SARAH BARTON MURPHY Sarah was the daughter of Joshua Barton. Joshua Barton, was a Revolutionary War Veteran: Joshua and his first wife ,Jane Dubart, had seven children. She died in NC in 1760, and he moved to VA and married a widow named Susan Dodd and had six more children. The family migrated to the Watauga Settlement in what is now Tennessee but at that time was part of Rowan Co. NC, before April of 1774. Joshua was killed by Indians while on a surveying expedition in Kentucky for the Settlement before 1779.
Children by Jane Dubart (1) Jacob Barton born about 1742. died young. (2) David Barton born March 13 1744 Frederick Co MD. He married Hannah Hill June 9 1771 in Pittsylvania Co VA [David was also a Rev War Veteran]. (3) Rev. Isaac Barton, Sr, born Aug 16 1746 married Keziah Murphy in 1772. (4) Sara Barton born May 18 1748 married William Murphy (5) Elizabeth Barton born Nov 20 1751 married Peter Young. (6) Mary Barton born May 10 1755 (7) Joshua Barton, III, born Nov 30 1757 (8) Jane Barton born Feb 9 1763 married Joseph Murphy
October 9, 1772, Isaac Barton was married to Keziah Murphy, a daughter of William Murphy, a Baptist pioneer preacher of Virginia. Soon after his marriage he joined a Baptist church, in a short while was called by his church to preach the gospel, "the which I undertook to do," says the record, "with much fear and trembling." He was ordained to the ministry by Samuel Harris, one of Virginia's most famous preachers. Rev. Isaac Barton was father, grandfather and great-grandfather to a number of distinguished men. One of his sons, Judge David Barton, of Missouri, was President of the convention which met in St. Louis, June, 1826, to form a State Constitution, which was afterwards known as the "Barton Constitution". In September of the same year he was elected the first United States Senator from the State of Missouri, with Thos. H. Benton as his colleague. This distinguished son was also the first Circuit Judge that ever held a court west of the Mississippi River.
Spanish Territory: In 1799, William Murphy (husband to Sarah Barton Murphy) was returning from a trip to Louisiana Territory where he purchased land from the Spanish in what later became St Francois County, Unfortunately, he visiting his son John Murphy's in Kentucky. Both he and an associate, Silas George, died on that return trip from Missouri. As far as we know he was the first Baptist preacher to preach the gospel while surveying land in the Missouri section when the Indians claimed the land. William Murphy made his camp near the present Glad Spring Baptist Church. We have this further insight from one historian, William Murphy died "at the close of a great revival in the community of Glasgow KY, while visiting family at the Mt Tabor Baptist. church”. William Murphy and some of his family - two sons by his first marriage, William Jr (1759-1833) and Joseph (1761-1834), a son David Murphy by his second marriage, and an associate Silas George, had gone in 1799 to what later became St Francois County, Missouri to select land to settle on there. (His will was probated in Grainger County, Tennessee in Nov. 1799.) "He had selected the location and made the necessary arrangements with the Spanish officials" (the land belonged to the Spanish since the U.S. did not get possession until 1803, so it was a Spanish grant), and was returning home to get his family when he died. His sons tell of this trip... "No one in the settlement could speak English-they spoke French. They had to find someone some distance away to come and interpret, and were invited to stay at his home." The area is now St Francois County, Missouri and the town of Farmington is built from the Murphy Settlement created by the sons of William Murphy. The above referenced sons returned to Missouri in the year 1800, and his widow Sarah (Barton) Murphy arrived there 12 June 1802.
1802 - Sarah Murphy, the widow of Rev. William Murphy, and mother of David, William and Joseph, being children of the Rev. Murphy's former marriage, after settling the affairs of her husband, purchased a flat boat, loaded it with all her possessions, and with the remainder of the family, consisting of two sons, Isaac and Jesse, and one or two daughters, a grandson by the name of William Evans, then nine years of age, a hired lad about eighteen years old, a negro woman and boy, cast her fortune on the Holston River. Floating down the Tennessee River 652 miles to the Ohio River, thence up the Mississippi, after a journey full of hardships and peril, many places along the route being infested with hostile Indians, which places she managed to pass in the night and staying at the bank in some place of concealment during the day, she finally reached Ste. Genevieve, a distance of a thousand miles or more. When she arrived at Ste. Genevieve, the inhabitants gave her quite an ovation and brought her and her effects to her place of destination. She arrived on the 12th day of June, 1802.
