Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine previous issue link Image Eye on Kansas Magazine previous story link  Image Eye on Kansas Magazine table of contents  link Image Eye on Kansas Magazine next story link Image Eye on Kansas Magazine next issue link  Image

 

Memoirs of John W Bartleson

As Transcribed and Edited by Tweed Ross
Great-grandson

Editor's note: The text has been rendered as near to the original as possible. Minor text errors have been retained, inasmuch as they do not create significant syntax issues, but, in many cases, add to the story. In some cases additional information is provided with brackets and some unreadable words followed by a "sic" notation. In addition, some infolinks are provided to sites with additional information about specific locations.

Preface

Chapter One

Chapter Two: Part One - Youth

Chapter Two: Part Two - Battle!

Chapter Two: Part Three - Freedom and Home!

Chapter Three, Part One: Farming, Mules and Loss

Chapter Three, Part Two: Kansas!

Chapter Three, Part Three: Turn of a New Century

Chapter Three, Part Four: Havana J.W. Bartlesonand Home

We continued our journey to Jacksonville. It was a most enjoyable visit. We visited the old city of St Augustine and dinner in the grand Flagler Hotel. We reutrned [sic] and later met brother Warren and his daughter, Maggie, bought tickets for Key West, Florida, and Havana, Cuba. We were on the second train that went over the Keys from Miami to Key West, over the East Coast line.

Flagler, who achieved the great undertaking of building the East Coast line and building the mammoth hotels at St Augustine, Palm Beach and Miami, was on the first train. The road was built over the water, from small island to island, some on trestles, some connected with rocky fills. It was wonderful! At Key West we secured tickets on a steamer with good berths, to go 90 miles across the gulf. My wife and niece, Mrs Allen, were very seasick. They did not enjoy the waters and missed a grand breakfast on the boat. The roughness of the sea did not affect myself or my brother.

We entered the harbor of Havana in the forenoon, then came a struggle between guides and interpreters to conduct us to a hotel or rooming house. We probably selected the worst fake of the lot. We went to a rooming house that was miserable, and the prices were exorbitant, as were all prices at this time. We paid his bill, rejected the house and started out to find something better. As we did, comfortable rooms at $3 each. This time we made headquarters and roamed around, eating where we liked. We visited many prominent buildings. While the women went shopping, Warren and I went out to the Columbia countrycemetery. It seemed to me there were millions of Dead,--one great enclosure where they were thrown in when further payment for vaults was refused, then quick lime thrown in to destroy the remains. In one large circle frame building was what was called the bone house. We prevailed on a Cuban to let us enter. All around the building next to the wall were stacked caskets, containing corpses, end to end. In the center were probably two or three car loads of ghastly bones and skeletons. My brother, not being very strong, was soon walking away fast, even breaking into a trot. It did not affect me the same way. I had seen too many dead at Andersonville prison to very squeamish.

There were many interesting monuments at Havana, but I am unable to describe them at this time. The trips through the hills and valleys were beautiful. The pineapple farms and sugar plantations will long be remembered. Cane cutting was in progress in some hills. The soil is of reddish color and very rich. The hills were covered with beautiful ferns. Long rows of Royal Palm trees and rings around them resembling barber poles. Arriving at Matanza, we were taken to an eating house. After a good lunch, with goat cheese in plenty we got into buggies and carry alls and were taken up to a very high hill to a great church, Hercimauga of Manserrate, where all kinds of mineral miracle cures were effected. The high hill overlooks the Yumari valley and the San Juan River, on one of the most beautiful sights I have every been privileged to gaze upon.

The beautiful long rows of royal palms and green slopes of the hill and valley were not to be forgotten. We then returned to Matanza, then drove along the shore of Matanza Bay, then up a long hill at the top of which was the great Balmoral Cave. Going down a long stairway, we entered the cave. It was filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. We probably explored for half a mile, a portion of the cave that was lighted with electricity. I was told that about 1860 some men were quarrying stone here and one of their crowbars slipped through a hole into the cavern. No visible sign of the cave appeared outside the hill. We saw beautiful scenery which I shall not try to describe.

