Biography - James Barton

JAMES BARTON. Shelby County has an excellent reputation throughout the State for good farms and excellent stock, and those who are carrying on the industries connected with farming and stock-raising, have in almost every case achieved a creditable and satisfactory success. Among the independent farmers in Dry Point Township, we find on section 15, the home of James Barton, a native of the county, born June 7, 1853, in Okaw Township.
David and Mary (Craig) Barton, the parents of our subject, were natives of Bedford, Va., the father being born in 1818 and the mother in 1813. The former passed away from life on the farm where our subject now resides in 1886, and the mother makes her home with her son James. Their family consists of four stalwart sons and three beautiful daughters. William, the eldest, married Mary J. Dihel and resides on an adjoining farm; Rhoda has been twice married, as after the death of her first husband, John T. Jones, she married C. R. Barton, and resides in this township; Elizabeth died in 1865 at the age of nineteen years, and Charles passed away at the same age in 1867; David married for his first wife Mary A. Reynolds, who died in 1882, and his second marriage was with Mary L. Flanders, and he now resides in this township; the next child in order of age is our subject, and the youngest is Mary E. who married Y. L. Dihel and died in this township in 1881.
Our subject received his education in the common schools of the country districts and in the graded schools at Shelbyville. He early undertook the profession of a teacher, which work he began in 1876 and continued for twelve years. In 1890 he gave up his place at the teacher's desk and devoted himself entirely to agricultural pursuits.
The happy union by marriage of James Barton and Mary V. Finks, occurred May 2, 1878. This lady is a native of this township, of Southern parentage and was here brought up to young womanhood. She was born October 12, 1859, and is a daughter of C. L. and Alpha Finks, natives of Virginia, who became residents of Shelby County, this State, in the early days of the history of its settlement.
Mrs. Barton is the second child in a family of six, her brothers and sisters being James H., who died in this township in 1890; C. W. who married and resided on a farm here; J. M., who married, but died in 1890 of typhoid fever; Silas W. who is married and living in the same township, and Annie, wife of H. L. Austin who also resides in Dry Point Township.
Mr. Barton was elected Supervisor of Dry Point Township in 1888 and has twice succeeded himself in that honorable position, being now on his fourth year in that office, which he has filled to the satisfaction of his constituents. For two years he served as Township Tax Collector and is now serving his eleventh successive year in performing the duties of School Trustee of the township. His beautiful farm of one hundred and sixty acres is in a fine state of cultivation and its chief product is hay.
The household of our subject has been blessed by the birth of two daughters and three sons: Lizzie, born March 9, 1879, John D., March 22, 1882; Thaddeus W., February 15, 1884; Allie Ella, February 16, 1886, and Chester Roswell, February 5, 1888. These affectionate and judicious parents have the great happiness of still keeping all their little ones about them and seeing them preserved in life and health. They are both earnest and conscientious members of the Separate Baptist Church.
The subject of this life sketch has been a lifelong Republican and is pleased to boast that he has never cast any other ballot than that which is endorsed by the Republican party. He is well-known as one of the most public-spirited and enterprising citizens of the township and takes an active part not only in political affairs, but also in all movements which are intended to promote the social and financial prosperity of the community. His brother William fought in the Union army during the Civil War. Mr. Barton has been a member of the Masonic order but at present is not affiliated. Both he and his estimable wife are very active in church and Sunday-school work, taking great interest in the advancement of the cause of religion through that worthy ally of the church, the Sunday-school. One peculiar feature of the Barton family is that every male member of the family for two generations has married a woman whose first name was Mary, and even those who have twice married have observed this rule.

Extracted 07 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 232-233.

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