Capt. Stephen Barton (1774-1862)

Capt. Stephen Barton

Clara’s father was a prosperous businessman, captain of the local militia and a selectman in Oxford, Massachusetts. He was a generous man who helped the less fortunate in his community. Capt. Barton thrilled his youngest daughter with stories of the Indian Wars in Ohio and Michigan. These stories taught Clara geography, military tactics, and the importance of keeping an army equipped with arms, food, clothing and medical supplies.

Sarah Stone Barton (1783-1851)

Sarah Stone Barton

Clara’s mother was an independent woman who was known for her thrift, eccentricity and volatile temper.

Dorothea Barton (1804-1846)

Clara remembered her eldest sister, known as “Dolly,” as a bright young woman who longed to further her own education. There is no known picture of Dolly.

Stephen Barton (1806-1865)

Stephen Barton

Stephen, Clara’s brother and math teacher, was a prominent businessman in Oxford and in Bartonsville, North Carolina. After two years spent nursing her brother David, young Clara wanted to work at the Satinet Mill in town, but her parents objected. Stephen stepped forward to speak on behalf of his youngest sister.

Capt. David Barton (1808-1888)

Capt. David Barton

Captain David Barton served as an Assistant Quartermaster for the Union army during the Civil War. Clara learned to ride horses from her brother David. He became Clara’s first patient after he suffered a serious injury in a farm accident. In 1833 tragedy struck the Barton household when, during a barn raising, Clara’s brother David fell from the rafters. A shy, timid child by nature, 11 year-old Clara became David’s nurse, administered his medicine and even applied and removed leeches when the doctor suggested it might help to “bleed” the patient. Clara stayed home from school for two years to take care of David. Finally the family consulted a “steam doctor” who treated illnesses with vapor baths and cured David after three weeks of treatment.

Sarah “Sally” Barton Vassall (1811-1874)

Sarah “Sally” Barton Vassall

Clara stayed close to her sister Sally throughout her life. In 1861 Sally lived near Clara in Washington, DC and helped to collect food, clothing, and medical supplies for the Union troops… Sally and Dolly Barton, both teachers, instructed their youngest sister how to read. Sally married Vester Vassall and had two children.