Jonathan B. L. Bartlett, 1849-1920

No. 4914 Jonathan B.L. Bartlett, 1849-1920

From American Series of Popular Biographies. Massachusetts Edition.  This Volume Contains Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Boston: Graves & Steinbarger, 1891.

Jonathan B. L. Bartlett, one of the most prominent real estate dealers of Dorchester, was born in the town of Jay, Me., October 11, 1849, a son of Ichabod and Betsey H. Bartlett.  He belongs to the Essex County, Massachusetts, family of Bartlett, whose progenitors, Richard and John, brothers, settled at Newbury in 1635.  His father was a son of Jonathan Bartlett and grandson of Ichabod Colby Bartlett, of Amesbury, Mass., who was taken prisoner by the British in the Revolutionary War.

Ichabod Colby Bartlett married Sarah Morrill, who was born in Salisbury, Mass., November 5, 1757.  She was a daughter of Jonathan and Hannah (Hackett) Morrill and a grand-daughter of Captain Jacob Morrill, a wealthy citizen of Powow Hill, Salisbury, Mass.  After the death of Mr. Bartlett she married for her second husband her cousin, Moses Hackett, of New Gloucester, only son of Henry and Mary (Tyler) Hackett and a grandson of Richard and Eleanor Hackett, and eventually removed to Minot, Androscoggin County, Me.,  Her father, Jonathan Morrill, served for a time in the French and Indian War in 1759, and her brother, Judah Morrill, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

Jonathan Bartlett, son of Ichabod C. and grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born in Amesbury, December 16, 1777.  He was married first in Minot, Me., to Mary Bailey, who was born September 5, 1774, daughter of Edmund and Abigail (West) Bailey, of Minot, and died November 17, 1832.  He was married, second, in Minot to Rachel Yeaton, a daughter of Stephen and Mary (Sawyer) Yeaton.  Shed died December 30, 1855.  Jonathan Bartlett died in Minot, January 13, 1856.  His children by his first wife, Mary were as follows: Jane, born October 31, 1799, who married James Wilson, and had four children; Abigail, born April 6, 1801, who died in Minot, unmarried October 10, 1830; Ichabod, father of the subject of this sketch, born January 38, 1803; Jonathan , born February 6, 1805, who married first Patience Bishop Johnson and second Sarah Timberlake; Edmund Bailey, born September 1, 1807, died October 5, 1838; Abner, born July 14, 1812, died October 24, 1839; Sarah, born August 5, 1815, married Isaac Chandler Toothaker.

Ichabod Bartlett, born in Minot, January 28, 1803, died in Boston, December 11, 1889.  He married March 10, 1825, at New Vineyard, Me., Margaret C. Look, of that place.  She was born July 16, 1802, and died March 22, 1844, at Jay, Me.  He married at Wilton, November 10, 1844, Betsey H. Look.  She was born June 27, 1816, and died July 10, 1858.  He married March 13, 1859, at Wilton, Mary W. Look.  His children by his first wife were: Edmund B., born January 18, 1831, at Strong, Me., died at Honolulu, H.I., July 27, 1896; Horatio, born October 22, 1834, at Jay, Me., died there in 1864; Jane B., born November 8, 1836; and two who died in childhood.  His children by his second wife, all born at Jay, Me., were: Ichabod L., born June 5, 1846; Margaret L., November 6, 1847; Jonathan B.L.; Betsey M.R., July 20, 1852; Charles L., October 21, 1854.  By his third wife he had no children.

Jonathan B.L. Bartlett obtained the elements of his education in the town schools of Jay and at Wilton Academy.  His first business experience was gained in a general store and post-office in Quincy, Mass.  In 1873 he took the position of superintendent of the Mattapan post-office, which he held for twenty-one years, bringing up the service in this branch of the Boston office so effectively that at the end of his incumbency it was called one of the best offices of its size in the country.  In 1894 he entered into the real estate business, becoming manager of the Blue Hill Terrace Company, his associates in this enterprise being Dudley Talbot, Thomas F. Temple, and George A. Fisher.  Subsequently this company was succeeded by the Blue Hills Trust Company, of which Mr. Bartlett and Mr. Talbot are the sole owners and trustees.

