Emma was the eldest child of George Quinton and Sarah Fielder of Newport on the Isle of Wight, born on 7 January 1855. She was the mother of Alfred Quinton Barton and the grandmother of Helen Barton/Kegie.
Her diary, kept from 1874-78, reveals how she worked in a shop before marrying in 1877 to Alfred Barton, whose courtship with her is detailed in the diary. Their first child was born in 1878 and in total their family produced nine children.
Her early life was heavily influenced by the Church, with her father working as a lay preacher and her social life largely revolving around church activities. Her religious faith, which comes through so strongly in her diary, remained at the centre of her life and is reflected clearly in her letters to her son Alfred both during the First World War and later. She often headed them with a biblical text reference, for example, in her letter dated 16th October 1920, she writes:
"Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His Holy Name together ".
Also in the same letter to Alfred she refers to a small book that she would like him to read which set out how "there is so much nowadays that is anything but according to God's word!"
When Emma and Alfred were living at Castle Dene, High Street, Newport (Isle of Wight), they were running a school from the premises. In one letter Emma comments on how she would have to "rap the schoolroom door and ask Grace to send" a letter for her. Grace and Ivy were teachers at the school and Emma describes how the two of them met to discuss plans for an end-of-term concert (16th October 1920). In the same letter she describes how Ivy went to visit a family whose two little girls "come here to school" because the eldest had been involved in a cycle accident with a horse and trap.
Emma also mentions that one of Ivy's pupils had sung a solo at one of the local meetings which had pleased Ivy and that the pupil had just passed her senior exam. Elsie, another daughter, was also a teacher and went on to become an H.M.I. Before training to become a pharmacist, Alfred also trained to become a teacher.
Emma went to live with her daughter Evelyn (Lyn) at Dunfermline in Scotland and died there in 1931 following an operation to remove her gall bladder. She was buried at Mountjoy Cemetery, Carisbrooke on the Isle of Wight.