The following sketch and accompanying cut of a well known Newport family appeared in an issue of the New England Homstead in 1917. This is not the picture that appeared there as I have had trouble getting it to up loaded so used a picture of the family taken in 1923 after their last four children were born.
One of the most interesting families in all New England is that of Mr. and Mrs. Lemuel R. Barton of Newport, in Sullivan County, N.H. They have 16 children, all living and without mental or physical defect. The family group is pictured herewith. Their family physician, Dr. J.L. Cain, makes the following statement:
” I have been connected with the family of Lemuel R. Barton, professionally, off and on for 23 years. The father and mother have unusal physical endurance, courage, and vigor, and well balanced minds; have always lived frugal, industrious and temperate lives, bringing them close to the heart of nature. Their good heredity and puritanic habits and their environment have conduced to an unusal degree of health. Their off-spring, which at the present time number 16, partake of the qualities of the parents. They are all living, well, bright, and robust — no mental or physical defects, and have adapted themselves to their frugal mode of live to a remarkable degree in this age of the world. I have had very few sick calls during these years, their minor ailments being cared for in the old fashioned way with roots and herbs. Another remarkable incident in connection with the rearing of this family, is that there never has been a physician present at the time of birth excepting once, labor always having been normal. Mr. Barton’s family is the only typical New England American family in this part of the country. ” The Bartons have succeeded aboundantly in an agricultural way. The Homestead is pleased to print the sketch of history told in Mr. Barton’s own words:
My father died when I was eight years old, and I received a good common school education, but never attended high school. For several years I worked at farm labor. In 1892, I commence working for Manson Young of Haverhill, N.H., and the following year I succeeded in securing his niece, Mary Jane Young , as life my partner, and we were married in the fall of 1893. In the spring of 1891, I purchased the old home farm, on which I was born, which I named Sugar River Maple farm.
My mother having died a few months previous, left six of us children to inherit what little property was left after paying her funeral expenses and other debts. I paid about $1,000 for the farm, which is said to comtain 100 acres. After paying off the other heirs and stocking the farm, my small earnings were soon exhausted and left us somewhat in debt, but we were not obliged to mortgage our property, as the ones we were owing were willing to take a note without security. In a few years we had the notes all paid, and in the spring of 1901 I purchased another farm of about 150 acres and had nearly enough to pay for that. In 1910, I purchased a one-half interest in another 100-acre lot and in the fall of 1911 I bought out my partner’s half of the property. Also, in 1910 I purchased a small lot of 20 acres, or a little more, that joins my home farm, which makes in all at the present time about 370 acres.
During the present year an old friend of mine wised to buy a farm, but lacked means, so I advanced him the money he needed and have a mortage of his place. What success I have attained I attribute to my mother’s careful training, teaching me to keep out of bad company and believed in the truth of the Bible and to be a regular attendant at church Sundays .
I have sold milk to D. Whiting & sons of Boston the greater part of the time for more than 20 years, but have not succeeded in getting income enough from my cows, hens and general farming to pay the bills of my large family of 16 children – eight girls and eight boys – my wife and myself. But with what I have received from the sale of maple sugar, syrup and from the sale of wood and lumber. I have paid my family expenses and laid by a little most every year.
In my sugar place I use a little over 1300 sap buckets, and usually receive an income of about $300 per year. I have met with but very little loss by death of live stock, bad bills or fire. What is best of all, there has never been a death in our family during the 23 years of our married life.
Six of our children are now attending district school, Cloie, John, Fred, Hosea, Clara, and George. Two girls, Jennie and Lucy are in their third year at the Newport high school. The district school is two miles away.
Our oldest girl, Addie M. is married and lives in Newbury, Vt. She has two children, one girl and one boy.
While we were in the state of Vermont several years ago stopping for a few days, my wife and I were thought by some to be a newly married couple.
I have greatly enlarged the barns and sugar house of our homestead farm. At the present time I have nine cows, one pair of oxen, nine heard of young cattle and two horses. Here are four rules which we have obsered during our married life:
1. If you would pay up the debt on your farm, live (as far as possible)on the produce of your own farm instead of what you buy from the grocery store.
2. If you would keep out of debt buy only what you can pay cash for.
3. Boys grown into prosperous young farms by helping their father on the farm much faster than in learning to smoke cigarets on the street.
4. Girls in their teens develop into nice, respectable young women, learning to sew and cook at home with their mother much faster than in spending their time in some hall with other giddy young people learning to dance.
Both parents are descendants of Revolutionary soldiers. An acquaintance S. A Tenney, says truly: “It demonstrates that it is possible for a young couple to start and raise up a family of children upon one of our rocky farms in New Hampshire, with but little money to begin with. It takes plenty of pluck, hard work, frugality and economy. Here is a concrete example that should put to shame a young man when he says that he cannot afford to get married, and that farming doesn’t pay. It was a grand experience to visit this family when they were all at home and in one room, obedient, God-fearing christian people.”