We returned to Havana and to Key West and boarded the train after examination of our baggage. Our first stop was Miami, where we were in a beautiful hotel. We traveled by small boat up the Miami river to some grapefruit orchards and up on the canal to marsh land where ditchers were draining the land. Next we stopped at Palm Beach. We took a wheel chair ride. Unless one paid liberally the operator quickly became very tired. We went out to the beach. It was a warm January day and I decided to take a swim. Ida preferred to sit on the beach and watch me. The waters were rough and the waves were coming in large. I thought I could wade out in water to my neck and float to shore on my back. I had done this several times in the Great Salt Lake. I attempted this feat but before I was well started along came a great wave or undertow and I was carried much further out than I had intended to go. I saw my danger and swam and struggled fiercely to reach shallow water before another way could carry me farther back. I made it all right, but I was scared. There was not a man in sight to save me. My mistake was not reckoning the time of day when the current was outward-bound, or in thinking of the undertow. I was wiser for the experience.

We had a good time at Palm Beach and from there took the train for Jacksonville and after completing our visit there, started home. We stopped at Pleasanton, Kansas to visit a cousin, E W Bartleson. At Kansas Ctiy we went out to Shawnee for a visit with Maurice Bartleson and family, then home, and found everything lovely. In July, 1912, Ida and I made a good visit to my relatives and old home in Illinois, our first visit since our marriage. All my folks liked my wife. We visited over three or four counties. From there we went to Keokuk, Iowa and viewed the great dam and locks on the Mississippi river. It was a great sight. We then went into Iowa to visit Ida’s cousin and aunt and family. It was all very pleasant, not a mishap on the way.

I continued to keep up my farm interests, investments and insurance,--all moved along nicely. In October I had my house furnished with window and door stops, they made the house more comfortable. In 1913 Mrs E E Brewer, at the front in soliciting funds, erected a splendid monument at Elmwood cemetery in memory of the fall brave men in the Civil War. All of us helped. That year I bought my wife a Victrola from Mrs Beil. It is out of date now but still gives us some of the good old songs, which I remember from boyhood and still prize.

Mary was still at school in Pittsburg. She had fallen in love with a young student, Arthur Vail. She wanted to be married. Ida insisted that she should be married at our house. So I sent round trip tickets to Mary and Arthur, Ray and Elsie McClelland at Pittsburg, Maurice and his family at Kansas, John and his wife at Denver, Colorado, and Maude and Ralph Boyles at Montreal, Canada. Others of the family,-Clarence and Charolotte and Silas and his family, lived here. We had a grand time, only the family present. The day after the wedding aoo [sic] separated, each going to their homes and my wife and I starting for Yellowstone Park and other places.

Yellowstone FallsWe went on the Union Pacific to Denver, Cheyenne, Wyoming, stopping off at Kimmerer, Wyoming to visit Ida’s sister, Etta Felt and family. We then went to Pocatello, Idaho, thence north to west entrance to Yellowstone Park. A four horse hack was made up of ten most agreeable companions. We went the Hotel route, stopping each night at one of these beautiful hotels where accommodations were complete. We went down the long steps of the Yellowstone River Falls.

Travel through Yellowstone was not so frequent then as it is now. It was not necessary for me to dwell on the beauties and pleasures of the park, but if you have not been there you had better in these days of cheap travel. It is one of the wonders of the world. We went on to the Salt Lake and although it was my third trip I never ceased to enjoy it. Out[sic]hotel was good and we met several congenial friends. After a good stay we returned home, and as usual found everything in good shape.

In April 1914, Ida made a visit to Kansas City for a little outing and in July, 1914, I visited my old home in Illinois. Everything was moving along nicely. For some time we had planned a trip to California. My business had been good in the hail business insurance of 1915, so in August of this year we bought tickets to the fair at San Francisco, and to other points, and return. We went to Denver, thence over the Santa Fe railroad through New Mexico and Arizona, stopping off at the Grand Canyon to view its magnificent wonders. Then to Los Angeles, to Catalina Island, then to San Diego and back to Los Angeles. Here we visited with friends. We traveled up the coast to ‘Frisco, there visited my niece, Mrs Ida Heacock and family. They were glad to see us. We visited all the noted places nearby. I had been in San Francisco before the earthquake, but at this time the city had been re-built, with great improvements. We enjoyed the Fair and were out every day for more than a week. We then traveled, through Sacramento, up the Sacramento river, though Oregon.

