IN the southwest corner of Tioga county, with the Pennsylvania state line on the south, and Chemung line on the
west, is one of the most important civil divisions of the county, known by the name of Barton, but why so named
and called in the erecting act, or by the early settlers, is a question never satisfactorily answered in local
annals. This is not an important question in Barton history, and the present writer feels disposed to accept the
theory advanced by the most recent chronicler of local events. However, it is a well known and conceded fact that
during the twenty-five years next following the close of the revolution all names which were distinctively English
were very obnoxious to the victorious Americans, and there was a marked tendency on the part of legislative authority,
and of the settlers in general, to repudiate all things strictly English and to accept only that which would not
suggest any complimentary allusion to the mother country; but as to what may have been the spirit which actuated
the power that named this town Barton cannot be told. This much is true: It was a good name, worthily bestowed,
and the town now so called is one of the very best in this old and historic shire.
The physical features and characteristics of Barton are not strikingly dissimilar to those of other towns; the
same general rolling condition of the land surface prevails, but unlike others, Barton has the two grand waterways,
the Susquehanna and Ohemung rivers, the one on the southeast and the other on the south-. west border. Then, too,
Cayuta and Ellis deeks have their courses almost wholly within the town, affording facifities for perfect drainage
not enjoyed by all the civil divisions of the county. In the valleys of the streams are some of the most fertile
and productive farming lands in the entire region, and while the highlands are at elevations varying from 400 to
600 feet above the river bottoms they are nevertheless tillable to their very tops and yield profitably in return
to the proper efforts of the husbandman.
In the early history of the region the Susquehanna and Chemung rivers were far more important thoroughfares of
travel and trade than during the last half century. Indeed, the earliest settlers in the locality came through
the valley of the streams to reach their places of future abode, and if we may go back stifi further, and into
the early history of the state, there will be found associated with this particular region many of the most interesting
and striking events which marked the advance of civilized white settlement in this part of the country. During
the early and long continued French and English wars; these valleys were much used by the savages, though the contests
between the contending powers were waged far away from this immediate vicinity. Still further back, about the middle
of the seventeenth century, and for a long time previous thereto, this point in the valley of the rivers was debatable
territory and lay between the possessions of the Iroquois on the north and the Delawares on the south.
The Indian history of the whole region is so fully recorded in the early chapters of this work that hardly more
than a passing allusion to that occupancy seems necessary, but in view of the fact that so many persons have erroneous
impressions and belief regarding that history, and particularly in regard to local traditions, we feel justified
in making a brief special mention of the subject in this chapter; and if our statements have the effect of shattering
some of the traditionary idols which have been built up around "Spanish Hill," the reader will attribute
the motive to a desire for truth rather than awish to destroy favorite illusions.
The most careful students of Indianology have determined that the Iroquois confederacy was formed soon after the
year 1400, and that for almost a century afterward they were devoted to strengthening the bond of union and increasing
its power. The conquest over the other powerful Indian nations - by the Iroquois was not begun until the early
years of the seventeenth century had passed, and the conquest of the Delawares by the confederated nations- the
Iroquois-was not made previous to 1640, and between that year and 1655. From this we discover how impossible it
would have been for any combination of forces to have been made between the Five Nations and the Delawares or their
ancestors the Lennilenapes. According to well established Indian tradition, the enmity between these great peoples
dated back almost to the year 1200, and there was nothing in harmony between them until after the conquest which
ended in the final and effectual subjugation of the Delawares and many other nations as well. This old enmity was
so fixed that it would have been utterly impossible for the Iroquois and the Delawares to unite against the Spanish
gold hunters or against any other strange people, regardless of their mission.
Again, it is now well settled history that the French taught the Indians how to build defences and to construct
fortifications, and it is also well known that French explorers, Jesuit Priests, and others of that people were
among the Iroquois and had gained a foothold as early as the first quarter of - the seventeenth century, and that
they were especially strong among the Senecas of western New York. Such fortifications as that on Spanish Hifi
were frequent in this state, and one of them, quite like that near Waverly, was found by the pioneers of Yates
county, hardly more than fifty miles distant from Spanish Hill, and as we near the line of the old French possessions
in America such erections become more frequent. They are no longer a source of wonder and surprise, nor of superstition,
for they have been reasonably and readily accounted for. But, we are not prepared to explain the origin of the
name Spanish Hill, with any more satisfaction than can be interpreted the meaning of the name Barton as applied
to the town.
PIONEER AND EARLY SETTLEMENT.- So far as we have positive knowledge the first white men to visit this region were
the avenging soldiers of Sullivan's army. although the tories and Indians allied to the British made frequent use
of both the Susquehanna and Chemung valleys in their marauding expeditions against the frontier American settlements.
