One of the successful and enterprising citizens of Los Angeles County was Chester R. Barton, who located in El Monte, and the surrounding country, operating as an extensive rancher. He was a native Californian, his birth having occurred in Solano County, July 16, 1855. His father, John W. Barton was born in Vermont, the Representatives of an old New England family located in this country by an English Ancestor prior to the Revolution. He married in Vermont and there engaged as a farmer, later removing to Battle Creek, Michigan, and following a similar occupation.
In 1849 he crossed the plains with ox-teams to California and upon his safe arrival, established a general merchandise business in Suisun Valley. In 1853 he returned to his old home in Vermont via the Isthmus of Panama and the following year brought the family to California, once more making the journey across the plains, this time with horse-teams, under command of Captain Briggs. During this trip the Indians stole all but two of their horses, and thus made the remainder of the journey on of great hardship and trial. Again locating in the state Mr. Barton continued in the general merchandise business in the same place and also engaged in farming, and later built what was known as the Barton Hotel in Fairfield, which he conducted for many years. He died at the age of fifty-six years. His wife, formerly Emeroy Williams, was born in Vermont, a daughter of Colonel Williams, who served in the war of 1812, and was a connection of the famous Adams family. He engaged as a farmer in Vermont, his native state, until his death. Mrs Barton passed away December 19, 1906, when ninety-one years old at the home of her son Chester, in El Monte. She was a woman of Christian character, having of seven children: Guy W.; Caroline, Mrs. M.M. Richardson; Elizabeth, Mrs. Miller; John W.; Royal M.; Isabella, Mr. J.C. Carlisle; and Chester R., of this review. All of the children are now deceased.
Reared in Fairfield until he was eleven years old, Chester R. Barton, received his education in that place and also Chico, where he was later taken by his parents. His first employment was as a clerk for Carlisle & Hobart, of Chico, with whom he remained for two years, after which, in 1868, he went to San Diego County and with his brother, Royal M., engaged in general farming and stock-raising at Valley de Los Viejas. They continued in this enterprise for many years when Chester R. sold out and located in Tehama County, there engaging in the cattle business with his brother Guy. After two years he returned to Chico and established a mercantile enterprise in partnership with his brother, and in 1886 he came to the El Monte district. He at once engaged in general contracting and farming, the latter occupation being carried on in the Puente Valley, where he raised wheat and barley. He made his home in El Monte and operated his ranch of two hundred acres located three-quarters of a mile north of Puente, which he improved and brought to a high state of cultivation. For eighteen years he operated a part of the Baldwin ranch, which land in 1905 was sub-divided, when he rented twenty-five hundred acres near Fallbrook and engaged extensively in grain-raising, operating with every modern device and equipment for expeditious work. He also owned other residences in El Monte, and in Los Angeles, and was for a time interested in the Magnet Steam Laundry.
In Savannah, Mr. Barton was united in marriage with Miss Alice Shoemaker, who was born in Soledad. They became the parents of five children, namely; Charles of Los Angeles; Clifford of Monterey Park; Gertrude (Mrs. M.T. Loynd) of Hollywood; Alice E. deceased; and Donald C., of Alhambra. Mr. Barton took a prominent part in all matters of public import and was thoroughly interested in the upbuilding and improvement of the section in which he made his home. Among his appointments of honor was that in 1898 by O. W. Longdon, as Road Supervisor of the Rowland Road district, which position he held for a long period. In educational affairs he was also prominent, serving for eight years as trustee in the Bassett school district, during which occurred the erection of the building of that schoolhouse. Politically he was a staunch Republican. Fraternally he was made a Mason in Lexington Lodge, No. 104 of El Monte, and both he and his wife were members of the Order of Eastern Star. He was one of the organizers and for a time, president of the El Monte Masonic Temple Association. Personally Mr. Barton was a man of kindly characteristics, making and retaining many friends by the force of this kindly nature; courteous to all whom he met either in business or social way. Following a life of honorable service to the community, he was claimed by death in the year 1907.
Several years after his death, his widow became the wife of his older brother, John W. At this time she resides in Alhambra.
Source: Mayon, C. D., F. Brow, L. Stoddard, and C. Mudd; El Monte from the Pioneer Days. WPA Project No. N-5740, 1936. In record 19-187072. (California Historical Landmark No. 765: El Monte). On file at the SCCIC, CSU Fullerton.