“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Boonville in Cooper County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

David Barton

1783 - 1837

David Barton Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., April 11, 2011
1. David Barton Marker
David Barton was born December 14, 1783, near Greeneville, North Carolina (now Tennessee). He came to the then-Louisiana Territory in 1809. Though Barton had some legal training, his first job was teaching in St. Charles. When the Missouri Territory was formed in 1812, Barton studied the French influence on civil laws and served as a mounted ranger under Nathan Boone, son of Daniel and Rebecca Boone. After two years he volunteered and gained popularity as a Boonslick Country Ranger Company private. Barton served as Territorial Attorney General from 1813 until 1815. Appointed Circuit Judge of the Northern District of Missouri, he presided over the first circuit court session west of the Mississippi River on March 1, 1815, in Hannah Allision Cole's cabin in Boonville, then part of Howard County. Major Stephen Cole, Hannah's brother-in-law, was present and swore in the courtroom. Judge Barton fined Cole $1. Cole objected, but paid. That afternoon Cole, also a Justice of the Peace, held court on a log in front of the cabin. Barton was returning from dinner, stopped to watch and smoked his pipe. Cole fined Barton $1 for smoking in the courtroom.
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Barton paid and the men were even! In 1817 Barton returned to his law practice and in 1818 was elected to the Territorial House of Representatives. Designated Speaker of the House, he didn't complete his term, instead returning to private practice. In 1820 Missouri applied for statehood and elected Barton President of the State Constitutional Convention. Barton used his knowledge of French law and English Common Law to write the state's first constitution. It was described as a model of moderation and political sagacity and remained in effect until the 1865 Constitution. His integrity and ability as an orator and leader resulted in Barton becoming Missouri's first United States Senator. He served until 1831, returned to St. Louis and represented it in the legislature for two years. Barton returned to Boonville in 1836, poor, in failing health, with no family (he never married). He was tended to by the William Gibson family until he died on September 28, 1837. Boonville's citizens raised money for his tombstone and buried him in Sunset Hills Cemetery. In March, 1853, his remains were moved to Walnut Grove Cemetery, next to the original state fairgrounds in Missouri. Cemetery owners saw Barton's grave as a potential tourist attraction and convinced the legislature to appropriate $400 for a marble gravestone and iron fence on December 8, 1855. The fence was removed in World War II,
David Barton Monument image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., April 11, 2011
2. David Barton Monument
but the gravestone remains - highlighted by an upside down torch being extinguished and the words, "A profound jurist, an honest and able statesman, a just and benevolent man." Barton's original gravestone was moved in 1899 from Sunset Hills to the University of Missouri Francis Quadrangle, next to Thomas Jefferson's original gravestone. Boonville honored Barton's role as teacher and statesman with the opening of David Barton School in 1958. Barton County, birthplace of President Harry Truman, is named in his honor.
Erected 2009 by City of Boonville, Concerned Citizens, and Others.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicGovernment & PoliticsSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #33 Harry S. Truman series list. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1791.
Location. 38° 58.599′ N, 92° 44.664′ W. Marker is in Boonville, Missouri, in Cooper County. Marker is on Morgan Street near Main Street (U.S. 40), on the left when traveling east. Monument is in Morgan Street Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Boonville MO 65233, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. James Milton Turner (here, next to this marker); Walter Williams (here, next to this marker); Hannah Allison Cole
David Barton Bust image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., April 11, 2011
3. David Barton Bust
(a few steps from this marker); George Caleb Bingham (a few steps from this marker); Frederick T. Kemper (within shouting distance of this marker); Capture of Boonville (within shouting distance of this marker); Cooper County Korea - Vietnam War Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Cooper County World War Memorial (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Boonville.
Morgan Street Park image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr.
4. Morgan Street Park
Credits. This page was last revised on December 16, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 11, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 834 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 11, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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Apr. 22, 2024