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Bartle Family of Illinois and Pennsylvania

From New Jersey to Illinois, 1822 - Present

My second-great-grandfather Reverend William Toy Bartle was born on 17 Feb 1822 in Mullica Hill, Gloucester, New Jersey, southeast of Philadelphia. His boyhood and youth, until was about seventeen years of age, were spent in the Philadelphia area. He pursued an academic course of study at Cincinnati, Ohio, and for one year was Missionary Teacher among the Choctaw Indians in Okalahoma after their forced resettlement.

He was a graduate of Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois (#1 on the map below), class of 1849, and taught the first public or common school of Greene County, Illinois, at Carrollton, in 1851. However, his strong anti-slavery views got him into trouble, and led to his discharge in the fall of 1852.

Rev. William Toy Bartle moved his family repeatedly across the midwest between 1855 and 1876, in the order shown by the numbers in the map. They finally settling in Creston, Iowa, where Rev. Butler purchased a farm and built a house.
Carrollton School Building
William Bartle was the first teacher in the new school in Carrollton, Illinois, but his strong anti-slavery views led to his discharge after only one year.

William married Mary Helen Wilcox on 31 Mar 1851 in Knox County, Illinois. She was the daughter of Henry Wilcox and Mary Keziah Meacham.While in Carrollton, Green, Illinois, Helen had a daughter, Blanche, on 3 May 1852. William was ordained by the Alton Presbytery in October, 1852. Helen died suddenly on 11 June 1853 at age 20.

On 7 Mar 1854, he married Elizabeth Granger Sanburn, 8th g-grandaughter of John Samborn (1591-1627) and Ann Bachiler (1601-1649), the first Samborns to arrive in the American Colonies.

Decatur, Iowa marriage records show Rev. Bartle performed many marriages while Pastor there. In May, 1869, Rev Bartle purchased 120 acres on section 17, Douglas Township, Iowa and began improvements in June 1871. However, the family lived for a time 90 miles east in Plattsmouth, Nebraska. While in Plattsmouth, Henry learned the trade of blacksmithing. In the spring of 1875, Rev Bartle began erecting a dwelling and in 1876 moved his family on his land, continuing in the ministry also. Rev. Bartle pastored the Creston, Iowa Cromwell Congregational Church in 1876.

In 1892, after 38 years of marriage, Elizabeth Granger Sanburn Bartle (age 63) passed away. Reverend Bartle, now 70 years old, remained in Creston for a few more years until he followed his son Henry to California. The pastor died in 1913 and was buried next to his wife in the Maple Hill Cemetery in Cromwell, Iowa, just outside Creston. The city today has 120 residents. The cemetary now has more residents than the city.



Every genealogist has one—a road block, a dead end, a brick wall. That one ancestor who just won't give up the goods on their ancestors. My second great-grandfather Reverand William Toy Bartle is one of ours. Despire having found quite a lot of information about him and his immediate family, we have almost nothing on his parents.

Known Facts

We found some clues in a Standard Diary kept by William Toy Bartle. From information given in the journal, we learn:

  • His father, name unkonwn, was born in 1800.
  • His mother, name unknown, died in 1839 when he was twelve years old.
  • His mother and father were from Prussia.
  • Rev. Bartle has a brother named George born in August 1824.
  • Rev. Bartle was born on 17 Feb 1822 in Mullica Hill, New Jersey.

Records Found

We cannot locate any census records for any "Bartle" in New Jersey from 1810 to 1830. Many Bartle surnames are found in Philadelphia at the same time. Various public records give Rev. Bartle's birth location as both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

  • Iowa, State Census Collection, 1885 states his birthplace as New Jersey and his parents as "Native" not "Foreign" born.
  • 1880 US Census reports his parents both born in "Prussia"
  • 1900 US Census states his birth location as New Jersey, and his parents' as Pennsylvania.
  • California Voter Registration Roll states his birth location as New Jersey.

Relevant Clues

  • "Bartle" is a common spelling in England; "Bartel" is a common Prussian spelling. I suspect the the Bartel spelling is more likely.
  • Other conflicting birth location are found in censuses for New Jersey and Pennsylvania. No census records found for any "Bartle" in New Jersey from 1810 to 1830. Many Bartle surnames found in Philadelphia at the same time. No birth records in New Jersey that era.
  • Another William T Bartle lived in Philadelphia during the same time period, but he was a sail and spar maker.

Given what we know and can guess, we're still at a dead end. Suggestions, anyone? Contact me!


Thanks to my late cousin Georgeann Bartle Coleman for much of this information. We never met before she passed on, but her research has meant a great deal to me.