Monday, March 12, 2007

Washington Bartlett (1824-1887) - Bachelor Governor

[Bartlett gravesite photo by Michael Colbruno]

Plot 28

Washington Montgomery Bartlett was born in Savannah, Georgia on February 29, 1824 and died while serving as Governor of California on September 12, 1887. Bartlett was appointed as Alcade (mayor) of San Francisco and served from 1883–1887.

Bartlett, a lifelong bachelor, came from a prominent New York family, one of whom signed the Declaration of Independence. Some of his other claims to fame were that he was the first California Governor to die in office, the first Jewish Governor (although not personally religious), he published the first English-language book in the State, spoke Spanish fluently, attempted to curb the flow of Chinese immigrants to California, was a close ally of President Andrew Jackson (who appointed him to the Navy), and had a reputation for his extreme honesty. Bartlett also served as San Francisco County Clerk and in the California State Senate.

His cousin was Dr. Chloe Annette Buckel from the previous blog posting.

His inaugural address can be found at:

1 comment:

MJ Bunel said...

I did not find any evidence that Washington Montgomery Bartlett, 20th mayor of San Francisco who lived from February 29, 1824 to September 12, 1887 and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California was in the navy- he was born in Savannah, GA. and became a newspaperman in SF prior to becoming mayor there.

Washington Allon Bartlett (ca. 1816 – February 6, 1865) possibly born in Maine, was appointed the first alcalde (mayor) of the American-era San Francisco, and served from August 14, 1846 to January 31, 1847. He was reportdly originally appointed (I have not found evidence as to who appointed him) as a midshipman in the United States Navy on January 22, 1833, having had some previous at-sea nautical training, and eventualy became a lieutenant after mainly engaged in surveying duties. After the Mexican War broke out and Commodore Sloat claimed California for the US, the ship Bartlett was on arrived at Yerba Buena to take control of that area. Lt. Bartlett was fluent in Spanish, and well read in legal matters, so he was detailed by Commander Montgomery on August 14, 1846 to take command at Yerba Buena as its first American alcalde (Spanish for mayor) and in one of his last acts at the end of his second term (to which he was elected), he re-named the area San Francisco. He continued his naval career for some time after he left the office of Acalde. There is no indication of any familial relationship between the two Washington Bartletts