(note: I am not a relation)
San Diego Union-Tribune, The (CA) - January 16, 2005
Deceased Name: Dorothy Bartlett A daughter's legacy: real-life accounts of the Civil War
When Dorothy Bartlett wanted colorful insights into the Civil War, she plumbed the most reliable archive she could find: the real-life memories of a Union soldier.
Robert Kelland, her father, had fought for the Union as a Pennsylvania volunteer infantryman in the second Battle of Bull Run and in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.
"He'd tell us they'd be in the trenches and they'd talk to the Rebs," Mrs. Bartlett said in a 2000 interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune. "The Rebs had tobacco and the Northerners had coffee, so they would exchange."
Her father, who lived to be 91, died in 1934, when Mrs. Bartlett was in her late 20s.
She died Monday at a skilled nursing center in San Carlos. She was believed to be among the last surviving daughters of Civil War veterans. She was 98.
The cause of death was complications from a stroke, said her son Leslie Bartlett.
Known for her energy and spirited independence, Mrs. Bartlett lived alone in a San Carlos condominium and drove her car around her neighborhood until her Nov. 17 stroke.
"She walked 100 steps a day. She would count them, and she was studying to renew her driver's license," her son said. "She would swim when the weather was warm and did two crossword puzzles every day."
As a businesswoman, Mrs. Bartlett operated the San Diego branch of H.F. Ahmanson Insurance, supervising as many as 40 employees, until retiring in 1972.
When her late husband, John Phillip Barlett, owned a Ford-Ferguson Tractor dealership in the 1940s, Mrs. Bartlett played a key role as his partner.
"She was very business-minded, very alert, an amazing woman," said her niece, Dorothy Osborn. "She did exactly what she wanted to do when she wanted to do it, and she was inspiring to people around her. I think of her when I'm kind of slumping down."
Dorothy Jane Bartlett was born Dec. 21, 1906, in Portland, Ore.
In 1913, she went with her family to a reunion in Pittsburgh for Civil War veterans who were Pennsylvania volunteers.
"She remembered taking the train and seeing cinders flying up into the coaches," her son said. "She also remembered her father crying at the reunion."
Mrs. Bartlett moved with her family in 1916 to San Diego, occupying a spacious home near Mission Cliffs Garden that covered two lots and was designed and built by architect David Dryden.
Her father, who had been in the logging and farming industries in Oregon, bought the home for $1,800, Leslie Bartlett said.
Her father, a native of Bristol, England, had come to the United States in his late teens. He enlisted in a Union infantry unit in 1862.
One of his proudest Civil War memories was serving in the honor guard that accompanied President Lincoln's casket from Washington to its final resting place in Springfield, Ill., in 1865.
Mrs. Bartlett recalled stories of her father living off the land during the Civil War.
"He told how he'd go out and they'd rob chicken coops," she said. "You know they didn't have enough food. . . . It was terrible what they'd have to do."
Mrs. Bartlett's father had four children with his first wife, who died in 1903. He was looking for a younger woman to marry when he met Nellie Beech, who became his wife and gave birth to Mrs. Bartlett and her sister, Margery Ruth Kelland.
"When he was 61, he wrote a letter to his sister in England, asking if she knew any lady who didn't look as if she would marry," Osborn said.
In Beech, a woman 30 years his junior, his sister apparently identified the right woman. He returned to Oldham, England, to meet her. They were married in December 1904 and settled in Oregon.
Mrs. Bartlett's sister was born in January 1906, and Mrs. Bartlett followed about 11 months later.
Both of the Civil War veteran's daughters shared their father's longevity gene. Mrs. Bartlett's sister died at age 95 in May 2001.
As a young woman, Mrs. Bartlett did clerical work for a few years and served as a waitress at her uncle George Beech's Lobster Inn, a popular destination in Nestor during the 1920s and 1930s for high rollers drawn to Tijuana's Caliente racetrack.
She graduated from San Diego High School with honors in 1924 and attended San Diego Normal School on Park Boulevard, the predecessor of San Diego State College.
"Her father didn't believe she needed any more education as a woman, so she stopped after two years," her son said.
Mrs. Bartlett volunteered for years in the LUV (Love Uniting Volunteers), a group for St. Paul's Senior Homes and Services.
Her husband, who was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1953, retired as minister of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul. He died in 1990.
Survivors include her sons, Leslie Bartlett and the Rev. Frederick Bartlett, both of San Carlos; three grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.
Services were Saturday at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church, San Carlos. Donations are suggested to St. Dunstan's Memorial Fund, 6556 Park Ridge Blvd., San Diego, CA 92120.
Copyright (c) 2005 Union Tribune Publishing Co.
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