We stopped at Portland, then went to Seattle, Washington, where we met and enjoyed a visit with my old friend from Illinois, Mrs Maggie Simpson, Mrs Ira Hill. Seattle is a splendid city and has many natural advantages. From there we went by boat to AlbertaVictoria on Vancouver Island. We viewed all the beautiful sights and saw the Parliament buildings. From there by boat to the City of Vancouver, British Columbia. Then we boarded the Canadian Pacific R R which owns all the best hotels along the route through the Canadian Rockies, and on to Montreal as far as I know. The scenery through the Canadian Rockies is much more spectacular than the Colorado Rockies. We traveled by day and at night stopped at the commodious hotels. One of the most attractive is at Lake Louise,. It faces west, over a large, smooth body of water, a beautiful beach, mountains climbing high on the north and south down to the water’s edge. The mountains covered which thick pines and evergreen forests, the west with timber forest and snow clad, reaching apparently nearly to the surface of the lake. It is a beautiful picture among many beautiful pictures.

For $3 we had one of the finest dinners I have ever sat down to, with a smart French girl as waitress. What could have been more charming?

We continued to travel by day, resting at night. At Banff we stopped off. Here is located the great Canadian park. We visited the principal objects of interest. At night I attended the Masonic lodge. The members were a grand lot of fellows. They gave me a hearty welcome, as well as plenty to eat. They put on the Third Degree. The gave the work in most impressive manner, in a much more dignified from that I had witnessed it prior to this time. I will never forget the visit.

We were now nearing the plains and the great grain fields of Alberta province. We stopped at Calgary, a large city, but business very dull there as in most Canadian cities on account of the World War then in porgress [sic]. We stopped over Sunday, and had our tickets arranged so we could change to another road going north and then east to Coronation were Ora Cochran, a brother of my wife, was living. We spent several pleasant days with Ora and his family. I never saw, though, mosquitoes so furious. We then went east to Kanloop connecting with another line running south. At this place we attended a public celebration in honor of Canadian participate in some section of the war. From here we went south and connected with the main line at Moose Jaw, Canada.

After boarding the train of the main line of the C P R we passed through the mighty fields of wheat, oats and flax, all in bloom, due to ripen in two weeks. We saw seas of grain fields as we passed through the beautiful prairie county, no timber. We passed through Regina, capital city of Saskatchewan. Our next stop was at Winnipeg, in Manitoba. This is one of the large, flourishing cities of the Dominion. We then headed south, passing through the rich, fertile country and reaching St Paul, Minnesota. We were glad to reach the good old U S. We could use our own money. At that time Canadian money was discounted somewhat. After securing a hotel, at $5 a day, I found my wife picking bugs off the bed. I told her to stop it, that we were paying enough to let some else [sic] attend to the bugs. I had arranged with my brother Gus in Oklahoma that he would write me at St Paul, to let me know if he could meet in Grand Chain, Illinois. If so, I would side track at Quincy, Illinois and make another visit to my old home. If he could not do so, neither would I was I had been there the previous year. The letter was at St Paul for me, Gus writing that he was practically sure he could meet me. That was not positive. I wired my nephew, Dr Farr at Grand Chain, who replied that Gus was there. I so much wanted to see him—as I have stated he was my favorite brother with whom I made my home for so long in my boyhood. My first visit at St Paul and Minneapolis was spoiled. We hastened away, arriving at Quincy and going from there to St Louis, then Cairo and Grand Chain.

It was so good to see all the folks, especially Brother Gus. I had not seen him since 1910, and he was now 88 years old. We had a happy time together. My old sister, Eliza, was living, but we three were all of the family. My wife and I stopped to visit my son Maurice and family and then reached home. This had been our first extensive trip together and not a single disappointment had been connected with it. We followed our schedule exactly, reaching each step as had been planned.

In Mitchell county they had had an extremely wet harvest, wheat was good but harvesting was not completed until in September. Corn was good notwithstanding the rains. Hail losses were heavy. After our long visit and return, things went on about as usual. In January, 1916, I received a wire from my daughter, Elsie McClelland, that her husband Ray V McClelland had passed away, pneumonia having proved fatal. This left her along alone with one small child, a boy. After arranging with one of her good neighbors to act as administrator of the estate,-very little property, outside of life insurance, -and security a guardian for the son, Robert McClelland, I returned home. The next month Mrs McClelland and Robert came to Beloit, bringing the remains of Mr McClelland and a former child to rest in Elmwood cemetery. For a time Elsie and the boy made their home with us. In April that year Ida took a little outing to Kansas City.—it is good to be away from home sometimes. August Ida visited with her sister, Mrs Felt, in Western Nebraska. In September, 1916, with W C Cochoran and others we attended the National Encampment at the G A R in Kansas City. I marched in the parade. Well I observed the diminishing ranks of the old boys, but we enjoyed the reunion. In March 1917, Ida made another short visit to Kansas City and in July again visited her sister in Nebraska. Ida also made a visit to Kansas City in July, 1918.

