William Barton

William Barton

Warren, Bristol County, Rhode Island, USA
Death 22 Oct 1831 (aged 83)
Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, USA
Burial Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, USA
Memorial ID 64 · View Source
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Revolutionary War Continental Army Officer. Growing up in the small town of Warren, Rhode Island, he was educated to an average level and worked as a miliner. When men were needed against the British was sounded, he left to fight with the local state forces that were called to defend Boston and was in the infantry during the battle of Bunker (Breed's) Hill. He stayed in the Rhode Island militia and advancd well up through the ranks to Lieutenant Colonel . Soon after this last promotion Barton became infamous for a most daring exploit. After the British occupation of Newport in December of 1776 it became aparent that the English army was going to try to take either Providence or Boston next. The shortest distance between the Island of Aquidneck (where Newport is located) and mainland Rhode Island is Howland’s Ferry, Tiverton. Rhode Island received aid from Massachusetts to fortify a structure to protect the small waterway, which established a strategic defense. The fort constructed was named Tiverton Heights Fort, and Barton and his troops were among the first to hold this fort. In July of 1777, Barton chose thirty eight elite soldiers, some from the 1st Rhode Island, the all-black regiment which was also under his command and went on an amazing adventure which produced one of the most daring captures of the war . Barton had learned through his own spies that the commanding general of the British Newport Garrison, one Major General Richard Prescott, was staying at the Overing house. He and his small troop left Tiverton in four whale boats, they evaded British ships by using local water routes. The party landed in Portsmouth and followed a brook south to newport to the Overing House.They overpowered the General's guards,stormed the house, broke down the bedroom door of the cornered Prescott, and took him captive. For this deed congress gave Barton a sword, and he was brevetted colonel. Proud of this capture, it's said in later battles Barton would draw the splendid sword and intimidate his enemies by announcing that he was " the man who took Prescott". He was wounded and disabled in 1778, eventually retiring at the rank of General. Barton later participated in the Rhode Island convention that would adopt the federal Constitution. The fort in Tiverton from which he executed his amazing deed of valor has since been re-named "Fort Barton".

Bio by: R. Digati

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 64
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Barton (26 May 1748–22 Oct 1831), Find a Grave Memorial no. 64, citing North Burial Ground, Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .