First Bartholomew Reunion

The following is an address given at the First Bartholomew Reunion. The text is exactly as printed in a brown covered, 6 inch by 7 inch booklet, titled:

(outside cover)

First Bartholomew Reunion

(inside cover)



AUGUST 30, 1919



(beginning of 14 pages of text)


There is but one regret in my heart today as we gather in this sacred place, and that is that the First Bartholomew Reunion was not held at least 25 years ago. Then we could have had with us some of the men and women who knew more of our past history than we do, for they lived nearer to those who were familiar with our early ancestors in the new world. I must confess with shame that it is only in recent years that I was led to make any effort to trace my paternal lineage. This was due not to any lack of interest in regard to it, but for the simple reason that my time has always been so much taken up with more pressing duties. I do reverence my forebears. No one needs to be ashamed of their characters. Their lives have stood the test of centuries. As we read the scanty records of their quiet and humble achievements in the early colonial days, we may well bow our heads in reverence and pray with sincerity of heart, "Lord, grant us grace to continue in their train." Every intelligent person desires to know whence he came, and the kind of blood that courses through his veins. For, after all is said and done, blood will tell in the race of life. The old saying is true that "an apple never falls very far from the stem." A manís origin usually settles his destiny. It may be possible to outgrow an evil heritage, but it is always a handicap to real progress in the world.

"What is in a name?" the poet asks. He answers his own question by saying:

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

That may be true of the flowers that bloom and fade during the same day, but it is not true of man, who is not born to die. There is a great deal in a name. We should be thankful for the name we bear. Bartholomew is an old name. We first read of it in the Bible. One of the 12 apostles bore this name. It is the English name of the Syrian name Bartholomai. It is derived from "Bar," which means "son," and "Tholmai," which literally signifies to "furrow" or "cut out." According to some accounts Bartholomew was the son of a husbandman; others say he was the son of a prince "Ptolomeus." There is a legend that he went into India after the ascension of our Lord, carrying with him the Gospel of St. Matthew, and preaching also in Armenia and Cilicia. In devotional pictures and single figures St. Bartholomew sometimes bears in one hand a book, the gospel of St. Matthew, but his peculiar attitude is a large knife, the instrument of his martyrdom. Whenever my Episcopalian friends boast of their Apostolic Succession I tell them that they cannot keep me, a minister of the Gospel, out of the Apostolic Success-on, for the very name appears in the College of the Apostles.

It is surprising to find how many Bartholomews there are in the world. The Bartholomew Tree with its many branches has stuck its roots in almost every nation under the sun. You find the name in France, in Germany, in England, in Scotland and all over America. If it were possible to assemble in one place all the Bartholomews in the United States I believe that they would represent a vast army. There is hardly a State where one does not find the name. This recalls two incidents which I think will amuse you. One year during my vacation at Ocean Grove I wrote the names of Mrs. Bartholomew and the four children on the hotel register. The next morning as I sat on the porch I overheard a Bartholomew who came from New Jersey say: "Last evening a whole cartload of Bartholomews was dumped out at this hotel. During my visit to Paris in 1892 the room maid at the hotel told me that I resembled a Mr. Bartholomew who often came to that hotel from a nearby town, and what was stranger still she said his initials were the same as mine.

The vocations of the Bartholomews are even more varied than their national origin. So far as I know they have not been of a roving spirit in America. They always settled in certain communities and there they abode during their life-time. Some of them never lived outside of the county in which they were born. This shows that they were content with their lot. I am not sure that any of them have been millionaires. Vast fortunes have not been in the line of their seeking, or rather their finding. Most of them are well-to-do, and all of them have had bread enough and to spare. Let us hope that it may always be said of them: "I have never seen a Bartholomew forsaken nor his seed begging bread." I have never heard of any great warriors or gallant soldiers among them. A goodly number have been skillful weavers, fashionable tailors and good farmers. Music has always been a favorite pastime with them, and in many instances an accomplishment. My Uncle Amos who died only a few months ago was not only a skillful player on the violin, but he made his own instrument. The Bartholomews as a rule have been fond of the ennobling things in life. This, I believe, has given them a refinement of character and has led them to follow those pursuits which minister to the higher spiritual nature. I have never met a rough or vulgar Bartholomew, and I hope I never shall. The fact that a large number of them have been musicians, teachers, preachers, lawyers and physicians shows that the trend of their lives has been along the lines of the social and moral uplift of mankind. There is a large honor roll of men and women who have left an imperishable record for well-doing, and whose example we might well imitate in our own daily pursuits. They have left more than footprints on the sands of time. Their deeds are enshrined in the hearts and lives of men and women who will ever rise up and call them blessed. While it is proper for us at this reunion to fix our minds on the Bartholomews, let us not forget that they represent only one-half of this huge Family Tree, and what they have been and we are was due to a large extent to the good maternal influences The names of such worthy wives and mothers as Hannah Zimmerman, Catherine Hecker, Susan Diehl, Barbara Gildner, Hannah Danner and others shine forth with a lustre equal to that of our noble fathers, and to them we owe the same tribute of affection, honor and gratitude. Henry Bartholomew, of whom most of us here assembled are the lineal descendants, was born in the year 1728, in Zwei Brueken, a town of Rhenish Bavaria, which we now know as Alsace Loraine, and formerly the capital of an independent duchy on the Erbach River. The French name was Deux Ponts, and the Latin, Bipontium. It derived its name from the fact that the old castle was situated between two bridges. The town was well built and there are still to be seen the remains of an ancient ducal palace. Prior to the World War it was described as having "a penitentiary, a gymnasium, and manufacturers of woolen cloths, leather, cotton, silk, plush and tobacco." No doubt you are all aware that Alsace Loraine in the earlier days, when not an independent duchy, was in the possession of the French.

