Barney Barton was born in Waverly, Iowa where he lost his parents at a young age when his alcoholic father collided into a tree with his wife, Barney and his younger brother Clint Barton were sent to an orphanage where they stayed for six years before running away to join the Carson Carnival of Traveling Wonder as carnival hands. Barney soon became fed up with the carnival life and made plans to enlist in the US Army. Barney gave his brother an ultimatum, to join him in the army or lose his brother. When Barney was waiting at the bus stop and Clint did not show he was very disappointed and left without him. Clint did end up showing up late though and returned to the carnival sad at the fact his brother had left him. Barney then started living from alms in the streets. He even let the Tracksuit Bruisers beat him up for money, for his resemblance to Clint, enemy of said criminals. He finally encountered his brother, with whom he seemingly reconciled.