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Slave Owner: James Barton


James Barton (b. 22 Feb 1772 in Charlotte County, Virginia; d. 24 Sep 1845 in Barren County, Kentucky) and his wife, Mary (nee Forbes) (b. 01 Mar 1774 in Abbeville, South Carolina; d. 21 Mar 1853 in Barren County, Kentucky), are my 4th great grandparents and the progenitors of my Barton family in Kentucky. James migrated from Virginia to South Carolina where he met his wife Mary in 1784. They moved to Mercer County, Kentucky, in 1794, but finally settled in Barren County in 1796 where they lived out the rest of their days.

Census Records

According to census records, James owned slaves in the following years.

It would seem that James didn't own any slaves in 1820, as there were none on the census that year in the household.

Let's breakdown some of the census data.

1810 Census

Sadly, we don't have much information here. Based on what information I can determine, it would seem that all 3 slaves were between the ages of 16 and 25.

1830 Census

We get a bit more information in 1830, with breakdowns by age and gender.

1840 Census

We get the same kinds of information in 1840 that we had in 1830.


James died in 1845, and in his will he left many slaves to his family and other people. Here are relevant excerpts from his will.

To my son William W. Barton ... a negro [sic] man named Cary upon his payment to my executor $150.

William (b. 07 Mar 1814 in Kentucky; d. 26 Jul 1873) is the tenth child (next to last of the children I know about) of James and Mary.

To my son John M. Barton ... 2 negroes [sic] named Garvin and Henry.

This is John Mulkey Barton (b. 28 May 1821 in Barren County, Kentucky; d. 16 Feb 1890 in Union City, Tennessee, USA), and he's the baby of the family, having been born 7 years after his next oldest sibling. In this will, James ensured that John received an education. As such, John became a lawyer and eventually served as a judge.

To my son Caleb Barton a negro [sic] man named Loranzo upon his paying $250.

Caleb Barton is my 3rd great grandfather, and he died about 1845. No exact date has been discovered. Regardless, his death happened at around the same time as his father's.

My daughter Elvira Barton ... a negro [sic] girl named Elizabeth. If Elvira shall on the death on my wife prefer to have the negro [sic] girl Talitha to the negro girl Elizabeth, she may take Talitha and give up Elizabeth.

Elvira (b. 24 Apr 1810) married James M. Crowden on 25 Jul 1825 in Barren County, Kentucky.

If my daughter Margaret Carver shall survive my wife, I give to her Talitha or Elizabeth.

Margaret (b. 10 Feb 1804 in Kentucky) is the seventh child of James and Mary that I know about, and was married to Rueben Carver (b. Abt. 1798 in Vrignia) on 29 Nov 1824 in Barren County, Kentucky, who was mentioned as follows.

I also have given to Reuben Carver $310.75 and a tract of land worth $250 and negro [sic] woman Cate worth $200.

This seems to imply that he's already given the above to Reuben Carver

I have heretofore given to William W. Murray a negro [sic] girl worth $300 and a tract of land worth $390.

Sadly, James doesn't mention the name of the girl he gave to William Murray nor do I know how William W. Murray is connected to James, at this time.

Known Names

Here's a summary of the names we know about from the research above.

In the 1840 census, James had 6 slaves, but it would seem that he acquired at least one more slave between the 1840 census and his death.


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