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                                     WHEELER BARTRAM
                                         Biography
                                    Cook County, Illinois

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Information contributed for use in Cook County ILGenWeb by
        Sherri Hessick, added May 2001.



WHEELER BARTRAM

Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County,
Illinois with Portraits 3rd ed. revised and extended
(Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 71-73

WHEELER BARTRAM, Chief of Police of Evanston, was born at
Madison, Lake County, Ohio, April 14, 1843.  The history of
Redding, Connecticut, from which we draw liberally, states
that David Bartram, who was of Scotch ancestry, removed from
Fairfield, Connecticut, to Redding as early as 1733, in
which year he appears as Surveyor of Highways.  He was a
farmer and settled in Lonetown.  He had five sons and three
daughters. Daniel, the fourth child, was born October 23,
1745.  He also settled in Redding, was a tanner and currier
by trade, and built the first tannery in the town.  October
10, 1768, he married Ann Merchant, of Redding.  They were
the parents of thirteen children.  Daniel Bartram joined the
militia and marched to the defense of Danbury, and during
his absence his wife, finding it impossible to hire a man to
do the work, took the tanning business into her own hands
and performed the labor necessary to prevent the hides
spoiling in the vats.

May 3, 1810, Daniel Bartram left Redding, accompanied by his
wife, four children and several neighbors, for what was then
the wilderness of Ohio, making his way by wagon and on
horseback.  They arrived, June 10, at Madison, Lake County,
Ohio, where they settled and where many of their descendants
now reside.  Daniel Bartram died in Madison, May 17, 1817.
His widow died August 3, 1835.  Uriah, the second son of
Daniel, was born January 9, 1782, and settled in Madison,
Ohio, where he died quite suddenly of heart disease, June
28, 1830, leaving a wife and six children.  Of these,
Harmon, born at Redding in 1808, was the second.
Harmon Bartram married Abigail Wood, of Fairfield,
Connecticut.  They were the parents of six children, of whom
Wheeler is the fifth.  Harmon Bartram was a man of ability
and exerted a strong influence over his associates.
Although a farmer, and living on the farm his father had
cleared, his qualifications caused him to be appointed
Colonel, and afterward Brigadier-General, of militia.
Colonel Bartram, as he was usually called, died when Wheeler
was less than three years old, and left his wife with six
children and a mortgaged farm to care for.  Under these
circumstances it became necessary later to separate the
family, and Wheeler, when ten years of age, went to live
with his maternal uncle, Moses Wood, in Chautauqua County,
New York, where he remained three years.  He returned to his
mother’s home at the end of that time, and soon after she
removed with her family to La Porte County, Indiana.
Wheeler Bartram’s forefathers for generations had been brave
men, and manfully responded to the calls for defense in the
wars that had threatened the colonies, and later the young
Republic.  It was but natural that he should have imbibed
the spirit of the men of his lineage.  When the first call
for three-years men in the War of the Rebellion was made, he
responded, and August 5, 1861, enrolled himself as a
volunteer.  On the 27th of the same month he was mustered
into service at Camp Jackson, La Porte County, as a member
of Company G, Twenty-ninth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and
in less than sixty days found himself with his regiment at
Camp Nevin, fifty miles south of Louisville, Kentucky,
assisting General Rousseau against the advance of General
Buckner, who threatened Louisville.  Shortly afterward he
suffered an attack of measles, that left him in a condition
entirely unfit for military service, which necessitated,
besides hard marching, the carrying of sixty pounds of
baggage and accoutrements, and he was employed in the less
arduous, but hardly less dangerous, duty of assisting in the
construction of telegraph lines from Nashville to Savanna.
On May 1, 1862, while employed in the construction of a
telegraph line from Columbia, Tennessee, to Decatur,
Alabama, he was taken prisoner by the famous guerrilla,
Morgan, and removed to the town of Pulaski, near by.  There
he was paroled, and in July following went to Camp Chase,
Ohio.  January 9, 1863, he was exchanged, and finally
reached his regiment in March following, at Murphysboro,
Tennessee.  There he remained until June, when he
accompanied the command on its march toward Chattanooga,
taking part in the fighting incident to the advance, the
battle of Liberty Gap, and in the capture of Tullahoma.
This campaign, over two ranges of mountains and through the
intervening valleys, was rendered exceedingly fatiguing by
the rain, which fell on twenty consecutive days, rendering
the roads almost impassable.  The command continued its
advance until September 19, 1863, when the battle of
Chickamauga, the turning point of the war, began.  The
Twenty-ninth Indiana was placed on General Thomas’ extreme
left, and went into battle with two hundred and ninety-five
men, and on the night of the same day came out of the
carnage with six men, one of whom was Wheeler Bartram.  On
the following day he was among those stationed at the apex
of the angle formed by the repulse of the two wings of the
army, where, during the afternoon, the enemy charged and
were repulsed seven times, but finally succeeded by fierce
fighting in forcing back the Union troops toward
Chattanooga.  There a semi-siege was sustained for some
time, provisions being so scarce that the Union soldiers
sometimes went unfed for forty-eight hours.

