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John Bartlett

Details about his life are few. It is believed that he married and had at least one son, named Henry Bartlett from the first marriage. His second son, also named John Bartlett, is variously suggested to be also from his first marriage but also possibly from his second marriage. Family tradition recounts that John Bartlett was widowed and later married Mary Endacott. No record has been located of John Bartlett's first marriage. Mary's first husband died in 1837 in Exeter in Devon, England. John Bartlett and Mary Endacott married at St Thomas the Apostle church in Exeter on 13 December 1841. The residence at the time of marriage for both John Bartlett and Mary Endacott was stated as "Alphington Street" and it is therefore possible that they were cohabiting prior to the marriage.

Ian Bartlett, great grandson of John Bartlett Jnr, believes that he has located the birth record of John Jnr, showing he was born on 2 June 1841 in East Looe, Cornwall. If correct, the baby was probably born to John's second wife but was born six months prior to the marriage.

Family legend is that John Bartlett and his second wife migrated to New South Wales between 1848 and 1850, and were accompanied by some of their children. No documents have been located in regard to the migration of any of the members of this family group.

John was apparently known to family as "colonel" Bartlett but it is not known how he acquired that title. His occupation as gardener at the time of his second marriage suggests he was not a military man. Further, whereas Mary was able to sign her name for the official records, John Bartlett signed his "X" mark. If he had retired from the military, it is unlikely that he had been an officer. Perhaps he was just a bossy or officious person. However, the story becomes more mysterious because, if the abovementioned June 1841 birth record does actually refer to John Bartlett Jnr, complexity is added by the refernce to John Bartlett Snr as "master mariner". The inconsistency seems insuperable and some of the details reported above may be inaccuate.

Mary Bartlett died in 1852 in Sydney. Available records contain no mention of her husband at that time. In fact no documents have been found to verify that John Bartlett arrived in New South Wales but the family story is so consistent that it remains probable that he did emigrate with his second wife and family. Neither has any record been located in regard to his son Henry Bartlett. Mary Bartlett's burial in a "common interment" (pauper's grave) suggests the family had few resources and that John Bartlett's former occupation may have been neither a military officer nor a master mariner.

Presuming that John Bartlett did travel to New South Wales, a search of death records in that state identified only one person of that name with information sufficiently consistent to be him. (However it is possible that John Bartlett moved to another Australian colony/state or could even have returned to England after his wife's death.) On the balance of probabilities, it appears likely that he is the person to whom reference is made in New South Wales death registration 1863/1625. According to that record, John Bartlett, aged 69 years, died on 1st December 1863 in Clarence Street, Sydney. An inquest was held by the coroner on 2 and 3 December 1863 and recorded "a fit of epilepsy" as the cause of death. Burial occurred on the first day of the inquest. The record shows the place of burial only as "Sydney" and does not specify where in the city. Details of the deceased person's parents are recorded as unknown and his place of birth is recorded as "London". From half way around the world, "London" and "England" were sometimes interchangeable and while the deceased would certainly have been English, it would not be certain that he had been born in London itself. The death certificate includes no information about any marriage or any children but this would not be surprising if no family were present at the time of death. The informant of the death for registration purposes was the Coroner.

Presuming that this document refers to the widower of Mary Endacott, his birth and death are shown here as c.1794 and 1863 respectively.


A picture of housing at the corner of Market and Clarence Streets, Sydney, in later years can be found in flickr® and may give some idea of the living conditions for John Bartlett's last years.



John Bartlett in the
Family History Index
family tree brief family tree of
John Bartlett



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