BARTON, (REV.) CHARLES BARKUS , (deceased), was born at Fitchburg, Mass., September 1, 1810. His father removed from Massachusetts to Tennessee in 1817, and in 1827 in order to removed his family from the influence of slavery, he decided to come to Illinois. After crossing the Ohio River a rest in the journey of two days was taken. On the third morning the father rose at daybreak, apparently in his usual health, and spoke cheerfully of starting again on the journey, but in an instant fell speechless, and life was soon extinct. He was buried on the banks of the Ohio, two miles from Ford's Ferry. The widow and children then renewed their mournful journey. Arriving at Jacksonville they found a collection of twenty-five or thirty dwellings, chiefly log cabins. A rude log school house served as a sanctuary for all denominations of worshipers; where three and a half years later, April, 1830, Rev. John M. Ellis was installed pastor of the Presbyterian Church. On the first Monday of January, 1830, the preparatory department of Illinois College was opened under the instruction of Rev. Julian M. Sturtevant, D. D., Mr. Barton being one of the seven students in whose presence that renowned teacher and minister of the Gospel solemnly consecrated to God that grand institution of learning which has so long and so widely diffused its priceless influence and unmeasured benefits. Mr. Barton graduated with his class in 1836, the first class that received the honors of the college. Soon after graduation Mr. Barton was married, and with his wife spent some years in teaching. In 1840 he was licensed to preach by the Illinois Presbytery, and later filled pastorates of various lengths at different points, including Newburg, Farmington, Manchester, Bunker Hill, Woodburn and Richview. Returning to Jacksonville in the spring of 1874, he preached some time to the Second Portuguese Presbyterian Church through an interpreter. Some of the churches served were Congregational in faith and order.
Mr. Barton's long life was one of great beauty and usefulness. For many years he was a venerated citizen of Jacksonville, and his voice was always raised in protest against wrong and in championship of the right. His life and spirit were gentle and kind, and his presence always seemed to diffuse a sweet peacefulness on all who came within its charmed circle. He was a man of fine culture and deep convictions on all matters. With all his kindliness of nature and manner, he had great forcefulness of character, and his tongue and pen were sharp and poignant when he waged war against any wrong. Death came as the crowning of a well spent life, and when God's finger touched him he quietly and peacefully closed his eyes to open them again with truer and wider vision. He died in Jacksonville, December 19, 1903, being a little over ninety-three years old.