Many of them came this way to the battle at Wyoming, and this was also the route taken by Brant and his followers
to reach the bloody massacre scene at Cherry Valley. Small wonder, therefore, that congress and Gen. Washington
sent brave Sullivan and a strong force to visit condign punishment upon these merciless savages and their equally
inhuman Tory allies. The soldiers in this command not only drove the Indians from the region, but became acquainted
with the desirable portions of the country through which they passed, and within four years after the close of
the war Ebenezer Ellis left old Forty Fort and came up the Susquehanna in a canoe to the present town of Nichols,
and thence in 1791 came to Barton and setted on the farm afterward occupied by John Hanna. From this settlement
the stream called Ellis creek derived its name, although pioneer Ellis soon exchanged with Mr. Hanna and obtained
land on the creek where the mill was built. Mr. Ellis had a large family of thirteen children, of whom Alexander,
the youngest, was the first white male child born in Barton. He married with Betsey Saunders and had a family of
Stephen Mills was also a settler in the town, in 1791, and, like pioneer Ellis, came here from Nichols. He was
a Connecticut Yankee, an old Revolutionary patriot, and later a pensioner. He had a family but the names of all
of them are not known. Mr. Mills was an earnest plodder in early times, but took no active part in affairs of the
town. His family name has been preserved in the locality, and frequently appears in the town civil list.
Benjamin Aikens was the third settler and came in 1791. He was the owner of a 900 acre tract of good land, the
same afterward owned by Gilbert Smith, covering the site now occupied in part by the little hamlet called Barton
John Hanna came in 1794, and in many respects was one of the most prominent men of the locality for many years.
He was a Scotchman by birth and made his way to this country when a boy as servant to the captain of a sailing
vessel. He lived for several years in eastern Pennsylvania, and when grown up became a distifier at Nescopeck Falls,
Pa. However, the depreciation in value of continental money cost Mr. Hanna his fortune, although he possessed some
means when he settled in this town. He also served with credit in the army during the revolution, hence belonged
to that class of pioneers who were generally honored on account of that experience. When arrived in the town, Mr.
llama first settled on a tract of land at the mouth of the creek, but soon changed places with pioneer Ellis. John
Hanna built the first barn in the town, and in it were held religious services. His wife was also a native of Scotland,
named Margaret McCullough, with whom he was married in Pennsylvania. Mr. llama also became the owner of a large
tract of land in the town by purchase from Peter C. Lorillard, of New York, in extent 1,000 acres, and situate
in the locality known as Ellistown. He became indeed one of the foremost men in the vicinity and possessed a large
quantity of land. He attained the remarkable age of 102 years and was always respected for his sterling qualities.
His home was the general stopping place for itinerant preachers, and public worship was frequently held under his
roof. Pioneer Hanna had a family of nine children, viz.: John; Nancy, who married with John Swartwood, and after
his death with John Shoemaker; Jane, who married with Joseph Swain, of Chemung; William; Margaret, who became the
wife of Elisha Hill; Betsey, who married with Lewis Mills; George; Sally, wife of Squire Whittaker; and Martha,
who became the wife of Joseph G. Wilkinson. The surname llama is still well represented in both the town of Barton
and the village of Waverly.
James Swartwood came to the town soon after John Hanna and previous to 1795. He came from Delaware, undoubtedly
by way of Wyoming, and was a valuable acquisition to the little settlement, as he is remembered as a man much respected
in the region. In his family were nine children: Mary, who married with Isaac Shoemaker; Martha, who became the
wife of Benjamin Smith; Sarah, the wife of Joseph Langford; Katie, who became the wife of Baskia Jones; and Benjamin,
James, Jacob, John and Ebenezer. This family name is still in Barton, reasonably numerous, and numbers among its
representatives some of the most substantial farming element of the vicinity.
Luke Saunders was one of the settlers previous to 1795, and came from Connecticut. He, too, was a substantial farmer,
whose descendants are still in the town, though not numerous. His children were Sarah, Parish, Jabez, Nathan, Betsey,
Christopher, Nancy, and Robert.
Samuel Ellis also came to Barton in 1795. He was a brother to Ebenezer Ellis, the pioneer, and came with the record
of a soldier of the revolution.
