General Joseph Bartholomew (1766-1840)
Commrade-at-arms: Major-General John S. Simonson
It was in the summer of 1894, while on a visit with my brother, Prof. William D. Pence, to our brother, the Rev. Edward H. Pence, D. D. (then minister in charge of the First Presbyterian church in Janesville, Wisconsin), that it was proposed that we make the trip to Lodi, Wisconsin, a town some sixty miles to the northwest, to visit James Bartholomew. James Bartholomew, with whom the writer had been in a desultory [sporadic] correspondence for some time, was a son of General Joseph Bartholomew, one of Indiana's pioneers and in whose honor our county was named.
We desired to procure additional information concerning the noted man of whom so little had been published, and to make sure of our intent, Edward sent a telegram to the Presbyterian minister at Lodi, the Rev. James M. Campbell, D.D., inquiring whether or not James Bartholo-mew was still living there. The reply only increased our eagerness when we read:
James Bartholomew living here, quite aged and feeble and totally blind.
Dining enroute at Madison, the beautiful capital of Wisconsin, we took a Northwestern train for Lodi, some twenty miles to the north, where we arrived at one p.m.
Upon inquiring we found that Mr. James Bartholomew lived on a large and fertile farm about one mile north of the town, and further that the last train south would be due in two hours. Promptly we procured a conveyance and within twenty minutes had reached the vine-clad cottage of Mr. Bartholomew, which stood in the center of a large tract of land owned by him.
Our knock at the door was answered by a matronly lady who, when we had given our names and had asked if we could see Mr. Bartholomew, asked us to await her announcement to him, as he was then lying, resting on his couch.
In a short time we were ushered into their pleasant sunny reception room. Mr. Bartholo-mew was standing in the middle of the room with his outstretched hands to bid us welcome; and after I had told him who we were, and introduced my brothers, he said, "Gentlemen, I feel that I am being honored" and I am glad to see you," and turning his face to the writer, added, "I have been wanting to see you for years."
The latter expression appealed to us, particularly, as he was totally
blind, and as we after-wards learned he had been thus for forty years,
and that it had been caused from the "sore-eyes" contracted
while a schoolboy - a malady then quite prevalent. His dignity, learning
and courteous manner, together with his garb and the choker with which
his throat was dressed, struck us as the old-time gentleman of the fifties
He informed us that General John S. Simonson, late of Clark county, Indiana, had prepared a sketch at one time of the father, but for some reason or another it had never been published .
That Mr. James Bartholomew was proud of his father was without question to us, as this feature cropped out more than once in replying to our numerous inquiries.
Thus from facts secured from General Joseph Bartholomew's own son, at an age when early recallments are vividly awakened, as well as from other authentic sources, we propose to essay a readable tribute to a great man - one of the most noted of his time, of the unboastful sort, given more to the applied art of doing than to the fine art of telling about it afterward.
His days fell in the territorial times of the great State of Indiana, rough days, tough days and men-making days - the days of which William Henry Harrison, John Gibson, John Tipton and Joseph Bartholomew were products.
The times found the man; the man shaped the times. It is ours to save to memory the fame and story that we and posterity may go to school to them.
General Joseph Bartholomew
Joseph Bartholomew was born in the State of New Jersey, March 15, 1766. At the age of five the family removed to the western frontier of Pennsylvania, settling at Laurel Hill, where they were the neighbors of General Arthur St. Clair, of Revolutionary War fame, and whom President Washington appointed as the first governor of the Territory Northwest of the Ohio [from which afterwards the following states were created: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan].
Bartholomew's youthful days along the frontier were full of adventure and already at the age of ten years he had become expert with the rifle. When but eighteen he was rated as an 'Indian Fighter' and took an active part in the defense against marauding bands of Indians.
At this place, Laurel Hill, his father died, and he remained at home with his mother until 1788, when he was married to Christiana Peckinpaugh, and the newly married couple migrated to the then village of Louisville [Jefferson County], Kentucky, locating some four miles east of town.
On August 3, 1795, at Greenville, Ohio, [General] Mad Anthony Wayne concluded his celebrated treaty with the belligerent Wyandots, Delawares, Shawnees and other tribes, and Bartholomew, either as a volunteer or as an interested spectator, was present.
The result of this treaty was the cessation of general hostilities for a time by the red men against the whites, and was the first permanent cession of lands which, within a few years, became a portion of Indiana. Bartholomew was engaged in the survey of the boundary lines covered in this treaty and later helped the government surveyors in running the subdivision lines of the First Principal Meridian. While he lacked the early education he was the growing man and kept apace with the surroundings, in time becoming a practical surveyor and in later days followed land surveying, and helped many of the incoming new settlers in locating their land warrants.
In 1798 he removed with his family to Indiana territory, settling in Clark's Grant near the town of Charlestown and it was here that his wife died. The fruits of this marriage were ten children [they had eleven children - he left out Elizabeth]: viz: Joseph, Jr., who is buried in Clark county; Sarah, married to Hugh Espy; John; Catherine, married to a [Thomas] McNaught; Mary, married Patrick Hopkins; Amelia, married Patrick Hopkins [her husband was Robert Hopkins Jr.], relict of Mary, deceased [not true]; Martha, married to Gamaliel Vail; Christiana, married to Isaac Epler [Christiana married Isaac after he had married Elizabeth, Christiana's older sister who died in childbirth]; Marston Clark and Albert. There were no descendants or relatives, in 1894, of General Bartholomew by this marriage residing in Indiana, save a few through the daughter, Sarah Espy.
In the spring of 1811 General Bartholomew was married to a Miss McNaught, and it was about this time that by reason of his marked traits for leadership and under the threatened antagon-ism of the Indians of Indiana territory, that he was selected by Governor William Henry Harrison as lieutenant colonel of the regiment of militia. Within a very few months, on September 12, 1811, we find his regiment with marching orders issued by the governor to rendezvous at Vincennes [Indiana], this campaign including the memorable battle with the Indians at Tippecanoe on Thurs-day morning, November 7, 1811.