Sarah Barton had already known hardship before she met and married the Reverend William Murphy. Her father (Joshua Barton, born 19 Aug 1718, Chester Co., Pennsylvania, died 1779, Boonesborough, Kentucky) and brother had been killed and scalped by a raiding party of Shawnee Indians. Her younger brother was kidnapped by the Indians and had married an Indian girl and had a daughter. The famous indian fighter, Daniel Boone, who knew the story of the kidnapping, found Sarah's brother, Joab, and induced him to return to him to his sister Sarh in Missouri with his daughter. Joab left his daughter with his sister, Sarah, to be raised and educated and Joab later married a white girl. River Flatboats: The settlers' boat, navigated ever further down the eastern tributaries of the Mississippi in search of new land, they were filled with everything from household goods to farm stock. Such boats were a menagerie of cattle, horses, sheep, dogs, and poultry, while on the roof of the cabin that housed the family could be seen looms, ploughs, spinning-wheels, and other domestic implements. On these river-faring Arks, it was not an uncommon spectacle to see a large family, old and young, servants, cattle, hogs on early nineteenth century flatboats. Often, when the settlers reached their destination, they would re-use the flatboat's lumber when building a cabin. Flatboats were built and piloted by farmers and settlers, they were rectangular, flat-bottomed boats without keels. This meant that they were relatively easy to build, but this simple and affordable design also destined them to be a one-way craft. They were built in various sizes and layouts depending on the load they would carry and the distance to be traveled. In order to successfully navigate the river They were 20 feet in width but could range from 20 to 100 feet in length. Flatboats could be built by unskilled farmers with limited tools and training making them an ideal mode of transport for isolated families. One generally cost about $75 to construct in 1800 (which was equivalent to $1,042.21 in 2015), and were called Broadhorns, Kentucky Boats, or Natchez Boats. They had a shed or a pen in the rear for horses and cattle, and a cabin forward for the owners. Early flatboat travelers were subject to possible Indian attacks, so the boats were like floating forts, Cabins with only one door generally heavily barred. Windows, if any, were small and had sliding shutters. The walls were pierced with loopholes through which guns could be fired. Gradually, flatboats became more comfortable. The cabins had a sandbox fireplace for heating and cooking. For navigation, flatboats were rigged with 30 to 50ft sweeps on the sides, a rudder or steering-oar, and a short front sweep called a "gouger". The great side sweeps, resembling horns from a distance, gave rise to the name Broadhorn. The side sweeps were used for directing the flatboat into the current, or for pulling into slack water when landing, rather than for propulsion. Some flatboats also had hawsers mounted to reels; the hawser rope would be attached to a tree or stump and wound in to "warp" the boat off a sandbar, or to assist landing. A forty-foot boat needed at least three hands for navigation; it was better to have more. Even small flatboats could carry eight or ten tons. A good day's journey was reckoned at fifty to a hundred miles. Flatboats navigating the Tennessee River was challenging for heavily loaded barges. Ten miles below Chattanooga there was a narrow gorge called The Suck, also known as the Valley of the Whirlpool Rapids, and then there were the Muscle Shoals in Northern Alabama. But during high water, flatboats could navigate over river hazards all the way to the Ohio River. Their boat had to pass by the Chickamauga towns, the Tuskigagee Island Town, and then to Running Water Town and Nickajack, where more than 40 warriors in canoes, captures a boat just a few years earlier and massacre of most of the passengers, and take into captivity of the women. They came and pretended to be friendly, and to trade. Once on board their flatboat, they struck down the men with their swords, tomahawks and axes, and cut their heads off and threw the decapitated bodies overboard.
Indian Villages on the Tennessee River at Chattanooga Floating down the entire length of the Tennessee to the Ohio River, then to its mouth, and up the Mississippi, theirs was a journey full of hardships and peril with many places along the route being infested with hostile Indians. Their plans, was to try to pass those places during the night and stay on the bank in places of concealment during the day. They hid in the underbrush during the day. The threat on the inland waterways didn’t always come from a party of raiding Indians. It came from ruthless pirates who had no qualms at all to hijack a river boat, steal the boat itself and murder crew and passengers. Pirates operated on the rivers during the last part of the 18th century and during the early part of the 19th century. Piracy attacks along the Ohio River bank took many lives. The dangers on the Ohio went all the way down to Cairo Illinois where it merges with the Mississippi River. Between the early years of 1785 and 1805, more than two-thousand men, women and children lost their lives at the hands of these violent river pirates.
Sarah Barton Murphy finally reached Ste. Genevieve, a distance of over a thousand miles. When she arrived at Ste. Genevieve, the inhabitants gave her an ovation and brought her and her family to her place of destination called Murphy’s settlement (Farmington Mo.). She arrived on the 12th day of June, 1802. She arrived finding a patch of corn which her sons had planted for her, knee high on her arrival. Mrs. Sarah Murphy had sent her young son, Richard, with a team along with William, Joseph and David that he might prepare for her coming. Mrs. Sarah Murphy seeing the boys passing the Sundays in fishing and other Sabbath-breaking amusements, determined to counteract that growing evil. She organized and taught the first Sunday School west of the Mississippi River. She also offered the first public prayer in this community. She persuaded the neighbors to build a cabin near the little spring, where she organized and taught the first Sunday School. She gathered the boys around her each Sunday as long as she lived. She had only the Bible for those able to read, and with the beginners she used Dilworth's Speller. She was fully competent to read and explain the great truths in the Bible in a manner free from all sectarianism.
