Joseph Barton was born about 1770 probably in South Carolina.  At this time the primary information I have about him is based on the information in his will that is recorded in Henry County, Tennessee.  Taking that information, let’s see what we learn about him and his family.

Pages 230 & 231
State of Tennessee
Henry County
In the name of God Amen I Joseph Barton of the County of Henry & State of Tennessee calling to mind the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death and believing it right for all men to be prepared for that solemn event both as respects his Spiritual or Temporal concerns do make and ordain this my last will & Testament hereby revoking & making void all and every will by me hitherto made & first I recommend my soal to God who gave it in hope of a happy immortality so as to my my [duplicate] property my will is as follows (Ia) I give to my beloved wife Sopha W. Barton in trust for the support of herself and my by [boy] John D.W. Barton one hundred & fifty acres of land on which I now live to be taken from the south side of said tract Adjoining Dempsey Bowden & including the mansion house & such of the cleared land as may be laid off contiguous in a survey to be adjudged by two judicious men. Also I give to my said wife for the aforesaid purpose one Negro Girl named Susan, also my household & kitchen furniture also my wagon & sufficient of my farming tools to carry on the farm two horses with other Stock to wit cattle sheep hogs a sufficient and [this word may be amt]to be laid off & adjudged by the two men who may designate her farm and my aforesaid son John live with & be raised by his mother and to be educated by her & properly raised out of the proceeds of said farm but in case of the death of my wife or her intermarrying again then the aforesaid land & property to be taken into to [duplicate] custody by Dempsey Bowden together with my afs’d [aforesaid] son until he may come of age Thereby constituting said Dempsey Bowden his guardian for the aforesaid purpose and when my son John D. W. Barton comes of age my will is for him to have all the above named property that was land in trust to my wife with this provision that it is to say for my wife to have her support in said property during her widowhood the balance of my estate both real personal & mixed of all kind I will to be sold after my decease & after paying all my just debts to be equally amongst the balance of my children & grand children except my Daughter Martha Mcrab widow of John Mcrab deceased having already given her as I consider an equitable proportion of my estate but I will that the notes I hold against the estate of her deceased husband shall be surrendered up without payment I bequeath to the children of John Gore of Illinois who married my Sophia now dead that portion of my estate their mother would have taken under this will & the said John Gore I appoint guardian of said children to take charge of their portion and pay over to them upon their coming of age or marrying I bequeath to the four children of my son Benjamin Barton deceased likewise the portion their father would have received under this provision of this my will had he been living the mother of said children to be their guardian & pay over to each child its portion as he or she comes of age or marries I hereby appoint my friend James Walker & Moses Todd executors to this my will hereby vesting in them full power & authority to sell & make legal conveyances of all the real estate of which I may ausng’d [cannot read] & posse’d [possessed] also to sell & make title to all my Negroes the land & Negroes above bequeathed to my wife & son John only exempted & upon my decease it is my will & wish that my said executors proceed so soon as is practicable to make sale & division of my property agreeable to the provisions of this my will giving due notice to all parties interested in the same testimony whereof I hereto set my hand affixed my seal this 4th day July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & forty three.
Joseph (his mark) Barton
before assaind
signed, sealed & acknowledged in the presence of the undersigned
Jns I [perhaps Parish] Elias Bowden, D. Bowden


Image of his will.

In his will he specifically identifies several family and friends:

  • Sopha W Barton, his wife
  • John D.W. Barton, his minor son
  • Benjamin Barton, his son who is deceased and had 4 children
  • Martha, his daughter, who’s husband John McRab is deceased with children
  • Sophia, his daughter who’s widow is John Gore with children
  • Dempsey Bowden, friend & neighbor
  • James Walker, friend
  • Moses Todd, friend

His will seems to only identify those children or grandchildren who are in need of care (minor or heirs whose parent is dead) so it seems likely he had other children.  This is also supported by the hash marks of children living with him as enumerated on the censuses through the years.  I have been trying to determine who those other children were in hopes of proving or disproving that my ancestor, William Barton, is one of his children.

1808-1819 several of Joseph’s children married in Christian County, Kentucky:

