The history of the Barton Ranch is not complete without mentioning the substantial contributions made by the wives of Perry Franklin, Paul, and Jerry Barton, who represent the first three generations in the family business.
Elizabeth Jane Barton married Perry Franklin in 1882 in their native Illinois. She and Perry raised seven children – five sons and two daughters. “Grandma”, as she is still affectionately known in the family today, moved with Perry to California in 1912 and was instrumental in raising her family while adjusting to a completely new and different lifestyle on their small farm in Escalon. “Grandma” died in 1964 at the age of 106, having outlived four of her children.
Alice Lee Barton married Paul in 1931. Together, they raised their two sons, Hugh and Jerry, on the Barton farm. Alice was an exceptional ambassador for the family business, often inviting customers and neighbors in for an impromptu, home-cooked lunch or a tall glass of lemonade. Except for the last few years of her life, when she became unable to live independently, Alice lived in the same house on the farm where Paul brought her when they were married. That house survives today, and various members of four generations of Bartons have lived there at one time or another.
Janet Barton married Jerry in 1955, shortly after Jerry's graduation from college. Having grown up as a “city girl” in Spokane, Washington, the farming life was new to Janet, but she quickly adapted, raising their three sons – Don, Gary, and Brent – at their home about a half-mile from the home where Jerry grew up. Like Alice, Janet's wonderful hospitality was (and is!) often employed to entertain customers, brokers, and various VIP's, especially during Jerry's tenure as Chairman and later President of Diamond Walnut Growers of California. Today, she and Jerry live on the Ripon farm, enjoying the fruits of their many years of hard work in building and developing the family business.
It is hard to imagine where the business would be today without the extraordinary contributions of these three remarkable women. While they didn't drive the tractors or prune the trees, they were all sources of great comfort and encouragement to their husbands and children during the challenging days when most of the equity in the business was of the “sweat” variety.