Bartlett, George W. – It is an observable fact that many of those who are native sons of “Little Grundy,” as Grundy County is affectionately called, retain their old love for it even after leaving for larger communities. George W. Bartlett, who is now a resident of Chicago, belongs to this class, and still continues to work for the welfare of his native county. He has a list of fifteen hundred people now residing at Chicago who once lived in Morris, or other parts of Grundy County, and among them are school teachers, dentists, physicians, lawyers, a judge and members of the police force, and it is his contention that all are still interested in the growth and development of the place from which they came.
George W. Bartlett was born at Morris, Ill., December 26, 1856, a son of Nathaniel and Emily Bartlett, both of whom are deceased. Nathaniel Bartlett was a member of the fire department when hand power was used and was the first man to turn on steam to the engine “Shabbona.” One of his sons is an expert watchmaker at Chicago, and another is a farmer of Will County. The Bartlett family was one of the first to locate in Grundy County, its representatives settling first on a farm north of Morris.
George W. Bartlett attended the public schools of Morris, and was a newsboy. During the time of the Chicago fire in 1871 he sold papers when they had to come from St. Louis, for twenty-five cents each. He also worked in the first factory at Morris to manufacture soda water. Later he learned telegraphy, but did not work at his calling. Mr. Bartlett was superintendent of the gas plant, and was the organizer of the telephone system in Grundy County; he not only had the first telephone, but was manager of the exchange at Morris. On November 25, 1889, he left Morris for Joliet, Ill., and from there came to Chicago, November 15, 1892, where he still resides, his home being at No. 221 W. Seventy-second street, and his offices at 1016-17-18 Marquette Building, Chicago, where he is carrying on a real estate and insurance brokerage business. Mr. Bartlett has centered his interests on business affairs, not taking any part in politics, or he would not accept an office of any kind. Formerly a Republican, he is now a Progressive. Fraternally he is a Mason and Knight of Pythias. In boyhood he attended the Methodist Church Sunday school regularly, but in later years has not connected himself with any organization of a religious nature. In addition to organizing the first telephone exchange of Grundy County, he also organized one of the best bands Morris ever possessed, and kept it together for three years. He also organized the Grundy County Club of Chicago, and from it organized a Home Coming day at Morris, when many residents of Chicago, formerly of Grundy, returned to the County Seat.
In September, 1881, he married Fannie Zimmerman, born in Grundy County, Ill., where her people, both deceased, were residents for many years. Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett have a daughter, Carrie May, who is the wife of Alfred M. Bourgo, assistant postmaster of Joliet. She is an active church member and worker and belongs to the Eastern Star. Her husband is a member of the Masonic and Knights of Pythias lodges.
History of Grundy County, Illinois. Chicago, IL, USA: Munsell Publishing, 1914, p. 760.