In December, 1863, the Twenty-ninth Indiana re-enlisted, and
its members went north on furlough.  This regiment was
complimented by General Thomas for its gallant action in the
battle of Chickamauga, and for the further fact that it was
the first Indiana regiment in the Army of the Cumberland to
re-enlist and reorganize under the Veteran Act.  At the
expiration of his furlough, Mr. Bartram rejoined his
regiment and did garrison duty till the end of the war,
being mustered out of service at Marietta, Georgia, in
December, 1865.  He was then First Sergeant, and had been in
absolute command of his company for nearly a year, the
higher officers being absent on detached duty.
From the return of peace until 1868, Mr. Bartram was engaged
in different enterprises at Elgin, Illinois, and Muskegon,
Michigan, coming to Chicago in the latter year.  On the 11th
of January, 1869, he married Miss Janet N. Lawson, a native
of Cumberland County, England, a descendant of Scots who
fought at Culloden and Bannockburn.

On coming to Chicago Mr. Bartram had an opportunity to
follow the line of business for which inherited qualities
had best fitted him, and he became a member of the police
force of this city.  He was first detailed to the Huron
Street Station, and soon after the opening of the Webster
Avenue Station he was made Desk Sergeant there.  November 1,
1878, he was made a Patrol Sergeant at Larabee Street
Station.  He was transferred to the central detail in June,
1882, and five years later made a Detective under Captain
Henshaw.  January 1, 1888, he was promoted to Lieutenant and
acting Captain, being assigned to duty in the First
District, and immediately afterward he was advanced to a
full Captaincy at the Harrison Street Station.  In 1889,
when D. C. Cregier became Mayor, an element that dictated
changes in the police department caused Captain Bartram to
be reduced to the rank of Lieutenant and assigned to the
Halsted Street Station, where he remained but two weeks and
resigned from the force.  Later he became Desk Sergeant at
Stanton Avenue, and at the Central Station, serving till
January 10, 1894, when he retired a second time, under
pension of a Captain.  During the year following he spent
some time in Colorado, where he had mining interests.
Captain Bartram was appointed Chief of Police of Evanston
June 25, 1895, and immediately entered upon the discharge of
his duties.  The comments of almost the entire press of
Chicago were eulogistic of Captain Bartram at the time of
his reduction.  The Tribune said: “Captain Bartram has been
on the police force for twenty years. * * * His
unobtrusiveness, quiet and splendid work, had been
appreciated by Mayor Roche, and he was made a Lieutenant for
one day that he might be commissioned a Captain and sent to
the Armory.  Here he made a record that speaks for itself.
The lawless element feared him and obeyed his every command.
All this he did in a quiet manner and without seeking to
cover himself in glory.”  The Mail said: “Captain Bartram is
an American, an officer who has made the brightest of
records for himself by his fearless and powerful
administration of the law in one of the toughest districts
in the city.”  The following is from the Inter Ocean: “His
modesty, courteousness and affability, his gentleness and
worth in other ways, are all too well known to need
iteration here.  He was a favorite.”

Captain Bartram was not only a terror to evil-doers and
parties guilty of violent crimes, but he was attentive also
to those things which affect the morals of the community,
and more than one offender has reason to remember the
fearless and unflinching fidelity with which he enforced the
law relative to the suppression of obscene literature.
He is a member of many fraternal and secret organizations,
to wit: the Odd Fellows and Knights of Honor, in each of
which he has filled all the chairs of the subordinate lodge,
and is a member of the Grand Lodge of the latter order.  He
is a Mason; member of Lyon Post Number 9, Grand Army of the
Republic; of the Sons of the Revolution, and of the
Policemen’s Benevolent Association, of which latter he has
been President. He is also a member of the Republican
Marching Club of Chicago, where his height (over six feet)
and fine face and figure make him conspicuous.
Captain Bartram has, by reading, made himself a
well-informed man, in spite of the little education he
received in his youth.  His affable and polite manners, his
fidelity to duty, his long service as an officer, have made
him respected wherever he is known, and created a large and
constantly increasing circle of friends.
		





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