- Elizabeth B. Pryor
Barton, Clara (25 December 1821–12 April 1912), philanthropist, was born Clarissa Harlowe Barton in North Oxford, Massachusetts, the daughter of Stephen Barton, a farmer and local politician, and Sarah Stone. The childhood nickname “Clara” stuck, and throughout her life she was known to the world as Clara Barton. Her family had lived in New England for generations, and Barton grew up hearing stories of her ancestors’ escapades during the American Revolution. Despite her family’s comfortable position and local renown, however, her childhood was not happy. Her parents’ troubled marriage and erratic behavior, the insanity and early death of her favorite sister, and the questionable business dealings of her brothers made for an unstable home life. When in later life she recalled her childhood, she wrote, “I remember nothing but fear.”...