The David Barton and Ruth Oldham Family
(Minor Updates on October 4, 2006)
David was born ca 1730 in Stafford Co. VA.
The next year, the area became Prince William County.
David was administrator of Thomas(3)’s estate in 1752 and is believed
to be a son of Thomas(3). (for more
information see the Thomas(1,2,3)
of Stafford County VA
this family also on the Family
History page, which is a part of Lineage I
Probably, everyone associates this David Barton with: "being killed on expedition into
Kentucky with Daniel Boone, fighting Indians led by British officers.” (ca
have not been able to verify this legend to my satisfaction.)
in the November, 1999 Supplement to Nally's The Barton Book that David's name is listed on a large monument
at Boonesville, KY. I visited Fort Boonesborough in 2004
and realized that the numerous Bartons listed on the
monument were not David Barton m Ruth Oldham's family, but are another group of Bartons who settled
Here is the inscription on the headstone. (It's easy to see why our family
was happy to claim this connection)
their descendants to the sacred memory of the Brave Pioneers
the Wilderness of What Later Became Known as Boonesborough
First Fortified Settlement in
honor these first families of Kentucky
Others may recall the story from The Barton Book
about David and Ruth, when moving from Virginia to Kentucky: "...
Ruth's children were so small - some of them - that they drove a cow along so
that her children might have milk." (Probably in 1772) When
I had the privilege of spending several hours with our noted
"dean" of Barton researchers, Ruth Barton Coleman of Austin TX,
she noted that it was normal to take your cows along when you were
moving. She didn't see anything unusual about this, but did agree that it
makes a nice story. It also emphasizes the dilemma that Ruth faced in
raising those small children after her husband was killed.
Here is a bit that relates to David's "... license to keep
ordinary..." while living in Fauquier Co VA.
Fauquier Historical Society - 1st Series Bulletins:
Watt's Ordinary 12 miles from Neville's
Ordinary. This resort of travelers on the Falmouth-Winchester Road judging from
its distance from Germantown on the Fry and Jefferson map must have been located
at the present site of Delaplane, a theory which is supported by the fact that
altho no license was granted to any Watts to keep ordinary after the
organization of Fauquier Co, a Thomas Watts in 1761 was appointed "Surveyor
of the Road" in the room of David Barton and David Barton at the following court
obtained a license to keep ordinary.
A few definitions are needed for us to understand this
passage. Thanks to an internet friend who specializes in colonial Virginia
genealogy, Gwen Hendrix, for these interpretations:
- An ordinary, in this case, is a tavern. The
owner had to get a license from the county court. (In SC and GA, that
I know of, an Ordinary was a Judge of Probate.)
- "Keeping an ordinary" meant operating a
tavern, often in the owner's home, if large enough.
- The surveyor of the road surveyed the area of a
proposed road and recommended a route. In those days it is
my understanding that the county court appointed a surveyor of the road to
do a specific job only---usually to survey a section of a proposed road.
The position ended when that job was done and a report made to the
- "In the room of" means instead of.
It has nothing to do with a building. If the court minutes
said Thomas Watts was appointed surveyor in the room of David
Barton, that means David Barton used to be the surveyor and now Thomas
Watts is the surveyor.
From this one passage, we find out two things about David.
He just completed a term as Surveyor of the Road. Clara's
notes show that he had also been named as a surveyor in the Prince William Order
Book of 1755-57 and was named again in 1769. (More on this aspect another
He received authority to run an "ordinary" or
tavern in 1761.
visited Williamsburg VA and took a tour of
the Raleigh Tavern, which is restored to this same time period of Colonial
Virginia. The stories we heard
there can help us understand the taverns of the time. In those days, running a tavern was a respected profession.
As today, travelers needed a place to spend the night. Lodging and meals
were expensive, but very important to weary travelers. Strong drink and
gaming rooms would have been available. Travelers
were almost always men. They shared
a common room with other travelers or paid extra for a small room.
There were beds, but these would be shared with one or more other
travelers, even if the traveler had paid extra for a separate room. No one
expected a bed to himself. The
one hot meal of the day was served at 2 pm.
In the evening and again at breakfast the following morning, cold
leftovers from the previous meal would be served.
Another concept that captured my imagination:
up until the early-mid 1770s, the citizens of Colonial Virginia
considered themselves to be English.
After the change in attitudes that led to the Revolution, they thought of
themselves as Virginians. Our
Virginia ancestors probably never thought of themselves as “Americans”.
Migration from Bull Run Mountain area to Leeds Parish-roughly
10 miles (both in what is now Fauquier Co)
In 1759, David Barton obtained a lease from Lord Fairfax
in Leeds Parish of Fauquier Co. John
Barton, believed to be David’s brother, also had a lease in the area.
A number of other Barton families (relation uncertain) were in the area.
Migration from Leeds Parish, Fauquier Co VA
to Surry Co NC
David Barton and Ruth Oldham, his wife, of Leeds Parish,
Fauquier Co., sold their leases and household goods, with the last record being
2 Nov 1771. Court records show they
were in Surry Co NC in 1772 (Surry Co became Wilkes Co NC in 1778). David
was killed in 1775 (according to legend, by British-led Indians while on expedition with Daniel Boone
into Kentucky), so he probably intended to move the family to Kentucky.
that I know about in this group included:
- David Barton & Ruth Oldham
(married 27 July 1752, probably in Prince William Co, which became
Fauquier Co in 1759) and their children Ruth, Fanny, John, Benjamin, Mary,
William, Susan, Thomas, David Oldham & Presley.
- John Barton (probably a
brother of David) and his wife Rhody.
- Lawrence Ross & Susannah
Oldham (Oldham family records say Ross was in Fauquier Co.
