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First Name: Joseph

Last Name: Bartholomew

Birthplace: NJ, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Date of Birth: 15 March 1766

Date of Death: 03 November 1840

Rank: Major General

Years Served:
Joseph Bartholomew

•  Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783)


Joseph Bartholomew
Major General, U.S. Army

Joseph Bartholomew was born on 15 March 1766 in New Jersey. When Joseph was five, the family moved to the western frontier of Pennsylvania, settling at Laurel Hill, where they were the neighbors of General Arthur St. Clair, of Revolutionary War fame. (President Washington appointed him as the first governor of the Territory Northwest of the Ohio from which afterwards the following states were created: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan. While at Laurel Hill, his father died, and he remained at home with his mother.

A few years after the death of his father, Joseph's mother married a man named Smith who was very unkind to the Bartholomew children. Having been obliged to shift for himself from an early age, Joseph grew up to be a strong, self-reliant boy.

Joseph's youthful days along the frontier were full of adventure and at the age of ten years he had already become an expert with a rifle. With this skill, he enlisted in the Revolutionary Army and assisted in helping to drive back marauding Indians and break up Tory camps. With little opportunity to get an education, he did acquire enough to become a good conveyancer [one who prepares deeds and other writings for transferring the title to property] and surveyor and did a great deal of that work at an early age, as well as later in Indiana and Illinois. In about 1784, after the close of the Revolutionary War, he joined General "Mad" Anthony Wayne's forces in his campaign against the north-west Indians.

At Greenville, OH, General 'Mad' Anthony Wayne concluded his celebrated treaty with the belligerent Wyandot's, Delaware's, Shawnees and other tribes, and Bartholomew, either as a volunteer or as an interested spectator, was present. The result of this treaty was the cessation of general hostilities for a time by the red men against the whites, and was the first permanent cession of lands which, within a few years, became a portion of Indiana.

Battle of Tippecanoe

On 26 October 1811, they marched from Vincennes with 900 men, 300 of whom were mounted. They completed a military post called Fort Harrison near the present city of Terre Haute. Leaving a garrison there, on 29 October they pressed on towards Tippecanoe. The day before reaching that town a messenger from the government overtook the army with a dispatch directing General Harrison to get a treaty with the Indians if it was possible. The army resumed its march, and the next day about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, when near the Indian town, it was met by a flag of truce from the Indians, saying that they wished to talk treaty with their white brethren.

The Indians said they would open up negotiations the next day. Harrison fell back to Tippecanoe Creek and went into camp. General Harrison and Colonel Bartholomew felt sure that the Indians meant treachery. The camp was pitched in line of battle with orders to the men to lie on their arms ready to rise up and shoot. Colonel Bartholomew was made Officer of the Day, whose duty was to place sentinels and see that they did their duty. The Colonel was on the lookout all night, feeling sure of an attack before morning. His camp fire was kept up all night. About 4 o'clock in the morning, while the Colonel was riding around the picket line, the Indians opened battle with the tremendous yelling and heavy firing all around the camp. The Colonel got to his lines as soon as possible, found the Indians had pressed his men back and now possessed some of the tents. He ordered the men to charge bayonets and drive the Indians beyond the battle line - then to hold their line - assuring them that the Indians would run as soon as daylight appeared. Riding along the lines the Colonel discovered that the Indians were pouring in a galling fire from behind a large poplar log in the distance. Having no men to spare from the lines, the Colonel went to Harrison and asked for a squad of twenty-five men of the regulars (the regulars were held in reserve and never brought into action), and asked the Colonel who was to lead the men. The Colonel said that he would lead them himself. The charge was a success, the Indians being driven at the point of the bayonet from that place.

In this charge the Colonel received a bad wound by an Indian bullet, breaking both bones of the right forearm. Paying no attention to his arm he rode up and down the lines, encouraging his men and telling them that as soon as the Indians could see the sights of their guns they would run, which soon proved to be the case, for at daybreak the cavalry charged upon and utterly routed the Indians. Not until after the battle did he look after his wounded arm, which was dangling at his side, but his right hand still clasping his sword. The army moved on to the Indian town, which they found deserted and which they burned to the ground.

Thus ended the Battle of Tippecanoe. In recognition of his bravery and generalship displayed in battle Bartholomew was brevetted Brigadier-General of Volunteers, and due to his wounds was granted a pension of $23 per month.

President William Henry Harrison

At the battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, Bartholomew fought alongside William Henry Harrison..

In 1840, when General Harrison was nominated by the Whigs as their candidate for President, General Bartholomew, who had always been strong anti-Jackson and a staunch Whig, promptly rallied to his old friend and companion-in-arms. He regarded General Harrison as being the best off-hand speaker he had ever heard, and that General Harrison, when on the march, always encouraged his men and frequently made speeches to them to that end.

The Whig's battle cry in 1840 was 'Tippecanoe' and Bartholomew, who had taken such an active part in that battle along with the candidate for President, was soon identified in the political campaign. He saddled his horse and on its back traveled through Illinois and Indiana and in Kentucky at the time of the monster Whig meeting, which was held at the 'Battle Ground' and where Bartholomew presided. It was claimed that seventy-five thousand people were present at this, said-to-be, the largest political meeting ever held in Indiana. A similar, huge meeting was held by the Whigs of Illinois during the campaign, at Springfield, where General Bartholomew was again selected to preside.

Bartholomew, the old hero, was now seventy-four years of age and the prolonged horseback trips during the campaign had been too severe for him, having aggravated a chronic trouble, the inflammation of the bladder.

Returning to his home, he became violently ill on election day, 2 November 1840, and died the next morning at one o'clock.


Bartholomew County, IN, is named in his honor.


About 1788, Joseph married Christiana Pickenpaugh and they had ten children. the newly married couple migrated to the then-village of Louisville [Jefferson County], KY, locating some four miles east of town. He was 21 and she was about 17.

Death and Burial

Major General Joseph Bartholomew died on 3 November 1840. He is buried at the Clarksville Cemetery in Clarksville, IL.

Honoree ID: 2220   Created by: MHOH




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