Famous Bartons in America

With one exception these famous Bartons are not descendants of Roger Barton (1628-1688) of Setauket alias Brookhaven, Long Island; Rye, and Fordham. The following sketches are answers to frequently asked questions. 

Clarissa (Clara) Harlowe Barton is famous as the founder and first president of the American Red Cross. She was born on December 25, 1821, in Oxford, Massachusetts, and died on April 12, 1912, in Glen Echo, Maryland. She is the daughter of Stephen and Sarah (Stone) Barton. She was unmarried and has no descendants. 

"As Clara Barton, 'Angel of the Battlefield,' she won world-wide renown for her services to the sick and wounded soldiers in the Civil War, the Franco-Prussian War, and the Spanish-American War, and was the founder and first president of the American Red Cross." (Quoted from "The Barton Family of Oxford, Mass." referenced below, pages 416 and 417). 

Clara Barton wrote several books, including History of the Red Cross (1882), The Red Cross in Peace and War (1899), and The Story of My Childhood (1907). 

Clara Barton is a descendant of immigrant Edward Barton who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, about 1640, then moved to Marblehead, Massachusetts; then to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, by 1646; then to Cape Porpoise (now Kennebunkport), Maine, where he died in 1671.  

References for Clara Barton:
- For the descent from immigrant Edward Barton to Clara Barton, see "The Barton Family of Oxford, Mass.," by William E. Barton, in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 84, October 1930, pages 400 to 421.
- William E. Barton also wrote the book The Life of Clara Barton, Founder of the American Red Cross, published in 1922. 

William Eleazar Barton wrote the two references shown above in Clara Barton's sketch. He also wrote the first reference shown below in Bruce Fairchild Barton's sketch, Lieutenant William Barton of Morris County, New Jersey, and His Descendents. He is the father of Bruce Fairchild Barton. William Eleazar Barton was born on June 28, 1861, in Sublette, Lee County, Illinois, and died on December 7, 1930. He married Esther Treat Bushnell on July 3, 1885.  

William Eleazar Barton was famous in his time as a minister and author. The details of how he came to write the books and articles about the descendants of immigrant Edward Barton are included in sketches of Bernard Barton Vassall and William Eleazar Barton

William Eleazar Barton is a descendant of immigrant William Barton who arrived in America before the Revolutionary War, probably in 1774, as a British soldier in one of the regiments commanded by General Thomas Gage. William Barton participated in the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill, but developed sympathy for the cause of the colonists, and eventually left his British camp and joined the Americans where he was supposedly greeted by General George Washington. Immigrant William Barton was born on October 24, 1754, and died on December 27, 1829. 

Most probably, the connection to the descendants of Edward Barton began while William Eleazar Barton was pastor of the Shawmut Congregational Church in Boston from about 1894 to 1900, and was researching his own family history. Posted in Boston at the time, he probably did his Barton research at The New England Historic Genealogical Society where Bernard Barton Vassall had announced in 1880 that he was preparing his Barton family history. No doubt, it is there that William Eleazar Barton became aware of the work of Bernard Barton Vassall, and he contacted Vassall or Vassall's survivors (Bernard Barton Vassall died in 1894 without publishing his work) and obtained the data collected by Vassall. William Eleazar Barton mentioned the data of Bernard Barton Vassall in both his own family book Lieutenant William Barton of Morris County, New Jersey, and His Descendents published in 1900 and in the "The Barton Family of Oxford, Mass.," published in 1930. 

In 1900, William Eleazar Barton moved to Oak Park, Illinois, but kept his summer home at Foxboro, Massachusetts, about 30 miles from the home of Bernard Barton Vassall's family in Worcester, and about 25 miles from the Boston headquarters of The New England Historic Genealogical Society. Thus he was within a reasonable distance to visit each during his vacations and his retirement. 

Bruce Fairchild Barton was born on August 5, 1886, in Robbins, Tennessee, and died on July 5, 1967. He is the son of William Eleazar Barton, above, and Esther Treat (Bushnell) Barton. He married Esther Randall on October 2, 1913. 

