William Eleazar Barton (1861-1930)

Pastor of the First Congregational Church of Oak Park, Illinois
Author of Lieutenant William Barton of Morris County, New Jersey
and His Descendants
, 1900
Author of "The Barton Family of Oxford, Mass." in the NEHGR, 1930
Author of books on Abraham Lincoln, Clara Barton, religion, and fiction
Nationally syndicated columnist of "The Parables of Safed the Sage"
Father of Bruce Barton of Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborne

William Eleazar Barton, D.D. was born on June 28, 1861, in Sublette, Lee County, Illinois, and died on December 7, 1930. He is buried in Rock Hill Cemetery, Foxboro, Norfolk County, Massachusetts. He was a descendant of William Barton (1754-1829), an English soldier in the Revolutionary War who came to America in 1774, became sympathetic to the colonial cause, and changed sides. In the process, General George Washington gave him a pass in which he was called Lieutenant William Barton. He settled in Morris County, New Jersey. 

William Eleazar Barton attended Berea College, graduated in 1885 and was ordained the same year. His first pastorate was in Tennesse. He attended Oberlin Theological Seminary and graduated in 1890 with the degree of B.D.  He spent three years as a pastor in Ohio, then six years as a pastor in Boston. During those years, he published two volumes of fiction, several stories, and worked on his family history that was published in 1900. About 1900, he became the pastor of the First Congregational Church in Oak Park, Illinois, a post he held for 25 years until he retired. While pastor in Oak Park, he wrote books on Lincoln and was known for his syndicated articles, "The Parables of Safed the Sage." The Parables are much loved by many Americans, and are still available in book form. He is the father of Bruce Fairchild Barton who became President of the New York City advertising firm, Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborne, and who, as a member of Congress, gave President Franklin Delano Roosevelt fits. 

William Eleazar Barton had a summer home on Sunset Lake at Foxboro, Massachusetts. Foxboro is less than 30 miles from Worcester, the home of Bernard Barton Vassall. Between his pastorate in Boston and the summer home at Foxboro, William Eleazar Barton was in the home territory of the descendants of Edward Barton of Massachuse. In 1930 when his article titled, "The Barton Family of Oxford, Mass.," was published, he was retired and his address was Foxboro, Massachusetts. Vassall's collection of Barton family data became part of the two Barton publications by William Eleazar Barton. 

Our interest in William Eleazar Barton is that his book titled, Lieutenant William Barton of Morris County, New Jersey and His Descendants, published in 1900, provided information about early American Barton families, including Roger Barton, and may have contributed to Joshua Lindley Barton's interest in researching his own Barton family. Joshua Lindley Barton's research started before 1905, perhaps shortly after William Eleazar Barton's book was published. William Eleazar Barton's book included notes and references for pedigrees of Barton families of earlier England, families that may have been ancestors of Barton immigrants to this country. The English families of William Eleazar Barton's book (1900) appear later in the works of Adolph Law Voge (1937) and Margaret Alberta Barton McLean (1940). 

William Eleazar Barton's book titled, Lieutenant William Barton of Morris County, New Jersey and His Descendants, published in 1900, is mostly about his own line descending from Lieutenant William Barton of the book's title, but the first 23 pages are of general interest to Barton researchers. Included are:

The 1900 book is a link in a chain of researchers, from Charles W. Baird to Adolph Law Voge, each of whom provided data about the Roger Barton line. The book presents little that is new to students of Roger Barton, but is an important piece in understanding where our data came from, thus helping us to evaluate the legitimacy of the data. 

Some of the books by Rev. William Eleazar Barton listed in the catalog of the Library of Congress: 
Life in the Hills of Kentucky, 1890.
Pine Knot; a Story of Kentucky life, 1900.
Faith as Related to Health, 1901.
A Hero in Homespun; a Tale of the Loyal South, 1901.
Jesus of Nazareth; the Story of His Life and the Scenes of His Ministry, with a Chapter on the Christ of Art, 1903. 
The Romance of Rhoda : a New Testament Love Story, 1917.
Congregational Creeds and Covenants, 1917.
Blue Stars and Gold, for Every Home That Flies a Service Flag, 1918.
Abraham Lincoln and His Books, 1920.
The Life of Clara Barton, Founder of the American Red Cross, 1922.
The Law of Congregational Usage, 1923.
The Life of Abraham Lincoln, 1925.
My Faith in Immortality, 1926.
Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman, 1928.
Lincoln at Gettysburg; What he Intended to Say; What He Said; What He Was Reported To Have Said; What He Wished He Had Said, 1930.
The Autobiography of William E. Barton, 1932.

The biographical material about William Eleazar Barton is from:
- his book, Lieutenant William Barton of Morris County, New Jersey and His Descendants, 1900, available at LDS Family History Centers as FHL Film 1015832 Item 19, 
- and its continuation, Ensign Eleazar Barton and His Descendants, by Grace Barton McLaren and Ira L. McLaren, 1941, available at LDS Family History Centers as FHL Film 1015832 Item 20. 

© by James C. Barton in the Year of Our Lord 2004