William Barton Born 30 January 1821 at Lebanon, St. Clair
County, Illinois. Entered Salt Lake Valley September 1851.
William Barton, originally from Lebanon, St. Clair County,
Illinois, was born to John Barton of Orange County, North
Carolina, and Sally Penn of Elbert County, Georgia, on January
30, 1821. The oldest boy and the second child in a family of
ten, he had four brothers and five sisters. Elizabeth was the
oldest child. John Wesley, one of William's brothers, died when
he was eighteen years old. Elizabeth Sarah Penn and Eliza Ann
lived less than five years each and were buried in the Barton
cemetery in Lebanon.
The parents of this family were farm folk and, having a large
family to support, were far from wealthy. When Wilford Woodruff
taught them the gospel, they accepted it, and both were baptized
8 March 1835. In spite of the fact that other members of the
family were old enough to be baptized at the same time, they
waited until later to accept the ordinances. William was
baptized in January of 1841.
Because he was the oldest boy, and because John Wesley, who was
two years younger, was a sickly child, William had to learn at
an early age to be very responsible. His mother depended on him
a great deal. William learned the flour-milling trade in Lebanon
and became a millwright as well.
William could read, write, and work figures very well; thus
it is likely that he had whatever education was available.
William Barton was chosen to serve as a bodyguard to Joseph
Smith and was probably in Nauvoo for that reason only. During
those early days in Nauvoo and the surrounding country, when the
mobocrats were determined to annihilate Joseph and Hyrum Smith
and all of Joseph's followers, it was imperative that the
Prophet's bodyguards be men of stalwart character with great
physical as well as emotional strength--men who could
demonstrate endless courage during times of stress. Integrity
combined with a deep abiding faith and love for their Prophet
was a characteristic necessary in those chosen to protect him.
William Barton was this kind of man.
Both William and his uncle Asa Barton were in Nauvoo 10 July
1844, about 13 days after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum
Smith. In a letter he wrote "to William Barton and Asa Barton
and all the rest," John Barton, William's father comments on the
murder of Joseph and Hyrum.
Sarah Esther West was born 8 November 1829, in Chalk Level
Township, Benton County, Tennessee. She was the first child of
Samuel Walker and Margaret Cooper West. "The West's were an
ancient family of Knightly Rank, connected by descent and ties
of marriage with royal lineage and other families of peerage.
They were the oldest families of landed gentry throughout the
Kingdom of Great Britain."
At the time of her birth, Sarah Esther's parents were living on
a 1,000-acre estate inherited by Margaret's maternal
grandmother, Esther Fletcher, from her (Mrs. Fletcher's) uncle
William's estate. Chalk Level, Benton County, Tennessee, does
not now exist, but the burial place of Margaret Cooper's father
and mother in Montgomery is still intact. Benton County is
southwest of this place. This would be less than twenty miles
northwest of Nashville.
Esther's mother and father joined the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints at Chalk Level in 1835, after being taught the
gospel by David W. Patten and Warren Parrish, two missionary
elders. It was also while Esther was living on this plantation
in Tennessee with her folks that she first came to know George
A. Smith, and the Prophet Joseph Smith's brother, Don Carlos.
Little did she realize that some years later George A. would
become one of her brothers-in-law.
It was now summer and Esther was feeling carefree and happy.
Esther's parents were discussing the gospel with David Patten,
Warren Parrish, Wilford Woodruff, and several other men. Her
brother John, who had been chasing a squirrel for hours, bounded
into the house and announced that their Methodist minister was
coming. The man was already at the door, and without even
removing his hat or knocking, he entered the house. "Here, you
men! I have a warrant for your arrest! Don't move!"
John and Esther, being the two oldest children, realized
something of a very serious nature was going on. Their mother
looked more tired than usual when she told them," He wants to
hurt our missionaries, and he wants to hurt us all. We must
The next morning Esther's father told the children that the
Methodist minister was accusing David Patten, Warren Parrish,
and Wilford Woodruff of doing all kinds of evil things. "One is
that they have baptized four persons, and have promised them the
Holy Ghost." John asked, "Is that wrong?" "No, my son, and as
you grow older, you will find this gift has been promised and
shall follow baptism. When you are confirmed, if you will
listen, you will hear the words receive the Holy Ghost."
Later, Esther's father said that the men did not arrest Wilford
Woodruff because he lived in another country. Elder Woodruff had
borrowed one of the West's horses to ride while doing his
proselyting, and Esther and John were worried about getting
their horse back. Their horse was never returned, because while
Elder Woodruff was using him, the horse was poisoned and died.
Esther's grandfather West had died, and her grandmother, Sally
Walker West, was lonely. She and her uncle had been urging
Esther's family to move to Kentucky. At last everything was
loaded, and Esther, along with the rest of the family, was
seated in the nicest covered wagon they owned. Their long
journey began. The West's reached Kentucky safely.
Letters came from the West's old friends who had moved into
Missouri and into the town of Far West. They told of the
terrible mobbings -- and how the whole town had been surrounded
and two of the brethren had been murdered, one of whom was their
old friend David W. Patten who was shot at the battle at Crooked
Esther and her family could have been forever happy in Kentucky.
They had plenty of food and warmth, and the family relationships
were congenial. But a yearning to be close to the Church and its
people, to be able to see and to hear their Prophet, and to be
able to be reared in that environment, seemed the most important
thing in all the world to them.