The business section of Beloit was paved with brick in 1915 and 1916. It was a thorough work. Since then we have had a good deal of slab and gravel surfacing.

The World’s War had been in progress since 1914—exciting political times. In 1917 our government entered the war. There was great excitement as our boys enlisted. I marched at the head of the column carrying the flag for the first squad for enlistment. It was a season of subscriptions for government bonds, donations and assessments for everything. I entered into it heartily, only regretting that I was too old to enlist, but, being 72, could not do that. I did the next best thing, enlisted with the National Guard of Kansas. Three companies were recruited from Beloit. I was elected Senior color-bearer of the batallion [sic]. For two years I marched and drilled, in zero and hot weather, by night and by day. T W Hale was my companion color bearer. Poor fellow! --the hard marches shortened his life. He did not survive after the war.

Hale was a fine and loyal man, clear through. How rejoiced we were at the Armistice, what shouting and great parade when we received the news. During the war our crops were poor. Our farmers did not prosper, notwithstanding the inflated prices, and after the collapse of prices the farmers suffered much worse.

Many farmers and business men failed. The banks suffered and many were doomed to collapse on account of frozen assets, not being able to realize on bad paper. The liquidations and failures due to the war have not spent their course, even at this date, 1930.

In August, 1918, we visited Colorado Spring and other points in Colorado, enjoying the refreshing climate and taking in the scenery and the sights. In the spring of 1919 we had fine prospects for wheat. I did a large business in Hale Insurance. It was the banner year for me. I carried all my notes for the premiums until September or October. All the notes were paid. Collections were better then than now. There are many honest people living and I hope always will be, but we have more disappointments of late years than from the old settlers of years ago.

Collections become more difficult, and a greater safeguard of securities must be enforced to preserve investments. Many would perform in an honest manner, but are unable to meet their obligations. New generations are coming on and it is a race to keep up with the new things and new faces.

In 1919 our new central school building was completed. I purchased some of the bonds on this building. Our Beloit Chautauqua was having a good run of entertainments and was paying the association well. We made extensive improvements to the grounds. For 28 years we had looked forward each year to the entertainments and the Chautauqua was a big drawing card. Like all other features of education and entertainment it changed with the times and way a of [sic] the people, and for the last few years it has not met expenses.

The board of directors, in 1929, decided to discontinue the sessions. I had been on the board for nine years prior to 1929, and did what I could to make the Chautauqua a success, always enjoying the work. The board worked splendidly together for the project.

In 1919 my good wife and I decided we would visit all my children residing in the east. Our first stop was when we changed roads to the Illinois Central, had a splendid visit at my old homestead at Grand Chain. We then took the Big Four to Vincennes, Indiana, where we got on our regular train, the Baltimore and Ohio, from St Louis, Mo, passing through Cincinnati, Ohio, and stopping off at Columbus, Ohio, where my son John and his family were living. We had a fine visit and from there went through Cleveland, to Buffalo, NY where we changed trains for Niagara Falls. I had been at the Falls in 1895. Ida enjoyed the magnificent sight. After visiting all the places of interest, we went back to Buffalo, changed cars to Charlotte, on Lake Ontario. Here we took a boat for the night ride across the lake to Kingston, Canada, on the St Lawrence river. At Charlotte we met Mary and Arthur Vail coming in a boat on their way to Toronto, Canada. It was a great surprise to us all. They promised to be back at home by the time we reached there. From Kingston we had beautiful ride on a steamer down the St Lawrence river, pass the Thousand Islands,--all great pleasure and entertainment.

This was my second trip down the St Lawrence. It is one of the great features of travel and everyone would enjoy the trip.

When we reached Montreal, my daughter Maude Boyles, and her family met us at the boat. We greatly enjoyed the sights of the old city. Ralph took us everywhere, all around the island on which the city is situated, a beautiful drive, also up on the mountain near by. It is a great country. I believe its market is the richest I have every visited, offering fine fruits and especially choice vegetables. Since then the family has bought a home in Montreal and are fixtures there, prospering, and all the children doing well in school, Betty and Howard.

From Montreal we went south about ninety miles to Massena, New York, where Mary and Arthur lived. They had returned from their trip to Toronto. Arthur held a responsible position with Aluminum Company. It was interesting to see the aluminum wares manufactured from apparent clay, heated, melted and moulded [sic] into large pigs, then rolled out in fine wire. There was an efficient plant and water system. It is one of great industries of the nation. The company employs thousands of workmen at Massena. Since our visit Arthur and Mary have built a beautiful home and Arthur is in the wholesale ice cream and cold storage business.