Ezekiel Williams was another settler of about the same time, although data concerning his personal and family record
is indeed meagre; but as one of the pioneers of the town he is entitled to mention in this place. John Shepard
was one of the earliest settlers in the region, hay- ing come into the valley south of Waverly as early as 1790
or '92. He emigrated to Tioga Point, according to Judge Avery, about 1784 or '85, and became acquainted with this
particular locality through his business operations as Indian trader. At the place called Milltown Mr. Shepärd
built a fulling mill, and also a woollen mill. In 1796 he became the owner of a thousand acres of land on the site
now of the village of Waverly, having purchased the tract from General Thomas, of Westchester county, for the sum
of five dollars an acre. He at once moved here and became prominently identified with all subsequent measures of
improvement of the new region. Isaac Shepard was the son of John Shepard, and upon him seems to have fallen the
duty of carrying out the work begun by the father. During the first half of the present century he was one of the
foremost business men in the county, and he, perhaps more than any other single person, contributed toward building
up the village in particular and the town in general. Later generations of the same family have in like manner
been important factors in the more recent events of local history, all of which will be further mentioned in the
William Bensley was another of the early settlers in the locality, but the exact year of his arrival is uncertain.
Judge Avery, the earliest writer of contemporary history, gives Mr. Bensley a place among the pioneers, and also,
with other writers, says he was an important factor in early events. Pioneer Bensley came from Smithfield, Wayne
county (now Pike) about 1803 (in that year according to Mr. Genung's interesting and carefully prepared narrative),
and located on the farm more recently owned by John Park, situated about one mile west of Barton village. This
farm was in the Bensley family for a period of eighty years. William Bensley married with Mary, the daughter of
Isaac Bunnell, and to them were born nine children: Gershom, John, Daniel, Henry, Eleanor, Elizabeth, Anna, Mary
A., and Sarah Bensley. Pioneer Bensley was a weaver by trade, hence was a valuable acquisition to the settlement,
hut in connection with that work he was also a lumberman and farmer. His descendants are still in the town, but
the pioneer element of the family has passed away.
Charles B. Smith, who, is remembered as an early settler, came to the town when a boy, and was one of the Bensley
household. He afterward married with Elizabeth Bensley.
Judge Avery, in his sketches of early life in the valley, says that the first settlers on Cayuta creek were Charles
Bingham, Layton Newell, Lyon C. Hedges and Philip Crams; and on the upper waters of the stream Justus Lyons, John
Manhart and a family named Reed were the first corners. Silas Wolcott lived on Ellis creek but afterward moved
to Ithaca. Moses and Elisha Leonard were other settlers in this locality.
George W. Buttson was the owner of a saw mill at Barton village in the early history of the town, and from him
the creek on which the mill was built received its. name. Among the other early settlers in the vicinity may be
mentioned John Hyatt, Eliphalet Barden, Benjamin and Samuel Mundy, - Peter Barnes, Selah Payne, Peter Hoffman,
and others, whose names have been lost with the lapse of time.
Charles Bingham,. who was one of the first settlers on Cayuta creek, was a pioneer in the Wyoming Valley but was
driven from that region by the Indians. He returned to Wilkesbarre, but after dangerous hostilities had passed
came to the vicinity of Spanish Hill,- and still later moved to a home about six miles up Shepard's Creek. Mr.
Bingham was noted for his maple sugar product; indeed the abundance of sugar maples on the tract was the inducement
to him to make the purchase. Charles Bingham, son of the settler, built an early mill on the site now of Bingham
Brothers' mill at Lockwood. Charles Bingham the elder, had four sons, John, Ebenezer, Jonathan and Charles, Jr.,
and three daughters, Anna, Margurite and Sarah. -
Thus was the pioneer and early settlement accomplished in this western portion of the old town of Owego. The reader
must of course understand that the original town of Owego included all the territory between Owego creek on the
east and the Cayuta creek on the west. This name was continued from the time of the erection of the county in 1791
to the time of the general revision of both counties and towns in the state in 1813. Then the town previously known
as Tioga took the name of Owego, and Owego 'thenceforth became known as Tioga. Therefore all settlers in Barton
before 1813 were in Owego, and between the year last mentioned and March 23, 1824, all who came to what we now
call Barton were settlers in Tioga. - However, before proceeding to a discussion of the civil and political history
of the town we may with propriety recall the names of other and perhaps later settlers in Barton, but who were
in some manner identified with its history. Still, this mention must be brief in view of the fact that- in another
department of this work, devoted solely to personal chronology, the reader will find more extended allusion, to
pioneers and as well to other substantial families of the town, whether early or more recent settlers.
In the locality known as Tallmadge Hill, Sutherland Tailmadge, from Schoharie county, was an early settler. David
Davis was also an early settler, and his son Samuel was a blacksmith as well as farmer and lumberman. Elisha Hill
came from Connecticut to Bradford county, Pa., in 1818, but after three years removed into this town. His brother,
Caleb Hill, came at the same time. Elisha had been 'in the service during the war of 1812-15, hence was a man of
import*nce in the town. He married with Margaret, the daughter of John Hanna, and to them were born five children:
John G., Philomela, Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth, and Tabitha J. Hill.
