Captain John L. Bartlett
Captain John L. Bartlett, whose lake-faring life dates back to 1851, takes rank among the oldest masters in active service on shipboard. He is a descendant of good old New England stock, and is therefore still full of vitality and energy, and his long experience makes him a valuable man in his present employ, especially as a Georgian Bay pilot. He was born at Clayton, N.Y., April 21, 1830, a son of Joseph and Charlotte (Farr) Bartlett. The father was born in Bennington, Vt., in 1782, and died near Forestville, Mich., in 1856, while the mother was a native of Chesterfield, Chester Co., N.H., and died in the town of Fine, St. Lawrence Co., N.Y., in 1847. The paternal grandfather was John Bartlett, a son of Josiah Bartlett, who was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The grandmother was Mrs. Olive (Collard) Bartlett, a daughter of Joseph Collard, who was a petty officer in the British navy, and took an honorable part in the colonial English and French Wars.
Captain Bartlett acquired his education in the public schools of Clayton, N.Y., which he attended until he reached the age of fifteen years. He then went to Fine, St. Lawrence Co., N.Y., where he worked on a farm with his father until the death of his mother, at which time he was seventeen years old. It was in 1851 that he went to Clayton and shipped on the schooner Utica with Capt. James Borland, and after three months he joined the schooner G.S. Wickes as seaman. The next season he went before the mast on the schooner Patrick Henry with Capt. John Estes, and in 1853 on the schooner Montezuma. In the spring of 1854 he shipped on the schooner Marshfield, and closed the season on the bark Danube; began the season of 1885 on the Milwaukee Belle, and finished as master on the schooner Cambria. In 1856 he became mate of the brig S.C. Walbridge, going thence to Julia Smith as master in 1857, and remained on her till August of that year, when she was sold, then joined the schooner J.F. Tracy as mate, and during the season of 1858 accepted the same position on the schooner, Wm. H. Craig.
The season of 1859 found him serving as mate on the bark Sonora, and in 1860 began the season as mate on the schooner Rebecca, closing on the schooner Comely as master, and in 1861 filled a like position on the schooner Petrel; 1862 came out as second mate on the schooner Nightingale, but after making one trip was appointed master; master of bark Fame in 1863; 1864-65 also in command of the schooner Walrus; 1866 became mate of the schooner John Hibbard, laying her up in the fall as master.
In the spring of 1867 Captain Bartlett took out master's papers, which were unlimited, and came out in command of the new steamer Henry Howard. In the spring of 1868 he was appointed master of the schooner Home, and sailed her three seasons; 1871 went as mate on the schooner Kate Richmond; 1872 was mate on the bark Wells Burt, and the following seasons filled a like position on the vessels named: 1873, Grace Murray; 1874, Narraganssett; 1875, L.W. Perry; 1876, E.C. Roberts; 1877, steambarge H.C. Schnoor, and in September of that season became master of the schooner Sasco; 1878 acted as mate on the schooner Frank Perew, and in 1879 was in the same capacity on the schooner Carlingford. During 1880 went on the Melvina in the same position, and remained as such till July, 1881, when he became her master for the balance of the season. During the season of 1882 officiated as mate on the Ira Lafrinier and the tug Peter Smith, remaining on the latter boat and in the same position till July, 1883, when he went as mate of the tug Kate Winslow; and in 1884-85 served in like capacity on the William Goodnow; 1886 joined the schooner M.F. Merrick as her mate, and finished the season on the tug Ella M. Smith. The season of 1887 found him mate of the Niagara, and that of 1888 master on the same vessel, going, in 1889, again as mate of the Peter Smith, after which he filled the same position on the Ella M. Smith for the remainder of the season of 1889, and again joined her in 1890. The next two seasons he was mate on the Peter Smith, and in 1893 was transferred to the fine tug Sweepstakes as master. This was followed by two seasons on the Lake tug Niagara as mate. In the spring of 1896 he was appointed master of the Peter Smith, and continued to sail her up to 1898, thus rounding out a period of forty-seven years without losing a season ashore. Captain Bartlett possesses the happy faculty of never getting into trouble with his boats, thereby winning the confidence and esteem of the owners.
Socially, he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Royal Arcanum. On December 14, 1856, Captain Bartlett wedded Miss Amelia E., daughter of Harvey J. Brown, who was a son of Major Brown of Revolutionary fame, noted for his patriotic quarrel with Benedict Arnold, having accused the latter of attempting to sell the stronghold of West Point to Sir Guy Castleton, then in command of the British fleet. The children born to this union are: Delos; Harvey C.; Rosella, now the wife of Frank Colborn, of Cripple Creek, Colo.; Estella M.; Schuyler; Omar D.; and Cora Bird, now wife of William Armor, also of Cripple Creek. Mrs. Bartlett died on March 20, 1889, and on December 4, 1897, the Captain chose for his second wife Zuba Kendall, daughter of Solomon Gotham, of Clayton, N.Y. The family residence is in Clayton, New York.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.