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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Crittenden County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Maj. James F. Barton (deceased), whose portrait appears in this volume, was one of the most prominent citizens of this county as well as of the State. The Barton family is one that is well known in connection with the history of Arkansas, and is of English-Irish lineage. The first history that we have of them is a Barton, whose given name is unknown, that came to this country and settled in Charlotte County, Va., long before the Revolutionary War, where his son, James Barton, is supposed to have been born, and he is known to have immigrated to Abbeville District, S. C. He also had a son, James, who was born February 22, 1772, in Charlotte County, Va. He left his native State in 1784, going to South Carolina with his father, where he remained for ten years, when he married and went to Mercer County in 1794; in 1796 to Barren County, where he died September 24, 1846. He was a self-made man, having started with little but his hands, and a determined mind to make his fortune, which he did, for he was very wealthy when he died. He was an earnest worker in the Christian Baptist Church, very charitable, of a pushing and energetic turn of mind. James Barton, son of the above, was born July 5, 1794, in Mercer County, Ky., and in 1823 he moved to Henry County, Tenn., where he remained till 1835, when he moved to Tipton County, Tenn., where he died March 5, 1852. James Forbes Barton, son of the above and subject of our sketch, was born in Henry County Tenn., December 7, 1824. He went to Barren County, Ky., where he reached his majority, and received the last years of his educational training. While in this county he was married December 7, 1847, to Frances B. Edmunds, who was born December 7, 1831. In 1850 they moved to Texas, but at the request of his father returned in 1852, and settled in Crittenden County, where he purchased large tracts of land, on which he made many valuable improvements. He also engaged in steam-boating, and having become very prominent in politics was elected to the legislature and was afterward county and probate judge. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was a sympathizer of the Union, but when the South seceded, he took sides with his State and joined the Confederate army, and after casting his lot with the South, he took active part and served with great credit. He organized a company in Crittenden County, of which he was made captain of the rank of major. He was assistant quartermaster under the then chief quartermaster of the Trans-Mississippi Department, Maj. John D. Adams, of Little Rock, Ark. He held the position of collector of cotton-tax till 1863, when he was re-commissioned to organize a battalion in the Confederate States. Going into the service as a captain in Col. Dobbin’s regiment, he was commissioned by the department to go into Georgia to secure arms for the soldiers. After making four trips, he secured enough arms to equip nearly all of Gen. Price’s army, previous to the last raid through Missouri, Kansas and Indian Territory. Near the close of the war he was made major, which office he filled till the close, when he surrendered at Mound City, this county, in 1865. During the war the Federal troops burned his home, leaving his family in very destitute circumstances, having neither food nor clothing. The war ended, he returned to his family and took active part in righting the wrongs brought on by the long contest. He held the office of county judge till the reconstruction, when he was disqualified. He then moved to Memphis, Tenn., where he owned considerable property, and lived there till his death, which occurred October 11, 1873, of yellow fever. While in Memphis he became very prominently engaged in the manufacture of cotton-seed oil, and was the cause of the establishing of the second cotton-seed-oil mill in the city of Memphis, and at the time of his death was superintendent of the Memphis Cotton Seed Oil Company. He never raised a bale of cotton in his life, but was mostly engaged in buying and selling real estate, and before the war owned quite a number of slaves; he also owned the ferry-boats that ran between Memphis and Arkansas from 1857 to 1860 and after the war for several years. He was always foremost in any movement to develop the county, was liberal and charitable to a fault, and was an active member of the church, having joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, at Louisville, and upon his arrival at Memphis united with the First Methodist Episcopal Church, South, at that place, and was later made steward of the same. Maj. Barton had a family of eight children, seven of whom lived to be grown, and five are still living, as follows: William Edmunds, James T., Charles F., Richard (deceased), H. F. (deceased in his twenty-fourth year), Dr. Robert W., John F. (who died at the age of twenty-two years) and Lee. After the death of the Major, his wife was married to Col. A. M. Hardin, of Marshall County, Miss. She visited, in 1888, her childhood’s home in Barren County, Ky., hoping to be restored to health. While there surrounded by relatives, including three of her sons, she died expressing complete faith in Christ. She was for forty-four years a devout Christian and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. She was an estimable lady and loving wife, and cooperated with Maj. Barton during the adverse as well as the favorable circumstances of his life.

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This family biography is one of 82 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Crittenden County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Crittenden County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Crittenden County, Arkansas family biographies here: Crittenden County, Arkansas Biographies

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