School History

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David Barton

        David Barton, one of Missouri's first two U.S. Senators (along with Thomas Hart Benton).  Barton, born in Tennessee in 1783, came to the Louisiana Territory in 1809 and settled first at St. Charles where he studied law and taught school.  In 1813 he was elected Attorney General of the new Territory of Missouri and served for two years, after which he served for two more years as the Circuit Judge for the Northern District of Missouri (an area that included the Boon's Lick country).  In 1818 he was named a delegate, and soon after, speaker of the special session of the territorial legislature that framed the document petitioning Congress for permission to organize Missouri as a state.  He also played a key role in the first State Constitutional Convention in St. Louis in 1820, where the so-called "Barton Constitution" was written.  A few months after this he was unanimously elected Missouri's first U.S. Senator and was instrumental in having Thomas Hart Benton elected as his senate colleague.
        But a growing feud between Benton and Barton resulted in Barton being forced out of office in 1831.  He served in the State Senate during the 1834-35 session, but by this time he was in poor health (some say due to alcoholism) and in 1836 he moved to Boonville where he owned lands and had several old friends from the days when he used to hold court there.  Perhaps his closest friend, and the only who stuck by him at the very end when he was suffering from both physical and mental illness, was William Gibson.  After his death in 1837 he was buried in the old City Cemetery; but in 1858 his grave was moved to its present location in Walnut Grove Cemetery and a new stone was erected in his honor.  The old grave stone was donated to the University of Missouri.  One of Boonville's two elementary schools is named in honor of him.

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