On September 14 we find Colonel Bartholomew with one hundred and twenty of the Clark county militia on the march and camped at the noted Half-Moon springs on the old French Lick road, four miles southeast of Paoli. On Wednesday, November 18, the troopers reached the territorial capital, Vincennes, reinforced enroute by the companies of Capt. Spier Spencer and that of Capt. Berry. Governor Harrison mustered the troops consisting of the United States regulars under Captain Boyd, the dragoons (cavalry) and the militia. The governor, as commanding general, issued his general orders appointing Major Joe H. Davis in command of the dragoons, and Colonel Bartholomew in command of the foot soldiers. On September 26 the American army, consisting of 910 men, is on the march and reaches old Terre Haute on October 2, where it is halted to build a fort, named for the governor, Fort Harrison. The fort was completed on October 28 and is garrisoned with a force when the main army, under orders, marched northeasterly toward Prophetstown, the town of Tecumtha and his half-blinded brother, the Prophet, Ells-kwa-ta-wa.
This vicinity was reached on Wednesday afternoon, November 6, 1811, and at a small prairie Colonel Bartholomew's foot soldiers placed their knapsacks in the wagons, were formed in line of battle and thus marched toward the Indians' town for over two miles and before halting surrounded the town.
The Indians met General Harrison and made a plea for peace, promising to give satisfaction the next morning. There was considerable trouble in this palaver with the Indians, as the French-man whom General Harrison had taken with him to act as interpreter, and who knew each of the chiefs personally refusing to attend the powow, being in fear of them, for as he termed it, that he "would be roasted."
That evening after the powow with the prophet - his brother Tecumtha was then on a missionary trip in the south to enlist the southern tribes into his confederacy, the American army selected a site for a camp about one mile north of the Indians' town. This was on an elevated tract of woodland between Burnett's creek on the west and a prairie on its east, General Harrison select-ing Colonel Bartholomew as officer of the day, and on his suggestion, based upon his knowledge of the Indian, the troops slept on their arms.
On Thursday morning, November 7, 1811, at four o'clock, Colonel Bartholomew is going the round of the sentries, a drizzling rain is falling and the darkness of the autumn morning is suddenly lightened by the glare of the fire from the rifles of the treacherous Indians who a few hours before had promised to give satisfaction at their peace powwow. The fire from the Indian guns made it as light as day. Colonel Bartholomew assumed at once the command of the foot soldiers, but riding a very nervous horse found it difficult to handle him, and was greatly in fear of being thrown. His troops were armed with squirrel rifles [small caliber rifle], and as the Indians at the first had the advantage, it was here that through his tact he became master of the moment when he requested General Harrison to give him a company of regulars whose guns were equipped with bayonets. General Harrison at once gave orders for one of Captain Boyd's companies to follow Colonel Bartholomew, when a bayonet charge was made by these hardened regulars and the Indians were routed. This closed the short and decisive battle in favor of the American army, but in this charge, Colonel Bartholomew received an Indian's bullet through his right forearm, breaking both bones.
It was fully two hours before his wound was dressed and the bones of his arm were set, he sitting on a stump in the camp awaiting his turn, with the other wounded, for the surgeon, Dr. Andrew P. Hay, his neighbor at Charlestown, to give him the needed attention and professional service.
Ensign John Tipton in his memorable account of the Tippecanoe campaign, reports the American loss at 179 killed and wounded, 37 of his own company, including its captain and two lieutenants. John Tipton went home as captain of his company. Truly, it was a day of sacrifice when the lives of Owen, Spencer, Joe Davis, Warrick, and Judge White went out and an hundred others, but the red man was mastered in Indiana. The victorious army, after burying the illustrious dead, returned with wounded to Vincennes, reaching there November 24. When the militia was mustered out, Colonel Bartholomew's wound gave him much trouble and he suffered throughout his entire after life from it.
He now returned to his farm, and it is at the next term of the territorial legislature that his successful charge and gallant fight at Tippecanoe is mentioned, and made a matter of record by a vote of thanks for his valiant services in the Tippecanoe campaign.
During the summer and fall of 1812 the western Indians became more fretful and a deplorable condition existed amongst the white settlers along the lower Driftwood and Muscata-tuck rivers in southern Indiana, and on September 3, 1812, the deplorable massacre by the savages occurred at the Pigeon Roost settlement, some forty miles south of Columbus. In this, twenty-four persons, mostly women and children, were slain by a straggling band of Shawnee warriors.
At this date General Bartholomew, whose home was less than twenty miles from the scene of the massacre, was away from his home, but a large force was soon collected at Charlestown which pursued the retreating Shawnees. This force was under the command of Captain John McCoy, of the Clark county cavalry. In an interview with the late F. C. Nugent, of Jonesville, Indiana, he mentioned that his father was a member of the company which followed the savages to the banks of the Muscatatuck and where the Indians were soon located, but by the foolishness or cowardice of the captain, orders were given to sound the bugle, which was done and the murderous Indians escaped by swimming the river. It was the general expression of a regret among the men that General Bartholomew was not in command, as he would have shown better judgment and courage and the savages possibly would have been punished. The elder Nugent never forgave his captain, and while of the same politics, ever refused to vote for him and de-nounced him to the day of his death.
In June, 1813, General Bartholomew, with one hundred and thirty-seven men, moved from Vallonia, Jackson county [Indiana], toward the Delaware Indian towns on the west fork of White river, some twenty miles above the present site of Indianapolis, with the intention to surprise and punish the Indians for some of their outbreaks and depredations. Lieutenant Colonel John Tipton and Major David Owen were his aides. The line of march was along the east side of Driftwood river through Bartholomew county along the present line of the Brownstown State road. Their trail was still visible seven or eight years later when the county was organized, settled and named Bartholomew, and its nearest point to Columbus is immediately west of our Garland Brook cemetery, east of the city.
This expedition was of short duration and in a skirmish with the Indians but one of them was killed and a member of the Jackson county militia was wounded. The line of march on the homeward trip of the troops was along the opposite side of Driftwood on the present line of the Mauck's Ferry State road, which passed through the Dwight farm, two miles west of the city.
At the site of Lowell Bridge, four miles northwest of Columbus (this locality was geographically known in 1813 as the 'Upper Rapids of Driftwood'), a bark canoe was made and the wounded Jacksonian was floated down Driftwood to his home in Vallonia. The date of this was June 20, 1813, as mentioned by General Tipton in one of the valuable journals kept by him.
