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Descendants of Rufus Barton

Generation No. 5

Children of B
  i.   BENJAMIN9 GREENE, d. 1822, Boston, MA.

16. RICHARD8 BARTON (BENJAMIN7, ANDREW B.6, BENJAMIN5, RUFUS4, EDWARD3, EDWARD2, MARMADUKE1) was born February 13, 1738/39 in Swansea, RI, and died March 01, 1797 in Warren, RI. He married (1) ANNE GARDNER June 10, 1762 in Swansea, RI7, daughter of SAMUEL GARDNER and CONTENT BRAYTON. She was born February 26, 1742/43 in Swansea, RI8. He married (2) HANNAH HATHAWAY February 10, 1780.

Notes for R
The History of Swansea gives his birth as Feb. 9, 1738; however the Swansea Vital Records, Book B. p 133 show him to have been born Feb. 13, 1739, which is probably correct.

In the Fessenden MSS, is an original roll of Capt. Ezra Ormsbee's Company of Militia in the town of Warren, 1776. Here are found the names of Richard Barton and his brothers Haile and David, followed after a short interval by his kinsman, Richard Haile, Jr., and Joseph Barton, Jr.

The State Revolutionary records at Providence show no service for Richard, but as they are admittedly very faulty, and lack more names than they record, this should not be considered to contradict the evidence of the Town Militia list.

Later, Richard was drafted into Capt. Robert Carr's company of Militia, but employed Ephraim Cole of Swansea as substitute. (Carr MSS).

He died March 1, 1797, probably at Warren. He was married June 10, 1762 at Swansea, MA (Swansea Vit. Rec. Book B. p 210) to Anne Gardner, born Feb. 26, 1743/4 at Swansea (Swansea Vit Rec Book B p 5) second daughter of Samuel Gardner, Jr. of Swansea and his wife, Content, younger daughter of Preserved Brayton of Swansea.

Colonial America, 1607-1789 RI Census Index p 170:
Lists Benjamin Barton, Haile Barton, Lydia Barton, Richard Barton, Rufus Barton and William Barton in 1774, living in Warren, RI. The 1790 Census lists Bartons - Benjamin, Benjamin, Jr., David, Joseph, Lydia, Richard, Rufus and William, all of Bristol County, RI.

Children of R
21. i.   GARDNER9 BARTON, b. November 28, 1763, Warren, RI; d. June 06, 1854, Shaftsbury, VT.
  ii.   MARY BARTON, b. December 09, 1764, Warren, RI.
  iii.   RICHARD BARTON, b. January 04, 1770, Warren, RI.
  iv.   JOHN9 BARTON.

17. BRIGADIER GENERAL WILLIAM8 BARTON (BENJAMIN7, ANDREW B.6, BENJAMIN5, RUFUS4, EDWARD3, EDWARD2, MARMADUKE1) was born May 26, 1748 in Warren, RI, and died October 22, 1831 in Providence, RI. He married RHODA CARVER9 April 26, 1771 in Providence, RI, daughter of JOSEPH CARVER and SARAH HARTWELL. She was born October 09, 1749 in Bridgewater, MA, and died December 15, 1841 in Rhode Island.

Notes for B
Brigadier General William Barton (Warren Vit. Rec. vol 1 p 55) fought through the Revolution with the rank of Colonel and was one of the noted heroes of that war. He was afterwards in command of the Rhode Island Militia with the rank of Brigadier General.

His name and that of his wife and children are listed in "Mayflower Births and Deaths" Vol. 1, Peter Brown, p. 281.

Article published in The Providence Sunday Journal, August 23, 1970:

The British never invaded Fort Barton, which enclosed the largest American garrison of theRevolutionary War. More recent invaders -- poison ivy, weeds, neglect and vandals --- attacked the fort and held it for a time. But now it is being restored as Tiverton's first public recreation area.

Dedication of the project today doubtless will bring forth recollections of the man for whom the fort was named, a daring but little-known Revolutionary War hero named William Barton.

