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[This page is part of the Jesse Bartlett-Frances Callaway Web Site]


Jesse Bartlett
(1791-1838)
and
Frances Callaway
(1792-1840)

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Jesse Bartlett's 1835 signature
Above is Jesse's signature as it appeared
in an 1835 letter to Gail Borden
(click here to read the letter)

Jesse was born on 5 Dec 1791 in Knox County, Tennessee,1,2,3 the second son and eleventh (and last) child of Nicholas BARTLETT and Mary MARTIN.3a   Frances, known as Fanna, was born on 29 Feb 1792 in Buncombe County, North Carolina,4,5,5a,6 the third daughter and ninth child of Thomas CALLAWAY and Juda Ann _____.6a,6b   Frances and Jesse married on 7 Sep 1810.7,8,9,10   

In Tennessee and Illinois

At a relatively young age Jesse owned considerable property in Tennessee.11   One source says that he was a major on General Andrew Jackson's staff in the 1813-1814 Creek War,12 part of the War of 1812, and another source says that he was promoted to major in the Battle of New Orleans,12a in 1815 at the end of the War of 1812; he was addressed by that rank in later years,12b but the only records relating to his military service that has been found state that he enlisted on 1 Dec 1812 in Capt. William Walker's Company of Mounted Militia, East Tennessee Volunteers, served as a private, was discharged on 28 Feb 1813, and was mustered out of service on 25 Mar 1813.12c  In 1824 he and his young family moved from Knox County to Illinois, first to Madison County, then to Vandalia (Fayette County), then to McDonough County.13  While living at Vandalia he held office in the General Land Office, and while in McDonough County he was elected county surveyor for what now is McDonough and Knox Counties.14

Migration to Texas

The family moved to Texas, then part of Mexico, after about seven years in Illinois, crossing the Red River in December 1831 to enter Texas.15,16  In May 1832 they settled on the Brazos River about three miles east of present Chappell Hill in Washington County, Texas.17  He continued working as a surveyor.18,19

The Texas Revolution

Jesse chaired a convention called at San Felipe on 14 Jul 183520 that considered the threatened invasion of the area by Mexican troops and which led to the Consultation of San Felipe that created the Provisional Government of Texas; and, as a representative of the Jurisdiction of Austin, he joined others to sign a 17 Jul 1835 letter to the Commandant of Bexar trying to defuse recent hostile acts by Anglo settlers toward Mexican authorities.21  

By March 1836 relations between the Mexican government and the Anglo Texans were belligerent.  A convention, elected in February, met in Washington-on-the Brazos in early March and promptly, on 2 Mar 1836, broke with Mexico by declaring independence and establishing an independent Republic of Texas.  Four days later, on 6 Mar 1836, Colonel Travis and all his company in San Antonio died in the Battle of the Alamo against Mexican troops under General Santa Anna.  The Mexican Army then marched eastward toward Washington, causing the Runaway Scrape--the flight of the delegates, the Texas Army under General Sam Houston, and a company of civilians.  Jesse joined the Texas cavalry as a private on 22 Mar 1836, furnishing his own horse and arms, and served until 10 April 1836, when he became quartermaster for the Second Regiment.22  During the Battle of San Jacinto on 21 Apr 1836, in which Santa Anna was captured, Jesse was part of the detail in Harrisburg, about thirteen miles away, guarding the supplies and the civilians traveling with the army.23  On 29 May 1836 Jesse was discharged from the Second Regiment at Camp Victoria, and he later gave receipt for $144.94 for his discharge at Columbia on 10 Oct 1836.24  In April of the next year he filed a claim for $200 for an eight-year-old bag horse lost in the service of the Republic on about 15 Jul 1836.25

Life After the Revolution; The Family's Wealth

After the Texas Revolution Jesse was elected an assistant commissioner of Washington County, Texas by the Congress of the Republic of Texas in December 183726 and around that time was busy laying out the riverport town of Warren on seven hundred acres of his Brazos River plantation.27   He was active in the Primitive Baptist Church and publication of the church's newspaper, Signs of the Times.28

To read a published article about Jesse Bartlett's founding of the town of Warren (in Washington County, Texas) and its subsequent history, click here

Tax records for Washington County, Texas for 1837 reveal that Jesse rendered for taxation property worth $7,036.00,29 consisting of:

2100 acres of land ......................................................................  Value $5,000.00
2 horses .....................................................................................                 400.00
22 head of cattle .........................................................................                 264.00
Miscellaneous property ...............................................................              1,372.0030

