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John Bartlett

Known in later years as "old Jack Bartlett".

There is conflicting information about his birth. His father was also named John Bartlett and he married twice. The identity of Bartlett Senior's first wife is not known but his second wife was Mary Endacott. Both John Bartlett Snr and Mary Endacott had lost their partners in first marriages and each had children from their previous marriages. No record has been located of John Bartlett Senior's first marriage but it is known that Mary's first husband died in 1837 in Exeter in Devon, England. John Bartlett Senior and Mary Endacott married in Exeter in 1841.

John Bartlett Junior's date of birth, if known, would help to clarify his parentage. John's gravestone in Australia states that he was aged 75 years when he died in 1909. From this information, it has been calculated that he was born in approximately 1836. If this birth date is correct, it becomes less likely that he was the son of Mary Endacott as there is no suggestion that she had been unfaithful to her first husband. An alternative possibility is that John Bartlett's age at death was seriously erroneous. The informant for the registration of his death was his 21-year-old son, Edwin, who may have guessed or been misinformed about Jack. The death certificate also records an incorrect name for Jack's first spouse - young Edwin, the informant for the registration did not know the correct name of the mother of his older half-brothers. The death certificate states that John was age 33 and 46 years respectively at the times of his two marriages in 1868 and 1880 - consistent with his having been born in 1835 or 1836. In the registration of his death, the identities of the parents is stated to be unknown. And yet the Merrendee area was thick with Endacott relatives (as well as members of Bartlett's own immediate family) and it is difficult to believe that they would not have known if indeed "old Jack's" mother was their shared Endacott matriach. One detail on the death certificate is that he had been born at Land's End, Cornwall, in England. The only record located for a John Bartlett born in Land's End (Penzance) was a birth in December 1843 to parents named William Bartlett and Mary Binmore and this record has therefore been discounted. Compulsory registration of births, marriages and deaths was mandated in England from September 1837 and the inability to find a record of his birth suggests that it may have occurred prior to that date when the only near-birth records were christenings, if they occurred. Christenings were recorded in parish registers, many of which (but not all) have been copied, organised and indexed. These pieces of information may support the possibility that "old Jack Bartlett" was born prior to September 1837 which would be consistent with the age stated on his gravestone and death certificate. This leads towards the likelihood that he was the step-son of Mary Bartlett rather than her biological son.

Ian Bartlett, great grandson of John Bartlett Jnr, recalls being told by his father that John Bartlett came from a small town in Cornwall but located about 15 miles from Plymouth (Devon). Taking what he knew from his father's verbal accounts, he was able to conclude that there were only 2 towns which could be judged the likely birthplace of John Bartlett, namely Looe and Liskeard in Cornwall, both of which are about 15 miles from Plymouth. After considerable research he found that there was a John Bartlett, born in East Looe, Cornwall, on 2 June 1841, to a John and Mary Bartlett. The father's occupation is recorded as "master mariner" (a significant point in Ian's view, as he understands that Bartlee Jnr also later pursued a sea-going career and there has been a family tradition of naval service). This birth occurred six months before the marraige of John Bartlett and Mary Endacott and may be consistent with the suggestion from addresses on the marriage record that the couple were co-habiting at the same residential address in Exeter prior to the marriage. However the occupation of John Bartlett Senior was stated as "gardener" at the time of his marriage, just six months after the abovementioned birth when the paternal occupation was recorded as "master mariner". It seems difficult to reconcile the two and believe that the father in the birth in June 1841 and the groom at the marriage in December 1841 were the same person. A further difficulty is that the 1841 census occurred just four days after the abovementioned birthdate in June 1841, and the Bartlett household at East Looe contains two unknown young girls while the whereabouts of Mary's daughter from her first marriage are unknown (Mary's 10-year-old son was with her parents on census night), suggesting this may not refer to Mary Endacott.

Family legend is that Mary and John Bartlett Senior migrated to New South Wales between 1848 and 1850, and were accompanied by some or all of their children, including John Bartlett Junior. However no documents have been located in regard to the migration of any of the members of this family group. A contrasting family story is that John Bartlett Jnr came to Australia either as an indentured midshipman in the Royal Navy or as an Indentured Boy in the Merchant Navy. This practice was pretty well standard at the time and in fact continued well into the 20th century. Boys could be indentured from the age of 11 or 12 and usually for a period of 12 years. Ian Bartlett advises that, prior to his joining the Royal Australian Navy in 1951, his father gave him a brass and leather bound Naval telescope, which he said was the property of John Bartlett, and had been passed on through Ian's grandfather, George Henry Bartlett, son of John Bartlett. The existence of such a career-related souvenir passed on through the family, supports the view that John Bartlett had pursued a sea-going career in his early life. If John Bartlett Junior had pursued a sea-faring career, he may have deserted from the service either because of the preence of his extended family in Australia or the great gold rush of the era. If he was a deserter, he may have deliberately obscured some personal details to hide his identity, thus inadvertently confusing later generations of genealogists.

John's half-brother (or possibly step-brother), James Hooper Endacott crossed the Blue Mountains in the New South Wales gold rush and John Bartlett apparently accompanied or followed. They settled in the area then known as Merrendee, later re-named Yarrabin, between Mudgee and Wellington.

On 26 October 1868, John Bartlett, bachelor and gold miner of Merrendee, married Grace Lawrence, a spinster and domestic assistant also of Merrendee. The age of neither partner nor details of any parents were included in the registration. However a footnote states that Nathaniel Lawrence consented to the marriage as his daughter was under twenty-one years of age. (A record of Grace's birth in 1851 was found : NSW registration V18511777 141/1851).The ceremony was conducted at St John the Baptist church, Mudgee, according to the rites of the Church of England. Ian Bartlett, great grandson of John Bartlett suggests that John was still, at this time, a deserter from the Royal Navy or mercahnt navy and may have deliberately avoided recording his age in official government records.

Grace Bartlett, aged only 22, died in 1873 (registered twice NSW regn numbers 5317/1873 and 5322/1873) which must have coincided closely with the birth of the third son. It left John Bartlett a grieving widower with three young sons although, as noted below, the infant son was raised by someone else. Their three sons were:

On 18 September 1880, john Bartlett, widower and gold miner of Merrendee, married Mary Jane Finlay, spinster and servant of Mudgee, in St Paul's Manse, Mudgee, according to the rites of the Presbyterian Church (NSW registration 4077/1880). Although John's age was not recorded at the time of his first marriage, he was age 41 at the time of his second marriage and this places his birth year as 1839, not consistent with either of the above-suggested possible birthdates of 1836 and 1841.

The children of this marriage were:

 

John died in 1909 and his widow, although much younger than him, survived him by only three years. Mary Jane Bartlett died on 3 October 1912 in a mining accident at Merrendee where she was prospecting. The Index to Miners Accidents Reported in the Annual Reports of the NSW Department of Mines, 1906-1914, compiled by John Berry, records that Mary J. Bartlett, a prospector, was killed in the Merrendee Mining Reserve by a "fall of ground". Buried at Yarrabin cemetery. Her youngest children were still teenagers at the time.

 

Gravestones at Merrendee (now renamed Yarrabin) read:

In loving memory of our dear father,
JOHN BARTLETT
Died 16th July 1909
aged 75 years
Peace Perfect Peace
   In loving memory of our dear mother,
MARY JANE BARTLETT
Died 3rd October 1912
aged 54 years old
Rest in Peace

 

 

Gravestone transcriptions provided by Lynly Boyle,
a descendent of John Bartlett.

 

 

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

 

 


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