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William Barton Passes Away

Today in Masonic History William Barton passes away in 1831.

William Barton was an American soldier.

Barton was born in Warren, Rhode Island on May 26th, 1748. In his younger days he worked as a hatter in Providence, Rhode Island.

In 1775, Barton joined the Continental Army as a corporal. His first combat as at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Later that year he was appointed adjutant of Richmond's Rhode Island state troops and promoted to Captain. It was as part of the Rhode Island state troops that he planned a raid on the British Headquarters. On the night of July 10-11 Barton and 38 men boarded 5 whaleboats and made their way across Narragansett Bay. They were able to avoid British frigates and landed near the farm house which was the headquarters for British General Richard Prescott. Taking Prescott's men by surprsie they quickly subdued the guards and broke into Prescott's room dragging him from the house half dressed. Barton and his men were able to bring Prescott back to Providence. For his efforts, the Continental Congress presented Barton with a sword and passed a resolution honoring his service.

In 1777, Barton was promoted to lieutenant colonel. That same year he was promoted again to colonel. In 1778, Barton was seriously wounded in thigh. He never fully recovered from the wound. Despite this, Barton did return in 1779 to lead a company of light infantry that were operating out of boats in Narragansett bay.

In 1789, Barton helped to found the town of Barton, Vermont. The town was eventually sued for selling the same piece of land twice. Barton the man was also sued and when he refused to return the money was put into debtors prison in Danville, Vermont. He would remain there for 14 years. He was released when the Marquis de Lafayette visited the United States in 1824 and agreed to pay the remainder of Barton's debt.

Barton passed away on October 22nd, 1831.

Barton was a member of St. John's Lodge in Providence, Rhode Island.