"William Barton was a young Continental soldier stationed at Tiverton. He wanted to capture the British General in Newport. Standing in his way were 4,000 British and Hessian troops, camps at every strategic point of the Aquidneck Island shoreline, and a squadron of men-of-war anchored in Narragansett Bay.
But Barton did it.
A Warren native and a hatter by trade, Wiliam Barton began the Revolution as a corporal in the Rhode Island Militia. His regiment had been guarding Newport for about a year when the British seized it in December of 1776. The provincial garrison fled to Tiverton Heights.
The man Barton wanted to capture was Major General Richard Prescott, a feeble, 52-year-old tyrant. He was given to such practices as attacking passersby with his cane and shouting "Disperse, ye rebels!" This made the residents edgy.
Now a 29-year-old Lieutenant Colonel, Barton was seething about the British capture of Newport and of his hero, Major General Charles Lee in New Jersey. After a British deserter brought word that Prescott often stayed at a house five miles from Newport, Barton went reconnoitering. From uninhabited Prudence Island, he observed through a spyglass the large, gambrel-roofed house where Prescott stayed, the brook that ran through a rye field to a gulley, the tiny cove where raiding boats might pull in unnoticed.
With the permission of his commander, Colonel Joseph Stanton, Barton approached four officers and asked them to take part in a dangerous, unspecified secret mission. No one hesitated to accept. He then reviewed the makeshift army of farmers and village tradesmen on the parade grounds and asked for 40 volunteers for a perilous mission to step forward two paces. Everybody stepped forward. Wars must have been different in those days.
Cannon salutes echoed through the camp in celebration of the first anniversary of Independence Day. That night, five whaleboats with 36 selected enlisted men and five officers shoved off from the Tiverton shore, Barton's boat in the lead. As if men-of-war weren't bothersome enough, a thunderstorm scattered the boats and they didn't all straggle into Bristol until one o'clock.
The next stop was Warwick Neck, from whence the boats were to ply through the channel between Patience and Prudence Islands, hug the Prudence shore, then bolt for the Aquidneck shore. But they were stuck at Warwick Neck by bad weather until the night of the tenth.
Barton gave his orders: No noise, no plundering, no booze. Undressed sheepskins were wrapped around the oars to muffle the sound. The rowing took three hours, the men passing the warships LARK, DIAMOND and JUNO close enough to hear the watch's cry, "Alls well!" Close to the western Aquidneck shore, they heard horses running and rested on their oars, but evidently it was just some stray horses minding their own business.
Fate was a good script writer for Barton; there was no moon and it was midnight when the party hit shore. Barton left a guard at each boat and scampered ashore with his men for the three-quarter-mile hike to the Overing House, wher Prescott was staying. This house still stands, near the Portsmouth-Middletown line and is owned by the Newport Restoration Foundation.
Barton's squad emerged from a rye field and planned to attack the main door, which faced south. Two other squads attacked other doors, a fourth guarded the road and grounds, a fifth stood by for emergencies.
Barton answered a sentry's call by explaining he was leading a band looking for deserters. The sentry was then siezed and Barton demanded if Prescott were in the house. The best the frightened sentry could manage was a wave and a grunt.
The men burst into the house and found a dark, deserted first floor. On the second floor they found John Overing, the elderly Quaker, reading in a chair. He was likewise struck dumb when asked where Prescott was.
"Set the house on fire!" Barton roared. "If we can't have the general alive, then we'll have him dead!" This clamor brought a query from a rear room, "What is the matter?" Barton leaped to the door and found it locked. He called to Jack Sisson, his strong, trusted Negro servant, who proceeded to break in the door. Barton reached in and lifted the latch.
"Are you General Prescott?" he asked of the night-shirted figure sitting on the edge of the bed.
"Yes, sir."
"You are my prisoner."
"I acknowlege it, sir."
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Barrington, Prescott's aide-de-camp, had been asleep in one of the downstairs chambers; hearing the commotion, he jumped out of a window right into a party of Barton's men. Barrington, Prescott and the sentry were then taken, running, through the rye field to a brook.
During the run back to the boats, Prescott commented on the rye stalks and blackberry vines scratching his bare legs. Barton and another officer hooked the general's arms around their shoulders and dragged him along.
Once again the boats crept past a warship, the EMERALD, and heard the call "All's well!"
Suddenly, three rockets burst in the sky behind Barton's men. Alarm guns muttered on shore and echoed over the water. torches appeared as pinpoints zigzagging along the blackened shoreline. The rowers stroked with all their might, knowing the men-of-war would soon scatter their small guard boats over the bay. Exhausted and still bent low over their oars, they pulled safely into Warwick Neck just at the first light of dawn.
"Sir," said Prescott, "I did not think it possible you could escape the vigilance of the water guards." Barton must have been thinking much the same thing.
Actually, the guard boats had never been deployed. After dragoons had shouted the alarm along the roads, search parties went scurrying off to the eastern shore. It was assumed the raiders would head there, since it was more lightly guarded.
The rockets and alarm guns heard by Barton's men were signals from the soldiers to the warships to search for enemy sails. But there was no wind, and the sailors knew their business. Ships can't sail without wind, so the sailors ignored the army's signals.
Prescott was taken to David Arnold's Tavern by Barton, then was delivered to General Spenser in Providence the morning after his abduction. A few days later, the general's wardrobe, including wigs, hair powder and perfumery, arrived under truce.
Newport, not to mention the whole fledgling nation, was joyous when news of the exploit got out. One Newport resident was carried off to the Provost on a charge of expressing his pleasure at Prescott's abduction too publicly. Back in England, though, the capture of the barefoot general was taken with a little better humor. The London Chronicle of September 27, 1777, suggested in heroic verse that Prescott had been indulging in some non-military activity in the house five miles from his headquarters:

      "What various lures there are to ruin man;
      "Women the first and foremost all bewitches.
      "A nymph thus spoiled a general's mighty plan
      "And gave him to the foe without his breeches."

Although it is not certain whether he was exchanged for General Lee, Prescott returned to Newport the next spring to terrify Newporters again until the British evacuated the city in October, 1779. It is not known whether Prescott stuck to his headquarters, the Bannister House at Spring and Pelham Streets.

Barton's fighting career ended in 1778 with a wound in the groin during a skirmish near Newport, but his state continued to lay accolades on him. Then in 1795, Barton headed a group that went to Vermont to take advantage of the newest state's offer of free wilderness tracts to Revolutionary veterans. The townspeople took Barton to court when he began selling, they charged, land he didn't own. Found guilty and asessed the costs, Barton stubbornly refused to pay and for 13 years lived a voluntary prisoner in a nearby tavern.
Lafayette, the brilliant French volunteer who helped Washington win the Revolution, returned to America on a triumphant tour in 1824 and, told of the old Colonel's predicament, paid the remaining $272
of the assessment. Barton, now a 77-year-old ex-con, went back to his wife and sons in Providence, where he lived for another six years, strongly individualistic and proclaiming the injustice of the court verdict until the end."

Children of W
  iii.   JOHN BARTON.
  iv.   ANNA BARTON.
  vi.   WILLIAM BARTON, b. 1771.
  vii.   BENJAMIN BARTON, b. 1773.
22. viii.   GEORGE WASHINGTON BARTON, b. February 06, 1776, Providence, RI; d. at sea.

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