The Delawares still remaining peeved and unruly, the following month, July, 1813, Colonel William Russell, in command at Fort Harrison, at Old Terra Haute, is ordered out with the regulars and the militia on a second expedition, northward on the same "Bartholomew Trail,' through Bartholomew county, to disperse and punish the still hostile Delawares.
His force consisted of five hundred and seventy-three men, volunteers, militia and regulars, and among the latter Lieutenant Zachary Taylor, who was on the march through this neighborhood and who, thirty-five years later, was elected President of the United States.
One of the sons of General Bartholomew, who was a member of one of the companies of Clark county militia ordered out, was sick and his father, the general, requested to act as his sub-stitute. [This son was John, Joanne's 2nd great-grandfather.]
This was agreeable to Colonel Russell and he appointed General Bartholomew as his aide. Upon the march through this county the commanding officer was suddenly taken violently ill, when he at once called General Bartholomew to his tent and said to him, "General Bartholomew, I put my force under your command until I am better, and I give you full responsibility."
The Delawares were overawed by this large force of troops and ended their further warlike demonstrations in central Indiana.
Colonel Russell, in his report of the expedition to Governor Harrison, said, "Colonel Bartholomew acted as my aide-de-camp. This veteran has been so well tried in this kind of warfare that any encomiums from me would be useless."
This was the last Indian expedition of the doughty Bartholomew, and he now quiets down again upon his farm in Clark county which was located some two miles out from Charlestown on the Jefferson State road.
One of the questions asked James Bartholomew was how his father regarded the treatment of the whites toward the Indians in the encroachment upon their lands.
General Bartholomew erected the first brick farm house in Clark county, and according to the statement of Mr. Nugent, by reason of his very happy and jovial disposition and his love for young people, his home was the seat of constant gayety (sic) and hospitality. The general was an accomplished dancer and he took as much delight in that amusement as did the younger folks. His personal associations were of the highest and his social standing was the same.
In December, 1817, we find him as one of the essential eleven in the constitutional organ-ization of the Grand Lodge of the Masons in the newly erected State of Indiana, which met at Corydon, the then State capital, his membership being at Blazing Star Lodge, No. 36, Kentucky.
This preliminary meeting adjourned to meet the next month at Madison. He is not mentioned as being present, yet later records show that he acted as Grand Treasurer and Grand Senior Warden pro tem.
In 1819 he was elected on the Whig ticket as a member from Clark county, in the State legislature, and in 1820 was one of the presidential electors of the State, which cast its vote for James Monroe. While a member of the Lower House, on January 11, 1820, a bill was passed to appoint commissioners to select a site for the permanent capital of the State, the federal government having donated four sections of its land for such purpose [four square miles]. In this act General Bartholomew was named as one of the ten commissioners.
The others named were Gen. John Tipton, George Hunt, John Connor, John Gilliland, Stephen Ludlow, Jesse B. Durham, Frederick Rapp, William Prince and Thomas Emerson. To John Tipton, the methodical man, we are again indebted for a written account of the trip northward through this portion of the trail, which later, in 1823, was surveyed by Tipton under the act creating a State road for forty-nine feet in width from Mauck's Ferry on the Ohio river, northward through Corydon, Salem, Brownstown, to the newly made capital, Indianapolis. Tipton relates that on May 17, 1820, he, with Connor and Governor Jennings, with Tipton's black boy, Bill, met General Bartholomew at Colonel Jesse B. Durham's at Vallonia, and with General John Carr and Captain Dueson, of Charlestown, they made the trip together, northward, along the trail mentioned above. The commissioners viewed several proposed sites, but before the end were divided only between the site at Waverly Bluffs, now in Morgan county, and one which was selected. General Bartholomew and four others, including Tipton, voted for the site which was selected, and which the following year was given the name of Indianapolis.
General Bartholomew used the spade to make the mound showing the location
of the middle corner of the four donated sections, and, as James Bartholomew
informed us, often claimed "to have dug the first dirt for the State
Generals Tipton and Bartholomew were of opposing political parties - Tipton being a Democrat, but this did not induce a lack of respect for each other.
After Bartholomew's services ended in the State legislature, in which he had served with conspicuous ability, in 1825, he returned to his Clark county farm, which then consisted of two hundred and thirty acres of excellent farming land. In this year General Bartholomew was appointed a member of the board of commissioners to make deeds of the lands in Clark's Grant and at a meeting of the board, August 20, 1825, he was made its chairman. The records show but one other meeting of the board, October 15, 1825, which he attended. Dr. Andrew P. Hay was then also a member of this board, which held its meetings at Charlestown. This was the last public service of General Bartholomew mentioned, and according to Mr. Nugent, he gave his full time to his farm.
One of Mr. Nugent's stories of General Bartholomew concerned the finishing of the large brick house which the general erected on his farm. The painter had taken pains in graining the front door, and having completed a very handsome job of it, the owner came up to enter it, and not aware that the paint was fresh, put his hand on it to push it open, leaving an imprint of his hand very markedly. The painter was greatly put out about it, and grumbled at having to do his work over, but the general good-naturedly told him that it made no difference and to let it alone as it was, and so it remained with the mark of his hand plainly visible for nearly forty years.
It was while living here that Mrs. Bartholomew, the second wife of the
general, died from the result of an accident. She was quite fleshy and
was one day riding horseback, on the Charles-town and Springville road,
when a clap of thunder frightened her horse and throwing her, broke her
leg. This injury was the cause of her death within a very few days.
In 1830, by reason of being one of the bondsmen for Dr. Andrew P. Hay, who had been appointed by President Jackson, receiver of public monies at the Jeffersonville land office, and being called upon by the federal government for a settlement, a shortage was found. General Bartholomew, whose share of the defalcation amounted to some $10,000, was compelled to sell his farm to make good for his neighbor. It was Doctor Hay who had dressed the general's fractured arm at the Battle of Tippecanoe and they had been personal friends for many years.