Sarah Barton Murphy and the very First Sunday School West Of Mississippi A solitary obelisk of marble approximately seven feet high and at its base, twenty-four inches square, stands at the northwest corner of the Masonic cemetery, in the county seat town of Farmington, St. Francois County, Missouri. The following words are in scribed on this small monument: "On this spot the first Sunday School west of the Mississippi River was organized and taught by Sarah Barton Murphy in the year 1805 in the Old Log Meeting House, which was the first Protestant Church west of the Mississippi." Mrs. Sarah Murphy seeing the boys passing the Sundays in fishing and other Sabbath-breaking amusements, determined to counteract that growing evil. In about 1805 she organized and taught the first Sunday School west of the Mississippi River It was a daring expedition for a single 54 year old grandmother. Not only was the St. Francois frontier as untamed as the natives, but the ruling Spaniards had expressly forbidden the worship of God in the Protestant faith. But none of that bothered Sarah Barton Murphy. She had, already braved the western wilderness during her travels from Tennessee. Even though Protestant worship was forbidden by law, Mrs. Murphy frequently gathered those whom she could rely, at her home and held secret prayer meetings, putting out sentinels to warn them of the approach of danger.
As soon as the settlers knew the country passed under the control of the United States in 1803, and they all gathered at the house of Mrs. Sarah Murphy. Expressly, for the purpose of venting to their political views and religious enthusiasm. They all decided that Mrs. Murphy should have the honor of being the person to offer up the first Protestant prayer west of the Mississippi, and this she did. Soon afterwards, she went around the settlement asking the parents to send their children to her house on Sunday where she kept them all day; taught them Bible lessons, singing, reading and writing, and gave them a good dinner. Mrs. Murphy continued her Sunday School, which she organized and maintained, until her death in 1817. Her remains lie buried not far from the unimposing stone obelisk marking the spot of her most cherished endeavors.
To demonstrate the influence Mrs. Murphy exerted not only over this, but other communities, an incident which had been shared more than once: "There was a settlement on Current River about one hundred miles from the Murphy settlement, and made up principally of men from the Holston and Clinch Rivers in Tennessee and North Carolina. About this time an ugly difficulty sprang up in the settlement; the report having reached the neighborhood that one of the parties had been guilty of a crime and had to leave his country for his country's good. This was vehemently resented by the party and it began to be very serious indeed, for the men who were engaged in the affair were brave and hardy frontiersmen. Some of the settlers had learned that Mrs. Murphy, whom the most of them knew in Tennessee, had moved out to this place, and at the instance of mutual friends it was agreed to go to her and leave the matter for her adjudication. They came, camping out, there being no settlements to entertain them, each party traveling separately to avoid collision, which was imminent at any moment. They arrived here and went to Mrs. Murphy and stated the case, and she told them she knew all about the affair as it had occurred in her neighborhood. She told them such charges had been made and were investigated in court, where it had been proven that the charges had nothing but malice for their foundation, and that the man making them had to leave the country to escape the vengeance of the outraged community, and that the gentleman present left Tennessee with the confidence and esteem of his old neighbors. Whereupon the parties to the feud put down their guns, shook hands and went home friends. Thus was settled a feud which would otherwise have drenched the Current River bottom with blood."
"In 1817 the settlement met with its greatest bereavement. Mrs. Sarah Barton Murphy, whose superior intellect and goodness had by common consent dominated this community in everything that is peaceful and ennobling, died. She was taken sick and her friends considered it only a slight indisposition, but she told them from the first that it was her last sickness and her work on earth was finished. As calmly as she performed the little duties of her little Sunday School, she set about the disposition of her worldly affairs, giving such advice to her dear ones as she deemed best for them. In two or three days she passed up to put on the crown which is bestowed on the righteous, as a reward for their faith. She was buried on the lot which she had donated to the Methodist Church."
"I remember a pathetic episode connected with that old grave which happened many years after it was made. I was at a funeral at the old graveyard one day after I had been a grown man for many years, and a grandson of the old lady, Williams Evans, was there also, but then an old and feeble man. I noticed him standing by the grave of Sarah Barton Murphy, and when one of his friends approached him, he pointed to the grave at his feet and said: 'There sleeps the best human being that ever lived.' When he spoke the tears welled up in his eyes, and they fixed that man's character more firmly with me than a lifetime of intimate association could have done. For after a reasonably long life of close observation, I am ready to say that the kindnesses extended him in this life will never go very far astray in his intercourse with men. But, on the contrary, the one whose memory is short in such matters will suffer no injustice from being closely watched." S. S. Boyce