Again their wagons were loaded, and they were on their way. It
was the first day of June, 1842, that Esther and her family bid
farewell to Kentucky and their dear ones. When the West family
neared the end of their journey, Esther was in awe of the vast
expanse of the Mississippi River. And the city of Nauvoo -- how
fast it was growing.
Now it was July of 1842. A soft breeze was gently blowing
Esther's shining dark auburn locks across her soft cheeks, pink
now from the excitement of her meeting with a dark handsome
stranger of Nauvoo. As William looked at her, a warm gentle look
came into his dark brown steady gaze, and one could read in his
eyes that he felt he had now found the girl with whom he desired
to share the rest of his life. These two people immediately
began their romance.
William helped in the burial of his beloved Prophet, tears
streaming down his cheeks, and Esther helped comfort Emma,
Joseph's widow, with whom she later became close friends.
Tragedy is a great equalizer. They knew that it was now that
they must begin in earnest to plan for their arduous trek across
the plains to the mountains in the West.
William must have spent considerable time in Nauvoo the next
eight months, courting the charming Esther West, because on 26
February 1845, they were married in a ceremony performed by
George A. Smith. After they were married, William and Esther
made their home in Lebanon where William could be of more help
to his ailing father whose greatest desire also was to move with
his family to the West. They began in earnest to get together
teams, wagons, cattle, and other supplies in hopes of being able
to leave within the next two or three years for the mountains in
the West. As it has often been spoken of in American history,
they referred to "going to the mountains in the West" instead
they said they were "going into the wilderness."
In the meantime, on 1 February 1848, William and Esther's first
child was born to them -- a boy, whom they named Joseph Alma
after their martyred Prophet.
William Barton, Sarah Esther West Barton and a son, Joseph Alma
Barton, left Lebanon, Illinois, for Utah in the late summer of
1850. They were almost three months crossing the plains by ox
team. They remained in Salt Lake until the early spring of 1851,
arriving in Parowan April the seventh or eighth.
William's father, John, told them about the time when he saw the
"mantle of Joseph" fall on Brigham Young that day in the Grove
when Sidney Rigdon talked for an hour and a half trying to
convince the Saints that he should be their next prophet. Sidney
had forgotten that when the head of the Church was lost, the
next quorum in authority was the one to lead. John was only
fourteen years old when he and some other boys were near the
bowery listening to several men besides Sidney Rigdonspeak. Then
Brigham Young arose, and all saw in a moment that he was the
man, for his very voice, his gestures, and his attitude were
those of the Prophet Joseph. A blind woman clasped her hands and
shouted, "Has Brother Joseph been raised from the dead?" John
said that he and the boys he was with couldn't see very well,
and one of the boys said, "Listen! That is the Prophet speaking!
We got up on the hubs of the wagon wheels so we could see
better, and we could see that it was Brigham Young who at that
moment looked and sounded just like Joseph."
It was in 1853 and 1854 that the first flour burr mill in Iron
County was built. It was constructed by William and Nelson
Hollingshead and owned by George A. Smith and John Calvin Lazell
Smith. It was operated by William Barton, who was the first
grist miller in Iron County. This mill was built just inside the
old fort at the southeast corner and was run by water power.
In August of 1853, the Indian War broke out, and all settlers
living outside of forts were ordered to move into them for
In the early part of 1855, President Brigham Young went to Iron
County and vicinity, and, after making an inspection of the
situation, called the first settlers back to Paragonah to make
When spring came, William Barton, with his three brothers,
Stephen, Joseph, and Samuel, were among the first men to return
to begin preparing the adobes for building the fort.
On 25 June 1856, William and Esther's first daughter was born,
and they named her Esther Jane. In the fall of 1856, William and
Esther made a trip to Salt Lake and back to Parowan in their
covered wagon. This trip had been planned for quite some time.
It was a very special occasion, one they had been looking
forward to with great anticipation. On November 10 they were
sealed to each other for time and eternity in the old Endowment
William was a carpenter, a mason, a miller, a violinist, a
farmer, a brewer and a stockman. He also served as a dentist
Because Polygamy was endorsed for church leaders, which William
was, he married Mary Williamson, an English emigrant, 28 August
1857. The two families never lived together, but resided in
separate towns. William lived with Mary the rest of his life.
This was because Esther seemed to be self-sufficient.
Grandma Esther passed from this life quietly in her little log
cabin in Greenville, Utah on 28 March 1906, at the age of
seventy seven, from pneumonia. William had preceded her in death
on 11 October 1902. William died very peacefully in Paragonah
and was buried in Parowan, Utah, in the cemetery of the town,
which he helped settle.
On 23 November 1923, Mary died peacefully in her home at the
age of eighty four. She was buried beside her husband in
Parowan. Esther requested to be buried in the Greenville
cemetery beside the body of her daughter, Estella. This in no
way discounted her love for William, but she simply preferred to
remain in the homestead where she had such happy memories with
William and the children in their growing-up years.
William and Sarah West Barton's Children:
Joseph Alma Barton 1848 – 1895
William Penn Barton 1853 – 1853
Daniel King Barton 1854 – 1934
Esther Jane Barton 1856 – 1942
John Hunter Barton 1858 – 1934
Stephen Rollins Barton 1860 – 1944
Sarah Estella Barton 1862 – 1896
Rachel Barton 1863 – 1865
Phillip Jackson "Jack" Sr. twin Barton 1864 – 1947
Stonewall Jackson twin Barton 1864 – 1864
Lewis Barton 1867 – 1870
Hugh Jones Barton 1868 – 1946
Lydia Barton 1873 – 1873