General Bartholomew sold his farm at eighteen dollars per acre which, as Mr. Nugent mentioned, was considered a very high price at the time and taking his entire family, in 1831, he removed to McLean county, Illinois, and thus it was that Indiana lost the citizenship of one of her most noted men and one of her foremost history-makers.
He purchased six hundred acres of government land in one body and soon settled down again to farming and improving his land. He was also engaged at his self-taught profession of land surveying. He founded a town on his land and called it Clarksville, in honor of his old-time friend, Marston G. Clark. This town is not now even on the map, but was located a few miles from Lexington in the "Sangamon County."
The United States government had granted General Bartholomew a pension, for wounds and disabilities received during the 1812 war, of twenty-three dollars per month. This he drew each year at New Albany, Indiana, and it was his custom to make this annual trip by horseback, the usual route taken by him being via Terre Haute, Spencer, Bloomington and Salem. It was recalled by the son [James Currie Bartholomew] that one of these trips was made by the State capital, Indianapolis, which site he had assisted to select, and it was thought that this trip included the trail through Bartholomew county, which had been named for him - and of which the general and his family, as the son told us, were justly proud.
Another story mentioned by Mr. Nugent - and also related by the late David Deitz, the first treasurer of Bartholomew county, who had formerly been a neighbor in Clark county, was of the swarthy complexion of General Bartholomew, who was very dark-skinned.
When his neighbors heard that the new county being erected in the 'New Purchase' was named for their noted neighbor, some jocular friend suggested that 'the soil must be very black up there to suggest such a name.'
In 1840, when General Harrison was nominated by the Whigs as their candidate for President, General Bartholomew, who had always been strong anti-Jackson and a staunch Whig, promptly rallied to his old friend and companion-in-arms.
He regarded General Harrison, as the son [James] told us, as being the best off-hand speaker he had ever heard, and that General Harrison, when on the march, always encouraged his men and frequently made speeches to them to that end.
The Whig's battle-cry in 1840 was 'Tippecanoe' and our old hero, who had taken such an active part in that battle along with the candidate for President, was soon identified in the political campaign. He saddled his horse and on its back traveled through Illinois and Indiana and in Kentucky at the time of the monster Whig meeting, which was held at the 'Battle Ground' and where he presided. It was claimed that seventy-five thousand people were present at this, said-to-be, the largest political meeting ever held in Indiana. A similar, huge meeting was held by the Whigs of Illinois during the campaign, at Springfield, where General Bartholomew was again selected to preside.
The old hero is now, in 1840, seventy-four years of age and the prolonged horseback exercise during the campaign had been too severe for him, having aggravated a chronic trouble, the inflammation of the bladder, and returning to his home he became violently ill on election day, November 2, 1840, and died the next morning at one o'clock.
He was buried at the graveyard at the village founded by him, Clarksville, and near his side is the grave of Captain James Bigger, who had commanded a company under General Bartholo-mew in several campaigns against the Indians.
It was not until 1895 that a suitable monument was erected at the grave of General Bartholomew, but on each Memorial Day it has ever been marked with garlands of flowers by the members of the G.A.R. [Grand Army of the Republic of the Union Army of the Civil War], who appreciate and honor the memory of as brave a soldier as ever lived and who helped to carve out two great States of the Middle West, Indiana and Illinois.
General Bartholomew was not large of stature, but was described as weighing about one hundred and forty pounds, about five feet eight inches in height [William said 5' 9"], his form as straight as an arrow and of a very dark complexion. At the time of his death his hair was white as snow, although as shown in the two oil portraits now in the possession of the board of county commissioners of Bartholomew county the hair is as black as the crow's wing.
These portraits were painted in 1826 [when Joseph was 60], and one of them, the family picture, was in the reception room at the time of our visit. The son [James] told us that it was painted in Louisville and its old mahogany frame but adds to its ancient appearance. It was at the suggestion of the writer [Pence] that a loving son, who desired to add honor to the father, should make a gift of the family picture to the authorities of the county which had been named for him.
The first portrait of General Bartholomew was procured as a gift, through the writer, by the widow of Judge New, the mother of J. Thompson New, of Clay township, in 1880. This picture was resurrected through the publication in George E. Finney's newspaper at Columbus, The Columbian, of some correspondence concerning the hunt for a picture of General Bartholo-mew. This picture, an unfinished one, had been in the possession of the News for over half a century and had been painted by James New, a young art student, who died in the late twenties. The work was said to have been done in Salem, Indiana, and it is unquestionably a replica of the family portrait.
The writer [Pence] has the pleasure to own the Masonic apron and sash which General Bartholomew wore. These have been loaned to St. John's Lodge, No. 20, F. & A. M., at Columbus, and having been placed in a frame how hang on her walls. These were presented to the writer at the request of James Bartholomew at his death in 1895.
General Bartholomew was not a member of any church, but was a constant attendant of the Presbyterian. Mr. Nugent related that he was one of the most moral men he ever knew, and that he could not brook a vulgar or profane word from any one.
Here was a rare man, of the sort schooled in hardness for hard tasks. The crude environ-ment with which he had to do, so impoverished of all we call necessities, was an incorporate part of the man. That unkempt soil, now so rich in answer to the returning toil, was then possessed by matted grasses the impenetrable forests; the air was fairly redolent of malaria, a haunting, invisible, malignant legion of harrowing devils, which, peeved at dispossession, beleaguered with fateful vengeance the despoilers of their abode, the virgin soil.
These hardy sons and daughters of hardy fathers and mothers before them, told us little of their hardships. They little knew the stage they wrought for a civilization so soon to burst almost full-grown, and within less than a century. The mighty steam-boat, monarch and servant of commerce and civilization, made possible this western empire. Hardly a generation had gone, when the locomotive drove the steamer to exile. Now electricity haunts the locomotive with the dread of a new rival. A new conqueror arrives; gasolene threatens to conquer space, time, and the air trembles for its immemorial liberty. But let us not lay our emphasis here.
We were wondering, however, what our brave old hero of simple, but strenuous days, should say, could that Sangamon (sic - it was McLean) county graveyard give him back. Morever, let us test if these, the complex, be better days after all. Do they iron and nerve our arms to severer tests of the man and woman? Do the times, do the customs produce a more virile type of four-squared manhood? Do ethics, does religion mean any more to us, with our greater facility, than they meant to this man and to his contemporaries, who floored our stage for us to act upon?
