John Bartram of Pennsylvania

John Bartram Families

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John Bartram was oldest son of William & Eliza Hunt Bartram of England and Chester County, Pennsylvania. They lived in that part of Chester County that later became Delaware County, Pa. John Bartram�s mother Eliza Hunt Bartram, daughter of James Hunt, was sister of Mary Hunt Marshall, Abraham Woodward's grandmother. Thus John Bartram and Abraham Woodward were second cousins. John Bartram married (1)Mary Maris, and (2)Ann Mendenhall.

Mary Maris was daughter of Richard & Elizabeth Hayes Maris. She was sister of Elizabeth Maris who married James Bartram, brother of John. She was niece of John & Elizabeth Maris Mendenhall and thus cousin of John and Susannah Pearson Mendenhall and Aaron and Rose Pearson Mendenhall. For more on the Maris family see the Maris Web Site.

  Mary Maris
born about 1703 Chester Co, Pa
died 4/1727 Chester Co, Pa
burial Darby Monthly Meeting
John Bartram
born 3/23/1699 Chester Co, Pa
died 9/22/1777 Philadelphia Co, Pa

  Married: First intentions 12/6/1722 so married in 1723 at Concord Monthly Meeting, Chester County, Pennsylvania

Richard Bartram born 5/24/1724 & died 11/19/1727 Chester County, Pennsylvania
Isaac Bartram born 9/17/1725 Chester County, Pennsylvania; married (1) Sarah Efreth (2) Mary Steel

Ann Mendenhall was eighth child and fourth daughter of Benjamin & Ann Pennell Mendenhall of Mildenhall, Wiltshire, England and Chester County, Pennsylvania. Their first child was Ann Mendenhall but she died in her youth so they named another child Ann. Benjamin Mendenhall was child of Thomas & Joan Strode Mendenhall, and brother of John Mendenhall who married Elizabeth Maris. Ann was thus also cousin of John & Susannah Pearson Mendenhall and Aaron & Rose Pearson Mendenhall (see above under Mary Maris). For more on the Mendenhall family see the Mendenhall Family Association Web Site or the Mendenhall Family Web Site

  Ann Mendenhall
born 9/22/1703 Chester Co, Pa
died 1/29/1789 Philadelphia Co, Pa

  Married: 10/11/1729 Concord Monthly Meeting, Chester County, Pennsylvania (certificate).

James Bartram born 6/25/1730 Chester County, Pennsylvania; married Sarah Bunting
Moses Bartram born 6/16/1732 Chester County, Pennsylvania; married Elizabeth Budd
Elizabeth Bartram born 8/27/1834 Chester County, Pennsylvania; died before 1739
Mary Bartram born 9/21/1736 Chester County, Pennsylvania; married Benjamin Bonsall
William Bartram born 2/9/1739 Chester County, Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Bartram born 2/9/1739 Chester County, Pennsylvania; married William Wright
Ann Bartramborn 6/24/1742 Chester County, Pennsylvania; married George Bartram
John Bartram born 8/24/1743 Chester County, Pennsylvania; married Eliza Howell
Benjamin Bartram born 7/6/1748 Chester County, Pennsylvania; married Elizabeth Hunt

From "Worth Doing Celebrating Bartram's 300th," Gardens 1999, by JeanMarie Andrews, "The simple beauty of a daisy growing in a field inspired Pennsylvania Quaker John Bartram to spend his life exploring the natural world in the eighteenth century. He traveled the American continent on horseback, from southern Ontario to Florida and west to the Ohio River, collecting unknown species and bringing them back to his Philadelphia farm to cultivate. Together with his son William, he is credited with discovering and propagating more than 200 native plant species. Bartram's efforts earned him the title Royal Botanist of North America from King George III in 1765 and praise as 'the greatest natural botanist in the world' from Swedish botanist Carl Linneaeus, who developed the Latin system of plant classification."

In addition to the issuance of a US stamp (shown) in 1999 a number of events to celebrate the 300th anniversary of John Bartram's birth were being held at Historic Bartram's Garden, 54th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19143 - see Bartram Web Site. The stamp depicts the Franklinia, a new species discovered by the Bartram's and named for their friend Benjamin Franklin. No other Franklinia have ever been discovered in the wild, but many have been propagated from Bartram's specimen.

In 1743, the same year the American Philosphical Society was founded, the Darby Library was organized. This Library claims distinction on account of its foundation at such an early date, amidst great difficulties, when the population was small, money scarce and nearly everyone poor. It was amazing that twenty-nine people were found willing to pay down twenty shillings and devote some of their time to the formation of a library. The first purchase of books was made through the kind offices of John Bartram and his friend Peter Collinson, of London, another eminent botanist, and consisted of forty-three volumes, thirty-nine of which are still on the shelves of the library (early 1900's) (Colonial Families of Philadelphia, page 504.)

During the years when the French and Indian War (1754-1763) restricted wilderness travel, John Bartram made several of his major trips. In 1755 he wrote that he had a drawing on his mind to go to the Carolinas but it was too dangerous. In 1762 he finally made that trip and it is quite possible that Abraham Woodward was in the party that he traveled with, which is known to include some of Abraham's cousins.

On 4/5/1757 a complaint had been entered against John Bartram by the overseers at Darby Monthly Meeting in Pennsylvania, for not believing in Christ as the son of God. His case was continued for about 13 months and then he was formally disowned by the Quakers. According to notes by his son William, John continued to attend Quaker meetings. His philosophy was probably best expressed by a saying over the door of his greenhouse: "Slave to no sect, who takes no private road, But looks through nature up to nature's God." Also inscribed on his stone mansion: "John & Ann Bartram 1731" and "Tis God alone, Almighty Lord, the Holy One by me adored. J.B."