For taxable property valued at $7,036.00, he was assessed a tax of $25.15, to which was added a poll tax of $1.00.31  Further examination of the 1837 tax roll for Washington County gives an indication of his relative wealth.  He was one of 636 taxpayers listed.  Of them, 63 rendered larger numbers of acres, and only 35 had land exceeding his $5,000 in value.  Jesse's land must have been particularly valuable for the area; while the average value of an acre in the county was 81 cents, his land averaged approximately $2.38 per acre.  It is unfortunate that the nature of the miscellaneous property is not stated, because at $1,372 it made up about twenty percent of his taxable worth, surely a high percentage for a society whose wealth consisted almost entirely of land.  Although there were several residents of Washington County whose total wealth exceeded $10,000, Jesse with a taxable value of $7,036 was in the wealthiest eight percent.  Only 40 taxpayers were listed whose total value exceeded his.

Jesse died on 1 Feb 1838 in Washington County, Texas, at age forty-six.32,33,34,35 His estate included a plantation of about three thousand acres on the west bank of the Brazos River, where today U.S. Highway 290 crosses the river, which included the Warren townsite.   The value of his estate had increased considerably in a year and after his death was appraised at $19,778:36

Three thousand acres of land including the home                           
          plantation and improvements at 5$ ..............................................     $15,000
5/16ths of the town of Warren ..............................................................         2,250
2 yoke of oxen at 100$ - 31 head of cattle at 10$ .................................            510
40 head of hogs at 2$ - 3 head of horses - 200$ ...................................            280
Cash notes 1038$ - funded stock 700$ ................................................          1,73837

Jesse probably died at the plantation in Washington County, Texas.   He probably was buried on the plantation if that is where he died.   One source says that he was buried at Washington-on-the-Brazos,37a a town fifteen or twenty miles up the Brazos River from the plantation, but that seems an unlikely burial place unless that is where he died.  Frances is said to have remarried after Jesse's death, much against the wishes of several of her children,38 but no record of a remarriage has been found. She died on 20 Sep 1840 in Washington County, Texas at age forty-eight,39,40,41 and was buried there.42

Did Jesse's Ancestor Sign the U.S. Declaration of Independence?

Many in the family have thought that Jesse was a descendant of Josiah Bartlett of New Hampshire, who was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776.  For example, a 1905 newspaper article about Jesse's daughter, Clementina Millett, stated that her "greatgrandfather, Joshua Bartlett" [sic], was a signer,43 and her 1907 obituary repeats the mistake but changes the ancestor to her "grandfather, Joshua Bartlett" [sic].44   It seems clear that Josiah Bartlett, the signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, was not a direct ancestor of Jesse Bartlett.  The Bartlett bible states explicitly, in what appears to be Jesse's handwriting, that Jesse's father was Nicholas Bartlett45 and records 25 Jan 1742 as Nicholas's birthdate.46  Josiah Bartlett of New Hampshire was born on 21 Nov 172947 and thus could not have been Nicholas's father as Josiah would have barely reached age 12 when Nicholas was born.  An early family historian worked on the issue and concluded that there is no connection between Jesse and Josiah:

Of the many brilliant names of the American Revolutionary era, none shine with a purer lustre than that of Josiah Bartlett, who was born in Amesbury, Massachusetts, November 21, 1729.  At an early date, he chose for a livelihood the practice of the medical profession and commenced the study of the science when he was sixteen years old.   After passing an examination with honor at the close of his studies, he commenced practice at Kingston, New Hampshire.  He served as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress from 1775 to 1776 and from 1778 to 1779.  He was chief justice of New Hampshire from 1788 to 1790 and was the state's first governor from 1790 to 1794.   He warmly supported the proposition for independence, and when, on August 2, 1776, the members of Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Bartlett was the first who affixed his signature, New Hampshire being the first state called.

For several generations there has been a family tradition that the Bartletts from whom the author descends were direct descendants of Josiah "the signer."  It was our hope that this would prove to be true, but it did not.  I am sure this will be a keen disappointment to many of the kin.

The ancestral line to which Josiah belongs runs thusly:  Richard Bartlett (born February 21, 1648) married Hannah Emery.  Their son Stephen of Canterbury (born April 2, 1691) married Hannah Webster, and to them were born eight children:  Stephen, Joseph, Josiah (born November 21, 1729), Hannah (who died young), Mary, Simeon, Levi, and Hannah Bartlett.