Our forebear came to America in 1751, before there was a United States and before there was a county of Northampton. He was one of the early settlers in Allen Township, which was at the time a part of Bucks County. His tombstone is one of the oldest inthe Stone Church Cemetery near Kreidersville. According to the records, Northampton became a separate county in 1752, a year after the arrival of the Bartholomew whom we honor as our ancestor. The name was given to the county by Governor Hamilton at the request of Thomas Penn, as per his letter written from England, September 8, 1751. Are you aware that when this young Bartholomew of 23 came to this country and took up his abode in this county that the Indians were still in the land? He was among those early immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania, that had to face the terrors of the bow and arrow, the scalpel and the tomahawk. We may well imagine the courage that was necessary for them to pitch their tents amid the prowling Indians. You are doubtless familiar with the story of the awful massacre in 1755 by the Indians of the Eleven Moravians at Lehighton, which was then a part of Northampton County. This is not the time nor place to discuss the causes of the unfriendly feelings of the Red man towards the White man. The point I wish to impress upon your minds is that our ancestors were in daily perils of their lives. As we recall the dangers besetting those pioneers, and the hardships which they endured, the question presses itself to the lips: "Are we worthy of such an ancestry?" Some one has truly said: "We must be greater than our fathers in order to be equal to them." They had struggles and sorrows and sacrifices of which we know not, and yet those very sufferings have made possible our present possessions. Oh, how rich has been our lot! Surely our lines have fallen into pleasant places, and we are the possessors of a goodly heritage.

I wonder how many of you who live in Northampton County really appreciate the wealth and beauty that is stored up in this region? There is a fertility to the soil that yields your bountiful harvests. The busy furnaces and huge factories, the splendid schools and stately churches, the stone mansions and spacious barns, the attractive parks and beautiful orchards, all are lending themselves to make the dwellers here comfortable and happy. Are you satisfied with your portion in this life?

One of the distinctive traits of my branch of the Bartholomews, and of whom I may be saying 'too much, but I must speak whereof I know, was that the heads of three or four generations were all weavers and were all named Henry. It is said that of all human arts the art of weaving is the most ancient. Can you imagine an occupation that requires more patience, skill, exactness and taste than weaving? Seldom do we in this country see an old loom with its long threads and cross threads and the weaver's hand plying a small boat-like shuttle across the warp until the web is woven. At that quiet, cautious and artistic task the man at the loom may learn how to weave the web of his destiny. The warp of life is not of earth but of heaven. The long threads unwind from eternity, and they are let down to us from God, just as the warp in the weaver's loom responds to the work of the shuttle. This warp of life is composed of the divine principles of faith, hope and charity, and they are needful in the weaving of a true character. Who can tell how much of the piety, devotion and fidelity of our forefathers was due to their early handicraft! Humble pursuit, do I hear you say; yes, that may be true, but a calling that will weave garments for the body may also help to weave the garb for the soul.

Now I wish to speak of two men who were preachers of the Gospel. The one was Rev. Dominicus Bartholomew, who came to this country in 1747, and the other, Rev. John Egidius Hecker, who came in 1751. These fathers of our common faith deserve mention on this occasion: Pastor Bartholomew, because of his name, and it may also be of his blood relationship, and Pastor Hecker, for one of his daughters was married to the son of Henry Bartholomew the Second.

Rev. Dominicus Bartholomew was one of the first pastors of the old historic Tulpehocken Church. Such was his zeal for the preaching of the Gospel that he went on horseback, three or four Sundays each year for several years, to minister to the shepherdless congregation in Lancaster. Owing to his being in feeble health his ministry was of brief duration. In one of his letters to the Church in Lancaster he made use of this touching prayer: "May Jesus be the salvation of the Reformed Church on earth; may He establish His Church upon the mountain of Zion; may Jesus, as the Chief Shepherd, especially bless and sustain the Elders, Deacons, Church .and School of the excellent congregation in Lancaster. May He give them Nehemiah's zeal, Obadiah's piety and Solomon's wisdom; so that the Church may be preserved pure for Christ the Bridegroom. This I wish with heart and soul."

