William Bartram

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William Bartram

Birthplace: Kingsessing, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Death: July 22, 1823 (84)
Kingsessing, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Place of Burial: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Bartram and Ann Bartram
Brother of James Bartram; Moses Bartram; Elizabeth Bartram; Mary Bosnall; Elizabeth Wright and 3 others
Half brother of Richard Bartram and Isaac Bartram

Managed by: Mick Earl
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About William Bartram

Possible alternate b. & d. information: Birth: Apr. 7, 1739 - Death: 1822 Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co., PA. Find A Grave Memorial # 8139879.

"During the summer of 1999, the U.S. Postal Service honored William Bartram -- and his botanist father John Bartram -- with a commemorative postage stamp adorned with the likeness of one of William's hand-colored engravings. The 33-cent stamp was dedicated on May 7, 1999, and marked the 300th anniversary of John's birth. The Bartram Nature Trail near Augusta, GA is named for William, whose artistic abilities began to flourish in the 1760s when he sent friends in England detailed illustrations of American flora and fauna. The commemorative stamp, with a likeness of the hand-colored engraving of the beautiful Franklinia alatamaha flower, honors some of the 200 native American plants first introduced by the Bartrams." http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/1999/07/27/met_266514.shtml

To view more pictures, including one of this postage stamp, go to the Media section.

Wiliam was America's first native born naturalist-artist, botanist, painter, explorer, and the first author to write how he portrayed nature through personal experiences as well as scientific observation. From 1773 to 1776, his southern journey took him from the foothills of the Appalachian mountains to Florida, through the southeastern interior all the way to the Mississippi River, as well as to eight states: NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, MS, LA, and TN. This journey was published as an account of his adventures titled "Bartram's Travels" in 1791. Following in his father's footsteps, William carried on extensive travels and observations in the fields of botany and ornithology for as long as he possibly could, finally returning home to a quiet life. He was recognized as America's first ornithologist.

In 1752 he was sent to the Academy of Philadelphia; his studies there included Latin and French, but botany and drawing, his father wrote, were “his darling delight.” The father encouraged his son in these directions, taking him on botanizing trips to the Catskill Mountains in 1753 and to Connecticut in 1755, and letting him sketch on Saturday afternoons and Sundays, instead of working and going to meeting.

"Source: From DICTIONARY OF NORTH CAROLINA BIOGRAPHY edited by William S. Powell. Copyright (c) 1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. www.uncpress.unc.edu

William Bartram, naturalist, was born near Philadelphia, where his gifts as an artist brought him in his youth to the attention of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin proposed that William become an engraver, but he was apprenticed instead to a Philadelphia merchant in 1756. In 1761, his apprenticeship completed, William moved to Bladen County, where his uncle William had a large plantation and considerable property on the Cape Fear River. Here the nephew opened a store and spent the next four years alternately occupied with his business and investigating the flora and fauna of the Cape Fear region.

The Bartram family was established in the Cape Fear country by the early eighteenth century, when Bartram's grandfather, the first William Bartram, settled at Whitoc plantation. There he was attacked and killed by local Indians, and his wife and sons, William and John, were taken captive. Mrs. Bartram was subsequently able to return to Philadelphia with her sons. John remained in Philadelphia, but William later returned to North Carolina to resume control of their father's estate. He became a man of considerable influence as a colonel of militia and was for many years a representative in the colonial legislature of North Carolina. White Lake in Bladen County was known as Lake Bartram when he owned much land in the vicinity. Colonel Bartram also had a son named William, first cousin of the naturalist, and it was this household that the naturalist joined in 1761. The two cousins were often companions on botanical and zoological jaunts in the vicinity of Ashwood, Bartram's plantation.

The mercantile venture of William Bartram did not prosper in Bladen. John Bartram, newly appointed as botanist to King George III, stopped by Ashwood in 1765 on a mission to Florida; he took his son with him on the trip, and afterward the two returned to Philadelphia. William tried for three more years to find success as a merchant in Philadelphia, but by 1770 he was almost bankrupt and disillusioned with the effort. He returned to Ashwood, where, during the next two years, Colonel Bartram, his wife, and their son, Dr. William Bartram, all died. Leaving Ashwood in the latter part of 1772 and returning once more to Philadelphia, Bartram in the following spring set forth on his famous "travels," outlined in the volume Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, etc, which he brought out in 1791. Chiefly through the fine reception accorded to the book, Bartram became an established member of the international literary and scientific community and a member of many American and foreign learned societies. A Quaker by upbringing, Bartram became an ardent deist.

Bartram visited Ashwood, apparently for the last time, late in 1776. He always held Ashwood in affectionate regard as a place where he and his cousins had engaged in "pastimes . . . of the most Innocent and simple nature such as amuse Brothers, Sisters and Friends." At least one biographer has suggested that William had a brief love affair with one of Colonel Bartram's daughters, but the naturalist was never married.

William Bartram is buried at Bartram's Garden National Historic Landmark, Philadelphia, PA. The Gardens were founded by his father. The Historic Landmark encompasses the homestead of John Bartram, and today is America's oldest living botanical garden. The 45-acre site on the Schuylkill River in Southwest Philadelphia features Bartram's 18th century home and farm buildings, historic botanical garden, wildflower meadow, water garden, freshwater wetland, parkland, river trail and a museum shop. The house was named a National Historic Landmark in 1963.

Other Sources: http://www.alectouk.com/Bartram/it020001.htm






Find A Grave Memorial # 8139879.

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William Bartram's Timeline

April 20, 1739
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
July 22, 1823
Age 84
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States