Not ships, nor armies, nor millions make our land great, but her men. In the high virtues of physical, mental, moral devotion, do we now set our children the killing pace which our fathers set for us?
Grave it deeply on the stone which we loyal men of Bartholomew county carve to our hero, that it was a great man whom we honor; great in virtue, in vision, in self-mastery; a man who held only vice in derision; and dying poor, with meager acres to bequeath to his own, gave an empire to those whose deepest sin shall be to forget their great benefactor in the greed to exploit his bene-factions. Columbus, Indiana, March 15, 1896.
(General Joseph Bartholomew, Interviews with James Currie Bartholomew, son of General Joseph Bartholomew, published in the Indiana Magazine of History, Vol. XIV, December 1918, No. 4, pp. 187-303.) [Transcribed by Ben Bloxham in WordPerfect, 2 June 2004.]
Joseph Bartholomew was born in the state of New Jersey, March 15, 1766. When he was two years old his father moved to Laurel Hill, Pennsylvania, where he soon after died. A few years after the death of the father the mother married a man by the name of Smith who was very unkind to the Bartholomew children. Having been obliged to shift for himself from an early age, Joseph grew up to be a strong, self-reliant boy. As soon as he was able to carry a rifle he enlisted in the Revolutionary Army and assisted in driving back marauding Indians and breaking up Tory camps. He had very little opportunity to get an education, but he did acquire enough to become a good conveyancer and surveyor and did a great deal of that work at an early day as well as afterwards in Indiana and Illinois.
After the close of the Revolutionary war he joined General Wayne's forces in his campaign against the northwest Indians.
About the year 1790 he married Miss Christiana Pickenpaugh, by whom he had ten children. About the year 1795 he, with a small colony, floated down the Ohio river in barges and settled at the head of the falls of that river, on the Kentucky side on land on which the city of Louisville now stands. While living there he passed through many adventures with marauding Indians, of whom quite a number paid the penalty of their daring with their lives. While there he acted as a government scout and spy watching the movements of the Indians. Somehow the Indians found this out and made many daring efforts to take his life.
Of this warfare with the Indians we give two or three instances that will illustrate the condition of life in the whole western country at that time. After they had cleared land for corn and potatoes and planting was over, they determined to have a grand bee hunt. Bartholomew was to be their leader, but when the time came he was too sick to go. The company proposed to wait, but time was precious and they finally concluded to go without him. The next morning after the company started, the women went out to feed the horses, but not a horse could be seen. They reported to the general that the horses were missing. Every horse in the colony was gone. He got up from his bed to look into the situation, and finding Indian tracks he knew that the horses had been stolen. To lose horses was ruin to the colony, so he made an effort to recover them.
A twelve your old boy, the son of a widow of the colony, was left behind by the bee hunters, [and] Bartholomew asked that the boy go along with him in search of the horses, to which the widow gave her willing consent. The trail of the horses was easily found leading up the Ohio river. They followed the trail for fourteen miles and here lost all track of it as the horses had at this point gone into the stream. All seemed lost. Bartholomew thought if he could find a dry log he might float it across the river, which at this point is half a mile wide. Going up the river he came to some drift-wood and examining for a log suitable for his purpose he found a canoe and on getting it out it proved to be a good one. Finding a piece of board which served as a paddle, he came down to the boy, took him in and paddled across, landing just below the mouth of Fourteen Mile creek. After securing the canoe they found that the horses had ascended the bank just a little below the mouth of the creek. Soon Bartholomew and the boy were on the trail which went up the creek. They proceeded with great caution lest they might come onto the Indians una-wares. Bartholomew had no fears for himself but for the boy. A very close watch was kept as they passed up and down the bluffs of the creek. Night began to come on and fears were entertained lest the Indians had made good their escape. Just as it began to get dusk, smoke was seen away up the creek, at a place called, 'Horse Shoe Bend.'
Bartholomew, leaving the boy behind, went carefully through the undergrowth, getting into a ravine that led down to the Indians to a point where he was able to get quite near them without being seen. The Indians were in great glee, cooking their supper close to the bank of the creek; while the horses were hobbled out grazing near by. Going back to the boy he placed him in the ravine from whence he had seen the Indian camp, telling him to stay there while he went back a short distance across the creek and came up on the other side in order to get opposite the Indians. When there he would fire off his gun and yell as if there were several with him. 'The Indians,' he said then, 'will run towards you, when you must fire your gun off into the air and yell as if there were a great many of you.' Sure enough when Bartholomew fired off his gun the Indians ran toward the boy but the boy fired and yelled and the Indians very much terrified ran up the creek.
Bartholomew immediately crossed the stream and getting the horses hurriedly together they were soon on their way back. When they reached the river, Bartholomew paddled the canoe while the boy sat in the hind end, leading one horse with the others swimming after. By daybreak they had reached home again without a scratch.
Sometime after landing at his new home at the head of the falls of the
Ohio, one of Bartholomew's horses was stolen. About two years afterwards,
while hunting on the banks of the Ohio river, he espied a man a long ways
down the stream coming towards him on a white horse. He at once thought
it might be his horse, so concealing himself behind a tree he awaited
the approach. An Indian was on the horse. On an island in the middle of
the river were several other Indians who, on seeing Bartholomew behind
a tree, hallowed to the Indian on horseback that a white man was watching
him. Bartholomew heard them yelling, but the Indian failed to hear the
alarm. As the Indian drew near he shot and killed him. Going to the stable
after getting home that night he found his gray horse standing at the
door laden with a number of Mackinaw blankets, tent cloths, and camp kettles,
all of which articles were useful to the new colony.
At another time while out hunting six Indians came upon him, raised a yell and commenced firing. Bartholomew, who was very expert with the rifle, shot the foremost Indian and ran for his life. The Indians pursued as fast as they could and kept firing, but to no effect. Bartholomew, being very fleet of foot, could outrun the Indians, and as fast as he could load and shoot there was one less Indian to follow him. The Indians kept up the chase until there was but one left out of the six and he stopped and fled the other way. Bartholomew thought it dangerous to follow the other Indian as he might secrete himself and get the first shot, so he let the Indian go, having punished them well.