Bruce Barton was president and Chairman of the Board of Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborne, New York City, an advertising firm. In 1936 he was elected to Congress representing Manhattan, and was re-elected to a second term in 1938. In 1940 he lost his run for a Senate seat from New York. He served in Congress while Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President, and was an outspoken critic of the President's failed policies, a fact that the President noted, with sarcastic comments, in his speeches. 

Bruce Barton was known for developing image advertising. For the Salvation Army, he wrote the famous slogan, "A man may be down but he is never out." For the Victory Loans program, he created the ad "I am New York and this is my creed." 

References for Bruce Fairchild Barton:
- For the descent from immigrant William Barton to Bruce Fairchild Barton, see the book Lieutenant William Barton of Morris County, New Jersey, and His Descendents, by William Eleazar Barton, 1900. The book is available on microfilm at Family History Centers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on their microfilm FHL 1015832 Item 19. Also, it can be purchased as a hard cover photoduplication of the original from Higginson Book Company or from the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
- For a continuation of the above reference, including the marriage and family of Bruce Fairchild Barton, see "Ensign Eleazar Barton and His Descendants, by Grace Barton McLaren and Ira K. McLaren, Spokane, Washington, 1941. It is available in typescript form on microfilm at Family History Centers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on their microfilm FHL 1015832 Item 20. 

Colonel William Barton is famous for capturing a British General in the Revolutionary War. He was born on May 26, 1748, in Warren, Rhode Island, and died on October 22, 1831, in Providence, Rhode Island. He is the son of Benjamin and Lydia (Brown) Barton. On April 26, 1771, he married Rhoda Carver, born October 9, 1749, in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. 

Colonel Barton served in the Revolutionary War. On the night of July 9, 1777, he left Warwick, Rhode Island, with 38 men in three whaleboats, crossed Narragansett Bay and passed unobserved under the guns of the British fleet. He landed on the opposite shore between Newport and Bristol Ferry, eluded the enemies' guards, surprised British Major General Robert Prescott in his headquarters at midnight, and returned with his prisoner to the American camp at Warwick. This daring and successful exploit earned him a place in American history. 

Colonel Barton is a descendant of immigrant Rufus Barton. The first known record of Rufus Barton in America is in the town records of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, where, on September 23, 1640, Mr. Hailes was granted a lot next to Rufus. On February 4, 1641, Rufus was given a land grant in Portsmouth. In 1642, a few score residents of what is now known as Rhode Island moved as far as possile from the influence of the Puritan magistrates of the Massachusetts Bay Colony who were threatening the religious dissidents of Rhode Island. That move took them to New Netherland. On August 14, 1642, Rufus Barton leased a farm on Long Island, just across the East River from Manhattan Island, from Rev. Everardus Bogardus. Because of an intentional indexing error by the New York State Librarian, this lease is sometimes incorrectly attributed to Roger Barton and the land incorrectly placed on Manhattan Island on property described as the Trinity Church property. On "Oct. 2, 1642, Mr. Throgmorton [William Throckmorton] and associates" were given a permit by the Dutch Council "to settle within nine miles of the Manhattans." Ref. Calendar of Historical Manuscripts In the Office of the Secretary of State, Albany, N.Y., by E.B. O'Callaghan, 1865. The site was part of a larger area which the Dutch had purchased from the Indians in 1640. Rufus Barton moved from this farm on Long Island back to Rhode Island, probably in 1643 when the Indians in New Netherland killed the family and friends of Anne Hutchinson as they were building a house along what is now called the Hutchinson River. See also the story of Anne Hutchinson within the sketch of Elizabeth Barton near the end of this essay. See, for example, the book The Bronx In The Frontier Era From the Beginning to 1696, 1993, by Lloyd Ultan.

References for Colonel William Barton:
- For the descent from immigrant Rufus Barton to Colonel William Barton, see "Barton Family Records," by Martha A. Benns, 1942. It is a 34 page handwritten manuscript at the Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, Rhode Island. It is available on microfilm at Family History Centers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on their microfilm FHL 22324 Item 3. 
- The "will" of Rufus Barton was published in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 12, October, 1858, pages 304-305 in an article titled, "Mode of Proceeding in the Settlement of Estates." The material in the article was copied from records and files in Warwick, Rhode Island, by G.A. Brayton. Rufus Barton died intestate. Therefore, under the prevailing laws and customs, the Warwick Town Counsel of the time wrote a will such as their best information indicated that Rufus Barton would have written. The will mentions by name the wife and children of Rufus. 

