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Biographical Sketch
William H. Bertwell
Brown County, Kansas


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The following transcription is from a 750 page book titled "Genealogical and Biographical Record of North-Eastern Kansas, dated 1900.  These have been diligently transcribed and generously contributed by Penny R. Harrell, please give her a very big Thank You for her hard work!

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William H. Bertwell

The year 1857 witnessed the arrival of Mr. Bertwell in Brown county, and he is therefore numbered among the early settlers who have been the entire growth and development of this locality.  He has seen wild land transformed into beautiful homes and farms, while towns and villages have sprung up with all the industrial interests and improvements known to the older East.

Mr. Bertwell has taken deep pride in the progress of the county, has borne his part in its development, and has aided in laying broad and deep the foundation of its present prosperity.  A native of New Hampshire, he was born in Carroll county, in January, 1843 and is the son of John Bertwell, a native of England, who came with his parents to this country when four years of age.  He was reared in the old Granite state and was one of a family of seven children, namely: William H., Elizabeth, John, Eugene, Alvin, Fremont and Mary.  In 1855 the parents emigrated westward, taking up their abode in Howard county, Iowa.  Two years later they removed to Brown county, Kansas establishing a home in Robinson township, but subsequently they took up their abode in Doniphan county. 

They were among the pioneers of northeastern Kansas and experienced the usual hardships, trials and pleasures of frontier life.  During the Civil War the father joined the Thirteenth Kansas Infantry and served for two or three years.  He was wounded by a saber cut, and on the expiration of his term he returned to his family and resumed farming operations.  For some time he carried on agricultural pursuits and also conducted a mill at Crete, Nebraska.  He died in Oklahoma at the age of sixty-nine years, and was buried at Pleasant Hill, where his wife had previously been interred.  The mother passed away at the age of forty-one.  Both were members of the Methodist church and were consistent Christian people.

William H. Bertwell, whose name introduces this review, was a lad of thirteen years when his parents left Iowa for Kansas.  He attended the public schools and assisted his father in the operation of the home farm, performing such tasks as usually fall to the lot of the oldest son on the farm.  Prompted by a spirit of patriotism he, too, entered the country's service during the Civil War, enlisting on the 18th of November, 1861 as a member of Company D, Second Kansas Cavalry, in which he served until January 14, 1865. 

He participated in a large number of important engagements and had three horses killed or wounded, but he escaped uninjured and was thus enabled at all time to faithfully perform his duty, whether in the midst of battle or upon the picket line. 

After the war, with an honorable military record, Mr. Bertwell returned to Brown county, in 1865, and in 1867 was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Eudora Stites, who was born in Ripley, Indiana and is a daughter of George M. and Sarah (Round) Stites, who came to Kansas in 1859, locating in Robinson, Brown county.  Mrs. Stites died in 1881, at the age of fifty-three years, and the father, surviving her some time, passed away in October, 1895, at the age of seventy-two years. 

Their family numbered six children, namely: Mrs. Margaret E. Bertwell; Henry Franklin, who married Florence Van Hook; Eliza Celestine, who married E. Terrell; Ezekiel Foster, who married Mollie Perkey; Martha Calista, who married W. Jensen; and Mary J., who married E. B. Gatchell.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Bertwell has been blessed with four children, who are yet living, namely: D. Lucinda, the wife of Ralph Aichinger, of Horton, and had two children, Ortho, killed by a train, and Dora; Swift Clarence, at home; Kate Myrtle and Charles Henry.  They have also lost four children, namely: Sarah, who died at the age of seven years; George Albert, who died when fourteen months old; Enos Franklin, who died at the age of two; and Olive Belle, who became the wife of Charles Wheeler and died at the age of twenty-three, leaving two children, Vera and George Henry Wheeler, who reside with Mr. and Mrs. Bertwell.

In March, 1884, Mr. Bertwell located upon his present farm in Mission township.  It was owned by James Shortridge until his purchase and comprised one hundred and sixty six acres of rich and arable land, conveniently located within a mile and a half of Willis.  The residence is a model one, having been erected in 1891 at a cost of four thousand dollars.  There are other excellent improvements upon the place, and the highly cultivated fields give promise of golden harvests and indicate the energetic labors of the owner.

In his political views Mr. Bertwell is a Republican, but has never sought or desired the honors or emoluments of public office.  He and his wife are members of the Baptist church, in which for some years he has served as deacon and trustee.  He is also a member of Horton Post, G. A. R.

Throughout his business career he has carried on agricultural pursuits and has found no incentive to lead other than an honest and upright life, ever regarding honesty and the best policy.

His straightforward dealings and his close application to business have gained him a comfortable competence, and he is now regarded as one of the substantial farmers of his community.

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Last update: Friday, July 18, 2003 20:22:09

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