Biography of Stephen K. Barton


History of Columbia County, New York

By Captain Franklin Ellis

Published by Everts & Ensign

Philadelphia, PA



Page 252


      Some time before the Revolutionary war three brothers of this name came from England; one settled in Rhode Island, one in Vermont, and one in Dutchess Co., N. Y. Captain Barton, of Rhode Island, during the war assisted in the capture of a British general on Long Island; he was taken from his bed at night and carried over to the main land, and delivered to the rebel authorities.

     Caleb Barton, the paternal grandfather of our subject, was a resident of Dutchess county, and was a miller and manufacturer of paper. He reared a family of six children, viz.: Solomon, Hull, Stephen, Caleb, Phebe, and Sarah. Solomon, the eldest son, grew up to manhood, and married Miss Amy Green. Soon after, he settled at Valatie, in Columbia county. At this time (1817) there were three old grist and saw-mills in what is now Valatie. Solomon here became engaged in milling on the Valatie creek, near its outlet into Kinderhook creek; the old mill has long since disappeared. Of the other mills, one was owned by Charles H. Coleman, and the other by a Van Buren family; and on the present site of the old Wilde cotton-mill, at that time stood the carding-mill of the Mallorys. About the year 1832, Mr. Solomon Barton removed to Claverack, and purchased the Cookingham mill and property, and this became his permanent residence until his death, in 1862, at the age of seventy-one years. His widow survived his death two years, dying in 1864, at the age of seventy-three years. They were the parents of Edwin, Phebe, Elizabeth, Ann, Stephen K., Owen, Thomas J., Frances W., and Solomon. Of these all are living except Owen, and all are married except Thomas J.

     Mr. Solomon Barton was a man of very marked characteristics, an unflinching friend of the down trodden and oppressed, and a fearless advocate of right against might. Many anecdotes and stories are related of his sacrifice and trials in the cause of temperance and the abolition of slavery. He at one time, for his outspoken efforts in behalf of temperance, was burnt in effigy by an excited mob of citizens; but it must be remembered this was before the days of Washingtonians, Good Templars, and Red Ribbon societies. In the old days of slavery many a poor runaway from the south found a refuge and protector in Mr. Solomon Barton, who would spare no sacrifice or risk to assist the fleeing, panting fugitive on to liberty.

     Stephen K. Barton was born at Kinderhook, on the 6th day of May, 1826; he was reared a miller, attending the common schools, and assisting in the mill and on the farm all through his younger years. He never left the old home, and after his father's death he came into possession of the farm and mills by purchase from the other heirs.

     In 1864, Mr. Stephen Barton was united in marriage with Miss Mary E. Neally, of Bath, Steuben Co., N. Y.  The fruits of this marriage are two children,--Annie A. and Stephen W. The farm consists of about one hundred acres of fine fertile lands, and the mill and residence are situated in a romantic spot on the main road from Philmont to Martindale. Mr. Barton has by his business integrity and honorable character won the esteem and confidence of all his acquaintances, and nobly sustains the reputation his father enjoyed before him, and which is a characteristic trait of the Friends or Quakers, under whose teachings he grew up to manhood. We present our readers this brief sketch of the family record of an esteemed citizen of Claverack, and elsewhere in these pages a fine view of the home and mills of the Bartons.