Samuel Barton was the nephew of, and stock broker for, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt who was one of the two or three richest men in American history. Vanderbilt made his fortune on railroads and steamship lines. Vanderbilt was so impressed with Samuel Barton's deportment and ability that the Commodore named him as one of the executors of his estate. Samuel was also a trusted adviser of Commodore Vanderbilt's descendants, thus representating three generations of that family in financial operations. Samuel served as Director in the various Vanderbilt enterprises, including the railroad lines, the Lincoln Bank, the Lincoln Safe Deposit Company, and the Brooklyn Storage and Warehouse Company.

Samuel Barton was born on Staten Island in New York City in 1827, and died on November 16, 1895, at his home in New York City. His father, Col. Samuel Barton, represented the First District in Congress from 1838 until 1844. His mother was Jane Vanderbilt, a sister of Commodore Vanderbilt. Samuel graduated from Harvard Law School. He married Lydia Rawson Taylor. He had a son, Cornelius Vanderbilt Barton. Samuel Barton was a 6th generation descendant of the immigrant Roger Barton who first appeared in American records in Brookhaven on Long Island in 1662. Samuel6 Barton (Samuel5, Joseph4, Joseph3, Noah 2, Roger1).

References for Samuel Barton:
- His ancestry is detailed in an article titled, "Roger Barton of Westchester County, N.Y., and Some of His Earlier Descendants," by George E. McCracken, published in serial form in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, starting in Vol 106, July 1952, page 168. Samuel Barton and his father appear in Vol 107, October 1953, page 295.
- The above details of his life were in his obituary in The New York Times edition of Nov 19, 1895.

Samuel Barton (above) was called to our attention by a banker from Brantford, Ontario, Canada, who now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. He also told us about brothers Sylvester Barton and Robert Barton, below, and that provided a lot of fun. Snorky had been the friendly southside Chicago neighborhood purveyor of entertainment and beverages.

Sylvester Barton and Robert Barton were not what we would call "famous," but certainly their employers were. Sylvester Barton was Al Capone's driver. Sylvester's older brother, Robert Barton, was the driver for Johnny Torrio, Capone's predecessor as leader of the "Chicago Outfit." Al Capone's nickname was Snorky, not Scarface Al. He was sensitive about the scar, and it did't make for a pleasant relationship to call him Scarface.  

Sylvester Barton was born in March, 1897, in Illinois, probably in Chicago. Robert Barton was born in September, 1887, in Iowa. Their parents were Sylvester and Maggie Barton, both of whom were born in Ireland, and immigrated into the USA in 1880, first living in Philadelphia, then living in Iowa from about 1883 to 1890, then to Illinois. They lived west of downtown Chicago in a neighborhood of immigrants from Ireland. They lived on Elburn Avenue, no longer on the Chicago map, near Loomis and Taylor streets. This data is from the 1900 census of West Town in the City of Chicago. The 1880 census of Philadelphia shows the father, Sylvester Barton, and identifies his occupation as a "huckster." The 1910 census of Chicago shows Robert Barton and his wife living in a rooming house on Wabash Avenue (between Michigan Avenue and State Street) on the near south side. He identified his occupation as an "automobile chauffer." 

A few notes from wikipedia.org, "1925 in organized crime:"

"January 12, 1925 - North Side Gang Hymie Weiss, Bugs Moran, and Vincent Drucci, attempt to kill Al Capone at a South Side, Chicago restaurant. They fire at Capone's car, injuring chauffeur Sylvester Barton, but Capone, although frightened, is unharmed.

"January 24, 1925 - Weiss, Moran, Drucci, and Frank Gusenberg ambush Chicago Outfit leader Johnny Torrio as he returns from shopping with his wife, shooting him and his chauffeur, Robert Barton, several times. As Moran is about to kill Torrio, the gun misfires. The gunmen are forced to flee as the police arrive. Soon after this attack, Torrio would retire to Italy, giving leadership of The Outfit to his lieutenant, Capone.

