Barton, Maryland

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Barton is a town in Allegany County, Maryland, United States, located along the Georges Creek Valley. It is part of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 478 at the 2000 census.



The Reverend William Shaw, a Methodist minister settled on the site of Barton in 1794. His son, William Shaw Jr. laid out the town in 1853, naming it for his father's hometown, Barton-upon-Humber, England.

The discovery of coal in the area attracted more settlers. They came from Scotland, Ireland and Germany, eager to work in the mines. In 1853, the first shipment of coal was made on the newly-built Georges Creek Railroad.[2] Eventually, all the deep coal mines had been abandoned and replaced by strip mines, several of which are still in operation and can be seen from the town. Today, most families in Barton are supported by other types of employment.

The first gristmill powered by a water wheel was built on Moores Run by Henry Ingram. It was about 200 to 300 ft. from the confluence of Georges Creek. The mill at Moores Run was owned and tended by Mathias Ball. Ball also owned and ran a tannery at Butcher Run in Barton. The second gristmill was built at Mill Run south of Barton, it was called the Morrison Mill, and was owned by John Morrison. The Morrison Mill was located where Mill Run flows into Georges Creek. John Haymaker also tended the Hockenberry Mill before Hockenberry took over. The third mill was the Shaw Mill, built by the Shaw family. It was a large mill built of stone at Moscow. It was torn down in the summer or fall of 1961.

Major Barton-area coal companies in the 19th century:

  • American Coal Company, owner of the Swanton and Caledonia Mines. Their coal tipples were located right in Barton and the mines were located on the mountain on the west side of Barton.
  • Davis & Rieman Co.
  • Piedmont Coal & Iron Co., located up Temperance Row on the east side of the mountain.
  • Potomac Coal Co., located up Moore’s Run. The first mine was located about ½ mile from Dogwood Flat and the No. 2 mine was about 1-1/4 mile up the run. Owned by the Union Mining Co.
  • Swanton Mining Co.
  • George’s Creek Mining Co.
  • Barton Coal Mining Co., located at in the top of Moores Run.

The Barton Coal Company plane (or cable railway) was built in 1854 and was engineered by O.D. Robbins. It remained in operation until March 21, 1898. The next week the tract, cables and mining equipment were removed. Along with the major mines, there were also many small family-owned mines on the family farms, which catered to the local coal trade.

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