Sen. David Barton
David Barton was the first U.S. senator from the state of MO and the father of the new state's first constitution . The son of Rev. Isaac Barton and Keziah Murphy, of E. TN, he was the brother of Joshua Barton, who served as MO secretary of state before losing his life in a duel on E. St. Louis' Bloody Island in 1823. David was born near Greeneville, NC, and attended Greeneville College, reading law with Judge Anderson before being admitted to the TN bar in about 1810. In 1811, he moved to MO Territory, initially settling in St. Charles. Relocating to St. Louis, he practiced law for a time with brother Joshua. He served as a volunteer mounted ranger in the U.S. army during the War of 1812. The following year, he was named MO Territorial Attorney General and later occupied judgeships in Howard Co. and St. Louis. He then decided to resume his law practice, but was soon elected a member of the MO Territorial House of Representatives, where he became speaker. It was in 1820 that he served as a delegate and president of MO’s constitutional convention, shaping its first constitution, which came to be known as the “Barton Constitution.” He was elected the new state’s first U.S. senator by acclamation at a meeting of the MO legislature in St. Louis and served in that capacity from 1821 to 1831. David Barton became widely known for his oratory over the years, earning the nickname “Little Red.” After losing his seat in the election of 1830, he went on to serve in the state legislature and was later named a circuit judge in Cooper Co., where he moved in 1836. In his final year, he is said to have become a heavy drinker and was eventually declared insane shortly before his death in September 1837. He was initially interred in the old City Cemetery in Boonville, but was reburied in 1856 in Walnut Grove Cemetery, where the State of Missouri erected an obelisk to mark the site of his grave.
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