Josiah L. "J. L." BARTON
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Contributed by rkohler3 on 1/8/11 - Image Year: 1885
In his boyhood, JOSIAH L. BARTON had no educational opportunities except those afforded by the short winter terms of the Township public schools. Desiring a more thorough education, he attended the Tuscarora Academy for two terms, at the age of twenty-three, at his own volition. He also taught for three years in Tuscarora Township, working during the intervals with his father on the farm and in the blacksmith shop, where he received a general idea of the trade which has been of much subsequent use.
The military record of Josiah L. Barton during the war of the Rebellion was honorable, and somewhat remarkable. He enlisted, September 7, 1861, as a private, in Capt. Calvin DeWitt's Company I, of the celebrated Forty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, under the command of Col. W. H. Irwin. The regiment was assigned to Hancock's brigade, of "Baldy" Smith's division, Sixth Army Corps. On November 24, 1861, Mr. Barton was detailed to assist in the regimental commissary department. September 30, 1862, he was promoted to the position of quarter master sergeant of the regiment. On March 10, 1864, he was discharged as a non-commissioned officer, and commissioned as first lieutenant of Company F. As such he entered the bloody spring campaign, when Grant conducted his mighty army on its advance toward the capital of the Confederacy. He passed safe through the battle of the Wilderness; but at Spottsylvania Court House, May 10, 1864, he was wounded in the right shoulder, and taken prisoner. The treatment he received while in the hands of the enemy was of a most cruel character. He was taken first to Macon, Ga.; then successively to Savannah, Ga.; Charleston, S. C.; Columbia, S. C., and Raleigh, S. C. He was finally exchanged at Wilmington, N. C., March 1, 1865, having been a prisoner of war for nearly ten months, and in the service for almost three and one-half years. On March 31, 1865, he was commissioned as captain of Company H, Forty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, his commission dating back to November 9, 1864; but the war ending a few days after, he was never mustered. Lieutenant Barton is one of the few who have had an opportunity to read their own obituaries and the panegyrics of friends at their supposed demise. When he was seen to fall at Spottsylvania Court House, he was reported as dead in the dispatches from that field; and as such he was for months mourned by his comrades of the Forty-ninth, as well as by his family and friends at home. A short time after the bloody battle of Spottsylvania, in which the Forty-ninth lost its colonel, lieutenant colonel, and other brave officers, a meeting of the surviving officers of the regiment was held in a rifle-pit near Cold Harbor, Va., to adopt suitable expressions of condolence, recognizing the valor and worth of their deceased brother officers. The part of the resolutions referring to the supposed death of Lieutenant Barton was as follows: "In the death of Lieut. Josiah L. Barton we have lost a most, valuable officer, a man whose memory will be held in honor by every soldier in this regiment, because of his unassuming and gentlemanly deportment, his quiet, but real courage, his consistent and Christian character, illustrated by the purity of his life and the refinement of his conversation. To those at home to whom his loss is that of a brother and son, we offer our sincere sympathy, together with the assurance that their loved one left no stain soil his name as a soldier, a Christian or a man!" This minute was signed by the president and secretary of the meeting, and duly published.
Returning home from the army, Mr. Barton embarked in a general mercantile business at Pleasant View, Spruce Hill Township, [abt 1865] in which he succeeded Judge Morrison. This business, which has been continued for thirty-two years, has been a success. He has also during this time managed a farm in Spruce Hill Township, which he has greatly improved. In 1870, Mr. Barton was appointed postmaster at Pleasant View, which position he has held ever since, under all the changes of national administration, to the satisfaction of the entire community. Mr. Barton is a member of Wilson Post, No. 134, G. A. R., of Mifflintown, Pa., and of the U. V. L., No. 37, of the same place. He was for one term a school director in Spruce Hill Township, during which time he was secretary of the board. In early manhood, he voted the Democratic ticket, but the events of the Civil war converted him into a Republican. He has been affiliated with that party ever since, and is very influential in its counsels. Devoted to business, in which he has attained to eminent success by means of scrupulous integrity, business tact and genial manner; retiring and averse to prominence, Mr. Barton has always shunned the official positions which, for years, his political associates desired to thrust, upon him. He might have represented his county in the legislature long ago had he consented to accept a nomination; but he modestly preferred the quiet and conscientious discharge of his duty as a private citizen. In 1891 however, in spite of his protests, he received the nomination for associate judge of Juniata County, to which office he was triumphantly elected in November of that year by a majority of one hundred and ten, while the average majority of the Democratic State Ticket at the same election was over one hundred.
In fulfilling the duties of his office, Judge Barton has fully justified the hopes and anticipations of his friends, and he is regarded as one of the most efficient incumbents of the judicial bench ever elected in the county.
JOSIAH L. BARTON was married in Beale Township, September 28, 1865, to Temperance, daughter of Elias and Isabella (Taylor) Gruver, of Tuscarora Township. Their children are: Clara B., widow of Crawford Okeson; Elizabeth G.; Ida M., a graduate of Wilson College, Chambersburg, Pa., now principal of the St. Pail Academy, in East Tennessee: Theresa A., a teacher in the St. Paul Academy; J. Frank, a clerk in his father's shop; Harry H., a student; May T., a student at Wilson College; and Irene, who died in infancy. The eldest (laughter, Mrs. Okeson, is now a teacher; she has one child. Judge Barton is a prominent and consistent member of the Presbyterian Church, in which he has been an elder for twenty-four years. He has also been both teacher and superintendent in the Sunday school.