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
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 pray."
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 River.
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
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 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
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.
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 House.
William was a carpenter, a mason, a miller, a violinist, a farmer, a
brewer and a stockman. He also served as a dentist when needed.
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.
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