Biography of Richard A. Barton of Redfield, Iowa

Richard A. Barton, a retired agriculturist living in Redfield, Dallas county, was born in Guernsey county, Ohio, August 27, 1863, a son of Benjamin and Sarah (Huggins) Barton. The father was born in the same county, July 16, 1828, while the grandfather, Richard Barton, was a native of Maryland, and when twelve years of age left home to follow the sea. At the time of his marriage he settled down, locating in Guernsey county, Ohio, where Benjamin Barton, the father of our subject, was reared and married and began active life as an agriculturist. In 1867 he came west to Iowa, locating three and a half miles west of Redfield, in Guthrie county, and conducting a rented farm until 1879, when he purchased one hundred and twenty acres in Jackson township, Guthrie county. He cultivated this farm successfully up to within three years of his death, when he retired and removed to Stuart, his death there occurring on June 15, 1898. He was a republican in politics but never an office-seeker, being of a quiet and unassuming nature; but his sterling worth was recognized wherever he was known and his death was deeply mourned by a large circle of friends. In early life he was a member of the Campbellite church but later became connected with the Christian church and in his daily life exemplified his belief by acts of kindness and charity. Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Barton became the parents of eight children, all of whom survive: Leonard A., of St. Francis, Kansas; Lucy R., the wife of George Burnham, also of St. Francis, Kansas; Mahlon P., a resident of Panora, Iowa; Priscilla A., the wife of James E. Frost, living in Stuart, Iowa; William W., of Guthrie county, Iowa; Richard A., the subject of this review; Redden E., residing in St. Francis, Kansas; and Buena V., the wife of James Cummins, living in Sumner county, Kansas.

Richard A. Barton was reared on the home farm, acquiring his education in the public schools, and in the summer of 1885 rented and farmed his father’s land. The following year he was married and rented a farm in Guthrie county, which he conducted for thirteen years. In 1898 he purchased a farm of one hundred and ten acres two and a half miles southwest of Redfield, in Union township, locating on this place in the spring of 1899. In 1903, however, he sold this tract and bought one hundred and twenty acres in Linn township, four miles north and one mile east of Redfield. He also purchased a tract of forty acres adjoining the town of Redfield, on which he located and resided until the fall of 1906. He then sold this land and took a trip to the western coast. On his return to Redfield he purchased his present handsome town residence, and is now living a retired life in the enjoyment of the fruits of his well directed and profitable labor in former years.

In 1886 Richard A. Barton was joined in wedlock to Miss Anna M. Leeper, a daughter of Alexander and Samantha (Boone) Leeper. Her father removed from Holmes county, Ohio, to Dallas county, Iowa, in 1856, and engaged in the furniture business in Wiscotta. The following year he returned to Ohio, was married and brought his bride to his new home in Iowa. Soon after his return to this state he gave up the furniture business and engaged in farming. That he was very successful in his agricultural pursuits is indicated by the fact that he acquired some six hundred and ten acres of valuable farm lands in Dallas and Guthrie counties. About ten years prior to his death he retired and took up his abode in Redfield, his death there occurring March 12, 1904, when he had reached the age of seventy-six years. His wife survived him until January 30, 1907, having reached the age of seventy years at the time of her demise. Alexander Leeper was one of the best known early pioneers of Dallas county and was ranked with the representative agriculturists and enterprising citizens of his community. Mr. and Mrs. Leeper were the parents of nine children, seven of whom are living: Josephine, who died in infancy; George W., of Union township; William A., of Colfax township; Mrs. Barton; Martin B., of Union township; Katherine A., wife of U. P. Spillers, of Union township; Cora J., wife of W. W. Barton, of Guthrie county; H.A., deceased; and Augusta M., the wife of H. E. Stiles, of Los Angeles, California.

Richard A. Barton gives his political support to the republican party, and his wife is a member of the Christian church. They are highly esteemed throughout the entire community by reason of their genuine worth and have won the admiration and respect of all with whom they have come in contact. Through the successful conduct of agricultural interests he won the competence that now enables him to live retired, without recourse to further labor, in his beautiful home in Redfield.

Benedict Berger owns and cultivates a farm of eighty acres in Van Meter township and was born in Berne, Switzerland, on the 1st of April, 1844. His parents were natives of that country and came to the United States in 1859, first settling in Ohio, where they remained for about five years, or until 1864. They then came to Dallas county, Iowa. The father enlisted for service in the Civil war and was at the front in defense of the Union for two years. When hostilities had ceased and the country no longer needed his aid he returned to Dallas county and resumed agricultural pursuits, which he carried on until his life’s labors were ended in death. Unto him and his wife were born five sons and two daughters, namely: Benedict, John, Christian, Fred, Daniel, Elizabeth and Rosa.

Mr. Berger of this review was fifteen years of age when the family came to this country and settled in Ohio. Imbued with the spirit of patriotism, he watched the progress of events at the time of the Civil mar and at an early period in the struggle offered his services to the government, becoming a member of Company A, Fifty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry when only seventeen years of age. He remained at the front for four years as a valiant and loyal defender of the Union cause and participated in many important engagements, including the battles of Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, Mission Ridge and the celebrated march under Sherman from Atlanta to the sea. He was never wounded nor taken prisoner, yet he was often in the thickest of the fight and was ever loyal to the old flag and the cause it represented. On leaving the army he came to Iowa and has since made his home in this state. For sixteen years he was a resident of Des Moines but in the fall of 1906 returned to his farm in Dallas county, being now the owner of a good tract of land of eighty acres in Van Meter township, the fertility of which enables him to gather rich harvests as the reward for the care and labor which he bestows upon his place.

On the 28th of December, 1875, Mr. Berger was united in marriage to Miss Acalinda Hanes, who was born in Indiana, March 8, 1849. Her father was born in Maryland in the year 1813 and the mother’s birth occurred in North Carolina in 1819. In their family were eleven children: John C., who for three years was a soldier of the Civil war; Mary E.; Nancy M.; Jonathan C.; Eliza A.; Mrs. Berger; David C.; Nicholas H.; Joseph N.; George B.; and Sarah E. In the year 1856 the Hanes family removed to Iowa, settling in Dallas county, where the father carried on farming until his demise. His wife also passed away in this county.

Mrs. Berger has been married twice. She first became the wife of J. W. Drennon and unto them were born three children: David H., now deceased; Martha B., who was born January 23, 1871, and is living in Des Moines, Iowa; and Henry M., who was born October 23, 1873, and is married and makes his home in Wyoming. Mr. Drennon, the father of these children, served for four years as a soldier in the Civil war. Following his death his widow became the wife of Mr. Berger and unto this marriage four children have been born: Rosetta A., who was born December 2, 1876, and is the wife of Howard A. Mason, by whom she has two children, Cecil D. and Thelma; George B., who was born October 5, 1883, and is deceased; Bennie R., who was born May 2, 1885, and died in infancy; and Jessie J., who was born June 17, 1893, and also died in infancy.

Mr. Berger exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the republican party but the honors and emoluments of office have no attraction for him. He is a self-made man and as the architect of his own fortunes has built wisely and well. He had no family or pecuniary assistance at the outset of his career but he had been trained to habits of industry, economy and integrity and upon these substantial qualities as a foundation he has built the superstructure of his success. Reading between the lines of this review, one may learn of the unfaltering diligence and steadfast purpose with which he has carried on his business, enabling him in the course of years to become the owner of a good farm and a fine home.

Source: Past and Present of Dallas County, Iowa, by Robert F. Wood, S. J. Clarke Publishing Company Chicago, IL, 1907.

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