A Bartlett Miscellany


What follows here is a miscellany of stories by and about these Bartletts over the years. They are shown in chronological order of the times and the events that they described.


1066. The Bartlett Origins

- from Peter and Martin Bartlett’s website, March 2006

Contrary to long held family beliefs, the compilers of the history of the Pendomer Bartletts have long contended the person (or persons) who brought the bloodline to which Bartelots/Bartletts belong across the English Channel to Sussex in 1066 was named d'Eu - in the person of Robert, Count d'Eu, a named "Companion" of William, Duke of Normandy. That Count d'Eu was a relative of William and of considerable standing in Normandy and a major provider of vessels as well as knights, squires, cavalry horses and armed foot soldiers for the invasion, which undoubtedly had a bearing on the extent of his rewards.

The latest Domesday translation says "Hastings, Count of Eu and Robert from him, castle and church." confirming the place as having been held by Count d'Eu who gave it to a Robert which incidentally is the name that also appears as the first English Bartelot on the Sussex family's pedigree.

One further matter with which progress has been made towards clarification is how the name "Bartelot" came into being. The family generally has in the past believed it to have derived from "Berthelot", accepting that this had some connection to the nephew of Charlemagne supposedly killed over games of chess! Whether or not that is the case remains an open question. But it is not difficult to see how "Ro..bert d'Eu" or possibly "Ro..bert de l'Eu/Ou" as sometimes written could have become mistaken for ",,R..of,,,bertelou" with descendants then becoming known as "de bertelot."

1530’s. John Bartelots’s Letter to Thomas Cromwell
- a rough rendering in modern English

“Please may I bring to your honorable master’s attention that in the time of Lent last your correspondent John Bartelot, with others of good conversation, found the Prior of the Crutched Friars in London at 11 o’clock on a Friday in bed with his whore, both naked.

At which point, the Prior, to the intent that his misdemeanor and shameful fact should not be known, knelt upon his knees and not only desired your correspondent and his company to keep secret his act and not to disclose it but also offered of his own free will to pay a considerable sum. He promised to pay the said amount by a certain day. Through the mediation of friends, a friar made a part payment and he bound himself to pay the balance by the due day.

When your correspondent arrested the friar for non-payment of the balance, he so heinously informed the Lord Chancellor that the promises amounted to a robbery and that your correspondent is worthy to be hanged. He also sought that your correspondent should make a full repayment to the said friar.

May it please your master, because of your abundant goodness, to ensure that the promises be duly examined according to equity, for this is the very and whole truth in the matter. And your correspondent shall pray to God for your honor and preservation long to endure.”

This extraordinary letter was written by John Bartelot to Thomas Cromwell, the then Lord Chancellor of England, in an attempt to resolve a personal dispute.

1623-1676. Robert Bartlett at Plymouth Colony
- from Plymouth colony records

Robert Bartlett's home in Newbury was called the Lion's South. He was by trade a shoemaker.

1708. Captain Bartlett’s Adventures
- from a website submission by Pat Rodgers

Captain Joseph Bartlett, the son of Richard Bartlett and Hannah Emery, was drafted in 1707, along with others, to defend the town of Haverhill against an expected attack of French and Indians from Canada. He was stationed in the house of Captain Simon Wainwright on August 29, 1708 when about 160 French and 50 Indians attacked the town and set fire to several buildings. They were informed for their own safety to surrender.

Joseph hid his gun in the chimney above the fireplace and surrendered. He was taken to Canada and remained a prisoner of the French until October 1712. He started his return to Newbury, arriving a month later. Sometime later he visited Haverhill and found his gun exactly where he had hidden it. The story goes, the gun was kept in the family and Joseph’s grand-nephew, Richard Bartlett, carried it while a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

1778. A Letter of Josiah Bartlett
- letter dated June 28, 1778 to his wife Mary

“Yesterday Congress adjourned from this place to meet in Philadelphia on Thursday the 2nd of July next. The President and many of the members are gone, and by tomorrow noon scarcely any English person will be left in this town as the original settlers here are German and talk that language. I expect to set out in a few days so that the next letter you receive from me will likely be dated from Philadelphia.