Here is the family roster: Parents, Lemuel R. Barton, born August 31, 1867; Mary J Barton, born May 30, 1878; children Addie M, born July 30, 1894; Nellie F August 6, 1895; Levi M. November 25, 1896; Jennie A July 1, 1898; Lucy M August 17, 1899; Cloie B. August 14, 1901; John L January 10, 1903; Fred R January 12, 1904; Hosea R. December 2, 1905; Clara K July 2, 1907 George A February 25, 1909; Alice E April 9, 1910; Ella R May 5, 1911; Charles M January 23, 1913, Franklin E June 24, 1914; Edwin C April 1, 1916 .
Children born after this story was published included Orren Osgood Oct. 19, 1917, Emma Agusta July 20, 1919; Oayk Andrew Nov 13, 1921 The next family picture was taken and on July 2, 1923 Dora Hattie was born and added to the second picture.
Mary Jane was the second child born to Milton and Addie Young. The first child was Hattie, my grandmother who married Ernest Thayer. They lived in North Haverhill, NH with her uncle Web. They had five children, Guy, my father, Herman, Leslie who died shortly after birth and Angie, Carl’s mother and a girl born just before Hattie died, This girl died at birth. Hattie had tuberculosis (TB) and the constant birth of children was more than her body could take. She was not well after the birth of Angie so her younger sister moved into the home with her to help care for the children. She was only 15 years older than Guy but became the mother the children all knew. Two years later Hattie gave birth to a baby girl who died at birth and Hattie followed her a couple days later. This was in 1905, Dora remaind at the home and cared for the children and Uncle Web. In 1906 Ernest moved the whole family to Harrisville because that was where he could find a job having gone bankrupt with his store in Haverhill. Ernest and Dora were married and come to Harrisville as a family. Dora felt she was too young to be called mother and did not want the children to forget their own mother so she was always known as Auntie, the name they called her when Hattie was alive. All of the grand children called her Auntie also. She had many stories to tell about her sister’s family of 20. Dora was never blessed with any children of her own but was always remembered as a good mother to her step children and a willing, helpful grand mother to six grand children. She baby sat and helped raise several great grand children before she finally had to rest.
Uncle Web had farmed in Haverhill, NH from 1866 to 1906 when they moved to Harrisville. Haverhill is in the Conn. River Valley and much milder winters than does Harrisville so he wrote in his diary that they had taken him to Greenland to freeze. He had been a farmer all his life and was now moved to a mill town, it was like going to a foreign country and at age 75 it is hard to ajust. Each summer he went back to Harriverhill and stayed with his brother to help on the farm where he was happy. Guy went with him being only about 10 years old and stayed with Aunt Mamie and her family where there were other children his age and people he knew. It is hard for a young boy to leave all his friends and move to a different place with different ways. He loved the farm, he worked with the kids and best of all he loved sitting in the barn door in the sun each fall repairing the harnesses and listening to the stories of the old men. One year when he got back home in Harrisville, Auntie says he ran into the kitchen, closed his eyes and spun around with his arms streched out, then said ” Look! And I never touched a kid.” He loved the farm and family but had lived in tight quarters for the summer and was glad to be home again where he could sit quietly and read or think.
I didn’t know many of the Barton children. All of them reached maturity except one boy and I am not sure which one that was. He died of a farming accident when he was hit with a pitch fork and died of lock jaw or so I was told. I did know Aunt Cloie. We went often to her home to visit, I don’t remember staying over night without my mother there but my sister went often to stay. I guess my mother didn’t inflict me on many people. She had an old farm house in Goshen, NH and the Bartons all gathered at her home for a reunion once a year. After I was married Norman and I went there for one of these reunions. We had a wonderful time, it was better than a town party as there were so many there. The thing I remebered most though was the fact Aunt Cloie had no indoor toilet and yet no one complained, even with that many people there an old two seater served everyone just fine. Aunt Cloie’s husband was 30 years older thnt she so was an old man by the time we knew him. Shirley remembers being very afraid of him but I never remembered him at all, I guess it was because I never stayed there over night alone. The story told to me was that when Cloie was born, a friend of the family then 30 years old come to visit and see the new baby. He took one look at Cloie and said, “that’s the girl I am going to marry” Everyone laughed but he never married and years later he did marry a young Cloie and they were very happy together. They never had any children but she always had nieces or nephews or cousin’s children there to care for. When Adrain died of old age everyone said, “Now Cloie can find someone her own age.” She remained widowed only a short time and then married a man 28 years her senior. She cared for him for the remainer of his life and when he died of old age many years later, everyone in the family said, “NOW, Cloie can marry someone her own age and not have to take care of her husband.” Cloie laughter and replied, “NOW Cloie doesn’t have to marry anyone!” She spent the rest of her life driving around visiting family and friends. She and Lucy came to our house one day to visit her cousin, my Dad when he was unable to drive. She was four years younger than my Dad. I have pictures of her in Florida visiting with my parents when they were in Florida for the winter. She enjoyed her freedom and died a happy woman.