He lived in Kentucky until the territory in southern Indiana known as 'Clark's Grant' was ceded by the Indians to the United States. After this cession he moved across the river, and settled near where the present city of Charlestown now stands, which was for many years the county seat of Clark county. Here his wife died in 1809. Soon after the Indians, guided by the advice of Tecumseh and his brother, the Prophet, became very troublesome, the Indians insisting that no tribe had the right to sell their lands without the consent of the other tribes, and demanding that the whites leave the country, in which it was claimed they were intruders, and depredations by the Indians and reprisals by the settlers were frequent occurrences.
Gen. William Henry Harrison was at this time governor of the territory, and by his advice the government determined to establish a fort on the upper Wabash, near the Indian town of Tippecanoe, about nine miles from the site of the present city of Lafayette. An army was raised. Harrison, who was as skilled in his diplomacy as he was in his fighting, was put in command of the little army, and Bartholomew, as Colonel, who had also great experience with them, was second in command, having special charge of the infantry.
October 26, 1811, they marched from Vincennes with 900 men, 300 of whom were mounted. They completed a military post called Fort Harrison near the present city of Terre Haute. Leaving a garrison there, October 29, they pressed on towards Tippecanoe. The day before reaching that town a messenger from the government overtook the army with a dispatch directing General Harrison to treat with the Indians if it was possible. The army resumed its march, and the next day about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, when near the Indian town, it was met by a flag of truce from the Indians, saying that they wished to treat with their white brethren. The Indians said they would open up negotiations the next day. Harrison fell back to Tippecanoe creek and went into camp. General Harrison and Colonel Bartholomew felt sure that the Indians meant treachery. The camp was pitched in line of battle with orders to the men to lie on their arms ready to rise up and shoot. Colonel Bartholomew was made officer of the day, whose duty it was to place sentinels and see that they did their duty. The Colonel was on the lookout all night, feeling sure of attack before morning. His camp fire was kept up all night.
In recognition of his bravery and generalship displayed in battle Bartholomew was breveted Brigadier-General of Volunteers, and on account of his wounds was granted a pension [$23 per month].
About two years after the battle of Tippecanoe, Lieut. Zachariah Taylor (elected president in 1848) was besieged by the Indians at Fort Harrison, on the Wabash river. The Indians tried to starve Taylor out, and a draft of men was made to go to his aid. The son of the General Bartholo-mew was one of the men drafted [this was John, Joanne's 2nd Great-grandfather]. The wound of the General was still very troublesome, so much so that he was unable to do any farm work, he therefore put his son at the farm work and took his place among the drafted men. The friends of the General demurred strongly to this, saying it was beneath a man who had been a general to shoulder the musket as a private soldier, but he told them that he was unable to do farm work but could fight Indians, and he reported at the state capitol, Vincennes, with his rifle on his shoulder. It was necessary to move immediately to the relief of Taylor. General Gibson, the commandant, was very sick and could not lead the army, so he sent his major ordering Private Bartholomew to appear at his tent. He came, presented arms in the regular manner, was at once invited into General Gibson's tent and the army was placed in the care of Bartholomew, who immediately put it in marching order (General Gibson being carried along in a sling between two horses). So promptly was the army put in motion and expeditiously carried to Taylor's relief under the guidance of Brigadier-General Bartholomew that the president promoted him to be Major-General. As soon as the Indians learned that General Bartholomew was in command of the approaching army they retreated, knowing well the character of the man they had to deal with.
In the month of June, 1811, General Bartholomew was married to Miss Elizabeth McNaught, by whom he had five children, three of whom are still living - Mrs. Nancy Bradley, at Pontiac, Illinois, aged eighty-four; Mrs. Angela Merryman, at Tacoma, Washington, aged eighty-two; and W. M. Bartholomew, at Pingree, North Dakota, aged seventy-seven, he being the youngest child of General Bartholomew and the writer of this sketch.
The county of Bartholomew in the state of Indiana, Columbus the county seat, was named after the General. After the close of the war of 1812 and 1814 nothing of note transpired in the life of the General. He was several times elected state senator from Clark county, Indiana. In politics a "whig," he was presidential elector for Monroe, and was chosen to carry returns to Washington, D.C. When Indiana was admitted into the Union, a commission of which General Bartholomew was the head, was chosen to select a permanent site for the state capital. They chose the site where Indianapolis now stands, and General Bartholomew broke the first ground for the new city.
About the year 1828 the General met with a very serious pecuniary loss. Having gone on the bonds of Dr. Hay, as receiver of the government land office at Jeffersonville, Indiana, Hay became a defaulter in the sum of $60,000. This was more than Bartholomew could pay. He sold his fine farm in Clark County and turned the proceeds over to the government, leaving a large deficiency unpaid. General [John] Tipton, a close friend of Bartholomew, was at that time a member of the lower house of congress, put in a bill for the relief of Bartholomew, pleading past valuable services to the country, and that having paid all he could the government should cancel the bonds. The bill passed.
In the year 1830 he moved to the state of Illinois, McLean county, and settled in sec. 13 on lands in Money Creek township, now owned by John Bartholomew Dawson. In the fall of 1832 he sold this farm and moved onto lot 1, northeast 1/4 sec. 4, now owned by C. J. McNemar.
In the year 1832 the Black Hawk war broke out. The Kickapoo tribe of Indians were then living in Indian Grove, Livingston county, about twenty-two miles northeast of the Mackinaw settlement. The people living on the Mackinaw became alarmed lest Kickapoos would go on the war path, and many left their improvements and fled to Bloomington. Bartholomew went to see the Indians at Indian Grove, to ascertain if possible, their intentions. The chief said his warriors (200 in number) were anxious to help Black Hawk, but that he would not hold them in check. Bartholomew knew enough about Indian treachery to have little faith in the promises of the chief. Coming home the next day he sent runners to all the surrounding settlements to meet at his house the next day to talk over the situation and see what was best to do, and to bring all their guns with them. Next day twenty-five or thirty men came as was requested, bringing with them eight rifles, all there were in the settlement. General Bartholomew assured the people that he could whip that tribe of 200 warriors with the eight rifles. He told them that they could not afford to lose their improvements and crops, and by his advice next day they met with their teams, axes, and necessary tools to build a block-house fort. They worked like beavers, and by night the material necessary to build the fort was on the ground, and by night the next day the fort, capable of holding forty-five to fifty people, was in readiness to receive the Indians.
