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Narrative of William Henry Harrison Bartlow to 1865

Compiled and Written by Rocky L. Bartlow Great-great-grandson of William Henry Harrison Bartlow Meriden, Kansas September 2003 Rev November 2007 Rev & Addendum added September 2009

William Henry Harrison Bartlow was born on May 26, 1830, the fourth child of Isaac and Elizabeth (Mohn) Bartlow, near the bustling river town of Higginsport, Ohio southeast of Cincinnati. Higginsport is situated along the north bank of the Ohio River and was the scene of much excitement in the early 1830s as manufacturers in the east plied their goods to the consumers in the west while the young America moved steadily to the Pacific.

William was the continuation of a family that had been moving west for the last two hundred years. William’s great-great-grandfather, Harmen Jans (van Borculo) took his wife, two young children and, along with his brother William Jans (van Borculo), left Geesteren, municipality of Borculo, Gelderland, Netherlands, for the New World aboard De Trouw (The Faith). William had migrated five years earlier, had returned for a visit and was returning. They arrived at New Amsterdam (current New York), traveled to Gravesend, Long Island, New York, where William had already established his home. They eventually settled in New Utrech, Kings County, New York. There were soon five children all told, with William’s great-grandfather, Willem, born in 1666, bringing up the rear. Since the new Governor of New York, Peter Stuyvesant, required all Dutch immigrants to take a surname from their place of origin, the family name became Van Borculo. The first, but not the last, name revision. (1)

Willem Van Barkeloo soon took a wife, Maria Cortelyou, on March 7, 1697, had four children of his own the second of which was Jacques (James). According to the census records of 1698, they lived on a plantation at the Cortelyou estate in New Utrecht, evidently willed to Maria by her father. Willem was a farmer, surveyor, and assessor. James also took a wife (Jannetje <Jane> Barentsen as well as a name change to Barkelow) and continued the family’s trek by moving to Kingwood township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey. He was a farmer and weaver and prominent as the commissioner of highways. He joined the Readington Dutch Reformed Church and helped to form a new Presbyterian congregation and church in 1755 serving as one of the trustees. He was there to see (and maybe participate in) the Revolutionary War starting a long line of Bartlows who’ve served their country.

James had eight children, the middle child being Cornelius, William’s grandfather, born on August 8, 1736. Cornelius Barkelow once again took up the family journey to the west as indicated by the births of the children scattered from Maryland to the upper Shenandoah region of Virginia (part of what would become the panhandle of the new state of West Virginia). In fact, William’s father, Isaac, the youngest child, was born near Martinsburgh Virginia in 1778. Cornelius’ first wife died in 1782 and sometime later he moved back to New Jersey where he died in 1806. Due to problems with a new stepmother, Isaac left home at the tender age of twelve for Kentucky under the care of his older brother James. Maybe as a sign of independence or simply because of the lack of formal training in English or various language sounding influences, his surname became Bartlow and the journey west continued.

(1) Those staying in the Netherlands took the surname of the family home, Lubberdinck.

Isaac was most likely under his brother’s care until he was married to his first wife, Elizabeth Feagins in Bracken County, Kentucky, 1798. Five children were born in Kentucky, the sixth in Lewis township, Clermont County Ohio, in 1809. They had crossed the Ohio River. Clermont County was split and Brown County was formed and four more little Bartlows had a birthplace. In the middle of this moving and family making, the war of 1812 blossomed and Isaac left home to serve as Sgt Major under Lt. Col. Mills Stephenson in the Ohio Militia.

Isaac suffered the tragedy of his wife’s death but was soon married again to Elizabeth Mohn May 14, 1821. She was to die also (10/16/1840) before Isaac took a third wife, Julia Ann Owens on May 17, 1841. But before her death, Elizabeth bore Isaac seven children, the fourth being the subject of our story, William himself.

William Bartlow grew up on his father’s 664 acre farm along the Ohio River at Bullskin Creek which adjoined Clermont and Brown counties. When Isaac died September 28, 1850, he deeded parcels of land to each living son with the home place and acreage deeded to his youngest son Francis Marion. Isaac, his wife, and other family members are buried in the Bartlow cemetery on the land willed to Francis west of Higginsport. (2)

The joys of exploring the vast new frontier of his father’s farm was tempered by the loss of his mother at the age of ten. But another woman came along to grab his affections on October 25, 1852 when he married Sarah Ann Dougherty in Bracken County, Kentucky. Sarah was the daughter of Michael and Patsy Dougherty, a family with a fine pedigree, know at the time as “white lace Irish”. Sarah was raised as a lady in the protected environment of long gloves and sun bonnets that shielded the complexion but was not able to shield her from the farm boy across the Ohio.

After their marriage, William became a merchant, a trade he plied off and on throughout his life along with farming, soldiering (which we will take up soon), mining, and who knows what all. They had a daughter, Mary Frances, known as Fannie, in 1854, William Henry (Buck) in 1856, and Benjamin Franklin in 1859. Life was good along the Ohio but the storm clouds of war were looming on the horizon.

(2) Some records indicate that some remains were moved to the Shinkle Ridge Cemetery at a later date. There were several marriages between the Bartlow, Mohn, and Shinkle families.

On April 12, 1861 what the southern states euphemistically called the “war of northern aggression” began and William’s life changed drastically. The 59th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) was formed on September 12, 1861 at Ripley, Ohio, southeast of Higginsport, under Colonel J.P. Fyffe as part of the brigade of General William “Bull” Nelson, a six foot five, 300 pound bear of a Kentuckian. On that same day, very likely at the urging of Captain McKinley or one of his aides, William enrolled as a private in Capt McKinley’s Company of the 59th OVI in Felicity, northwest of Higginsport. He was soon appointed 1st Sergeant. He left behind three children under the age of eight and, certainly unbeknownst to him (and most likely her also), a pregnant wife with one in the womb that would be born Anna Laura on June 6, 1862.

The 59th was soon attached to the 11th Brigade, Army of the Ohio under Buell. The army began it’s war duties in eastern Kentucky and spent the fall in places such as Maysville, West Liberty, Olympian Springs and Ivy Mountain. November 8/9 was spent at Piketown but by December the regiment was headed west and south passing through Louisa and Louisville before arriving in the town of Columbia in south central Kentucky by December 11. It was during this time that William became the 1st Sergeant of A Company.


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