James Robert Barton, also known as “Wampum Jim” and “Hippie Jim,” died unexpectedly on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
Jim was born on Nov. 7, 1956, in Hamilton, Ontario. He was lovingly raised by his parents, along with his sister, Mary, in Millgrove, Ontario. When he was in his late teens, Jim began to travel and explore Canada and the United States, ultimately settling on Martha’s Vineyard.
An accomplished self-taught musician, Jim jammed with some of the Island’s finest musicians. He taught himself to make wampum and sea glass jewelry in the early 1990s, and gathered a large following for his unique, detailed creations. He was well known to deer hunters on the Island, as he collected deerskins during hunting season for many years. He would cure the hides and have them tanned for his ex-wife and son’s mother, Marie, to make into beautiful deerskin bags adorned with Jim’s wampum.
Jim loved the beach and ocean. He was a certified scuba diver and enjoyed spear fishing. He was an extremely well-read man with many interests including science, gemology, and history. He was always happy to share his insights with his many friends around the Island. Jim will be missed by many, but especially by his son Matthew, whom Jim loved dearly.
Jim is survived by his son, Matthew James Barton of Vineyard Haven, and his sister, Mary Ann Barton of Dundas, Ontario, Canada. He was predeceased by his parents, Robert James Barton and Patricia Marie (Needham) Barton.
A celebration of Jim’s life is planned for later this summer. Donations can be made in Jim Barton’s name to: Daybreak Clubhouse, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, 111 Edgartown Road, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.
Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown Road, Oak Bluffs. Visit ccgfuneralhome.com for online guestbook and information.