Oscar Bartlett

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Oscar F. Bartlett (October 2, 1823 - November 1911) was an American teacher, farm laborer and physician from Cayuga County, New York who served as a Free Soil member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, and later as a Republican member of the Wisconsin State Senate, while living in East Troy, Walworth County, Wisconsin.[1]


Born October 2, 1823 in Victory, New York, one of ten children of Rev. John Milton Bartlett (a former Baptist who joined the Disciples of Christ) and Hannah (Earl) Bartlett. He studied in the local schools, doing well enough that he soon became a teacher himself in the village of Cato, a profession he would practice for ten years. He sustained himself as a farm laborer and teacher, and at the age of fifteen also began to study medicine in the office of a local physician.

In Wisconsin[edit]

In 1842, Bartlett moved to Wisconsin, working first as a farm laborer in Delavan, then teaching in Racine and working as a retail clerk in a general store, before moving on to East Troy. He taught school there for some time; then resumed his medical studies by attending lectures at Rush Medical College in Chicago and continuing his medical apprenticeship with a Chicago physician. He then went into medical practice in East Troy.[2]

Legislative service[edit]

In 1852, he was elected to the Assembly's third Walworth County district (East Troy and Spring Prairie) as a Free Soiler, succeeding fellow Freesoiler Joel H. Cooper (who was not a candidate for re-election), and was assigned to the standing committees on engrossed bills, and on medical colleges and medical societies.[3] He was re-elected in 1853, but in the next session, after a redistricting, he was succeeded by Samuel Pratt (himself a Free Soiler turned Republican). He continued in the practice of medicine.

In 1859, he was elected to the Wisconsin Senate, District 12 as a Republican, succeeding Republican John W. Boyd. In 1861, rather than seek re-election, he joined the Union Army and became a military surgeon in the American Civil War. He was succeeded by fellow Republican Wyman Spooner.

The Civil War and after[edit]

He initially joined the 6th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment, for which he was Assistant Surgeon; then moved on to the Third Wisconsin Infantry, for which he became chief surgeon. He was married in Syracuse, New York on January 19, 1864 to Maria Holyoke, who died later that same year. Bartlett was compelled to resign after he became seriously ill in January of 1865. He returned to his home, but was crippled by rheumatism to such an extent that he could not practice medicine for some years.

Return to Cayuga County[edit]

In 1868 he returned to Cato, New York, setting up practice in the nearby village of Meridian. On May 25, 1869 he remarried, to Maria (Bassett) Holyoke, a widow from Syracuse with two children. They would have one son, John, who would not live past the age of nineteen. Both of them were active in public life. (Bartlett had remained loyal to the Republican Party).[4]

He died in November 1911, having for some time been the oldest practicing physician in town.[5]


  1. ^ "Members of the Wisconsin Legislature 1848–1999 State of Wisconsin Legislative Bureau. Information Bulletin 99-1, September 1999. pp. 1, 27
  2. ^ Biographical Review: This Volume Contains Biographical Sketches of the Leading Citizens of Cuyahoga County, New York Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1894; pp. 506-507, 509
  3. ^ Manual for the use of the assembly, of the state of Wisconsin, for the year 1853 Madison: Brown and Carpenter, Printers, 1853; pp. 71, 84, 99, 110
  4. ^ "Oscar F. Bartlett, M.D.", in, Biographical Review: This volume contains biographical sketches of the leading citizens of Cayuga County, New York. Boston: Biographical Review Pub. Co., 1894; pp. 505-509
  5. ^ "Dr. Oscar Bartlett, Self-Made Man, Was One of Cato's Favorite Sons", reprinted in Red Creek Herald November 23, 1961; p. 2, col. 3