Sarah Flint

  1. John Flint
  2. Clara Ellen
  3. Walter Herbert
  4. George Ernest
  5. Annie
  6. Vina

Francis Geaves Shelton

  1. Morris Windsor
  2. Eliot Shelton
  3. Clifton


Son of John Barton

Pioneer of Year 1860


Born July 24, 1840, St. Helens, Lancashire, England

Died November 30, 1916 at Kaysville, Utah


History written by Eliot S. Barton - 1957


               The information and statements as stated in this article are authentic.  Some have been taken from the records of the Church Historian's Office.  Some from books by different authors (Book by H. H. Blood).  Some from the D. U. P. files.  And some from memory told to my brothers--Clifton, Morris, and myself.

             John Barton, a veteran Elder of the Kaysville Ward, Davis County, Utah, was born July 24, 1840, at St. Helens, Lancashire, England, the son of John Barton and Elizabeth Bell.  His parents were of moderate circumstances, the father being a superintendent of a large foundry.  John received a common school education and though naturally inclined for a sea faring life, his parental authority prevented him from realizing his aspiration in that direction. He left home to join the Royal Navy when he was 15, serving about a year until his family bought off his enlistment.  At the age of 11 he commenced service as a clerk in a pawn broker's establishment and remained in that position about four years.  After his release from the Navy he learned the business of machinist in a large foundry and continued in that vocation until he was eighteen. He worked his way across the Atlantic in the sailing ship "Underwriter".  Due to very stormy weather and high seas it took 42 days to make the crossing.  How he worked his way from New York to Council Bluffs, he was hired as a driver of oxen in Captain Hortons D. Haights' freight outfit and walked the entire distance.  A few weeks from Salt Lake his shoes wore out.  The rest of the distance he walked barefooted.

             He was the first of his family to make the long journey to the new land and to endure the hardships of the trek across the plains.  To a young man, however, this may not have been such a hardship, being full of life and vigor and fired by a great ambition to join the Saints in the Valley of the Mountains.

             He arrived in Great Salt Lake September 24, 1860, and immediately came to Kaysville.

             His ability to splice ropes and other things to which his limited experience as a sailor came to splendid use to him while crossing the plains.

             He was an apprentice machinist in England, working in a foundry and was told not to bring any tools, as there were plenty in Utah.  When he arrived he found no tools nor machine works, so he turned to making knives, repairing wagons and making bone handles for knives from the horns of animals both domestic and wild, or doing odd jobs and whatever he could for a living, his pay was mostly chickens, bacon, ham or flour, etc.--anything that could be useful or eaten.             

             He turned to farming.  After residing in Grantsville, Tooele County for one year, he spent some time in Skull Valley chopping out cedar posts to sell.

             One incident I recall Father telling us boys, he was alone cutting out cedar posts in the mountains in Skull Valley.  An Indian kept watching him from the underbrush and kept moving from tree to tree to get closer to Father and the team.  "He was not after my scalp", said father, "He wanted the horses."  We questioned Father at different times and he would always say, "The Indian was sent on his way and I had the team."

             In his youth he was ordained successively to the office of Deacon and Teacher. After his arrival in Utah he was ordained a Seventy, February 16, 1861, and served as clerk of the 62nd Quorum of Seventy's for about three years.  Later he was ordained a High Priest.

             Two years afterwards in 1862 his parents, brothers and sister followed him to this country.  He helped his family build the first brick house in Kaysville.  It still stands about one city block west of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks on Center Street.

             On December 25, 1863, he married Sarah Flint who bore him six children--Clara (died 1878), Walter (died on mission in Mississippi), John F., George Earnest, Anna and Vina.

             Like most young men of his time he had learned a trade in his native land.  He was a mechanic of considerable skill and somewhat of a cabinetmaker. 

             There was a death in the early days of Kaysville and the man was to be buried in a wagon box.  John Barton remarked it was a pity a man should be buried in a good wagon box, as they were very valuable.  So he volunteered to make a coffin from rough lumber.  No doubt that was how he started to make coffins.

             At first he undoubtedly made his own coffins or caskets, but later on he bought the boxes, covered and trimmed them himself.  For many years his caskets were kept in an adobe building on the southeast corner of his property near the Opera House.  On shelves in this building were also numerous bolts of cloth, laces to line and trim the caskets and handles for carrying.  When Anna and Vina, his girls, were old enough they assisted him in his work. 

             When they were young ladies and their mother had passed away (April 1887) and he married my mother, when we three boys were old enough we too, helped him line and trim the caskets.

             In 1892 (July 20) he married Francis Geaves Shelton, who was born April 13, 1856 in London, England, and immigrated to Utah in 1891.  (Died April 1, 1936).  She bore him three children--Clifton, Eliot S. and Morris W.  Later when he opened the first furniture store in Davis County on North Main Street he moved his caskets there and later he moved his caskets to "Wessel" Building.  He maintained both businesses at these locations until his death.

             In the early days the dead were packed in ice.  A Mr. Sullivan, in the late 1800's came to Kaysville.  He had embalmed Queen Victoria of England and taught Father how to embalm people.  This is how Father became the first undertaker and the first furniture dealer in Davis County.

             What may have been his mode of conveyance in the early days, we do not know, but for a great many years he owned a black hearse pulled by a beautiful team of black horses and a white hearse with a team of white horses, named Sam and Doc.  Doc died. Then it was Sam and Charley.

