John W. Bartleson, president of the Beloit State Bank, of Beoit, Kan., is a striking example of what ability, coupled with industry and close application to business, will do for the average poor boy who has the determination to win. John W. Bartleson is a native of Illinois, and was born at Grand Chain, August 16, 1846. He is a son of John and Mary W. (Chapman) Bartleson. The father was a native of Virginia, born in 1801, and in 1843 removed to southern Illinois. He was a tailor by occupation and worked at his trade until the breaking out of the war with Mexico, when he, together with two sons, Edwin and Augustus C., enlisted in an Illinois company, and upon its organization was elected lieutenant of the company, which was assigned to the Second Illinois infantry, and was killed at the battle of Buena Vista, together with all the officers of his company. Our subject's mother was a native of Stark county, Ohio, and was born in 1809 of New England parents. John. W. Bartleson was one of a family of thirteen children, twelve of whom grew to maturity and reared families, one dying in infancy. Their names are as follows in the order of birth: Edwin, born in 1826, deceased; Augustus, born in 1827, retired farmer and stockman, Muskogee, Okla.; Robert B. and William W. (twins), born in 1829, both deceased; Amanda, born in 1830, deceased; Eliza S., born in 1832, now the widow of N. P. Tarr, Mound City, Ill.; James, born in 1834, now a farmer and stockman at Olmsted, Ill.; Warren K., born in 1835, wholesale grocer, Jacksonville, Fla.; Aratus, born in 1838, deceased; Mary Jane, born in 1839, deceased; Alonzo, born in 1844, deceased, and John W., the subject. Eight of the brothers served in the late Civil war, all returning to their homes at the close of the war except Alonzo, who was a member of the Eighteenth Illinois infantry, who died while in camp at Cairo, Ill. The mother died January 4, 1868, at Grand Chain, Ill. She lived to see all her children grown up and married. They all lived near the old homestead and in her declining years the mother took much pleasure and satisfaction in visiting among them. She was a devout Christian woman and a lifelong member of the Christian church. Mr. Bartleson was educated in the common schools of Pulaski county, working on the farm in the summer and attending school in the winter terms.
About the time that young Bartleson was approaching the age of manhood the country was absorbed in the greatest struggle of its existence for the preservation of the Union, and while yet a mere boy he enlisted October 9, 1863, in Company I, Eighty-first Illinois volunteer infantry. His brother, James, was captain of the company. The regiment operated with the Army of the Tennessee and participated in many important expeditions and engagements. At the battle of Guntown, Miss., June 10, 1864, one-hundred and twenty-five members of this regiment were taken prisoners and private John W. Bartleson was one of the number. He was confined in the Confederate prisons at Andersonville, Milan, and Savannah until November 26, when he was paroled and sent to Annapolis, Md. From there he went home on a furlough, where he remained for a time, when he went to Benton Barracks, St. Louis, Mo., where he was exchanged, in April, 1865, and returned to his regiment at Montgomery, Ala., remaining in the service until July 14, 1865, when he received an honorable discharge. Thus closed a military career of which any man might be justly proud. He endured the many hardships incident to soldier life, on the march, in camp and on the field of battle, but the supreme test of human endurance was life in the Confederate prisons, and Mr. Bartleson had his full share of this feature of war. He was slightly wounded at Guntown, Miss. At the close of the war he returned to his Illinois home, where he remained until 1872, when he came to Kansas, locating a soldier's claim in Center township, Mitchell county. During the first five years in Kansas he lived in a dug-out and in 1878 built a frame house, which was his home until 1886, when he removed to Beloit, where he has since resided. Mr. Bartleson has prospered in all his undertakings and has acquired a great deal of land. He owns several well improved and valuable farms, in Mitchell county.
Mr. Bartleson was first married February 28, 1867, in Massac county, Illinois, to Miss Melissa C. Copeland. She died March 19, 1870, at Grand Chain, Ill. To this union were born two children, both of whom died in infancy. On February 8, 1872, Mr. Bartleson was united in marriage to Miss Mary L. Anderson, of Allens Spring, Ill. They became the parents of ten children, seven of whom are living, as follows: Clarence P., born March 16, 1875, now cashier of the Beloit State Bank, Beloit, Kan.; Maurice W., born October 10, 1876, salesman, Kansas City, Mo.; Silas L., born February 10, 1878, farmer, Mitchell county; Elsie L., born May 26, 1879, married Ray L. McClelland, bookkeeper, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Maud E., born December 19, 1882, now the wife of Ralph E. Boyles, electric engineer, Montreal, Canada; John H., born March 22, 1884, building contractor, Denver, Col.; and Mary B., born June 16, 1888, attending college at Pittsburgh, Pa. The wife and mother departed this life December 31, 1902, and on October 5, 1910, our subject was married to Miss Ida M., daughter of William C. and Mary A. (Piper) Cochran, of Beloit, Kan., the former a native of Monmouth, Ill., where he was born November 13, 1838, and the latter was a native of Glasgow, Ky. They now reside in Beloit Kan. William C. Cochran is a veteran of the Civil war, having served in Company D, Thirteenth Iowa volunteer infantry, and was discharged on account of physical disabilities. In 1870 he came to Mitchell county and farmed until within the last few years, when he came to Beloit, where he has since lived a retired life. For years John W. Bartleson has been a prominent figure in central Kansas finance. In 1887 the Beloit State Bank, one of the pioneer banking institutions of Mitchell county, was organized and he became one of the directors. He became its president in 1898 and has since that time been a dominant factor and the active head of this institution, which is considered one of the substantial banking houses of the State. Mr. Bartleson is also interested in the insurance and loan business and has other extensive business interests in addition to these. He has had an active and successful career and is one of the progressive and prominent business men of the State. Politically he has always been an active Republican and served as register of deeds of Mitchell county from 1886 to 1890, which has been the extent of his office holding career, as he has been primarily a business man and not a politician. He is a member of the Christian church at Beloit, Kan., and also a member of Mt. Vernon Lodge No. 145, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Beloit Chapter No. 47, Royal Arch Masons; Cyrene Commandery No. 23, Knights Templar, Beloit; a Noble of the Mystic Shrine, of Isis Temple, Salina, Kan., and is a Thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason. He is also a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, Beloit Post No. 147; the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Sons and Daughters of Justice.Pages 86-89 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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