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Biography of Franklin D. Barton

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BARTON, FRANKLIN D. The family of Barton was among the first settlers of the town of Waltham. Andrew Barton was the first settler on the farm now owned by A. B. Rose. His son, Andrew Barton, jr., was the first town clerk and also the first justice of the peace. He was a well-educated man for his time, with native talents of a high order. He died in 1802, in the prime of life, aged forty-one years. William Barton, son of Andrew Barton, represented the town in the Legislature in the year 1532; George Barton, in the years 1833, ’34, and ’38.

Dyer Barton, grandfather of Franklin D., died on July 31, 1808, aged fifty-nine years, leaving his estate to his son, John D. Barton, and a daughter, who became the wife of Jeptha Shedd, who was a book dealer and binder in the city of Vergennes, Vt. Dyer Barton’s widow subsequently married Avery Ferguson, who resided in her house on the northern part of the farm now owned by Franklin D., until her death, July 23, 1847, at the age of eighty-nine years.

The first fifty acres owned by John D. Barton were given him by his uncle Andrew Barton, for the care and support of the latter during his natural life. He died soon after this arrangement was made, on January 10, 1813, aged seventy-three years. This land, with the estate which came to him upon the death of his father, and the subsequent purchase of the farms of Abijah and Judson Hurd, made him one of the largest land owners in the town of Waltham, Vt.

John D. Barton was born in Waltham, Vt., on July 29, 1788. He was married on November 25, 1813, to Betsey Smith, who was born in Chester, Vt., on May 7, 1795. Their children were: Cynthia (born on January 13, 1815, widow of Calvin Bragg, and now resides in Ferrisburgh, Vt.); Juliette (born August 1, 1816, died on October 7, 1828); Henry Smith (born on. November 20, 1818, died on April 6, 1819); Eunice Eliza (born on April 30, 1820; wife of Lorenzo Bacon, a farmer living in Dickinson, Franklin county, N. Y.; they have three children, living – Mariette R., wife of Daniel Hare, Edna C., wife of Selden E. Phillips, and Charles D.) ; Nelson B. (born on February 3, 1823, died on October 7, 1828) ; Fanny D. (born on May 4, 1825; wife of David Hare, now living in Waltham, Vt.); Amos M. (born on March 2, 1828; married Harriet N. Howe, their children being – Lillian E., wife of Edson H. Bisbee, Geo. S., who died January, 1885, Henry A., Harriet E., Charles S., Martha E., Mabel C., Fanny D., Bessie J., and Archie M., who died December, 1882; now a merchant, living in Kingsville, Ashtabula county, Ohio); Sumner (born on May 21, 1831, died on May 27; 1843); Franklin D. (subject of this sketch); Juliett Elizabeth (born on November 18, 1836, now living with her sister, Mrs. Hare); Mariette Rachel (born on May 3, 1839, died on February 6, 1845). Mrs. Betsey Barton died on November 19, 1853. Mr. Barton married for his second wife Widow Mandana Smith, who survived him. He died on September 11, 1863, aged seventy-five years. Franklin D. Barton succeeded to the bulk of his father’s estate by deed from him and by purchase from the heirs, and has fully sustained the reputation of being a thorough-going, successful farmer and stock raiser. He was born on the farm which is now owned by him, on February 28, 1834. He received his education in the common schools and at the Poultney Academy. While yet an attendant at school he became interested in the raising of Spanish Merino sheep, and persuaded his father to purchase of Edwin Hammond forty head of yearling ewes, the first venture in the direction of an interest which he has since followed untiringly, until, at the present time (1886), he stands by common consent at the head of the Spanish Merino sheep breeders of Addison county, and this not only in the quality, but in the size of his flock. Addison county, Vt., is understood to be headquarters for Spanish Merino sheep in the United States. From the very first his aim has been to secure and preserve the highest standard of excellence, always breeding from the best and purest-blooded rams owned by others until he had produced equally as good from his own flock. The foundation of his present flock was laid in 1864, by purchase of fifty-six ewes from William R. Sanford, Edwin Hammond, and Azro J. Stowe, the Stowe purchase being purely Hammond Stock. He purchased these at an aggregate cost of $21,500. He has confined the breeding to the pure Atwood Merino and has tolerated no admixture. His sales have been made for the most part at home and have been extensive, some years amounting to twenty thousand dollars and upward. In 1883 some fifty head were sold to parties from Australia. In 1880 Mr. Barton built one of the handsomest and most convenient stock-barns in New England, if not in the world. The main building is ninety-six by fifty feet, especially designed for cattle, while the wing is one hundred and eight by forty feet, supplied with all modern conveniences for housing and feeding his sheep. The whole is three stories high, and so arranged by a system of inclined planes that teams may be driven upon either floor. Both of the upper floors are used for storing grain and hay, the upper story being especially arranged as a place for threshing, and from which large granaries extend to the lower floor, so that grain may be taken from them with convenience from either story. The basement is arranged for storing roots, manure, etc., and the barn is not only mammoth in proportion but a model of convenience, and is justly the pride of the town.

Mr. Barton married Lorelle L. Bullard May 7, 1878, who died October 8, 1883.

In politics he is Republican, but has been too busily employed in the conducting of his extensive farm and stock operations to devote much of his time to politics. He has sometimes accepted various offices of his town, but has been no seeker after official positions.


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