Alvin T. Bartow
Submitted by Henry
Huron County First Family Member #16
Because I deal in professional genealogical research I have had countless humorous and unusual adventures in proving lineages for clients. My own family research and my First Family research has always meant more to me though, due to the close emotional ties and the fact that I was fortunate enough to have known all of my grandparents and some other older relatives who were proud of their family background and who were not only willing but eager to share their knowledge with me.
I was fourteen years old when my maternal grandfather died, and on one occasion he talked to me at length about his grandfather, who is my First Family ancestor. Therefore, I was able to talk to someone who had talked to and remembered a man who came to old Huron County in 1812 as a boy of thirteen years. My grandfather was only nine years old when his grandfather died, so he did not remember a great deal about him except that he had worked in an ashery near Milan, Ohio, making blacksalts and had burns and scars on his hands from the lye used in the ashery processes. This is the only personal thing I know of Alvin T. Bartow except that he could write his name. He once signed an Oath of Insolvency in Huron County and the original record is still extant. Some people might be ashamed of their ancestor having declared bankruptcy, but I'm pleased that he created the record since it allows me to view his authentic handwriting. He was blessed with many children but little money and never owned any real estate, and thus had no estate when he died in 1882.
When I think of my Bartow lineage and my First Family research I think of the part my grandmother's renowned quick wit played in my early work. She had cared for her Bartow father-in-law for several years before his death, and patiently overlooked the idiosyncrasies so many older people develop. When I learned this man had been born in Lyme Township near Monroeville, I sought to have Grandmother verify this, and I questioned her. Her terse reply was: "No, I donít know where he was born nor I donít know why."
This great-grandfather suffered a stroke about a year before his death, and wished to return to my grandparents' home from the home of another son where he had been visiting. This was in 1915 and there were no ambulances to be had in rural Huron County. My grandfather borrowed his neighbor's open car and arranged a mattress and bedding in the back seat. They drove the twenty miles to Greenwich, placed the invalid in the back of the car, and drove back to the farm in Townsend with the patient none the worse for wear despite the unimproved dirt roads on the entire trip.
Great-grandfather could not speak plainly after his stroke, and as my grandmother phrased it he "bellered" when he needed something. They had a cow at the time which went mad on occasion, and one night Grandma awoke hearing a "bellering" noise. She roused Grandpa and told him (in her usual way)..."either your father needs something or that cowís had her calf."