Barton, William (1782–1840)

By: Mary Jayne Walsh

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: September 30, 2020

William Barton, early settler called the "Daniel Boone of Texas," son of Thomas and Bethire (Williamson) Barton, was born at Greenville, South Carolina, in 1782. About 1807 he and his first wife, née Charlotte Anderson, moved to Kentucky, where several of his brothers lived. Mrs. Barton died there in 1809, after the birth of their daughter, Minerva. Barton then moved to Alabama and during the Indian rebellion of 1816 was listed as living in Marengo County. His father died during that time, and Barton inherited five slaves. In 1828 he came to Texas with two of his brothers, Elisha and Benjamin, as part of Stephen F. Austin's second colony. Barton received a headright grant from the Mexican government for a league on the west side of the Colorado River, in what became Bastrop County. He was elected local comisario in 1830. He was a loner with an independent nature, and when a neighbor settled within ten miles of his cabin he moved forty-five miles up the Colorado River, to a site near that of present-day Austin. In 1837, with his second wife, Stacy (Pryor), he patented and settled on land near the springs. Barton had six children. He was known as a fearless and skillful Indian fighter and once saved his own life by pretending to signal other White men to come to his rescue. His friends heard gunshots and soon saw him running toward them saying, "It's a good thing it wasn't one of you, you would have been killed shore!" Barton died on April 11, 1840, and was buried near Barton Springs. His body was reportedly reinterred in Williamson County, near Round Rock, in 1862, but no record of reburial has been found.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., "Minutes of the Ayuntamiento of San Felipe de Austin, 1828–1832," 12 parts, Southwestern Historical Quarterly 21–24 (January 1918-October 1920). Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). J. W. Wilbarger, Indian Depredations in Texas (Austin: Hutchings, 1889; rpt., Austin: State House, 1985). Villamae Williams, Stephen F. Austin's Register of Families (Nacogdoches, Texas: Ericson, 1984).

  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Military
  • Soldiers

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

Mary Jayne Walsh, “Barton, William,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 22, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 30, 2020