No man has been more active than Mr. Bartlett in pushing forward the numerous and important improvements that have been made in recent years, and which have resulted in bringing Mattapan to the front as a popular residential district.  The leading features of this improvement have been the opening up of the Blue Hill Boulevard by the extension and widening of Blue Hill Avenue from Grove Hall to Mattapan Square, the extension of the electric car service from Franklin Park to Mattapan, the building of the Blue Hill parkway, the extension of the suburban street railways, the taking for park purposes of the banks of the Neponset River and an extension of the parkway system from Canton Avenue to Harland Street, the building of a brook drain from Blue Hill Boulevard at the railroad crossing to the river, and a sewer on the boulevard connecting with the metropolitan sewer on River Street.  The consequent advance in the value of real estate in some places in Mattapan and the vicinity has been from four hundred to five hundred per cent.  Though there has been more or less speculative building in Dorchester during the last two or three years, but little of it has been in the Mattapan district.  Here the building has been by home-seekers, people who have erected residences for their own occupancy.

The Blue Hills Trust Company, with a down-town office at 85 Water Street and a home office in the square at Mattapan, has lately opened up and placed upon the market their twentieth tract of land — the old Godfrey estate on Canton Avenue, comprising seven acres.  They are also selling lots in other localities.  During the year 1899 they did a business of over one hundred thousand dollars.  Mr. Bartlett owns three business blocks in Mattapan Square, and has lately completed a new business block on the Milton  side of the river, which will be known as the Library Building.  Mr. Bartlett is very much interested in plans for a driveway up the river from Mattapan Square, to be known as Edgewater Drive, which is now being built, also in new depots for Mattapan; in fact, he takes a lively interest in everything that is broached for the improvement of this section.

Mr. Bartlett was elected to represent Ward Twenty-four in the Legislature of 1897 and re-elected for the following year, upon each occasion receiving a phenomenally large vote.  On entering the House he introduced a bill for modifying the laws relating to the attachment of property, which was passed.  From a published account of his legislative career we quote the following: “When the Elevated Railroad Bill came up, he took the matter in hand with his usual whole-souled earnestness, and was very instrumental in its passage.  He also advocated the extension of the metropolitan sewer into the town of Milton, which proved so beneficial to that town.  An important bill was the Metropolitan Park Loan Bill for parkways and boulevards.  In this matter one million dollars was appropriated, and even at this early stage the people of Boston and vicinity are finding benefit in the measure.  He helped secure the passage of the Drainage bill, a law which will prove an inestimable benefit to the citizens of Dorchester, and also the Columbia Road Bill, which became a law …

“One of the laws which Mr. Bartlett was instrumental in securing was the bill to continue Blue Hill Avenue across the South Bay as an auxiliary to the development of the city.  The bill for the exemption of the widows of soldiers and sailors from taxation received Mr. Bartlett’s support, and was passed.  The bill ‘Relative to Disabled Firemen in the City of Boston’ also received his vote and earnest support.

“The bill known as ‘Bartlett’s Aldermanic Bill,’ which passed the House with only twenty-six votes against it and the Senate with five votes against it, to be vetoed by the Governor, was another important measure which he championed.  But perhaps the most important bill which Mr. Bartlett was directly responsible for in its passage during his terms of office was when, upon the death of the late and deeply lamented citizen of Dorchester, Henry L. Pierce, it became necessary to incorporate his great chocolate works.  These works, representing nearly five millions of dollars, the largest of the kind on the continent, are now known and are incorporated as the Walter Baker Company, Limited.  One bill passed during the last session of the Legislature provided that a monument be erected on Dorchester Heights to commemorate the event of Washington’s strategy when he forced Howe from the city.  This bill received the adverse reports of two committees; but, the reports not being accepted, the bill was substituted and became a law, receiving Mr. Bartlett’s vote and his earnest effort for its passage.

“Mr. Bartlett’s work on committees has been satisfactory, he being the chairman of the Committee on Elections and a member of the Committee on Taxation.  He was also a member of the committee appointed to direct the celebration of the centennial of the inauguration of John Adams, as well as of the committee that was honored to receive the celebrated Bradford manuscript.  He also has had the honor extended to him by the speaker of the House to be called to the chair upon different occasions.  Mr. Bartlett is an effective and direct speaker.  It is not his eloquence that makes him a factor in the House: it is his earnestness.”

Mr. Bartlett, since boyhood, has been connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church.  He was superintendent of the Sunday-school for twenty-eight years, and has been a trustee of the society ever since its organization, in 1873.  He is a thirty-second degree Mason and a Knight Templar, a member of the Chickatawbut Club of Dorchester, of the Roxbury Military and Historical Society, of the Bunker Hill Monument Association, and of many social and benevolent societies.  He also holds an honorary membership in Post 68, G.A.R.*

Mr. Bartlett was married July 3, 1873, to Miss Fostina Richardson Fuller, who was born in Jay, Me., May 18, 1853, a daughter of John and Lucinda N. (Richardson) Fuller.  Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett have no children.

*G.A.R.  Grand Army of the Republic


Posted on

June 13, 2022

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