This was a massive structure made of heavy green hard wood logs, cut in the Money Creek timber only a few rods away. The logs were not even surfaced on the upper and under sides where they were laid one upon another, any spaces between the logs being filled with blocks or chinks of green wood, fastened in place by wooden pegs. There were no windows, the rough character of the work furnishing sufficient ventilation. There was only one door, of heavy oak, hung on wooden hinges opening inward and secured by a strong bar on the inside. It was two stories high, the floor of the first story being the prairie sod. The second story projected the width of a log over the first story, with loopholes through which to fire down on any enemy who might under the shelter of the overhang attempt to break in the door or set fire to the block house. It was covered by thick oak staves about four and a half feet long laid upon rafters of logs running the full length of the building and close enough together for the staves to reach from one to another of the rafters. These shingle-staves were held in place by weight poles or small logs laid lengthways of the building and across the shingles. The fort being designed as a temporary protection, had no chimney and no cooking was done within the building. A shed was built a short distance from the fort where the women did their spinning and weaving and other domestic work; the cooking in pleasant weather being done over fires in the open air outside. But enough of water in barrels and cooked provisions were always kept inside the fort to last a few days in case of a siege, for General Bartholomew was as prudent as he was brave. Port holes were made in the first and second stories and also in the floor overhanging the first story by sawing in the logs a hole like the letter x and removing the wood between the crossed saw cuts. This enabled those on the inside not only to shoot straight ahead but at an angle and so sweep the whole surrounding country with their rifles. The fort was practically invulnerable to Indian attacks as their rifle balls could not pierce the big oak logs and the green wood could not be easily fired even if the savages could have reached it.
Until the Black Hawk war was over the whole settlement slept every night in the fort; the men went occasionally to their farms to see after their crops. Occasionally the General would allow some one to go and kill a deer, which were very plentiful, but he usually kept the people close around the fort carefully guarding against a surprise, which he knew might come when least expected. The Indians did come to spy out the situation, one night there was an alarm. The General took his rifle and went out to reconnoiter, but directed them to bar the door behind and, lest they might open it to some English speaking Indian who might ask them to open the door, he cautioned those within not to open it to anyone unless they recognized the voice of the General. He found no Indians, but the next morning, in a mud hole near the fort, they found the tracks of three Indians. They evidently found the settlers too well prepared to make any attack upon them. The families that left prior to the building of the fort returned as soon as it was built. The fort was on section 13 in Money Creek township; about fifty rods south and twenty rods west of the cemetery on the land now owned by John B. Dawson. A stone suitably inscribed now marks the site of the old fort.
The next day he had to return to Illinois for he had promised to preside over the great Harrison meeting to be held in Springfield two days later. To meet this appointment he was obliged to ride on horseback from his Mackinaw home to Springfield, a distance of about seventy miles in a single day. Enfeebled by disease, by old age, by the severe labors of an active frontier life, and the hardships of two wars, the exertion proved too much for the old veteran. Before he was able to reach his home again he was taken violently ill and died at his Money Creek residence, November 2, 1840, the day of Harrison's election. He was buried in the Clarksville cemetery, where a beautiful granite monument has lately been erected to his memory.
General Bartholomew was a stoutly built man about five feet nine inches in height, with black hair and grey eyes. He was a very reticent man, and these incidents of his life were gathered by his children as he incidentally spoke of them. His encounters with the Indians were very numerous, especially while living in Kentucky and Indiana. He said he never shot an Indian with-out being sorry for the poor fellow, but it was a case of his life or the Indian's. He was a master of wood crafts, and a deadly shot with his rifle, a leader of men and utterly fearless. Hospitable, he was ever ready to help the new settlers find desirable locations and aid them to build their cabins and get a start in life. A coward he could not endure. His highest compliment to any one was, "He is a brave man."
(Transactions of The McLean County Historical Society,1899, pp. 311-319.)
[Transcribed by Ben Bloxham in WordPerfect, 2 June 2004.]
Joseph Bartholomew was born in New Jersey, 15 March 1766; married in Pennsylvania in 1787, Christiana Pickenpaw, who died about 1810 at the birth of her daughter Christiana. He married, second, in February 1811, Elizabeth McNaught, who was killed before 1831, in Charlestown by being thrown from a horse. He died in Owen County [sic - he died and is buried in McLean County], Illinois, 4 November 1840.
General Bartholomew was left fatherless before the age of two years and his mother moved shortly after to Laurel Hill, Pennsylvania, where his early boyhood was passed on a farm. Even when a boy, necessity required him to learn to use a rifle; at ten years of age he joined a scouting party in a campaign against the marauding Indians; and often, during the Revolutionary War, served as a patrol. After that war he move to Ohio, then the North Western Territory; remaining but a short time, he went down the Ohio River and settled in Kentucky, a little above the present city of Louisville, which was then being laid out. Here his early Indian experiences served him often, as the troubles with them were incessant.
On one occasion, Bartholomew being sick, and the other men of the settlement
all away, the Indians came in and took all their horses; as soon as he
could he followed them and, with only a boy of twelve to assist him, attacked
the Indians and recaptured and brought the horses back. He served, about
1793, two years as a scout and guide under Gen. Wayne; being at Fort Jefferson,
23 October 1793, and in the following very hazardous campaign against
the Maumees, serving in the very important but dangerous position of scout
and guide, with two thousand warriors under the chief, Little Turtle,
hovering close around them all the time.
In 1800 with a few daring neighbors, he moved across the Ohio river and settled near the present site of Charlestown, Indiana.
The settlers kept up a military organization with him in command. On the 21 September 1803, Joseph Bartholomew was commissioned by Governor Harrison, a Major in the Clark County Militia. He was promoted about three years later to Lieut. Colonel and about 1811 to Colonel.