Rev. John Egidius Hecker had an illustrious parentage and studied theology in the University of Herborn. Accordin, to Rev. John Baer Stoudt, of Northampton, Pa., the mother of pastor Hecker belonged to the nobility. He was an earnest minister for years in this very region. To him belongs the distinction of having confirmed the first class of catechumens in the Church of the Forcks, now the First Reformed Church, Easton, and the first class of catechumens in the Church of Dryland, now Hecktown. Two years ago it was mv privilege to see the original Church record of the old Tohickon Church in which I found the record of baptisms by this venerable servant of God. He wrote on the title page: "Begun by me, Johann Egidius Hecker, pro tempore pastor of the Reformed Congregation at Tohicken, April 19, 1756." He is buried at the Immanuel Church near Petersville.

My dear friends, we should never forget our loved ones who have gone before us into the eternal world. We would be poor indeed if we could not enter into their labors and enjoy the benefits of their toils. We owe a great deal more to the dead than we imagine at first si-ht. Who built the cities we inhabit, the houses we live in, the roads we travel, and the institutions we enjoy? Each generation, from the patriarchs down to this present time, enlarges, broadens and deepens human life. We enjoy privileges that the apostles never dreamed of. The reformers, Luther, Zwingli and Calvin, are dead, but they are more influential today than they were in the sixteenth century. Bunyan is dead, but his bright spirit still walks the earth in Pilgrim's Progress. Baxter is dead, but souls still find peace by the Saints' Rest. Eliot is dead, but the Indians enjoy the benefits of his toils. Howard is dead, but Prison-Reform has come to stay. Robert Raikes is dead, but the Sunday Schools go on. It is because these men have lived and toiled and died that we succeed so well. The Indians had a very pleasant belief that when the flowers fade in the forests and on the prairies, their beauty passes into the rainbow. It is thus with our precious dead-the joy and pride of our homes, our Churches and our nation-they fade away, they pass from our sight, but lifting our eyes unto heaven we see them blossom into the holier beauty of the rainbow about the throne of God.

What lessons of faith, piety and devotion our fathers do teach us! They did not possess the advantages we enjoy, but they had faith in God and faith in themselves. They did the pioneer work, the hard work, the rough work. The best way to honor the memory of our fathers, and to perpetuate their lives, is by faithfully entering into their labors so that like them we may serve our generation by the will of God.

I beg of you not to forget your relation to the past, a past which has made possible the present. We who live now are heirs of all the ages. Truly, our lilies have fallen into pleasant places, and we are the possessors of a goodly heritage. Every one of us was born into an inheritance which represents all the wisdom and power and glory of the past. This is one of the great features which distinguishes man from the beast. Instinct makes no progress. The lion is precisely the same as he was at his creation. The beavers build their dams, and the birds their nests, and the bees their combs exactly as they did ages ago. Man alone is capable of progress. When a man says, "I stand today just where I did twenty years ago," there are only two conclusions possible: either he was perfect then, or he is dead now. Pity the child that is not an improvement on its parent.' The reward of a father's toils and a mother's sacrifices is the well-being of the child. Did not our fathers bestow on us all their temporal and spiritual blessings? We should not enter into their labors with a view to rest in them, but to advance them. Is it not due them that we improve our heritage? And do we not owe it to the present that we take the legacy of the past and apply it to the needs of the hour?

Anyone who studies the signs of the times and the needs of the hour must realize that we are entering upon a new world order. It will no longer do for us to think as we have been thinking in the past, to live as we have lived, or to act as we have been acting. The whole scale of human life must be enlarged in order to meet the demands of this new day. Our forefathers did well, but we must do better. They were devoted to their families, but we must be more so. They were loyal to the nation in the hour of its making, but we must be more so in this day of its remaking. They were faithful to the Church in the day of small things, but we must be more so now at a time when hearts from the ends of the earth are calling to us for the message of salvation. The men and women whose memories we recall today and should cherish more sacredly than ever before did not enjoy the privileges that we enjoy. The Lord expects more of us than He did of them. They lived in the days of the tallow dip, the bare floors, and the scanty fare. We live in the noonday splendors of the twentieth century.

Let us thank God that the whole world is before us for service. Let us ever remember that we have outgrown the days of our forefathers. Their path of duty was "shut up" to home, because shut out from all the world. All the lamps of providence shone then upon

"A little spot enclosed by grace Out of the world's vast wilderness."

Now the path of duty is wider and more winding than in the days of old, and it must be examined under all the new lights which Providence has been kindling and accumulating in these latter years. The larger the task, the greater the difficulties; the higher the ideal, the finer will be the effects of effort. We know by doing; we grow by going; we get by giving; we live by loving.

"Is the heart a living power? Self-entwined, its strength sinks low; It can only live in loving, And by serving love will grow."


President, ALLEN R. BARTHOLOMEW, D.D. Philadelphia, Pa.

Vice President. REV. JOSHUA S. BARTHOLOMEW Bethlehem, Pa.

Vice President, REV. CALVIN E. BARTHOLOMEW Pottstown, Pa.

Vice President, REV. NEVIN H. BARTHOLOMEW Buffalo, N. Y.


Treasurer, MR. CHARLES E. BARTHOLOMEW Quakertown, Pa.

Registrar, MR. HOWARD BARTHOLOMEW Bethlehem, Pa.