Fred William Bartlett

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Tina Hursh
December 13, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume II
Pg. 72

Fred William Bartlett has been an oil operator thirty years, most of the
time as an independent, and is one of the best known and most popular citizens of
Marion county. His home during the greater part of his life has been at
Mr. Bartlett was born at New Martinsville, Wetzel County, West Virginia,
July 29, 1867, son of Martin and Sarah Ann (Beatty) Bartlett, both now deceased.
His father was born at Clarksburg, West Virginia, in 1842, and was a
Confederate soldier during the last two years of the Civil war. The father’s
brother, Capt. Fred W. Bartlett, for whom Fred William Bartlett of this
review was named, organized a company in Clarksburg for service in the
Confederate Army, and served until the close of the war. Martin Bartlett was a
blacksmith and a machinist, and was in that business at New Martinsville when
he died in 1868. A short time before his death he had assisted in drilling the
first oil well in the Mannington District. He was Scottish Rite Mason. After
his death his widow returned to Martinsville, where she was born in 1846,
daughter of Jeremiah Beatty, an early settler of Mannington. She died in 1916.
Fred W. Bartlett grew up at Mannington, aquired a common school
education, and as a youth became a bread winner for himself and his widowed
mother. At the age of nine he was selling papers on the streets of Mannington,
and has had some active connection with serious business ever since. He has
dealt in real estate, has been an oil and gas operator, and also well known as
a hotel proprieter. Mr. Bartlett has accumulated two fortunes, and still
retains the second and larger.
He began his career as an independent operator in oil in 1892. His work
has been as an independent except for ten years, during which time he was
president and sole owner of what was then known as the Home Gas Company, which
supplied gas for manufacturing and domestic purposes at Mannington. He finally
sold this company to the Standard Oil interest. Since then he has been
extensively interested in the production of crude oil.
In 1896 Mr. Bartlett bought what was then the Commercial Hotel of
Mannington. He rebuilt and remodeled the property and renamed it the Hotel
Bartlett. This is now one of the best hotels in the state, second in size only
to the hotels of the larger cities, to which it yields nothing in its equipment
and service. With fifty rooms, all with hot and cold running water, and many
with private baths, with a fine dining room, and a spacious and beautifully
decorated lobby, the Hotel Bartlett is both a surprise and delight to those
making their first visit to Mannington.
October 8, 1892, Mr. Bartlett married Miss Harriet Brownfield Walker,
who was born in Fairmont, November 19, 1871, daughter of the late Kephart
Delvarem and Josephine (Wiggenton) Walker, of Fairmont. The Walker family is of
Scotch origin and has been in Pennsylvania for five and in West Virginia for two
generations. The American ancestor was Donald Walker, who married a Lane.
Their son, Peter Walker, was born in Washington County, Maryland. He became a
wealthy farmer of Somerset County, Pennsylvania. His son, John P. Walker,
removed from Pennsylvania to Loudoun County, Virginia, and later to Ohio County,
West Virginia, and died in the City of Wheeling in 1852. He married Margaret
Lane, and of their children Kephart D. Walker was born in Somerset County,
Pennsylvania, February 14, 1838, and died at Fairmont in 1919.
Kephart D. Walker entered the service of the Baltimore & Ohio Railway as
construction camp clerk in 1853. During the next eighteen months he utilized
his leisure opportunities to aquire some knowledge of telegraphy, was then
assigned to the telegraph department of the Baltimore & Ohio, and subsequently
became a brakeman and still later a conductor. During the Civil war for a time
he was in the secret service, in the armies of Gen. Stonewall Jackson and Gen.
John B. Walker, the latter being a relative. After the war he resumed railroad
work fo the Baltimore & Ohio, and for ten years was station agent at Fairmont,
was superintendent of the Fairmont division, and when the Fairmont, Morgantown
& Pittsburgh line was undertaken he was assigned the task of securing the right
of way between Fairmont and Morgantown. During the construction he was
purchasing agent. He had charge of the first train run over this line into
Pittsburgh. After this service he resumed his work as a passenger
conductor until 1906, when he was retired on pension.
Kephart D. Walker became a Mason in 1870, and in 1875 was chosen grand
master of West Virginia Grand Lodge, and at the time of his death was a
supreme honorary thirty-third degree Scottish Rite Mason. He married in 1859,
Josephine Wiggington, daughter of Presley and Sarah Wiggenton, of Loudoun County,