serving in the Union Army, Tom was
entrusted with the family letters of John
M. Barton, another soldier of the 33rd
Missouri who drowned in the Mississippi
River near Helena, Arkansas in May 1863.
How long the two were acquainted, or when
they met, is not known since the John M.
Barton family was residing in St. Louis
in 1850 prior to Tom's arrival there from
Collinsville, Illinois. It can only be
speculated that the two men became
acquainted while serving in the 33rd
After Tom's recovery, he was
unsuccessful in locating the Bartons who
had been residing in Montgomery County.
John's widow, Mildred "Milly"
(Sanders) had been left with three small
children (the youngest having been born
in 1862), but remained a widow until 1878
at which time she married David H. Hall.
those years and until Tom's death in
1915, the Barton letters remained locked
in Tom's cash box. Hoping to fulfill her
father's promise to return the letters to
the Barton family, Mabel (Moore) Jones
wrote several letters to various Barton
families across the country, but unable
to locate the correct family, she
contacted The Missouri Historical Society
at St. Louis. They also attempted to
locate the Bartons through a newspaper
advertisement, but the family was not
located until sometime after 1951.
John Sullivan, a descendant of the Barton
family, published these Barton letters in
his book "Bushwhackers and Broken
Hearts" which give us a glimpse into
the life and events of Missouri during
the Civil War. For more information of
Sullivan's book and the Barton family,
see link below.