Lord Barrington Is Beaten Up

Thief. Liar. Bigamist. Con Man. Murderer.  All accurate labels for one of the greatest charlatans to operate in St. Louis.  “Lord F. Seymour Barrington” was a bit of a local celebrity, if an extremely disreputable one, during 1903.  After conducting a bigamist marriage on the East Coast, “Lord Barrington” stole his wife’s trousseau and headed to St. Louis.

When Barrington arrived in St. Louis, he quickly set out to find another wife to set himself up locally.  Barrington found a target in the intelligent but inexperienced Wilhelmina Grace Cochrane of Kansas City, MO.  Barrington made the acquaintance of Miss Cochrane’s sister and brother-in-law.


Newspaper picture of F. Seymour Barrington aka Frederick George Barton from the Public Domain

During his visits to their home, Barrington impressed Miss Cochrane with tales of his English estate.  After a brief courtship, Miss Cochrane became Mrs. Barrington in mid-January 1903.

Mrs. Barrington’s brother was suspicious of Lord Barrington’s story and began looking into his background.  Mr. Cochrane discovered that his sister was Barrington’s third wife. “Lord Barrington” didn’t bother divorcing either of his previous wives.

“Lord Barrington” under his real name Frederick George Barton, a graduate of Dartmoor prison not Oxford University, married Celestine Elizabeth Miller in Brooklyn.  When they returned to England, Barton was arrested and returned to Dartmoor for a previous prison escape.  Barton did not contact Mrs. Barton or their child, when he returned to the United States.

When Barton returned to the United States, he moved to Philadelphia.  In Philadelphia, he posed as “Lord Frederick Sydnham Burgoyne”.  In Philadelphia, he married a young woman on December 1, 1902, a mere six weeks before he married Miss Cochrane.  On December 23, 1902, “Lord Burgoyne” abandoned his new wife and made his way to St. Louis.

When Mrs. Barrington’s brother realized that “Lord Barrington” had tricked his younger sister into a bigamist marriage, he traveled from Kansas City to St. Louis to confront his new brother-in-law.  The confrontation occurred at his sister, Mrs. Elliot’s, home at 4368 West Belle Place.

Mr. Cochrane, an athletic young man in his mid-twenties, confronted Barton with what he had discovered.  “Lord Barrington” decided the best defense was a good offense and hurled a number of insults at Mr. Cochrane.  Mr. Cochrane responded with a strong punch to the nose.

As “Lord Barrington” tried to regain his composure, Mr. Cochrane grabbed him by the collar, expelled him from the house and continued striking him with his fists.  As they got to the sidewalk, Mr. Cochrane placed a solid foot into “his Lordship’s” backside with a strong command to leave and never come back.

Alerted by “Lord Barrington’s” cry for assistance, two St. Louis Police Officers responded to the scene.  To Barrington’s dismay, the officers arrested him for a large, unsettled bill at the Southern Hotel.  “Lord Barrington” aka Frederick Barton would be returning to the familiar haunts of jail for the next several months in the St. Louis Workhouse.

Mr. Cochrane took his sister back to Kansas City.  Mrs. Barrington in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said she “hated him(Lord Barrington).”  This marriage of Barton’s would end in divorce.

While Lord Barrington would serve several months for defrauding the hotel, his name would not remain out of the papers long.  St. Louis Police had not seen the last of “Lord Barrington”.

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Sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 25, 1903 edition, p. 29 and February 2, 1903. p. 1.  St. Louis Star-Times, February 7, 1903, p. 1

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