I have not had any letter from you since yours dated the 28th of May. I hope you have read mine regularly as I have written you almost every week. My last was on the 21st enclosed to Major Philbrick and sent by express. I am in health and have been as well since I have been here. I hope the air of Philadelphia will suit me as well, though I had rather not have moved there quite so soon, till the city had been more thoroughly cleansed. Charles Chace is well. Mr. Wentworth is not well which will hinder me from going to Philadelphia for some days, otherwise I should set off tomorrow morning.

The enemy left the city on the 18th and the last account we have of them, they were not half the way to Amboy and our army very near them, so that it seems probable a battle will soon take place between the two armies. God grant it may prove decisive in favor of America. As the armies are about 100 miles nearer you than I am, it is probable, before you receive this, you will have later accounts from them than I can send you. Many of the German troops have deserted from the enemy since they left Philadelphia.

We happened to have sight of the eclipse of the sun last Wednesday. It was so cloudy all Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday till about 8 o’clock in the morning that the sun did not once appear. Afterwards the clouds broke so that we had a pretty good sight of it. It was much the largest eclipse I ever saw. It was all covered except a very small rim at the northwest, smaller than the bright part of the moon when she first appears after the change. The weather here now is very hot and has been so for three days past.

I am sorry to inform you Mr. Wentworth is very sick with a fever and a bilious vomiting and purging and has been confined for above a week. He is not willing his friends should be informed of his sickness which is, I fear, attended with great danger.”

Josiah and his wife Mary were inveterate letter-writers because of his frequent lengthy absences from their farm in New Hampshire.

1786. William Bartlett’s Conviction at the Old Bailey
- excerpts from the court proceedings

William Bartlett was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 6th day of January, one silver watch value 20s, a steel chain value 6d, and a steel seal value 4d, the property of John Williamson.

The prisoner’s defence: “I had hold of my brother's arm looking past the pastry cook's shop, the corner of Cornhill, and this gentleman came up, there were fifty or sixty people round me, up came this gentleman and told me I had his watch, I said it was false, I never saw him before he took me into the pastry cook's, he charged a constable, he searched me and my brother, and found nothing upon us.”

The testament of the deaf and dumb witness was accepted despite the prisoner's protestations. The verdict was guilty, the sentence seven years transportation.

Late 1700’s. Bartletts Harbor in Newfoundland
- from website contributors

First story.  “The story in our family is that three brothers came out from England, one settled in Brigus, one settled in Port de Grave area, and one went to the Northern Peninsula. In a book of Newfoundland it quotes that Bartletts Harbor was founded by a Bartlett and his relative Genge.”

Second story.  “Robert Bartlett was the first man to settle in the Northern Peninsula and today’s Bartlett's Harbor was actually an area where he hunted. The story goes that he and a companion were captured by Indians while collecting wood for their ship. They escaped and fled until they came across an American ship that was anchored in a cove for summer. When winter came the companion left on the ship but Bartlett stayed.

The following summer he wrote for two cousins to join him, a Bartlett and a Grenge. However, he apparently returned to England and both his cousins died unmarried (there were no women in Newfoundland at the time).”

1806. The Sinking of the Wareham and Poole Passage Boat
- from a newspaper account of the time

The boat left Poole Quay between five and six o’clock on Thursday evening, deeply laden and with twelve passengers. Between six and seven o’clock it blew hard. Darkness hastened on, with a thick fog and rain. Just as they entered Wareham river, the boat ran aground and, remained athwart the channel, the wind blowing strong on her larboard side.

Several times; they perceived their danger and all crowded towards the mast and rigging (the men getting aloft), but in a few moments she sunk! The current running against the sails drove all under the water, so that those who had got to the top of the mast for safety were obliged to commit themselves to the mercy of the waves.

Mr. Everett and a poor woman by the name of White attempted to swim to the nearest shore, which was scarcely a hundred yards on the Purbeck side. After struggling with the waves for one hour and a half, he found himself on the shore with the woman who was too much exhausted to proceeed a step. He himself hastened to Wareham, about two and a half miles from where he had landed.

Here the humane exertions of Captain Bartlett were eminently conspicuous. He immediately hastened with everything necessary, to the relief of the poor woman, and brought her to her own house where she was restored to her grateful husband and children.