After our good visit we went by way of Syracuse to New York city, traveling along the North River, enjoying the incomparable scenery. We registered at the Grand Central hotel and proceeded to enjoy the sights of New York. Since it is my second trip I was familiar with most things. We viewed the city from atop the tallest buildings. Elbert Severance, then publicity agent of a grand opera company, met us, gave us tickets for fine seats and showed us many other courtesies. I could mention many things of interest in New York, but you should see for yourselves.

Next we went to Washington, D C entering the most beautiful and complete railroad station in the world. We found some rooms near the park in a fine hotel and made ourselves at home. Congress was in session and through the courtesy of our Congressman, Hays B White, we visited the sessions and gained quite an insight of the proceedings. Senators Curtis and Capper received us kindly. I met several notables, including Joe Cannon of Illinois and General Pershing, commander of the U S forces in the World War.

After our good visit, we returned home through Chicago where I met my nephew James Esque and family. He had lived in Chicago for a long time and since it was my fourth visit, we knew where to go. Jim is now in poor health and is living at Grand Chain, he is past 79, being four and a half years my junior.

After seeing my sights in the beautiful, wicked city, so beautifully situated on Lake Michigan, we returned home, stopping off one day to visit Maurice and family at Shawnee. We found everything all right at home. Business had not suffered much and we did not have a disappointment on the long trip.

In June 1920, I made some repairs on our dwelling and paper and painted the buildings. In 1921 Ida had not been well and Dr O’Brien adviser sheher go to Rochester, Minn, perhaps for an operation. After a thorough examination Dr Mayo informed us that an operation at the time was not necessary. We were pleased with the results. Rochester is a beautiful little place with some interesting sights. We returned, visiting Wife’s cousins family in Iowa. We then returned home, happy that all was well.

In September, 1922, I attended the National Encampment at Des Moines, Iowa. It was a great pleasure to me. I marched in the grand parade and met quite a number of old comrades. It was a successful gathering, but the ranks were growing thinner and many had to ride in automobiles. Des Moines is a beautiful city. I enjoyed the sights, this being my first visit. I returned by way of my wife’s cousins, making them a good visit. About 1920 I visited my brother Gus and family in Muskogee, Oklahoma. He was they quite old but fairly vigorous. In February, 1923, I received a wire from his family that Brother Gus had passed away and the funeral would be at his old home in Villa Ridge, Illinois. I went at once. The funeral was well attended by all our relations and his family from Oklahoma, as well as by many friends from the surrounding country where he had lived and engaged in business for sixty-five years or more. At the time of his death Brother Gus was in his 95th year.

During these years nothing particular was going on. My Insurance business in the office was increasing. I managed to take care of my garden and lawn. I had made my many visits in former years and did not care to travel. I had been in all but five of the States—they were the two Carolinas, two Dakotas and Maine,--had visited all the principal points of interest in the United States, including three trips to Canada, one to Havana, Matanzumas and other points in Cuba; almost through Old Mexico, through the tropics and jungles—had seen many interesting natural wonders, Chapultapec, battle fields, mountains and had met many interesting people. When the country become civilized and safe for travel it would do you good to cross the Rio Grande and take the trip south. I liked Mexico City, where my friend J J Fitzjerrell helped with his knowledge of the language.

For some time, everything moved along at home and my Insurance business was about as usual. In February, 1925, my niece, Mary Bartleson, died at her home in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She was buried at Villa Ridge, beside her father and mother. Mary was a fine Christian woman. She was beloved by every one. I attended the funeral and made a visit to my old home and relatives. The year 1925 was a dry year for this part of Kansas. My wheat threshed only two and one half bushels per acre. This was hard on the farmers. Much of the farm paper had grown to large notes and had to be carried over. Deflation after the war and shrinkage had left in the bank many slow notes or frozen assets. So the bank was charging off some paper. It continued poor collections until 1927 when the Beloit State Bank made as assessment on the stock holders and it cost me $13,700.20. We then thought we would have sufficient funds to get through in fine shape but collections on large loans did not improve.