There are numerous books about the Bartrams, both John and his son William, so we will not repeat the story of their travels but limit ourselves to that part of their history that had an effect on Quaker migration and that links with our family. Any of the Woodward family descendants who are interested and/or talented in art should look at the books for the art work of William Bartram as it will give insight into the source of their talent (which allegedly came from the Hunt family). An amazing array of art talent shows up in present day descendants of Abraham Woodward, who was grandson of Mary Hunt Marshall and grandnephew of Elizabeth Hunt Bartram.

A Quaker Biography (Quaker Biographies, Series II, Vol I, Friends Book Store, Philadelphia, Pa, about 1913) gives us interesting facts not seen in the many Bartram books. It tells of a Russian gentleman visiting Pennsylvania in the mid-eighteenth century and remarking upon the proliferation of the arts and sciences in Penn's colony in Pennsylvania. He mentions, among many others "On the banks of the Schuylkill John Bartram had laid out the first botanical garden in the province, and had become the pioneer among Anglo-American people of practical forestry and horticulture; Bartram's cousin Humphry Marshall was following in his steps."

The biography continues about the two men: "They were cousins, and it is not unnatural to suppose that they inherited a common genius from their mothers, who were Hunts, and came from England with their father James Hunt, who was a friend of William Penn, their mother having died at their English home in Kent. These were all Friends. One sister married William Bartram, and settled with him on his farm near Darby, Pennsylvania, the other married Abraham Marshall, and in 1707 moved to a place called the Forks of Brandywine, where large tracts of land were purchased from the Indians and here he lived until his death in his ninety-ninth year." Another little known fact mentioned in the biography about John Bartram is that he owned slaves, but he was among the first to free them and to encourage others to do the same. He took very advanced ground on the subject of abolition long before it was a matter of general discussion, and his treatment of his own negroes was unlike that of most others. His Russian visitor mentioned the slaves and the hired hands sitting down with the family to dinner.

John's father William Bartram married Eliza Hunt 3rd month 27th day 1696 at Concord Monthly Meeting. They had two sons, John Bartram born 3/23/1699 and James Bartram born 8/6/1701. Eliza Hunt Bartram died 8/21/1701, apparently as a result of childbirth, and is buried at Darby Monthly Meeting. William Bartram married again to Elizabeth Smith in 1707 and had two more children, Elizabeth Bartram born 12/30/1709 and William Bartram born 4/3/1711.

William Bartram, Sr. was one of the very earliest Quakers to go to southern North Carolina. He bought land east of present day Swansboro in Cartaret County, North Carolina, and moved there in 1711 with his wife and children. He left his two older sons, John & James behind with their grandparents. We know from Abraham Marshall's will that he probably raised James, so John was probably left with his grandfather and namesake John Bartram.

William Bartram, Sr. was killed by Tuscarora Indians in North Carolina in a raid on September 22, 1711, and Elizabeth and the two children, William & Elizabeth, were taken captive. Elizabeth Bartram and the two children were returned to Pennsylvania in 1712. Elizabeth Bartram, widow, married John Smith of Burlington, West Jersey, on 9/15/1715 at Darby Monthly Meeting. Because of this marriage we are not certain that it is correct that Elizabeth's maiden name was Smith when she married William Bartram. Despite the unpleasant experiences that young William Bartram, Jr. had in North Carolina he returned to the Cape Fear area where he established a plantation "Ashwood" on the Wilmington-Fayetteville road.

Meanwhile, John Bartram's son William had been apprenticed by his father to a merchant in Philadelphia to learn the mercantile business so he would have a "practical" trade. This might have been partly the doing of his mother Ann Mendenhall Bartram as Ann had been very upset with John's abandoning farming and taking up a "chancy" profession such as botany. In 1761 William Bartram's apprenticeship ended and, with financial support from his father, he set up as a merchant on the Cape Fear River in the present day county of Bladen, North Carolina. He lived with his uncle, Colonel William Bartram at his "Ashwood" plantation. In June 1762 William visited Philadephia to attend to business affairs and returned to North Carolina in September with his father John & brother Moses. They traveled through Virginia to the Yadkin River in western North Carolina which is very near the settlement area of the Rowan County Quakers. William & Moses returned to Ashwood while John Bartram continued on a botanical trip through the Carolinas and Virginia. John Bartram mentions staying with "Mendenhall" on this trip. This was probably James Mendenhall who received a certificate to North Carolina in 7th month 1762, a request probably triggered by the arrival of his cousin William Bartram in Pennsylvania. James Mendenhall was second cousin to John Bartram's wife Ann Mendenhall Bartram. He was also brother of Aaron Mendenhall, Jr. who was married to
Abraham Woodward's sister Mary Woodward Mendenhall. Since Abraham Woodward also shows up in the North Carolina census in 1762 and because of these connections, we believe he probably traveled with the Bartram party.

Another interesting family connection is that Robert & Thomas Thornbrough, sons of Edward Thornbrough were married on the same day at the same Quaker meeting as John Bartram & Ann Mendenhall. The two wedding parties are not the same so it was not a "triple" wedding but it does show that the Bartrams & Thornbroughs certainly knew each other well.

John Bartram, Jr., inherited his father's house and gardens in Kingsessing. There is an interesting Clements Library, University of Michigan, Web Page about the accounts of John Bartram, Jr. at the gardens. John Bartram, Jr., had a daughter Ann Bartram who married Robert Carr. She inherited Bartram's house and gardens in 1812.