis Barrett's family and a longtime family friend. Along with Bob Barrett (above), Frank and Florrie had played ball there as kids. [2]

An ironic postscript. My mother's brother Bill was 4F for World War II due to a collapsed lung. But his son joined the Navy during the Vietnam War. Sadly, during basic training, he caught pneumonia and died. Feeling a little like a curse... We were happy when my brother's number wasn't pulled for Vietnam.

9.3.06 (rev. 2.1.2008)


By 1940, all the men on the Flanagan side had already been done in by that other great killer, Poverty.

[2] MEDIA RELEASE: Barrett Brothers Park, April 2008