1812. The Origin of the Bartlett Pear
- from a fruit grower's description

The Bartlett pear was first developed in Berkshire in the early seventeenth century by an English schoolmaster, John Stair. He sold some of his pear cuttings to a horticulturist by the name of Williams who continued developing the Stair variety and renamed it Williams. This pear, still used to make the pear brandy Poire William, crossed the Atlantic with the Quakers who adapted it to the table.

In Massachusetts, a Dorchester nurseryman named Enoch Bartlett, unaware of its true name, started distributing the fruit in 1812 under his own name. The Bartlett pear later traveled west with the settlers and arrived in California where it found the ideal climate in which to flourish.

Bartlett pear trees are in production for an average of 50 to 75 years, although some trees still produce fruit after 100 years When picked, the fruit is still green and relatively hard. A Bartlett pear ripens from the time picked in about 7 to 10 days when placed in a dry, shady area. As the pear ripens it will slowly turn to a soft yellow and yield to gentle pressure. Pears are normally picked green and shipped to the stores.

1874. General Frank Bartlett’s Speech at Harvard
- recollections from a Commencement Day address

General Bartlett concluded his address at Memorial Hall with the following words:

"I firmly believe that when the gallant men of Lee's army surrendered at Appomattox, they followed the example of their heroic chief, and, with their arms, laid down forever their disloyalty to the Union. Take care, then, lest you repel, by injustice, or suspicion, or even by indifference, the returning love of men who now speak with pride of that flag as 'our flag.'"

Bishop Lawrence enthusiastically recorded that the speech sounded throughout New England and that the whole country had responded with a new vision of patriotism. He recollected:

“The 'bloody shirt' still waved, and sectional spirit was hot and bitter. The alumni of Harvard, soldiers, sailors, and civilians, dined for the first time in the great Hall dedicated to the dead of the Civil War. The afternoon was hot; many speeches had been made, when General Frank Bartlett, the Chief Marshal of the day was called upon. Gaunt, emaciated, full of spirit, hardly touching his crutches, he stood erect and strong on one leg, and threw into his sentences an even greater courage than he had shown in battle, challenging the Harvard men of the North."


1878. The Life of Aaron Bartlett
- from a Marshall county Illinois newspaper clipping

Aaron Bartlett completed his 70th birthday on Friday last November 8 and came in and paid us a visit at the sanctum. For one of his age he is hale and hearty, with a frame but slightly bent over, though his hoary woolly locks denote age.

He is a native of "way down in Tennessee;" and was born a slave in 1808 to Abraham Carrithers at Hartsville. He was a lively youngster, and so likely a chap, that at the age of five years he was sold to Alfred A. Brevard (who owned a plantation on Big Goose creek in that state) for the large sum of $500. At the age of 36, he married a free woman by whom four children were born to him, three boys and a girl. He and his wife were field hands and lived pleasantly together, until the iron hand of the barbarous slave system separated them at the caprice of his master and her "boss," and the wife married to another against his protest and appeals, and against everything he could do to prevent it. His children too were scattered and he has never seen them since.

The rebellion set him free, and he traveled north, locating at Granville, Putnam county, where he married his present wife, Mrs. Harriet Sanders, a widow and formerly a slave to a man named Phillips in Missouri. Mrs. Sanders had a son, and the daughter, the fruit of the second marriage, now constitutes the family.

Mr. Bartlett has been quite anxious to hear from his children in Tennessee, and though he has written several times to parties he once knew there, he yet has failed to get any trace of them. It would gladden the old gentleman's heart to see once more his children, now grown into manhood and womanhood, and though "in the sere and yellow leaf," it is to be hoped he may live to see his long hoped for and prayed for wish gratified in this respect.

1890’s. Joseph Bartlett’s Misfortune
- from a family biography

Joseph Bartlett was the third son of Sir John Mark Davies and his wife Ruth (nee Bartlett). He was born in Halstead in 1843, educated at Geelong Grammar School in Australia, and became an accountant. He tended to be led by his younger brother Matthew Henry. In 1882 he was appointed managing director of Matthew’s Freehold Investment and Banking Co, a company engaged in land subdivision.

He had borrowed large sums to prop up this company. But the company was liquidated in February 1892 and he went bankrupt in April 1894 (for £594,000, the highest personal debt of the family). His valuable art collection and fine furniture were sold After his discharge he worked as an accountant until his death in 1924 at a private hospital in Malvern.