He was administrator of David's estate in Surry Co NC.)
Susannah & Ruth Oldham were sisters.
Lawrence Ross’ family records say he went to Oldham Co KY by 1784.
- Moses Guest (relationship
not known) According to a descendant, David & Ruth's son, Benjamin, was
married in Moses Guest’s home by Benjamin’s Uncle John Barton.
Migration from Surry/Wilkes Co NC to the Tugaloo River area
After staying in Surry/Wilkes Co NC for about a decade, the
Bartons and Moses Guest show up in the records of the Tugaloo River area of
SC/GA beginning around 1785. They lived on both sides of the Tugaloo
River, which is now flooded by Lake Hartwell and is also the GA/SC state line in
this area. Before the state line was moved in 1787, John Barton and John
Kees served in the GA General Assembly. Both
remained in the Chuaga River Valley (which became SC).
Barton records are found in Wilkes, Franklin, Elbert & Lincoln
Counties GA, in Pendleton District & in Anderson and Oconee Counties SC.
They attended Shole (Shoal) Creek GA Baptist Church, founded in 1796 in
Franklin Co GA, moved to Chuaga SC in 1811.
John, Benjamin, William & Thomas Barton were all early members, with
David Oldham Barton and family receiving frequent mention in the later SC church
Migration from the Tugaloo River area of SC/GA to
Morgan Co GA
1807, four of the sons of David and Ruth Barton moved again, with Benjamin
moving to Bedford Co TN and Thomas, William & Presley moving to Baldwin Co
GA (became Morgan Co in 1807). David
Oldham Barton and John Barton stayed in the Chuaga River Valley of SC.
There are numerous land records for the brothers in Morgan Co.
William and Presley stayed in Morgan Co. when Thomas moved on.
from Morgan Co GA to Montgomery Co AL
In 1817, Thomas Barton and family moved again; this time to
Montgomery Co AL (the area became Elmore Co in 1866). He was “the first white settler on the North side of the
Tallapoosa River”. He received
Grants #1,2,3,4 and later, others) from the Federal Cahaba Land Office.
Thomas is the first Barton ancestor who I found with records of having
owned slaves; this appears to have begun about 1800.
His last will and testament in 1825 listed 27 slaves.
(note - since writing this, I have found records indicating that Thomas(2) had
slaves in the early 1700s in Prince Wm Co VA.)
Migration from Montgomery Co AL to Tombigbee River, Columbus
1835/36, the Conway Oldham Barton family moved to Mississippi, buying a place on
the Tombigbee River near Columbus. (Conway
owned 4 tracts of land in Columbus, Lowndes Co Ms purchased from the Federal
Govt.) I suspect that they lived at
what became the town of Barton, founded in 1848, a few years after they moved
on. (with the town being named for
them as prior landowners) The town
died out and the area is now a recreational park along the Tennessee-Tombigbee
Waterway. Archaelogists (in the
1960-70s) investigated the area through the
'Tombigbee Historic Townsites Project'. They mention a “…small Greek Revival house,
ambitious in detail …”, built about 1840-50.
I suspect that this house was built by Conway Oldham Barton. More research is needed.
Migration from Tombigbee River, Columbus MS to Caddo Parish
Before 1844, the Conway Oldham Barton family moved to Caddo
Parish, La where they owned a plantation in the Red River valley.
Records show that he purchased two sections of land from the Federal
Govt. Yellow Fever killed two of
Conway’s daughters and apparently provoked the move to Texas.
Migration from Caddo Parish LA to Milam Co TX
In 1852, Conway & his family moved to Texas where he
bought a plantation in Brazos Bottom, Robertson Co. At first the family lived in the bottom close to Big Brazos
on the Robertson Co side. They soon
bought land across the river in Milam Co and built their first real home in
Texas in the hills of Milam Co. Conway’s
three oldest sons all served in Hood’s Texas Brigade and each received severe
wounds. John and Lem both lost
their right arm at Antietam, while Frank’s knee was shattered at Chickamauga.
The brothers were stationed at Dumfries VA during the winter of 1861-62.
Members of Hood’s Brigade carved their initials in the windowsills of
the nearby Aquia Episcopal Church built in 1757.
(Searches have not turned up JB, LB or FB)
Migration from Milam Co TX to Bartonsite TX
Circa 1890, Joseph James Barton and his uncles (Frank Barton
and Tyre Sneed) started a ranch on the Llano Estacado (High Plains) of Texas, where the
Comanche Indians had ruled until 1874. JJ
soon brought his wife and small children to the treeless plains, becoming the
last in a line of settlers who lived on the frontier.
Possibly, JJ’s wife, Mary Jane Harlan, suffered even more than our
other pioneer mothers. I’m not sure earlier generations of pioneers had ever
experienced much luxury, but Mary left a life of comfort in Calvert TX to move
to what became Bartonsite TX. One
of JJ’s sons, John (Jack) Sneed Barton, and two of his grandsons, Joseph James III
& Jack Pinson Barton carried on the farming tradition. JJ III’s son, Timothy Harlan Barton is the remaining
farmer. The other descendants of JJ
and Mary Barton are scattered through out the USA.
Their house, built in 1909, is now called "The
Barton House" and is the centerpiece of the National
Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock TX.
This information is compiled from original source
material, abstracts, records of a number of Barton researchers (with extensive
reliance on family historians: Clara Luther Barton and Cassie Marie Rosser)
& several Books. It almost
certainly contains errors and incorrect interpretations.
Please let me know if you find or suspect an error.
Consider this is a “Work in Progress”.
Documentation is available. Terry
information is for the private use of any Barton Researcher to
further their own knowledge. It is not to be shared or
reprinted in any form without written permission of the