Barton, D. Wilborn [Doc] (1850–1946)

By: H. Allen Anderson

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

D. Wilborn (Doc) Barton, rancher, son of Decator and Catherine (Hightower) Barton, was born in Bertram, Texas, in 1850. The family had moved to Texas from Virginia that year and settled in Burnet County, where they endured occasional Comanche depredations. They had fourteen children, of whom Wilborn was the second. As a young man Barton left home with his older brother, Alfred, and boyhood friends Tom Connell and J. D. Eubank (see CONNELL AND EUBANK RANCHES), in search of greener pastures. He may have been one of the first men to bring Texas cattle to the Santa Fe line in Kansas. As early as 1872 he began driving as many as 3,000 cattle from Mason County to the railhead at Dodge City, Kansas, and for a time he and Alfred ranged a herd around nearby Pierceville, just south of the Arkansas River. On one trip Barton took his wife, Belle (Vandover), whom he had married at Mason, with him; he received his nickname Doc after helping her deliver their second child on the range. In 1878 Doc joined Alfred on Wolf Creek, just west of the present Lipscomb-Ochiltree county line, where he had a herd and a dugout home on the creek. Later that year the Bartons turned the dugout over to Connell and Eubank, who had come in with their herds, and moved farther downstream into Lipscomb County. There they occupied the abandoned Jones and Plummer stockade (see JONES AND PLUMMER TRAIL), which contained a three-room picket house and cellar. Their black trail cook, Uncle Ed, stayed with them until an unexpected encounter with reservation Indians from Indian Territory who were breaking in to steal food. The scare was mutual, but Uncle Ed returned to Burnet County shortly thereafter. In 1881 the Bartons sold their stockade home and 1,200 cattle to Henry W. Cresswell for eighteen dollars a head.

Encouraged by Cresswell, Barton invested in more cattle and choice pastureland in Lipscomb County. Over the next several years his younger brothers Alex, Clay, Dick, Will, Henry, and Walter moved to the county, worked for various ranches, including the Box T and Seven K, established farms, and stayed to become influential Panhandle citizens. Numerous Barton descendents still reside in the Panhandle and neighboring Oklahoma. D. Wilborn Barton died in Dodge City, Kansas, on January 12, 1946, at the age of ninety-five.

Cattleman, February 1946. A History of Lipscomb County, Texas, 1876–1976 (Lipscomb, Texas: Lipscomb County Historical Survey Committee, 1976). Millie Jones Porter, Memory Cups of Panhandle Pioneers (Clarendon, Texas: Clarendon Press, 1945).
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

H. Allen Anderson, “Barton, D. Wilborn [Doc],” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994