Early 1900’s. Memories of Captain Bob Bartlett
- from a family website

Uncle Harry had been north with Peary on the Falcon. In 1894 he brought to Philadelphia Commander Peary, Mrs. Peary, and little Marie Ahnighito. Uncle Harry started back home with a cargo of anthracite coal. The vessel was carrying a very heavy load and many think the coal shifted, and the Falcon sank taking all her crew with her. The mystery of this tragedy was never solved. Uncle Harry was lost with the rest of them, and so far as I know, though so many Bartletts followed the sea, he was the only one to meet death by drowning.

Bob’s mother, a Wesleyan Methodist, dreamed that he would become a minister. At fifteen, he was sent to St. John’s, the capital of Newfoundland, where he enrolled at the Methodist College. After two years he left and went back to sealing off the Labrador coast with his father. From that time on, Bob Bartlett had a life on the sea. He would captain many vessels in his lifetime.

Captain Bob is most remembered for his work with Commodore Peary in Arctic exploration. Bartlett served as captain on the Roosevelt, Boethic, Karluk, and first served as Captain of the Effie M. Morrissey in 1925. Several of the expeditions that Bartlett took part in was in the service of the United States military. Bartlett voyaged with scientists, photographers, and students to Greenland, Ellsmere Island, Baffin Island, the Siberian Arctic, and other northern localities during his storied career of exploration.

1933. Vernon Bartlett and the BBC
- from BBC Newswatch archives

The tension that simmered so often between broadcasters and government resurfaced in 1933. The conflict this time was prompted by an edition of Newsreel that included a talk by Vernon Bartlett - the man sometimes described as the BBC's first foreign correspondent.

The subject was Hitler's decision to leave the League of Nations and the Disarmament Conference. Bartlett's interpretation was deemed by the authorities to be, in effect, not beastly enough to the Germans.

In fact, the broadcast brought six hundred letters of support for Bartlett - and just eighteen complaints. But one of the eighteen was from the Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald. The head of the Foreign Office News Department complained later that it had been wrong for the minds of millions of listeners to have been "influenced in one direction" - before the government had had the opportunity to make a statement in the Commons. Bartlett's BBC contract was not renewed.

1939. Ella Bartlett’s Reminiscences
- from an American Life History interview

"Those were the days when people enjoyed themselves - you never heard any lad say he was 'bored' as you do now. Do you 'spose those people goin' around tonight singin' carols are havin' any fun? Course they ain't, they're goin' round bein' froze and catchin' their deaths of cold, maybe.

When I was a young girl, if we wanted to go to Worcester and were goin' to drive - as we most always did, goin' such a short distance on the train was looked upon as wicked extravagance - we'd begin makin' plans a week or two in advance. We would make a list of the things we wanted and what our neighbors wanted. Of course everybody in town knew we were goin' and almost everybody we knew would ask us to do some shopping for them. My, what a list we'd have when we finally got goin'.

We'd start early in the mornin' and at almost every window or door that we passed as we drove on our way out of town, we'd see some one watchin' the 'Bartletts's goin' to Worcester.' It would take at least four hours to reach there for remember the roads were not what they are nowadays. But we wouldn't be tired, leastways, not us young folks, we'd be too excited.

We always took a lunch and every now and then we'd take a sandwich and munch away on it as we went along. We'd shop, as we call it nowadays, it was 'tradin'' then, until it began to grow dark and then we'd start for home, more dead then alive, but at that, all kinda quivery inside from the excitement of it all.

We'd get home and be dog tired for a day or two, but, oh, my dear woman, that trip would last us for weeks and weeks and of course, we'd be consulted as to the 'latest' styles until some one else made the trip.

I was sayin' the other day to some one -- don't remember who it was -- that the clerks in the stores don't tell you anymore when you're buyin' something 'That's what they're wearin' in New York' or 'That's brand new, even the New Yorkers are just beginning to use them.' My father used to say 'You're a crazy lot of women to be following what those salesgirls tell you. Probably those things you been buyin' are old-fashioned by now in New York. How do you know what they're wearin' in New York? You haven't been there.' Maybe Father was right. He mostly always was, but anyway it gave you a wonderful feeling to have the girls all looking at your gloves or your new dress and envying you because you could say, 'It's what they're wearin' in New York.'

