Sophia Bartlett knew about loss. She had endured the
deaths of two of her children when they were very
young, and that of a grown daughter in 1878. In 1880
had come the death of Luther, her husband of
thirty-eight years. Two of her daughters had also
become widows; Carrie lost Frank in 1892 and Elma
lost John in March. Only Cora's husband still lived.
all, though, the last two decades had been good.
Sophia didn't see enough of Bascom, who lived in
Minnesota, or Ira in England, but her other children
lived close by. Luther Jr. and Carrie lived in
Chicago, Cora in Elgin and Francis and Chester still
lived on the farm in Bartlett. Luther would have
been surprised to see how much Bartlett had changed.
Over three hundred people lived there now, and there
family would have been glad to be able to offer Elma
and her little girl a home, and happy to help look
after baby Elma for a few days while her mother and
Chester's wife, Emma, went to visit the Bird family
in Naperville. Marion Bird and her brother in law,
James McKee, had arranged for a group to attend an
afternoon matinee in Chicago's newest theater.
Bartlett Iroquois Victims
Sisters in law Elma and Emma Bartlett. Emma was
married to Elma's brother, Chester.
Elma Julia Bartlett Adamek
(b.1862), age forty-one, wife of the late Algonquin, IL
native, John W. Adamek (1862-March, 1903), married
in 1900. Prior to John's death, he and Elma lived in
San Antonio, TX where he operated a wallpaper store,
Adamek Bros, with his younger brother, Joseph Adamek (1863-1936), at 501 East Houston St. After
John's death, Joseph found a new partner for the
wallpaper store but Emma took their two-year-old
daughter and returned to her hometown in Bartlett,
Illinois. She moved to the family farm where she'd
grown up, living with her mother, Sophia, and aunt
Francis Bartlett, a school teacher. Next door was
her uncle Chester, who had taken over the running of
the farm after her father died, his third wife,
Emma, and Emma's three children from a prior
Emma Ulrich Bartlett
(b.1854), Iowa native, married in 1884 to Charles
Douglas Bartlett (1855-1924), mother of four by her
ex husband, Samuel Lathrop Dolsen. Samuel's marriage
to Margaret "Etta" Bartlett, Charles's late sister,
had also ended in divorce. Luther Bartlett's sons
seem to have been marriage challenged. Luther Jr.
never married and in an era in which only five to
eight percent of
marriages ended in divorce, Bascom's first marriage
ended in divorce and Charles was divorced twice.
Brother and sister
in law James McKee and Marion Bird. James had been married to
Marion's late sister, Frances.
James Ward McKee (b.1839) had been
a widower for four years when he died at the Iroquois. He and his
late wife, Francis L. Bird (1837-1899), married in 1860, were the
adoptive parents of one child, Catherine Irene McKee Hadley
(1880-1946). Catherine married at age sixteen and at the time of her
father's death had two young sons. James's parents, David McKee and
Sarah Ward McKee, were among the founding settlers of DuPage County,
Wheaton College then started his own eighty-acre farm that would
eventually grow to 185 acres and involve crops and dairy farming. He
and Chester Bartlett, Emma's husband, were fellow officers in the
Illinois Farmers Institute.
Marion Irene Bird (b.1839), native
of Rockton, Illinois. Marion was a sister of James McKee's late
wife, Frances. She was the youngest daughter of eight children born
to Frederick Bird and Louisa Goddard Bird, early settlers in Chicago
and DuPage County and credited with founding Warrenville, Illinois.
For sixty years Marion crafted a floral crucifix from the hair of
her family members. It is on display in the Warrenville Museum.
Luther Bartlett (1817-1882)
South Deerfield, Massachusetts in 1817, Luther grew
up on his father's farm. At twenty-six he moved to
northern Illinois west of Chicago, purchased land,
married a fellow Massachusetts transplant and became
a sheep farmer. He initially stocked his farm with
sheep purchased in Michigan and herded over one
hundred miles to Wayne township in DuPage county,
Illinois. A wife was easier to acquire. Nine years
younger, his bride was a distant cousin, Celia
Sophia Bartlett (1826-1917).
the next thirty years the Bartletts accumulated
eleven hundred acres, twelve hundred sheep, one
hundred cows and nine children. From the children's
viewpoint, their father gave away forty acres of
forest in exchange for having a town named after
him. As adults they would learn to appreciate the
cost savings to a farm in having a train depot
located in the back yard.
Adaptability and far sightedness seem to have been
hardwired into Luther Bartlett. When the market for
wool proved uneven, he kept the sheep but planted
acres of wheat. By the time the first section of
Colonel Hough's Chicago and Pacific (C&P) railroad
made it to Wayne Township (on its way to Elgin and
the Mississippi), the Bartletts were breeding Durham
cattle too, and shipping their grain and herds east
to Chicago stockyards. When refrigerated cars became
commonplace, Luther was the first in the township to
go into dairy farming.