Mention of Al Capone evokes memories of his nemesis, Eliot Ness, chief of the Untouchables. Robert Stack (pictured at left) portrayed Eliot Ness in the television series, "The Untouchables." Eliot Ness was born April 19, 1903, in Chicago. His parents were immigrants from Norway; his father, Peter Ness, arrived here in 1881 and his mother, Emma (King) Ness, in 1885. The Ness family lived on Kensington Avenue which is between and parallel to 115th and 116th Streets, running east from Michigan Avenue. Eliot Ness attended Christian Fenger High School, named in honor of Dr. Christian Fenger, who was born, raised, and educated in Denmark, but who came to America in 1877 and settled in Chicago, where he served as professor of surgery at Chicago Medical College and Rush Medical College, surgeon-in-chief at Cook County, Passavant, and Mercy Hospitals, and as president of the Chicago Medical Society. When Eliot Ness attended Fenger High School it was on the corner of 116th Street and Michigan Avenue, a short walk from the Ness home. Eliot Ness graduated in the top third of his class and went on to study at the University of Chicago, receiving a Bachelor's degree in political science and business in 1925. In 1926, Christian Fenger High School moved to a new building at 112th Street and Wallace Avenue, and the original building became Curtis Junior High.

For all the violence in the TV series and the movie The Untouchables, in fact Ness never even aimed a gun at Capone. The violence was added to increase ratings. And despite all the publicity about The Untouchables, they did not convict Capone. The IRS got Capone on tax charges. The IRS proved that Capone was spending much more money than he was reporting to the IRS as income. The best story of Eliot Ness is the book Eliot Ness The Real Story, Second Edition, Revised & Expanded, 2000, by Paul W Heimel,

The photo at left is Eliot Ness in 1925 when he received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago. The photo is from the Cleveland [Ohio] Public Library. The 1900 census shows Peder Ness, father of Eliot Ness, was a resident on Kensington Avenue in Chicago, a baker, born in March, 1850, and immigrated to America from Norway in 1881. "Ness" is not a surname in Norway. It is a geological feature, sometimes used as part of a farm name. In the late 1800's, Norwegians began using their farm name or village name as a surname rather than the traditional patronymic name. Therefore, we search the Norwegian census of 1865 for farm names that include "Ness" with a son of age 16 named Peter or Peder. There is only one, Peder Olsen, son of Ole Pederson and his wife Gune Olsdatter. Ole Pedersen was a tenant farmer with some land of his own. They lived on the "Ness Meitsjøen" farm in the parish of Grue in Hedmark County, Norway.

Elizabeth Barton was perhaps one of the most famous Bartons of her time. She is famous as The Holy Maid of Kent. She was also known as The Holy Maid of London and as The Mad Maid of Kent. She was born in 1506 in the parish of Aldington, about two to three miles south-east of Ashford in the county of Kent and twelve miles south-southwest of Canterbury. On April 20, 1534, she was hanged and beheaded for treason. The following is an excerpt of Wikipedia's entry for Elizabeth Barton:

"At the age of 19, while working as a domestic servant in the household of Thomas Cobb, a farmer of Aldington, she suffered from a severe illness and claimed to have received divine revelations that predicted future events, such as the death of a child living in her household or, more frequently, pleas for people to remain in the Roman Catholic Church. She also urged people to pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to undertake pilgrimages. Thousands believed in her prophecies and both Archbishop William Warham and Bishop John Fisher attested to her pious life.

When some events that she foretold apparently happened, her reputation spread. The parish priest, Richard Masters, referred the matter to Warham, who appointed a commission to ensure that none of her prophecies were at variance with Catholic teaching. When the commission decided favourably, Warham arranged for Barton to be received in the Benedictine St Sepulchre's Priory, Canterbury.

In 1528, she held a private meeting with Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, the second most powerful man in England after Henry VIII, and she soon thereafter met twice with Henry himself. Henry accepted Barton because her prophecies then still supported the existing order. Her prophecies warned against heresy and condemned rebellion at a time when Henry was attempting to stamp out Lutheranism and was afraid of possible uprising or even assassination by his enemies.

