John Rea (c.1822 - 1881):
John Rea was born in West Street, Belfast, and in 1847 became a solicitor. He played an active role in the Young Ireland movement and was imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail for nine months after conducting the defence of John Mitchel. He acted for the Catholics in the Dolly's Brae inquiry and defended Michael Davitt in 1879. He won an appeal in the House of Lords for an action he had taken against Belfast City Council in regard to misappropriation of funds. In the 1874 general election he contested Belfast unsuccessfully. He committed suicide.