Benjamin Genung was the pioneer of a numerous and afterward well known family in this region. He was of Huguenot
descent, a patriot of the revolution, and a pioneer in Dryden, Tompkins county. From him descended the family in
this part of the state. He had six children : Barnabas, Aaron, Rachel, Philo, Peroni, and Timothy. Barnabas married
with Susan Johnson and raised a family of twelve children. They were Lydia, Nathaniel, Harrison, Ann, Rebecca,
Sally, Enos, George, Marilda, and Barnabas, Jr. John Franklin and George Frederick Genung, the well known educators
at Amherst college and Benedict (Columbia, S. C.) institute, respectively, were sons of Abram Genung. Enos Genung,
also son of Abram, married with Sarepta Earsley, of Caroline, and lived chiefly in Tioga county. Their children
were Emma, wife of Fred Morgan; George D., of the Waverly Free Press; Dell, wife of George Gardner; Priscifia,
who married with George- Stevens; Luella, who married with Wm. Ewen, and Reuben E. Genung.
Squire Whitaker, of whom frequent mention is made in this and the village chapter,
was born in New Jersey in 1808, and came with his parents to Barton in 1816. He walked and assisted in driving
a cow the entire distance. In 1832, Mr. Whitaker married with Sally, the daughter of John Hanna, and soon removed
to Tailmadge Hill, where he built a cabin on crotched sticks, and then set about clearing his farm. Misfortunes
befell him in his early endeavors, but success came later on, and Squire Whitaker was known as one of the foremost
men of the town. He had a family of seven children.
Peter Van DeBogart came from Schenectady county and was a pioneer in Tompkins county. In 1825 he removed to Barton
and afterward lived here. His was a large family, and the name is stifi numerous in the town, though most of its
representatives have contracted it to Bogart. In fact this has been done by the family generally in the country.
Salmon Johnson was a Vermont Yankee, and came to Barton from either Chittenden or Franklin county. He docated -
at Ellistown, as that settlement was known.
John W. VanAtta, whose surname is still preserved in business circles in Waverly, came to Barton from Warren county,
N. J., about 1827. In his family were eleven children, from whom there has grown a large number of descendants,
living in this county and elsewhere.
Eliphalet Barden came from Connecticut in 1821, and settled on the Giltner farm, as known in recent years. One
story is to the effect that the town was named in allusion to this family name, though slightly modified However
this may be we know not, but the surname is still represented in the town, and by good worthy citizens.
John Parker was an early settler at Ellistown, and married with Lizzie Ellis. They had seven children, but the
surname is not now numerous in this locality. Shaler Shipman came from Connecticut and settled in Barton in 1829.
He was both farmer and lumberman and built two saw mills. Shipman Hollow was named in allusion to this settler
and is situated near the centre of the town. Mr. Shipman married twice and had fourteen children, ten by the first
and four by the second marriage. James N. Harding was a native of Orange county, and became a resident of Barton
in 1833, settling on. Tailmadge Hill. He raised a family of five children, and they marrying made the name numerous
in the town. Reuben Harding's family came about the same time, and also from Orange county, and, like James, settled
on Tailmadge Hill, on the farm more recently occupied by Elliot Harding. James M. Sliter came in 1834, from Albany
county, and David B. Cure in 1835, from Hector, in Schuyler county. Daniel J. Lum, a native of New Berlin, N. Y.,
and John Solomon, formerly of Orange county, became residents of Barton in 1840.
Having in this manner brought to mind the names of as many as possible of the early settlers of Barton, it is proper
that there be made a brief allusion to the first events of town history as they. have been collated and noted by
thoughtful observers. Pioneer Ebenezer Ellis built the first dwelling house, and harvested the first crops raised
in the town. Alexander, son of Ebenezer Ellis, was the first white child born in Barton. Factoryville was made
a post station in 1812, and Isaac Shepard was the first postmaster. Ephraim Strong taught the first school. Ebenezer
and Samuel Ellis built the first saw mill, on Ellis creek. The first grist mill was built in 1800, on Cayuta creek,
by George Walker, senior. The old fulling mill on Cayuta creek, near the state line, was built in 1808, by John
Shepard and Josiah Crocker. Two years later, in 1810, a woollen mill was built near the saw mill. Dr. Prentice
was the first physician, Wiffiam Giles the first lawyer, and Rev. Valentine Cook the first minister in the town.