In the celebrated Battle of Tippecanoe, Col. Bartholomew was severely wounded by a rifle ball in the arm, breaking both bones, in the early part of the action; notwithstanding which, and the pain and suffering therefrom, he remained with his command, directing and encouraging his men, until the close of the battle. Gov. Harrison, in his official report to the Secretary of War, after mentioning that the whole Infantry was formed into a small brigade under Col. Boyd, says, "Col. Joseph Bartholomew, a very valuable officer, commanded under Col. Boyd, the militia infantry, he was wounded early in the action."
For his distinguished services in this battle, Col. Bartholomew was promoted and commissioned Brigadier General of the Militia of Indiana Territory by the U. S. Government. The following resolution was adopted by the House of Representatives on the 4th day of December 1811:
Resolved ... that the thanks of this house be presented to Col. Luke Decker and Col. Joseph Bartholomew, the officers, non-commissioned officers and men composing the Militia Corps under their command ... for the distinguished valor, heroism and bravery displayed by them in the brilliant battle fought with the Shawnee Prophet and his confederates on the morning of the 7th of November 1811, by the Army under the command of His Excellency William Henry Harrison.
About a year after the defeat of Tecumseh at Tippecanoe, a draft was made on the militia for active service, in which John Bartholomew, a son of the General, was drafted. The General, believing his son unable to stand the fatigue and exposure of a campaign, took his place as a substitute.
The army to which the drafted men of Clark County were attached, was
under the command of General Russell, and marched to the relief of Fort
Harrison then besieged by the Indians. Early in the march, the commanding
officer was taken sick and sent for private Bartholomew (who, although
acting as private in place of his son, held the commission of Brigadier
General in the Militia of Indiana Territory) and placed him in temporary
command of the army. For his activity, perseverance and courage in this
campaign and several expeditions, he was commissioned a Major General
of volunteers by President Madison.
General Bartholomew filled a number of stations in the civil service with honor, serving as representative, senator and presidential elector. He was one of the commissioners who located, in 1821, the permanent capital of Indiana at Indianapolis.
He became security for the official conduct of a friend who proved a defaulter for a considerable sum, which caused General Bartholomew much trouble, compelling him to sell the rich and beautiful farm on which he had so long and happily resided and move from Clark County where he was beloved, esteemed and respected by every inhabitant; for all could bear testimony to his integrity and worth, and great regret was felt at his departure. He removed to McLean County, Illinois in 1830, and at the age of sixty-four began the world anew, opening a farm which he cultivated with his old industry and skill; and his honest face and amiable manners soon made his new neighbors warm friends.
He was a skilled trapper and in the latter part of winter and early spring followed that business for many years; setting his traps mostly on the Arkansas and White rivers.
He was made senior warden of the Blazing Star Lodge, No. 3 of Free and Accepted Masons of Charlestown, Indiana, at the time of their charter in 1816.
The County of Bartholomew in Indiana was so named in his honor by the State Legislature.
General Bartholomew was a self-taught, modest, truthful, brave and honest man who rose from obscurity and obtained distinction, solely by his merits.
He took a deep interest in the presidential campaign of 1840, and addressed several mass meetings in the interest of his old friend and compatriot William Henry Harrison; but was seized with his last illness a few days before and died the evening of the election. (See likeness [photograph] on page 175.)
"Here was a rare man, of the sort schooled in hardness for hard tasks. The crude environment with which he had to do, so impoverished of all we call necessities, was an incorporate part of the man. That unkempt soil, now so rich in answer to the returning toil, was then possessed by matted grasses the impenetrable forests; the air was fairly redolent of malaria, a haunting, invisible, malignant legion of harrowing devils, which, peeved at dispossession, beleaguered with fateful vengeance the despoilers of their abode, the virgin soil.
"These hardy sons and daughters of hardy fathers and mothers before them, told us little of their hardships. They little knew the stage they wrought for a civilization so soon o burst almost full-grown, and within less than a century. The mighty steam-boat, monarch and servant of commerce and civilization, made possible this western empire. Hardly a generation had gone, when the locomotive drove the steamer to exile. Now electricity haunts the locomotive with the dread of a new rival. A new conqueror arrives; gasolene threatens to conquer space, time, and the air trembles for its immemorial liberty. But let us not lay our emphasis here.
"We were wondering, however, what our brave old hero of simple, but strenuous days, should say, could that Sangamon county graveyard give him back. Morever, let us test if these, the complex, be better days after all. Do they iron and nerve our arms to severer tests of the man and woman? Do the times, do the customs produce a more virile type of four-squared manhood? Do ethics, does religion mean any more to us, with our greater facility, than they meant to this man and to his contemporaries, who floored our stage for us to act upon?
"Not ships, nor armies, nor millions make our land great, but her
men. In the high virtues of physical, mental, moral devotion, do we now
set our children the killing pace which our fathers set for us? Grave
it deeply on the stone which we loyal men of Bartholomew county carve
to our hero, that it was a great man whom we honor; great in virtue, in
vision, in self-mastery; a man who held only vice in derision; and dying
poor, with meager acres to bequeath to his own, gave an empire to those
whose deepest sin shall be to forget their great benefactor in the greed
to exploit his benefactions. Columbus, Indiana, March 15, 1896."
2. General Simonson's biographical sketch was available to George Wells Bartholomew, Jr. when he compiled and published his monumental Record of the Bartholomew Family, Historical, Genealogical and Biographical, in 1885 in Austin, Texas. This book contains 753 pages, and General Simonson's sketch is referred to on page 474 and footnote *.
3. "The act or business of drawing [up] deeds, leases, or other writings for transferring the title to property" (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition, pg. 253).
4. "A commission giving a military officer higher nominal rank than that for which pay is received" (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition, pg.142).
5. "Much of this sketch is taken from an account of the General's life written by his friend Maj. Gen. John S. Simonson, of Charlestown, Indiana." [NOTE: See George Spence biographical account of General Joseph Bartholomew which he obtained by personal interview with the General's son James Currie Bartholomew in 1894 and published in the Indiana Magazine of History (Vol. XIV, No. 4, December 1918, pg. 288). Has the account by Gen. Simonson been preserved?]