Josiah Bartlett married his cousin Mary Bartlett, and by this union there were born twelve children:  Mary (born 1754), Lois, Miriam, Rhoda, Hannah, Levi, Josiah (died in infancy), a daughter (born 1767, died), Josiah, Ezra, Sarah, and Hannah.  Of these twelve children, eight came to maturity.  Three sons, Levi, Joseph, and Ezra, became eminent physicians.  Of the older daughters, Mary married Jonathon Greeley, Miriam married Joseph Calif, Rhoda married Reuben True, and Sarah married Dr. Ames Gale; these were the only ones to leave descendants.

The birth of Nicholas Bartlett II (from whom the Madison County, Illinois, Bartletts [and Jesse Bartlett] descend) occurred on January 25, 1742, when Josiah Bartlett was only twelve years old.48

Did Jesse Almost Sign the Texas Declaration of Independence?

Less easy to disprove--but so far impossible to prove--is the story that Jesse was elected to the Convention of 1836, held in Washington-on-the-Brazos in March 1836, which declared Texas independent from Mexico, but was unable to attend, or at least to sign the Declaration, because he was stricken by pneumonia.  This tale, apparently not nearly the family tradition as the idea of a relationship with Josiah the Signer, appears in the 1905 newspaper article recounting memories of Jesse's daughter, Clementina Millett, in this confusing paragraph:

Following the battle [of San Jacinto] with her husband she moved to Seguin, taking up their residence upon the headright of 640 acres granted to Mr. Millett and others who participated in the battle. Shortly after the death of her father occurred, a sudden attack from pneumonia preventing the signing of his name to the articles of independence for which purposes he had gone to Washington, then the capital, when taken ill.49

Jesse died in February 1838, almost two years after the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence.  If he had pneumonia on 2 Mar 1836, when the Declaration was adopted, he had sufficiently recovered three weeks later, when he enlisted in the Army.50  Had Jesse been elected in February 1836 to the March convention, he would have been one of the representatives of the Jurisdiction of Austin.51  Records of the February election exist in the Texas State Archives, but election returns for the Jurisdiction of Austin are missing.52  Other sources do not mention him as a participant in the convention.53  More research is needed if we are to resolve this intriguing tale.

Jesse and Frances's Children

Frances and Jesse had twelve children, listed below.  Click on a name to go to a page about that person and his or her descendants.

Eliza Bartlett, who was born on 16 Jul 1811 in Knox County, Tennessee, married Nathan Arnett McFadin on 24 Dec 1829 in Schuyler County, Illinois, and died on 20 Oct 1898 in Leakey, Real County, Texas

Nancy Bartlett, who was born on 2 Sep 1812 in Knox County, Tennessee, married James W. Crawford on 6 Sep 1838 in Washington County, Texas, and died on 28 Aug 1867 in Texas

Joseph Callaway Bartlett, who was born on 7 Aug 1814 in Knox County, Tennessee, married Amanda Monroe Estes on 18 Apr 1839 in Washington County, Texas and Martha Ann Elizabeth Norvell on 19 Jun 1856 in Navarro County, Texas, and died on 11 Sep 1888 in Rice, Navarro County, Texas

Clementina Bartlett, who was born on 29 Dec 1815 in Knox County, Tennessee, married Samuel L. Millett on 17 Jan 1833, and died on 1 Feb 1907 in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas

Juda Louisa Bartlett, who was born on 10 Sep 1818 in Knox County, Tennessee, married John C. Neill on 6 Sep 1838 in Washington County, Texas, married Thomas Ingles Smith, married Clinton McKamy Winkler on 24 Dec 1848 in Porter's Bluff, Navarro County, Texas, and died in Nov 1861 in Navarro County, Texas

Thomas Nicholas Bartlett, who was born on 22 Mar 1820 in Knox County, Tennessee and died on 15 Sep 1834 in Texas

Jesse Marshall Bartlett, who was born on 17 Jun 1822 in Knox County, Tennessee, did not marry, and died on 4 Feb 1851 in Texas

Frances Emmaline Bartlett, who was born on 3 Jan 1824 in Knox County, Tennessee, married John Beldin on 23 Oct 1839 in Harris County, Texas, married Col. Robert H. Porter circa 1842, married Dr. R. S. Tate on 23 Jul 1850 in Navarro County, Texas, and died on 5 Jul 1912 in Rice, Navarro County, Texas

James Farrar Bartlett, who was born on 9 May 1826 in Illinois, did not marry, and died on 14 Jan 1846 in Texas

Henry Clay Bartlett, who was born on 17 Mar 1828 in Illinois, did not marry, and died in 1848 in Mexico

Lucien Lusk Bartlett, who was born on 28 Nov 1829 in Illinois, married Martha J. C. Richardson on 12 May 1852 in Navarro County, Texas, and died on 22 Dec 1892 in Kaufman County, Texas