Groom Bride Applied License Joseph’s Will
Nichols, George Barton, Esther 10/26/1808 10/27/1808
Barton, William Gray, Margaret 05/02/1809 05/03/1809
Barton, John Dukes, Christine 01/14/1811 01/31/1811
Barton, William Robinson, Nancy 07/17/1811 07/18/1811
Barton, Alexander Lowell, Elizabeth 12/22/1813 12/28/1813
McVale, John W Barton, Martha 03/05/1814  x
Dunning, Shadrick Morris, Adya 04/06/1814 04/11/1814
Barton, William (my ancestor) Dunning, Sarah 01/31/1816 02/15/1816
Gore, John Barton, Sophia 09/22/1817 09/23/1817  x
Barton, Benjamin J Killebrew, Rebecca 09/13/1819 09/16/1819  x
Note: Some researchers assign the other marriages of William Barton to my William; however, William’s wife Sarah in the pension records said neither she nor her husband had been previously married to anyone else.
  • 1810 Joseph living in Hopkinsville, Christian, Kentucky with Hardimon Dunning (father-in-law of my William) living nearby
  • 1820 Joseph living in Trigg County, Kentucky and my William living next door
  • 1830 Joseph living in Trigg County, Kentucky. My William living next door and Dunnings living nearby
  • 1827 Sophia Goode nee Wood’s husband Obadiah Woodson Goode died in Trigg County, Kentucky
  • 1830 Sophia Goode is head of household in Christian County, Kentucky
  • 1830, November 3 Joseph Barton sold 30 acres of his 400 acre tract on Muddy Creek of Little River in Trigg County (near Wallonia, Trigg, Kentucky) to William Barton. Joseph’s wife was listed as Catherine (Trigg, Kentucky Deed book D. p. 164 executed 2 Dec 1832 for sale consummated 3 Nov 1830)
  • 1833, January 4 the same 30 acres was sold by William and Sarah Barton (Trigg, Kentucky Deed Book E p.67)
  • 1833 Joseph became guardian to his son Benjamin’s 4 children in Henry County, Tennessee
  • 1833 (abt) Joseph Barton married Sophia Goode nee Wood probably in Kentucky
  • 1834 (abt) son John D W Barton born in Kentucky
  • 1836 Joseph is on the Henry County, Tennessee tax records
  • 1837 Joseph is on the Henry County, Tennessee tax records
  • 1839 February 21 Joseph Barton born in 1801 married in Henry, Tennessee Sarah Byars born in 1798 (She was previously married to Cyrus Davis see link to Tosh Family Bible entries below)
  • 1840 Tax records include Joseph Barton, Sr; Joseph Barton, Jr; and Dempsey Bowden, who is in Joseph’s will.  It seems likely that Joseph Barton, Jr. is a son not mentioned in Joseph Barton, Sr’s will.  Dempsey is Eliza Bowden nee Goode’s father-in-law (Sophia Barton nee Wood’s daughter)
  • 1843, October 26 William sold his land for $1,250.00 (Trigg, Kentucky Deed Book H p.140).
  • 1847, December 8 Joseph Barton died
  • 1850 William was in Graves County, Kentucky and there are some Dunnings living nearby
  • 1850 John D W Barton and his mother are living with the Dempsey Bowden’s son’s family (who is Sophia’s son-in-law in Henry County, Tennessee (as is expected based on Joseph’s request in his will)
  • 1856, September 4 William died in Grave County, Kentucky.  His death certificate indicated that his father was J. Barton
  • after 1856 in Margaret Elizabeth Tosh nee Davis’ Family Bible it lists Joseph Barton, Jr’s family and includes death date for Joseph Barton, Sr that correspond to his executed will.  It also lists William Barton’s death date as September 4, 1856, which ties the families together.

Through this process I think it is reasonable to suggest that William Barton and Joseph Barton, Jr were Joseph Barton’s sons.  He had children enumerated with him in 1810 that are in addition to the ones identified here.  So, I suspect he at least had another daughter and son both born between 1795 & 1800 plus another son born between 1801 & 1810.

And so the research continues…

Joseph Barton is my biological 5th great grandfather on my father’s side.

No Story Too Small offered a challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor. 
Each of my posts for this challenge will include in the title “52 Ancestors Challenge” and will have the tag of 52Ancestors.

Further Readings

For many years two William Bartons have been listed as the son of Lt David Barton.  The William Barton who is the son of Lt. David Barton and Hannah Barton was born in 1792 in Franklin Co. Virginia and died in 1855 in Yalobusha County, Mississippi.  My ancestor William Barton was born in 1793 in South Carolina and died in 1856 in Graves County, Kentucky and is the son of J. Barton.  For more on that mixup read (be sure click on the … that indicates there is more to view): Rootsweb Re: [BARTON] David and William Barton, Greeneville, TN, ca 1793, posted January 31, 2001.

The Old Family Bible in possession of John Tosh of Rutherford, Gibson Co., Tennessee, previously owned by Martin Tosh and his mother, Martha Elizabeth Davis Tosh (b. 1856) from Henry, Weakley, and Obion Counties.  She was the daughter of George Davis and Malinda Crockett (b. 1824) who lived in Rutherford/Gibson Co. area.  This rootsweb post states that the Bible was posted by Gay Mathis but since some entries were difficult for the to read, Brenda Gartside and Pat Murphy, included their own parenthetical remarks.  Read: Rootsweb Re: [DAVIS] Cyrus Davis beginning @ Granville Co., N.C. by Craige Davis.