The Emery M. E. chapel, at Ellistown, was the first church edifice erected. The first brick building was the old
church at Factoryville Elias Walker built the first tavern.
All these things were accomplished previous to the organization of Barton as a separate town, and previous to the
actual founding of the village. From the number of settlers whose names have been noted, it must be seen that this
part of the mother town had a considerable population previous to the creation of Barton as a town; Such indeed
was the case, and from an old. document is learned that in the year 1800 the territory now comprising the town
had a population of 180 persons.
POPULATI0N.- In 1824 the town was erected and organized, and in the next year the first enumeration of its inhabitants
was made. By reference to the census reports there can be obtained a fair idea of subsequent growth, and the fact
will be disclosed that there has been a constant increase in population from 1824 to the present time, and that
the number of inhabitants in 1892 was greater than ever before in the history of the town. In 1825 the population
was 585; in 1830,-982; 1835,-1,469; 1840,-2,324; 1845,- 2,347; 1850,-3,522; 1855,-3,842; 1860,-4,234; 1865,-4,077;
1870,-5,087; 1875,-5,937; 1880,-5,825; 1885,-no count; 1890,-6,120; 1892,-6,495.
ORGANIZATION AND CIVIL HIST0RY.-Town records, generally fruitful sources of information, are always searched by
the student of town history, and generally with gratifying results, but in Barton, through some now unknown misfortune,
the records are missing and the most patient search fails to discover any trace of their whereabouts. However,
it is well known that on March 23, 1824, the legislature passed an act creating the town, and that on April 27
thereafter the electors met in town meeting to complete the organization; The officers elected were as follows:
supervisor, Gilbert Smith; town clerk, John Crotsley; assessors, Jonathan Barnes, A. H. Schuyler, and William Hanna;
commissioners of highways, William Crans, Frederick Parker, John Giltner; constable and collector, John Parker;
overseers of the poor, John Hanna, Jr., Seely Finch; commissioners of common schools, Gilbert Smith, Eliphalet
Barden, Nathaniel Potter; inspectors of common schools, James Birch, Ely Foster, Joseph Tailmadge, Samuel Mills,
Jonathan Barnes; fence viewers, George W. Johnson, Abraham Smith, Joseph Tailmadge; poundmasters, John Hyatt, Joel
Thus was perfected the civil organization of the town called Barton, a jurisdiction which in point of importance
ranks almost first in the county, and in some respects stands at the head. The town, with its willages and hamlets,
has grown from a beginning as small as in any other of the county's subdivisions, and in the face of obstacles
and disadvantages has it been built up to its present position. The first officers at once began the work of dividing
the territory into road and school districts, for at that time the existing provisions, established by the mother
town Tioga, were indeed limited; but these things were easily accomplished, and with the old Chemung Turnpike having
its course directly through the town, Barton was placed on a substantial footing.
The town began its civil history with a population of nearly 600 inhabitants, and at a time when the arts of peace
prevailed throughout the southern tier, but when the settlers in the towns further west were entering that unfortunate
period known in history as the anti-rent conflict. But, unlike the inhabitants of the Pulteney lands, the settlers
in this region were not so seriously distressed by importunate landlords and grasping proprietors as were their
western neighbors, and the period passed without injury to interests in this immediate locality.
The succeeding score and a half of years was an era of constant progress and prosperity in all that pertained to
the welfare of Barton, and one in which the population was increased almost ten fold. In that same period were
built up several hamlets, and one• incorporated village equal in commercial importance to any municipality in the
whole shire. With this growth came strength, and when the north and the south were arrayed against one another
in civil war, Barton volunteers were not wanting and the patriotism of the town was fully demonstrated.
Glancing over the military records of the town, it is seen that Barton recruits were in almost every command, from
the original three-months men to the 179th infantry, but the story is so fully told in another chapter that not
more than an allusion to the subject is necesary in this connection. Gleaning data from all sources, we learn that
Barton sent into the service during the war a total of more than 200 men, who were scattered through the several
regiments recruited in the county, while not a few of Barton's sons enlisted at Elmira, a general headquarters
during a portion of the war period.
Duing the three-quarters of a century of separate history in this town, among the several villages built up only
one has attained to the dignity and character of a municipality. Old Factoryville is now wholly lost in the more
progressive village of. Waverly, and the old-time importance of Barton city is fast fading away. Bingham's Mills,
as previously known, but now Lockwood, and Rethff are stations on the Lehigh Valley railroad; North Barton is in
the north part of the town, Halsey Valley in the northeast, Barton Centre in the centre, and the little new postoffice
called Glengarn is just north of Waverly village limits. However, each of these settled localities is mentioned
in another place, and we may conclude this branch of town history with the civil list.