Cornelia Caroline Bartlett, who was born on 2 Mar 1833 in Texas and died there on 25 Oct 1833


Sources 

1. Holy Bible (Philadelphia, Pa.: M. Carey & Son, 1817), p. 677 (giving only the date). This bible was originally owned by Jesse Bartlett and Frances Callaway Bartlett and was in the possession of Ruby Lynn Shelton, Rice, Tex., in 1974. On the flyleaf, believed to be in Jesse's hand, is "Jesse Bartlett his Book."
2. James Alonzo Matthews and Lucille Pearce, comps., Pearce, Bartlett, Matthews, Smart, and Allied Families (Austin, Tex.: Eakin Publications, Inc., 1983), p. 186.
3. Lineage of Mrs. Bessie Lee Bartlett Buchanan, Founders and Patriots of the Republic of Texas: The Lineages of the Members of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (Austin, Tex.: The Daughters of the Republic of Texas, 1963), p. 556.
3a. Bartlett-Callaway bible, above, p. 677 (inscribed under "marriages" in what is believed to be Jesse's hand: "Jesse Bartlett (second son and eleventh child of Nicholas & Mary Bartlett) was born December the 5th AD 1791 and married the 7th of September 1810 to Fanna Callaway (third daughter and ninth child of Thomas & Juda Callaway) who was born February 19th AD 1792").
4. Bartlett-Callaway bible, above, p. 677 (giving only the date).
5. James Alonzo Matthews et al., Pearce [etc.] and Allied Families, above, p. 186.
5a. Lineage of Mrs. Bessie Lee Bartlett Buchanan, above.
6. Ellsberry Richard Lane, notes on Bartlett family history (stating that she was born in Buncam [sic] County, N.C. without giving the date).
6a. Bartlett-Callaway bible, above, p. 677 (inscribed under "marriages" in what is believed to be Jesse's hand: "Jesse Bartlett (second son and eleventh child of Nicholas & Mary Bartlett) was born December the 5th AD 1791 and married the 7th of September 1810 to Fanna Callaway (third daughter and ninth child of Thomas & Juda Callaway) who was born February 19th AD 1792").
6b. Ellsberry Richard Lane, notes on Bartlett family history.
7. "Descendants of Joseph Callaway of Virginia," The Callaway Journal, vol. 5 (1980), p. 77 (giving 9 Jul 1810 as marriage date).
8. Bartlett-Callaway bible, above, p. 677 (inscribed under "marriages" in what is believed to be Jesse's hand: "Jesse Bartlett (second son and eleventh child of Nicholas & Mary Bartlett) was born December the 5th AD 1791 and married the 7th of September 1810 to Fanna Callaway (third daughter and ninth child of Thomas & Juda Callaway) who was born February 19th AD 1792").
9. James Alonzo Matthews et al., Pearce [etc.] and Allied Families, above, p. 186.
10. Lineage of Mrs. Bessie Lee Bartlett Buchanan, above.
11. James Alonzo Matthews et al., Pearce [etc.] and Allied Families, above, p. 186.
12. Ibid.; Ellsberry Richard Lane, notes on Bartlett family history.  Considerable information on the Creek War is at http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~cmamcrk4/crkwr1.html.
12a. Mary Smith Fay, War of 1812 Veterans in Texas (Greenville, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1994), p. 24.
12b. Resolutions of meeting in San Felipe de Austin, 14 Jul 1835, in The Papers of the Texas Revolution 1835-1836, John H. Jenkins, ed. (Austin, Tex.: Presidial Press, 1973), vol. 1, item 374, pp. 238-39.
12c. War of 1812 military records relating to Jesse (or Jessee) Bartlett, provided by Ann McFadin Miller, Corpus Christi, Tex., to Roger Bartlett, 11 Jul 1973.
13. James Alonzo Matthews et al., Pearce [etc.] and Allied Families, above, p. 186.
14. Ibid.
15. Ibid.
16. Joseph C. Bartlett, letter to Gen. Robertson, 9 May 1873, "J. C. [Joseph Callaway] Bartlett 1873-76" folder, box 2H118, Texas Veterans' Association Papers, A-Fn, Center for American History, University of Texas, Austin, Tex. (stating that he arrived in Texas in December 1831; presumably he was traveling with Jesse, Frances, and the rest of the family).
17. Ibid.; Ellsberry Richard Lane, notes on Bartlett family history (stating that they settled "on the Brazos where the railroad crosses now at Hempstead," having "landed on the Brazos in May [1832]"). 
