Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church. Chicago: Clarke Publishing Company, 1905, pp 318-20
Moses BARTLETT, deceased, whose record was the chronicle of successful accomplishment in the business world and of respect and honor gained [p 319] in private life by reason of the strong and sterling traits of his character, came to Rockford in 1860. He belonged to the class of representative American men, who in promoting individual interests also advanced the general welfare, and Rockford profited by his business efforts in the promotion of her industrial and commercial activity. Mr. BARTLETT was born in NH. His parents were likewise natives of that state, where they spent their entire lives, the father engaging in mercantile pursuits there up to the time of his death. Moses BARTLETT was reared upon the home farm and the district schools of his native county afforded him his educational privileges. When he had become proficient in the knowledge of the common branches of learning he began teaching school, successfully following the profession for a few years in NY. He then removed to Whitby [Ontario], Canada, where he was also a teacher for a short time, and it was during his residence there that he was first married. While living in Whitby he married Miss Fannie HALL, of that village, and there were three children born until them: Harvey, who was at one time engaged in the milling business in Rockford and is now deceased; Esther, the wife of John NICHOLS, and a resident of Fond du Lac [Fond du Lac County], WI; and James, a traveling salesman residing in Evansville [Vanderburgh County], IN. The son Harvey was the first of the family to come to Rockford, arriving about 1859, after which he purchased a flour mill and the careful conduct of his interests gained very [a line seems to have been omitted here when the text was published] his death in 1867.
Following his marriage Moses BARTLETT continued to engage in teaching school in Canada for several years, and then with the capital which he had acquired through his own economy and industry he embarked in general merchandising in Whitby, conducting a store at that place for several years. He afterward removed to Rockford in 1860 and entered into partnership with his son in the milling business, which they conducted on the wholesale plan, engaging in the manufacture of flour throughout the Civil war and until the son's death in 1867. Later Mr. BARTLETT retired from active business life but indolence and idleness were utterly foreign to his nature, and he could not content himself without business interests. It was then that he became a stockholder in the Winnebago Agricultural Company on Wyman Street, manufacturers of carriages. His partner in that enterprise was Mr. HALL, and they entered into business in 1876. Mr. BARTLETT was chosen president of the company and continued at the head of the enterprise for several years, making it a profitable concern which took rank with the leading manufacturing interests of the city. It was during that time that he was chosen vice president of the Winnebago National Bank, in which institution he served for several years, and he also became president of a water power company, of Rockford, and afteward was its vice president. He also invested in real estate in this city and was the owner of valuable property. His varied business interests were ably conducted by him for a number of years, and he was actively associated with manufacturing interests until 1878, when he gave up all participation in business affairs and lived retired until his death. Whatever he undertook he carried forward to successful completion. He was a man of keen insight into business conditions, readily recognizing and utilizing an opportunity, and by the careful conduct of his interests gained very gratifying success.
Having lost his first wife, Mr. BARTLETT was married to Miss Mary FOSTER, a native of Marcellus [Onondaga County], NY, and a daughter of Silas H. and Fannie (SMITH) FOSTER. Her father was a farmer and tanner. He spent his entire life in Marcellus and in Warsaw [Wyoming County], NY, his death occurring in the latter place. His widow afterward came to Rockford and resided with Mrs. BARTLETT until called to her final home in 1881. The death of Mr. BARTLETT occurred in Apr 1879. His political views were in accord with republican principles, but he was never an aspirant for office. Although not a member he served as trustee in the Westminster Presbyterian church and was also a teacher in the Sunday school here. He became one of the leading and well-to-do business men of Rockford, and was very liberal with his means for promoting movements for the general good. With a capacity and experience that would have enabled him to fulfill any trust to which he might be chosen, he never sought to advance himself in office, but was content to do his duty where he could leave the office seeking to others. He was however in full sympathy with all the great movements of the world about him and watched the progress of events with keen interest. He was recognized by those who knew him as a man of kindly heart, of sterling worth, pure and incorruptible in all his business and social relations.
In 1881 Mrs. BARTLETT gave her hand in marriage to Ira J. NICHOLS of Chicago, who was born at Lake George [Warren County], NY, and went to the former city in childhood. He afteward took up the study of law and both he and his brother were admitted to the bar there. In an early day he predicted the great growth and improvement of Chicago and invested his money in property in South Chicago [County] and Englewood [County]. This rose rapidly in value and he became very successful. Both he and his brother devoted a part of their time to legal practice and he also operated in real estate until his death, which occurred about a year [p 320] after his marriage, or in 1882, while he was living at the corner of 61st Street and Wentworth Avenue. His remains were interred in the Oakwood cemetery. Mrs. NICHOLS continued to reside in Chicago for several years thereafter, or until 1894, when she returned to Rockford to make her home. She now owns and resides in the old BARTLETT residence at No. 303 Grove Street, a beautiful home, and her sister, Frances E. FOSTER, resides with her. She is well known here in society circles and is a member of the Westminster Presbyterian church.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.