Barton Generations Gathering A Success
Escalon, CA – One of the area's long-established farming families, the Bartons, held its largest family reunion in fifty years at the Barton Ranch in Escalon during the first weekend of May. One hundred twenty-six family members from 17 states and as far away as Spain, Russia, and Costa Rica were in attendance. The reunion coincided with the 150th birthdays of the family's patriarchs, Perry Franklin and Elizabeth Barton, who migrated to California from the Midwest in 1910 and established the Barton Ranch in 1912.
The ranch business has grown over the decades, and now includes acreage in the communities of Escalon, Ripon, Oakdale, and Riverbank. The family business is managed by members of the fourth generation of the Barton family, and includes production, processing, and marketing of walnuts.
The last time there had been a family gathering of similar size was in 1958 to celebrate the 100th birthday of Elizabeth Barton, who died in 1964 at the age of 106.
The reunion was held in the orchard of the home ranch on the banks of the Stanislaus River. A catered lunch of grilled chicken and tri-tip was served to all of the guests. Speakers from each of the seven branches of the family (P.F. and Elizabeth had seven children) spoke after lunch, recalling memories of their forebears as well as memories of their days spent on the ranch when they had lived or visited there.
The theme of the event was displayed on a large banner posted behind the speakers, quoted from Albert Einstein, "Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn while you sit at the dinner table are the work of many generations. All this is put in your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it on to your children."
After the program concluded, guests boarded hayrides for tours of the ranch. They also paid homage to their ancestors who have been laid to rest at Burwood Cemetery. In addition, many of the guests attended a tour of the family's processing and marketing business, GoldRiver Orchards, in Oakdale. Many of the guests commented that they would remember their weekend in Escalon and Oakdale for the rest of their lives.