However, when the King began the process of obtaining an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and seizing control of the Church in England from Rome, she turned against him. Barton strongly opposed the English Reformation and, in around 1532, began prophesying that if Henry remarried, he would die within a few months. She said that she had even seen the place in Hell to which he would go (Henry actually lived for a further 15 years).

Remarkably, probably because of her popularity, Barton went unpunished for nearly a year. The King's agents spread rumours that she was engaged in sexual relationships with priests and that she suffered from mental illness. Many prophecies, as Thomas More thought, were fictitiously attributed to her."

Elizabeth Barton was executed by hanging and beheading. Of this the 1997 book Secretaries of God by Dianne Watt, page 76 states as follows:

"In England until the late seventeenth century the appropriate form of execution for women found guilty of treason was burning at the stake — the hanging of women was felt to offer an indecent spectacle. Consequently, it is likely that Barton's death by public hanging was intended to be understood as a symbolic act — her body was shown to be vulnerable, broken and therefore impure. The date of her execution (20 April 1534) was significant: on the same day, the citizens of London were required to make (sic) the Oath of Sucession. Barton's corpse and the mutilated bodies of her supporters were visual statements of the government's determination to silence it's detractors; they were explicit warnings to those who criticized Henry VIII's policies and reforms.

The Act of Attainder called upon the public to surrender any books, scrolls or other writings about the revelations and miracles attributed to Barton and her adherents, on pain of imprisonment and imposition of a fine. This specific requirement that every piece of literature written about Barton be confiscated by the authorities reiterated the message that all opposition to the King would be destroyed.

Aldington, where Elizabeth Barton was born, is eight miles east of Woodchurch and nine miles east of Bethersden where known ancestors of Roger Barton the immigrant lived. Joseph P. Barton may want to look into the possibility that The Holy Maid of Kent is a cousin, or were even her birth and/or christening records destroyed?

In her book, Roger Barton's Kinsmen, 1940, Margaret Alberta Barton McLean elevated this domestic servant to nobility as "Lady Elizabeth Barton, the 'Holy Maid of Kent.'" See page 6, the not numbered second page of McLean's Introduction. See Wikipedia - Lady. "'Lady' is also a formal title in the United Kingdom. 'Lady' is used before the family name of a woman with a title of nobility or honorary title suo jure (in her own right), or the wife of a lord, a baronet, laird, or a knight, and also before the first name of the daughter of a duke, marquess, or earl."

Elizabeth Barton might be thought of as England's version of America's Anne Marbury Hutchinson (July 1591-August 1643). Anne Hutchinson is perhaps the most famous American colonial woman. See Wikipedia-Anne Hutchinson:

Anne Hutchinson "was a Puritan spiritual adviser, mother of 15, and an important participant in the Antinomian Controversy which shook the infant Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1636 to 1638. Her strong religious convictions were at odds with the established Puritan clergy in the Boston area, and her popularity and charisma helped create a theological schism that threatened to destroy the Puritans' religious community in New England. She was eventually tried and convicted, then banished from the colony with many of her supporters."

Anne Hutchinson and her family moved to Rhode Island to be under the tolerance of Roger Williams, but after her husband died, she felt unsafe because of threats by the magistrates of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to take over Rhode Island and deal with the dissidents there. In 1642, Anne Hutchinson and her family, along with a few score other threatened residents of Rhode island, moved to New Netherland under the Dutch. In 1643, Anne Hutchinson had a residence under construction in what is now the Bronx when a group of Indians discovered the work underway. The Indians killed everyone and their live stock, put their bodies in the house, and set it on fire. The Hutchinson family had attempted to settle along what is now the Hutchinson River. The families from Rhode Island, seeking safety from the Massachusetts Puritan magistrates, had walked into a war between the Indians and the Dutch Director-general of New Netherland, Willem Kieft. The others, seeing what happened to the Hutchinson group, hurriedly left and returned to Rhode Island.

© by James C. Barton anno Domini 2009, 2019