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In 1853 Hartzell returned to the United States and moved to Randolph County, Illinois. He then went to study at McKendree College. Hartzell graduated from McKendree in 1859. He settled in Chester, Illinois. He studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1864 and commenced practice in Chester, Illinois.
Hartzell was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-fourth and Forty-fifth Congresses (March 4, 1875 – March 4, 1879). He was not a candidate for renomination in 1878. He resumed the practice of law in Chester. He served as judge of the third judicial circuit of Illinois 1897–1903. He died in Chester, Illinois, August 14, 1903. He was interred in Evergreen Cemetery.
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.