The Richmond Enterprise, Richmond, Indiana
Page 8, column 1
August 2, 1895

Biographical Sketches:
Of Wayne County Pioneers and Reminiscence.

Selah Barton

Selah (Boswell) Barton was born in North Carolina, June 22nd in the year 1800 and moved with her parents Barnabas and Jane Boswell, to Wayne County, Ind. in 1812. She remembers the large house of her childhood, and the long porch where they used to tramp out the crop of peas and a large hogs head they used to keep them in after being cleaned, and of playing oft on her mother and escaping a whipping by hiding in the old hogshed. She also remembers the huckleberry patch and the dewberries which they had in abundance for picking, and the swamp hard by where the big cranes watched for their prey , as well as the cotton patch and how the darkies sang at evening; also of helping to make indigo.

They stopped three miles north of Richmond with their married daughter, Mrs. Thos. Stafford, who had already came to this country. Mr. Boswell entered a homestead two and a half miles north of Middleboro, where Chas. Addleman now lives. A log house was built in the forest and the family of course enjoyed the pleasures and endured the hardships incident to pioneer life. Some Indians were still to be seen and almost a wilderness of heavy timber land surrounded them for miles around. There was an Indian camp south of where Middleboro now is, and they often came to the Boswell clearing. Her father was a Quaker and they would pat him on the shoulder and say "one of Penn's children", but Penn or no Penn they took their axes and clubs in at night ready for defense.

The children of Barnabas and Jane Boswell were nine. Elizabeth, born in 1785; Bey, 1787; William, 1789; Jane, 1794; Delilah, 1797; Selah, 1800; Eli, 1803; Hiram, 1805; Susana, 1808; most of whom moved to Iowa and settled at an early day.

In these early days the clothing was made of flax and wool, both of which were produced and manufactured at home, the spinning wheel and loom were a part of the household furniture and their use the first and most important part of the education of the girls of the period of which we speak. For a "meeting" dress the threads were colored red, blue, or green and the fabric striped or checked as desired. Occasionally, those who could afford it got a calico dress for which they had to pay 50 cents per yard. The family did their trading at Richmond, which then contained a few log houses and but one store. To get there safely they had to blaze the trees (scalp with an ax) along the pathway to keep from getting lost.

Speaking from her experience, Mrs. Barton says, "we had one room to eat, sleep, and entertain our company in. A shed was fixed up for the loom but the spinning was done in the main room. We had a tin reflector which we placed before the fig fireplace and baked our bread and pies, and we would hang a big kettle on the "crane" and make it full of hominy and it was good. A sheet or quilt was hung up for a door and we could often hear the "painfer" (panther) scream in the woods at night. It was my delight to trim the limbs off and pile the brush and help in the clearing. When a neighbor got behind we would go and help and have spinning frolicks and would take our little wheels and go to a neighbors and help them and then to another and so on. Everyone was ready to help and if one got sick they could depend on help from their neighbors. I never had the privilege of attending school except a few days at Richmond. Uncle Ezra Boswell taught. I was acquainted with Mr. Morrisson who lived there at the time.

The subject of our sketch was married to Andrew Barton, August 3rd, 1826 and settled on a farm 2 1/2 miles north of Middleboro. To them were born 8 children, 6 girls and 2 boys all of whom are living except the eldest daughter, Elizabeth, born in 1827, died in Iowa in 1856; Luzena, born in 1829, lives in Iowa; John, born in 1831 lives near Middleboro; Phileua, born in 1833, lives in Oskaloosa, Iowa; Levin, born in 1835, lives in Whitewater, Elizabeth, born in 1837, lives in Iowa, Mary Jeffries, lives on Richmond and Middleboro Pike; Selah, 1839, whose husband was killed in the rebellion; Delilah, the one Mrs. Barton now lives with was born in 1843 and lives east of Whitewater.

Her husband Andrew Barton, died in 1843 and she afterward married Wm. Barton, a brother of her first husband and with whom she lived until 1877 when he too was called and she has been a widow since.

She lived with her daughter Selah until 3 years ago when she went to live with her youngest daughter, Mrs. James Benson, one mile east of Middleboro, and is now in her 98th year enjoying fair health except that she received a fall a few years since breaking her hip and is forced to sit in her chair or lie in bed. She seems very cheerful however and one can hardly realize when visiting her that they are in the presence of one who has survived the storms and vicissitudes and witnessed the wonderful changes of almost five score years. She always claimed she would live to be 100 years old. Had a birthright in the society of Friends and is still a member of that society. There are 33 grand-children and 26 great-grandchildren.


Richmond Daily Register
Page 8, Column 5
26 January 1897

Aunt Selah Barton
The Oldest Pioneer of Wayne County Is Dying

Selah Barton, the oldest pioneer of Wayne County is dying at her home two miles east of Whitewater. This aged and well-known woman suffered a paralytic stroke last Wednesday and is now utterly helpless. Aunt Selah, as she is affectionately called by her host of friends, was born in South (?) Carolina ninety-eight years ago. She removed to this county when quite young and was in years gone by one of the leaders in philanthropic work.

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