|Birth: ||May 30, 1807|
|Death: ||Sep. 21, 1894|
A Minnesota Territorial Pioneer and a Founding Settler of Richfield, MN.
Born into a pioneer family that had lived on the American frontier before the American Revolution. During the French-Indian War of the mid-18th century, Bartholomews had farmed in upper state New York in the area British colonial authorities opened for settlement in Schoharie Valley. There the grandfather of Riley Bartholomew, Benjamin Bartholomew, lost family members during the French-Indian incursions that swept away many New York frontier settlements. Indian kidnapping and killing competed with the harsh climates and primitive conditions in challenging settlement. Riley's grandfather and grandmother both actively contributed to the American Revolution. Benjamin was a scout and courier for the American militia and Abigail made lead bullets inside the Middle Fort in Schoharie, both helping to defend it during the major British-Mohawk attack in 1780.
Riley's father, Benjamin,inherited the same fortitude as he set out overland from New York with his extended family for new land settlement in Ohio (Western Reserve) as an original settler family of Harpersfield in Ashtabula County 18xx.He fought for Americans in War of 1812 in an Ohio militia company comprised alost entirely of family members. Benjamin and his family later left Ohio and headed West again, settling in Wisconsin and finally in the newly opened land of Wisconsin (Eastern Minnesota) in 1852.
Riley grew up on the Ohio frontier and was a young member of the Ohio militia, rising to the rank of General. He was twice elected Sheriff of Ashtabula County as a young man and a recognized political personage locally. Riley was apparently a highly gregarious man, operating a farm and tavern near Geneva, Ohio, he was active in community affairs. He was appointed Justice of the Peace, and carried some authority. But as his father, at middleage he was ready for a new adventure and in 1852 he decided to head to the "new frontier" beyond the Mississippi.
When the family finally arrived at the Mississippi River border of the US settlement at that time, they sought shelter and safety at the nearby military post of Fort Snelling. Leaving the women and children at the Fort, Riley and his brothers decided to lay land claims to vast areas of "soon to be open " land west of the fort. He staked his tent on such a piece of surveyed and pre-empted land, on the edge of what is today Wood Lake in Richfield, Minnesota. He built a small cabin and cleared and planted a small area the first year. Then the family moved in.
This farmstead was continuously used as a family farm down through the 1962 when it came to the town of Richfield. The original farmstead buildings are now operated by the independent Richfield Historical Society and the farmstead is a National and State historic site--open for school visits and general public information about the earliest periods of local settlement activity.
It was in Riley's farmstead that many of the political and social events of early Richfield developed. Riley and the other settlers who soon came to Richfield, raised the first school building near here, the first town hall and the first church. Riley was the President of the first public cemetery association formed in the town--right down the road (Lyndale Avenue today) from the farmstead. Riley was area representative to both the State's First Constitutional Statehood Convention and original County organization convention. Riley served as Senator District#4 for several terms. He was appointed Justice of the Peace for Richfield serving for many years.
During the Minnesota Sioux Indian Uprising of 1862, it was at Riley Bartholomew's farmstead that local men gathered with their horses and arms, forming a militia to join Minneapolis' Anson Northrup regiment to reinforce the US presence in southern Minnesota towns that were being attacked during the uprising. Two of Riley's own sons, following family tradition of civic and military service, were at that time already in the military, but with Minnesota Civil War regiments in the American South. During that emergency, it was left to the "Old Men," "teens" and youth to defend Minnesota residents from rampaging Indians, and the elderly Bartholomew lent his experience and organizing skills to the task.
Riley's immediate family were his wife, "Fannie" (Frances) Watkins Bartholomew, daughter of Ohio frontier families, whom he married in Ohio in 1829 and four his children--all born in Ohio. While Riley came from a family of twelve siblings, this couple had only four children: America Almeda, Virginia Vandalia, Winfield Wallace, Rollin Hopkins.
Riley and Fannie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a large local party in 1879, detailed in the local press. Riley by then had become the "grand old man" of the area. He was one of the founders of Minnesota's Territorial Pioneer group, and with them represented the earliest periods of state and area history. On his death in 1894, according to contemporary news accounts," a large funeral party convened with oratory and ceremony." Riley was a religious and modest man. He instructed a "very modest" cemetery marker laid in the same cemetery where he had served as President for so many decades. Riley Bartholomew died at home on 21 September 1894, survived by his wife Fannie and children. All are buried with their families in adjacent plots at the family cemetery.
In 1997 a marker and American flag pole were dedicated at the Riley Bartholomew farmstead by local veteran groups. The site now is part of a museum. This memorial commemorated the 35th anniversary of the Richfield Historical Society founding and its celebration of early Richfield founders. This project was led by local Richfield veterans groups, Bartholomew descendants and Richfield citizens. Over 120 years after his death, the pioneer spirit and civic commitment of the early settler, like Riley Bartholomew, continues to inspire. The Bartholomew Family in Minnesota,Chap. 2, pp.53-4.
Benjamin Bartholomew (1785 - 1868)
Susannah Lucas Bartholomew (1790 - 1868)
Frances Augustus Watkins Bartholomew (1811 - 1899)
America Bartholomew Propper (1832 - 1925)*
Virginia Vandalia Bartholomew Nash (1836 - 1907)*
Winfield Wallace Bartholomew (1839 - 1911)*
Rollin Hopkins Bartholomew (1841 - 1926)*
Riley Lucas Bartholomew (1807 - 1894)
Clinton Bartholomew (1811 - 1813)*
Nelson Bishop Bartholomew (1814 - 1861)*
Benjamin Franklin Bartholomew (1816 - 1863)*
Lydia Ursala Bartholomew Gregory (1818 - 1881)*
Malinda Bartholomew (1820 - 1835)*
Fidelia Bartholomew (1825 - 1840)*
George Winfield Bartholomew (1828 - 1901)*
Frances Augustus Bartholomew Phillips (1831 - 1901)*
Oak Hill Cemetery
Created by: D. Montgomery
Record added: Sep 03, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 96463474
A civic-minded pioneer of Richfield and Hennepin County Minnesota|
Added: Jul. 1, 2015
Added: Nov. 29, 2013
Added: Jan. 8, 2013