Bio: Barton, Leo Bernard (b. 1888)

Transcriber: Barbara Benware Burt


Leo Bernard Barton

He was born May 20, 1888 in Neillsville, Wis. He was the second son of John Benware and Mary Owens Benware. His father, John, was killed in a mining accident in Nov., 1887 in Thunder Bay, Ont. Mary returned to Neillsville to have Leo. She lived with her in-laws until they relocated in Iowa to care for their other son's family. She tried to work as a seamtress but found she was unable to care for the boys and work as well. She reluctantly put her boys in the State orphanage where they lived until Leo was 9 years old. In the meanwhile, Mary nursed her sister-in-law, Josephine Barton, until her death in 1883. The next year, she married Anton Barton, her brother-in-law. He was a blacksmith and also sold carriages. In 1905 they built a new home on 40 acres. Gramma used to tell of the Indians who came to clear the land. They set up thier regular villag-teepees and all!

Josephine and Anton's 2 daughters, Belle and Matie, left home refusing to deal with a step-mother. Devere, a son, joined the service and served in the Spanish-American war. John, the youngest, who was close to Ernest and Leo's age was compatible and they shared many fond memories. (John came out here several time. His daughter, Lorrain Manning, lives here in town.) According to the stories my dad used to tell that small person, Anton, was a real heavy weight when he imbibed! The boys all watched and threw away his bottles whenever possible.

Leo ran away from home at 17. He stopped at a German Settlement somewhere in Canada for a time. Before the fire we had a picture of dad making shoes there. He ended up in Vancouver, B. C. and decided to apprentice himself to a plumber. He used to tell about bringing his boss a cigar everyday. They used public transportation to go from job to job and it was Leo's lot to haul the tool box.

Mary, his mom, came to visit him in Vancouver and she was interested in the S. D. A. Church. They attended and that is where Leo met his wife, Ethel.

Leo Bernard Barton is pictured below as he appeared in 1955, at the age of sixty-seven.



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