In February, 1926, my sister, Mrs Eliza S Tarr who had been living in a Soldiers and Widows Home at Quincy, Illinois, took sick. Pneumonia soon developed and she passed to the Great Beyond. She was nearly 94 years old. Her husband, N P Tarr, and ex-soldier of the Civil, had preceded her by a number of years. Sister Eliza was a good Christian woman and when I was a young boy she made her home as widow with my mother. She was oldest, I was youngest of the family. Her death left me along of the original thirteen brothers and sisters.

I have always had nieces and nephews near my own age as companions but a good many of them have passed this life.

In March 1926 I had considerable sewer work overhauled. It seems everything wears out and must be repaired or replaced. In 1928 we had a fine wheat crop, the yield being from 30 to 40 bushels per acre, and prices were very good. There was not much land selling. The Bank had taken over several farms to clean up debts on second mortgages. We had to take them to partially pay the farmers’ debts.

To relieve the Bank, I took over two of these farms, as I could better carry them than for the farms to be a burden to the Bank. I now own 800 acres; 21 years ago I owned 2,160 acres. As I have written before, I gave the children 1120 acres and sold some farms and invested in other securities which paid me a better interest rate.

In 1929, Ida made a visit to Emporia, Kansas. Her sister, Etta Felt and family, were living in Emporia, where the girls had the advantage of college education. In December, 1928, Maurice’s son, Maurice, a bright lad of sixteen, died from a complicated case, blood changing,--I don’t know the medical term. It was a hard blow for his father and mother. He was in high school at Shawnee. It always seems hard to see the young taken in young manhood or womanhood before they have had a chance in live. It is different with older persons. We have had our chance and have lived more than our allotted four score years.

In 1929 the wheat crop was not good and was damaged by rain. The first wheat on the market brought a fair price. Those who held wheat in bins were forced to take much less. At this time, in May, wheat is quoted at only 70 or 80 cents a bushel. The coming crop looks fairly good, with prospects for a fair yield. There seems to be an over-production.

This spring there is not much going on. I re-papered all the rooms in our house. There was a bad fire in the Central High School building which cost insurance companies for loss and damage over $13,000. It will all be redecorated and made good as new.

In April this year we had our annual Past Masters meeting of the Masons. I always liked working in Masonic rituals. The committee put me on the program to give the work in the second section of the Third Degree. This is beautiful work. I received some compliments on my proficiency. I am sure I can put on the work in a more able manner than I could forty years ago when first I was election Master of Mount Vernon Lodge #145.

I have a good garden in this year and am taking care of the lawn as usual. I feel as strong for the work as for the past several years. I am truly thankful for good health. My business in the office is keeping fairly good pace with that of former years. A little saying hangs in my office: “ The ability to form friendships, to made friends believe in your and trust you is one of the absolutely fundamental qualities of success.” I believe I have some good friends. Comrade S R Lentz came in last evening from Orange, California for a visit. He is quite poorly. He was in the Civil War in my company, I-81st Illinois regiment. We will make his stay pleasant. He is on his way to Illinois to visit his grand children. This is May 14. Rev Charles R Scoville, an evangelist, is holding a meeting at Osborne. My comrade Lentz very much desired to hear him, as he was converted through his preaching over 40 years ago, and through the kinds of my friend, Austin Daugherty, my wife and I, Comrade Lentz and a number from the Christian church drove to Osborne, over 40 miles. The evening was beautiful and we enjoyed our motor ride and the evening very much.

My friend, Mrs Rachael Buter, has been kind enough to have the patience to copy these recollections and I will remember her with gratitude. Mrs Butler is leaving Beloit to join her daughters in Chicago. After her long residence here were will miss her sadly, but may Peace and Happiness be with her and her family.

Beloit, Kansas, May 19, 1930

My next birthday will be August 16, 1930,--84 years

Sincerely,

(Signed) J W Bartleson

So now we come to the end of our story at it was taken down from J. W. Bartleson by Mrs. Bates in 1930. J. W. lived on for another fourteen years, “passing to his forebearers,”[1] April 18, 1944, at the Beloit Community hospital a month after he had fallen and broken his hip. It is too bad that he did not continue his memoirs as they would have then included The Great Depression and the start of the Second World War. I shall endeavor to continue the story by stiching together bits and pieces from other records.

According to the Salina (KS) Journal J.W. was the last Civil War veteran in Mitchell County and he served as president of the Beloit State Bank until he retired in 1933. In this same obituary article it J.W. apparently gave the Gettysburg Address at the Beloit Decoration day ceremonies for the ten year prior to his passing.

 

Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Last Updated April 22, 2015
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image
Eye on Kansas Magazine Blank Image