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Henry's signature on his petition to be released from militia training

The prevailing spelling of this family's name in Henry's lifetime was "Bartlet."

Henry appears to have come to Massachusetts Bay Colony as a servant of John Frank. In accordance with an ordinance requiring that all minors boarding ships at the port of Bristol, England, be accounted for, it's recorded that a Henry Bartlett became John's servant for 9 years on 15 May 1667, destination New England.1 It was also very likely the subject of this article who appears in an inventory taken of the estate of Gregory Belcher of Braintree, Massachusetts, who died 25 November 1674.2 Taken on 25 January 1674/75, Henry is listed as a servant valued at 5 lbs. What his function was for either of these men isn't said, but it appears his indenture was sold to Belcher, who was a farmer by the end of his life, if not earlier. If so, he had a year and four months left of his indenture. It's unlikely he was an apprentice, given the length of the indenture, and the majority of the Bristol servants were not apprenticed. The number of years may have been the amount for him to reach his majority, in which case he was born about 1655. If he was an apprentice, he was most likely to have been 14 in 1667, putting his birth about 1653.
     On 24 August 1675, Henry is credited with military service under Capt. Isaac Johnson for which he was to receive £2, 14 shillings.3 He's also in a list of men in Johnson's company recorded on December 10, 1675, where he's referred to as being from Braintree and which connects him with the Belchers.4 This doesn't appear to be a man who was still indentured. Was he able to pay the Belcher estate for his release? It's unlikely they would simply let him go and lose £5. The service in December 1675 was part of the "Great Swamp Fight" or "Narragansett Fight." The following petition can be found in the Middlesex County court records:5

To the honnored County Cort at cambridg

my humble Request is that I might bee freed from tray
[n]ing[,] for in the Naraganset fight I frose my feete so that I have Lost gret part prt of on[e] of them wheare by I am much desaneabled as to my own Perticculer coling & therefore not able to performe cuntry sarvi[c]es as I Cold wish that I weare; & so leaving this honnored corrt to consider my condision & to greant me a Releas if it might bee.

henery Bartlet

Marlbrough this 2 day:2 mt
[April in the Julian or modern calendar] 1683

      He very likely wrote the entire petition, given that the handwriting is consistent throughout, including the signature. If he couldn't write, he would have only made his mark on the document. This shows he was literate, granted the imperfect spelling.

Henry may have been given a lot of land in "Narragansett Township No. 6," which became Templeton, Massachusetts. This was for his service in the war. His son Daniel willed it to his son Isaac in 1758, so either it was given to Henry or Daniel petitioned for it after his father died. Henry definitely had a grant of land in Marlborough, probably in the 1680s. In 1688 the town taxed him for a very modest 6 pence among others for their "person and estate."6 His descendants are barely mentioned in Marlborough even though they appear in that town's vital records. They lived in a rural area at the border of Marlborough between later towns such as Westborough and Northborough. An abstract of land grants cites two instances where Henry's name appears among the grantees, no date given, but surely after 1688.7
     The Bartlets in Marlborough were assigned to the protection of two different garrisons at different times, once to Thomas How's (date?) and once to Nathan Brigham's (1711).8 Joseph Stratton was also assigned to the latter garrison and appears among the witnesses to son Daniel Bartlett's land purchases in 1713.9 That land was partly abutted by that of Nathan Brigham, but the garrison was supposedly close to the center of the village. If Henry lived near where Daniel eventually settled, they would much more likely have been at the neighboring Samuel Goodenow garrison. No probate records appear for Henry, or any record of his death. Little else has been found about him. On 2 March 1706/1707 he was elected one of the Marlborough's tythingmen (collector of church taxes), and he was re-elected to that office on 6 March 1709/1710.10 His daughter Elizabeth, widow of James Prentice, died in 1724. A document in the Middlesex County Probate Court says that she died at her father's house, and he gave consent to have Thomas Prentice, the administrator of her husband's estate, also oversee hers.11 The last mention found of Henry is on 15 November 1735, when he acknowledged a deed of land given to Richard Barnes in Marlborough next to his dwelling house.12 Other land he owned is mentioned as an abutting property. It isn't apparent what happened to his house and the rest of the land.

children of Henry Bartlet and Mary Bush:

i. Mary b. 3 October 1683
ii. Elizabeth b. 27 February 1686/87 (double-dated in MCR), m. John Prentiss/Prentice
iii. Daniel b. 6 April 1691
iv. Henry b. October 1696, d. 10 August 1699
v. Henry b. 29 August 1701
vi. Martha b. 29 August 1701
vii. Lydia b. 17 August 1704, d. 15 December 1722

vital records sources: Henry's marriage record comes from Vital Records of Marlborough, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 (Worcester:1908), 219, taken from Middlesex County records of town vital statistics, vol. 1678-1745, p. 123 (filmed images in "Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records," database online,, image 156).

1. Peter Wilson Coldham, The Bristol registers of servants sent to foreign plantations, 1654-1686 (Baltimore:1988), 231.
2. Middlesex County probate records, 5:234. Thanks to Jack Bartlett for pointing this out to me. It doesn't appear in her probate packet of original documents.
3. George M. Bodge, Soldiers in King Philip's war; being a critical account of that war, with a concise history of the Indian wars of New England from 1620-1677 (Boston:1906), 113. No source given for these pay lists.
4. Ibid, 114, taken from Massachusetts Archives vol. 67, record 299 (not 293 as in Bodge's citation).
5. Court Files, Middlesex Co., MA, (vol.) 1675-1695, images at, film #008131117, image 721.
this and the next two notes are from published accounts of Marlborough and/or Middlesex County records, details to be cited.
6. Marlborough Proprietors Great Book, pp. 52 & 371, as abstracted in First Records of Marlborough, Great Book not yet seen for details.
7.-10. town meeting minutes, citations needed.
11. Middlesex County Probate Court, case #17964.
12. Essex County deed record, 45:657.

all text and photographs © 1998-2020 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted