History of the Restoration Movement

Joseph Bartlett


The Life of Joseph Bartlett

JOSEPH BARTLETT. (1781—1861.)—Joseph Bartlett was born in Brookfield, Mass., December 17, 1781. He moved to Vermont, with his parents, in 1783. He was converted in Kingston, Vermont, in 1792, and was baptized by Robinson Smith at Barnston, Lower Canada, in 1801. Soon after, he joined the Freewill Baptist Church. In 1809, he moved to Western New York, and for some time lost his interest in religion. In 1819, he began to preach, and in 1822, he joined the Christian Church in Collins, Erie County, N. Y. He labored for many years with that church; in the meantime, he traveled considerably in other states and Canada, and was ordained by Elders William True, Joseph Bailey, and Simon Bishop. Later, he moved to Southern Michigan.

He was a man of advanced ideas in regard to a better organization of churches and conferences. His health was often poor but his labors were quite extensive.

Z. S. Vail says, in the “Palladium,” Vol. XVII, page 57: “The last years of his life were sad years. In August, 1846, he gathered his little all together, and took his family to White Pigeon, Mich., where, in a little over a year, he buried within a month of each other a wife and a daughter. It was a sickly season, in a new country, aud the Elder himself was down with the ague and all his worldly means exhausted. Being assisted by brethren, he started on his way back to New York. At Maumee, O., his horse was maimed. After waiting eighteen days for the horse to become better, it was finally given up, and another animal was given him by his friends. Sick, tired, and discouraged, lonely and sad, with the companion of his youth and a lovely daughter buried in a strange country, he made his way, on April 12, 1848, to my home in York, Sandusky County, O.”

He visited New York in 1860, where he had a warm welcome from the churches. He died in Alton, Kent County, Mich., about eighty years old.

-E. W. Humphreys, Memoirs of Deceased Christian Ministers, or, Brief Sketches of the Lives and Labors of 975 Ministers Who Died Between 1793 and 1880, pages 52-53

David Bloem's Email, 05.28.2024

"The current person/preacher of interest is Joseph Bartlett (1781-1861). I live approximately 15 miles south of the almost extinct village of Alton, Michigan. The note on your website says that he might be buried in White Pigeon, Michigan. I have been to the Alton cemetery and can confirm that there is a headstone there. Are you aware if there is more information known of him, other than in Mr. Humphreys' book?

"I was surprised to find a flag next to the headstone, for the Memorial Day recognition. There are no dates on the headstone. However, the headstone calls out his military service. Purely speculating at this point, and using Mr. Humphreys notes, I'd say in 1809 when he moved to Western New York, he joined the military. That would represent the "for some time lost interest in religion" note of Mr. Humphreys. Then, possibly retiring from the military in 1819, he began to preach. And in 1822, began to stand in the pulpit for the congregation in Collins, New York, where there is an older building, although now a Methodist. From there it is even more difficult to speculate. Mr. Humphreys says, he traveled around then moved to "Southern Michigan." Alton, and this area, today, is considered West Michigan. However, White Pigeon is most definitely "Southern Michigan." Both places were coming into their own around 1830. There is a clue to why he may have been in Alton, Michigan when he died. Mr. Humphreys' notes say that he had "ideas in regard to a better organization of churches and conferences." The historical marker at Alton says, that in 1842 a "Christian Church Society" was organized. Though his name is not listed on the marker, brother Bartlett may have had a hand in that and was on sight when his time came.

"So, I took some pictures. I did also, afterward, find the grave on that website (find-a-grave)."

Grave Location

Joseph Bartlett is buried in Alton Cemetery (GPS below) on Lincoln Lake Ave., Lowell, Kent County, Michigan.

GPS Location of Alton Cemetery

Alton Pioneer Village
In the early 1830s the
settlement known as Alton
grew up in this vicinity. A
log schoolhouse, the first
in the township, was built
on this corner in 1839. In
1842, Gideon Hendricks and
Newcomb Godfrey organized
the Christian Church Society,
an in 1868 the society
built this structure. The
Honorable Walter White,
justice of the peaace for
the village, served as the
area's first postmaster from
1851-1866. W. H. Keech
and his wife, Jenny, (Carver),
ran the general store
that laterserved as the
post office.
Bureau of History, Michigan Departure of State
Registered Local Site, No. 1580
Property Of The State Of Michigan, 1988

Alton Pioneer Village
Alton was a thriving village
in the years following the
Civil War. Porter's flour mill
was built in 1865. By 1870
Edmund Ring had a sawmill
a half mill west of Alton
Corners. There he made
wooden farm wagons and
rakes until around 1900. In
1880 the community boasted
a cooper, three blacksmith
shops, two carriage repair
shops, tow shomakers, a
general store, a cabinet maker,
and a machinery dealer. Alton
began to lose population
around 1900 after the Pere
Marquette Railroad, which
ran to nearby Moseley and
Lowell, bypassed the village.
Bureau of History, Michigan Departure of State
Registered Local Site, No. 1580
Property Of The State Of Michigan, 1988

Google Maps Photo

From Find-A-Grave

Photos Taken by David Bloem, 05.2024
Webpage Produced 06.08.2024
Courtesy Of Scott Harp

Special Recognition: Special thanks to David Bloem of Michigan for visiting and photographing the grave of Joseph Bartlett. His valuable efforts has made this page possible in many ways. Some of his notes have been added above.


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