But that's all gone now, for we can get the same thing that the New Yorkers are wearing at the very minute they're wearin' them. But what good does it do? We're not nearly so happy as we were in the 'old' days when things were slower and people had more time for good times. Take my word for it, you can blame the automobile for the whole thing. If people weren't running around in automobiles all the time spending all their time and money on 'em, we wouldn't be in such trouble all the time."

Ella Bartlett lived in Hinsdale, Massachusetts.

1954. A Dorset Mummers Revival
- from a local newspaper account

“Christmas Mummers at Symondsbury & Eype, near Bridport, Dorset - a revival of the local Christmas folk play by Peter Kennedy and Bertram Legg - was recorded at a village performance in 1954. The play had all the usual features of Mummers' plays, with ritual battle between good old English heroes and evil enemies and a miraculous revival of the slain by a doctor. It ended with The Singing of the Travels, a discourse between the husbandman and servantman, sung as the actors circled around Father Christmas.

The whole play had been recreated by Arthur Baker who had managed to remember nearly all of the speeches and the songs. He talked about the last performance of the play that he had witnessed in 1908.”

An accompanying photograph showed the performers in 1908. On the far left of the group can be seen William Bartlett of Wimborne, writer of folk songs such as The Sailor’s Frolic.

This song, beginning "Come all you lads and lasses" and sung to the tune of Harry the Tailor, tells the story of a tar who goes to bed with a young dozy who feigns sleep but goes through his clothes. He beats her with a stick and she leaves without her gown, but with nine gold sovereigns and ten pound notes.

1984. The Sentencing of Elaine Bartlett
- a summary account from the award-winning book Life on the Outside

“On the morning of November 8, 1983, Elaine Bartlett and her boyfriend Nathan Brooks left her apartment in a Harlem housing project and rode the train to Albany. Crammed down the front of Elaine’s pants was a package of cocaine. Her friend George Deets had told her that if she brought the drugs to Albany, she would earn $2,500. At the time, she was 26 years old and had four young children.

George met Elaine and Nathan at the train station, then took them to the Monte Mario Motel. Within a few hours, Elaine and Nathan were both in the custody of the state police, posing for mug shots at the police barracks. They were under arrest for selling four ounces of cocaine.

Elaine and Nathan were taken to the Albany County Jail, then indicted by a grand jury. In January 1884, they went on trial together and were each convicted of an A-1 felony. Under New York State's Rockefeller drug laws, the judge was required to give them 15 years to life. Neither Elaine nor Nathan knew much about the Rockefeller drug laws, but Elaine tried to plead her own case. When she finished, the judge gave her 20 years to life."

Elaine Bartlett's sixteen-year imprisonment and 2000 release is recounted in Jennifer Gonnerman’s book Life on the Outside which opens a window onto the American underclass.

“On her release in 2000, Elaine, at 42, had virtually nothing: no money, no job, no real home. What she did have was a large and troubled family, including four children, who lived in a decrepit housing project on the Lower East Side. ‘I left one prison to come home to another,’ Elaine said. Over the next months, she was to clash with her daughters, hunt for a job, visit her son and husband in prison, negotiate the rules of parole, and search for a home of her own."

Since that time, she has helped found the Mothers of the Disappeared, an advocacy group fighting to repeal the drug laws, and has been active in lobbying New York state legislators.

2000. Jim Bartlett and the New Media
- some website comments

First contribution.  “Berserkistan is the home of a newfangled kind of war reporting, conjured up by photojournalist Jim Bartlett. Netizens already expect to be able to correspond with reporters, but Bartlett goes one step further by providing Net addresses of the people featured in his electronic dispatches from Bosnia. He also offers free homepages to Balkan residents. By the time you read this, video and audio feeds from Sarajevo and Tuzla should be a staple at the site.

Bartlett, who is Berserkistan's founder and editor in chief, is no stranger to the region. He's spent more than 20 months there, covering the war. However new his distribution medium, Bartlett's philosophy is grounded in Robert Capa's old adage: ‘If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough.’"

Second contribution.  "Unfortunately, the "Berserkistan" site ran out of money and, apparently, also ran out of war. Where is Jim Bartlett now? His website is no longer maintained and it is gently decaying. Like so many in new media, Jim has plowed the sea. If you find Jim and he hasn't stepped into a landmine, say hi."