18. See, for example, Jesse Bartlett, letter to Gail Borden [Jr.], 20 May 1835, box 2A160, Austin Papers, Center for American History, University of Texas, Austin, Tex. (reporting on surveying activities).
19. See, for example, Virginia H. Taylor Houston, "Surveying in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, vol. 65, p. 204, at p. 215 (Oct 1961) (identifying him as a surveyor who was active in the profession during the Republic of Texas era).
20. Resolutions of meeting in San Felipe de Austin, 14 Jul 1835, in The Papers of the Texas Revolution 1835-1836, John H. Jenkins, ed. (Austin, Tex.: Presidial Press, 1973), vol. 1, item 374, pp. 238-39.
21. Jesse Bartlett and others, letter to Commandant of Bexar, 17 Jul 1835, in The Papers of the Texas Revolution 1835-1836, John H. Jenkins, ed. (Austin, Tex.: Presidial Press, 1973), vol. 1, item 392, pp. 249-50.
22. Box 2-12/385, Audited Military Claims, Comptroller of Public Accounts, State of Texas, Archives Div., Texas State Library.
23. Certificate no. 86 for 640 acres of donation land, issued 15 May 1838, General Land Office, State of Texas.
24. Box 2-12/385, Audited Military Claims, above.
25. Ibid.
26. Telegraph and Texas Register, Houston, Tex., 3 Mar 1838, p. 2, col. 4.
27. Judy and Nath Winfield, "Forgotten Towns Along the Brazos--Part One: Warren," The Chappell Hill Historical Society Review, vol. 2, p. 7 (1996).
28. James Alonzo Matthews et al., Pearce [etc.] and Allied Families, above, p. 187.
29. Washington Co., Tex., Assessor's Return, 1837, pp. 5-9, Comptroller of Public Accounts, State of Texas, roll 896 (old series), Genealogy Div., Texas State Library.
30. Ibid.
31. Ibid.
32. Bartlett-Callaway bible, above, p. 680 (giving only the date) (stating that he died 1 Feb 1838, "aged 46 years 1 month and 26 days").
33. James Alonzo Matthews et al., Pearce [etc.] and Allied Families, above, p. 187.
34. Ann McFadin Miller, 3448 Aransas St., Corpus Christi, Tex. 78411, family group record sent to Roger Bartlett, 9 Oct 1974.
35. Lineage of Mrs. Bessie Lee Bartlett Buchanan, above (giving only the date).
36. Inventory of property of Estate of Jessie [sic] Bartlett, Washington Co., Tex., Probate Minutes, bk. A, p. 348.
37. Ibid.
37a. Mary Smith Fay, War of 1812 Veterans in Texas, above, p. 24.
38. James Alonzo Matthews et al., Pearce [etc.] and Allied Families, above, p. 187.
39. Bartlett-Callaway bible, above, p. 680 (giving only the date).
40. James Alonzo Matthews et al., Pearce [etc.] and Allied Families, above, p. 187.
41. Lineage of Mrs. Bessie Lee Bartlett Buchanan, above (not naming the county).
42. Ann McFadin Miller, family group record, 9 Oct 1974, above.
43. "Memories of Pioneer Days," Houston Chronicle, 12 Nov 1905, sec. 1, p. 22, cols. 2-3.
44. "Texas Pioneer Woman Dies in Panther City," San Antonio Daily Express, 3 Feb 1907, p. 9.
45. Bartlett-Callaway bible, above, p. 677 (inscribed under "marriages" in what is believed to be Jesse's hand: "Jesse Bartlett (second son and eleventh child of Nicholas & Mary Bartlett) was born December the 5th AD 1791 and married the 7th of September 1810 to Fanna Callaway (third daughter and ninth child of Thomas & Juda Callaway) who was born February 19th AD 1792").
46. Ibid.
47. Josiah Bartlett, 1729-1795, http://www.colonialhall.com/bartlett/bartlett.php.
48. James Alonzo Matthews et al., Pearce [etc.] and Allied Families, above, pp. 153-54.
49. "Memories of Pioneer Days," above.
50. See text supported by note 22 above.
51. Jesse Bartlett and others, letter to Commandant of Bexar, 17 Jul 1835, above (identifying him as a representative of the Jurisdiction of Austin).
52. Jean Carefoot, Archival Services, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, electronic mail to Roger Bartlett, 13 Oct 1999.
53. See, for example, Paul Lack, ed., The Diary of William Fairfax Gray: From Virginia to Texas, 1835-1837 (Dallas, Tex.: De Golyer Library & William P. Clements for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University, 1997) (the closest record to a journal of the Convention of 1836 known to exist); Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence (Salado, Tex.: The Anson Jones Press, 1954).


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