             John Barton was a very versatile man, skilled in many things.  He was one of the first dentists in the community, serving the people in his home day or night for many years.  An incident is related by one of his early patients showing his generosity and kindness.

             In the winter of 1881 Joseph Jarman, then 14 years of age, arrived in Kaysville. He had been suffering for several days with a terrible toothache.  His face was swollen and misshapen.  His neighbors, anxious to help him, said, "Go down to John Barton's. He will pull your tooth for a quarter."  Where in the world he obtained a whole shilling (a quarter) he never knew.  Nevertheless, he did have the tooth extracted and paid Mr. Barton the Money.  Two days later John Barton found where Joseph was staying and went to see him.  "My boy," said Mr. Barton, "I hear you are a young immigrant just over from England.  Is that right?"  "Yes, that is right," said Joseph.  "Here then." said Mr. Barton, "Take your quarter back.  I'm sure you need it much more than I do."

             Like many of the pioneers, he gathered herbs and from them produced his own medicines.  His cough remedy was especially recommended and sought after in the community.  When either of us boys got a sore throat Father would put some powdered sulphur on a kitchen knife, press down our tongue, and when we would "AH" wide enough he would blow the sulphur down our throats.  We tasted sulphur, but the throat was better.

             In 1868 he was appointed sexton of the Kaysville Cemetery, an office he held for 48 years or until his death.  It was well known that whatever John Barton did, he did well, and the cemetery was one of those examples.  Much of its beauty of landscaping and well-planned appearance is due to his care and foresight and remains as a monument to him today.

             The Kaysville Brass Band was organized in 1864.  Among the musicians was Joseph Barton, peter Barton and John Barton.  Father played what was then known as the tenor horn.  In the early part of the year 1869 the railroad was being laid through Weber Canyon and as the tracks neared the mouth of the canyon the Kaysville Band went by teams to the canyon and serenaded the track layers.  As the construction train slowly moved down the canyon on the newly laid tracks towards the Salt Lake Valley, it was stopped opposite to where the band was playing.  They were invited to get aboard.  This they did and the Kaysville Brass Band had the honor of riding upon the first train on the first flat car and the first rails to enter the Great Salt Lake Valley, playing all the time.

             Father was interested in Civic Affairs and enjoyed dramatics very much.  He would spend hours working to decorate a float or make something for a parade or Home Dramatics Show.  He supplied almost all the "props" for the local shows and supplied chairs, dressers, etc. for the setting.  For the traveling troupes such as Moore- Eithe Company, Taylor Brothers Company and others, he did much of the prompting from the wings.  He did not go too deep into politics, although he was a member of the city council many times during his life.  Throughout his entire life he devoted his time and his talents, which were many, to the building of his community and to the advancement of the Gospel and his Church.  He served the city and community in many capacities and was always ready to do his part and more in building and making public improvements.

             The explosion in the Daley-West mine in Park City in 1902 killed 33 men and injured many.  They called for undertakers and hearses from Salt Lake and vicinity to come to Park City to assist in preparation and burial.  Brother George was in Park City. They used white tops and wagons to fill in for the needed hearses.  Herbert Barnes, then 16, went with Father on the trip, leaving Kaysville at 9 P.M.  They arrived at Liberty Park at Salt Lake at 2 A.M. where they fed, rested and watered the horses and proceeded up Parleys Canyon on a narrow dirt road at 4 A.M.  Herbert got sleepy and got permission from Father to sleep in the hearse while Father drove.  They arrived in the late afternoon.  The next day they formed the funeral procession of ore wagons, delivery wagons and white tops.  Father was chosen to lead.  As the band started to play, Father's team of black bolted.  Musicians dropped their instruments and caught the team by the bits.  They were unhitched and a team of horses from the mine, that were used to such noise, were substituted.  Then the procession moved forward.

             Driving a yoke of oxen you use no reins, only commands, gee was to turn right, haw was to turn left.  Father had driven oxen from Council Bluffs and from force of habit he would gee and haw the team until reminded to pull on the reins.

             Father almost always carried a sack of old fashioned peppermint candy in his pocket to let children help themselves when they would pass.

             Death came to him on Thanksgiving Day, November 30, 1916, at his home, and with his passing Kaysville lost one of its best known and highly respected pioneers.  I shall always remember his bearded face, his kindness, his ready smile and quick wit.  


John Barton was an early dentist of Kaysville. One humorous incident follows: "In the early winter of 1881 Joseph Jarman, then only fourteen, arrived in Kaysville. He had been suffering for many days with a toothache and his face was badly swollen. He was advised to go to John Barton and get it pulled for a quarter which he did. Two days later Mr. Barton found where Joseph was living and went to see him. ‘My boy, I hear you are a young immigrant just over from England. Is that right?’ ‘Yes, that is right.’ ‘Here, then,’ said Mr. Barton, ‘take your quarter back. I am sure you need it more than I do.’"

Like many others, John Barton gathered herbs and produced his own medicines. In 1868 he was appointed sexton of Kaysville cemetery and held that position for forty-eight years, until his death. His two loyal helpmates were Sarah Flint and Frances Shelton.

Treasures of Pioneer History
Treasures of Pioneer History: Vol 4
Pioneer Dentists and Druggists
Davis County