Register of the George Washington Bartch Papers,

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Collection Inventory+/-

Biographical Note/Historical Note

Content Description

Collection Use

Administrative Information

Collection Overview +/-

Title: George Washington Bartch Papers,
Dates: 1869-1905. (inclusive)
Collection Number: Mss B 194
Summary: Lawyer, land speculator, Justice of the Utah Supreme Court, 1893-1906. Correspondence, diaries, financial records. Correspondence dates from 1884, the first year of Bartch's law practice to 1905, his year of retirement from the Utah Supreme Court. Diaries cover 1869-1913. There are also a few odd documents from law cases and Mexican land holdings. Financial records include three account books for the years 1872 and 1889-1892 (for Bertch's law partnership with John W. Blackburn). His personal finances are reflected in the checkbooks dating from 1869 through 1905. An oversized scrapbook 1909-1910 is included.
Repository: Utah State Historical Society

Collection Inventory +/-

Box Folder Contents
Box , Folder : Correspondence
Box 1, Folder 1 : 1884-1886
Box 1, Folder 2 : 1889
Box 1, Folder 3 : 1890-1904
Box 1, Folder 4 : 1895-1900
Box 1, Folder 5 : 1900-1905
Box , Folder : Miscellaneous
Box 2, Folder 1 : Family records
Box 2, Folder 2 : Memoriams
Box 2, Folder 3 : Correspondence (miscellaneous)
Box 2, Folder 4 : Diaries, 1869-1913 [not inclusive]
Box 2, Folder 5 : Birth and baptism certificate
Box 3, Folder 1 : Mexican land materials
Box 5, Folder 1 : History of Schuylkill County Pennsylvania, 1881
Box 5, Folder 2 : Scrapbook, May 1909 - June 1910
Box , Folder : Legal material
Box 3, Folder 2 : Legal documents (miscellaneous)
Box 3, Folder 3 : Legal documents, 1865-1882
Box 3, Folder 4 : Joseph P. Brockbank vs. Albion Mining Company
Box 3, Folder 5 : Edward Alvin vs. George McBune
Box 3, Folder 6 : Emily P. Raleigh vs. Caroline Wells
Box 3, Folder 7 : Grand Central Mining vs. Mammoth Mining
Box 3, Folder 8 : Minnie Maud Irrigation Company vs. Martha Lawes
Box , Folder : Business records
Box , Folder : Account books
Box 4, Folder 1 : 1872
Box 4, Folder 2 : Blackburn and Bartch, 1889-1892
Box 4, Folder 3 : 1889-1892
Box , Folder : Checkbooks
Box 4, Folder 4 : 1869
Box 4, Folder 5 : 1879
Box 4, Folder 6 : 1879
Box 4, Folder 7 : 1897
Box 4, Folder 8 : 1901
Box 4, Folder 9 : 1902
Box 4, Folder 10 : 1903
Box 4, Folder 11 : 1904
Box 4, Folder 12 : 1905

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

George Washington Bartch was born on 15 March 1849 in Dushore, Pennsylvania. Though Bartch's early childhood was not easy since his mother died in his infancy and his father died when he was eight-years-old, none of Bartch's correspondence indicates any bitterness. His brother owned a small farm nearby in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania and after his father's death Bartch lived with him until he was sixteen. His early work experience on the farm left little time and less energy for the academic pursuits Bartch enjoyed.

Nevertheless, he managed to acquire an education. In 1869, when Bartch was sixteen years old, he began teaching in country schools though his formal education was not completed until 1873. He graduated in that year from the Pennsylvania State Normal School with a Master of Science degree. The year after his graduation he became the Superintendent of Schools at Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. During Bartch's tenure as Superintendent he established personal links with reputable lawyers and professionals in his community, enhanced the quality of education in the school district and was also responsible for building the first public library in Shenandoah.

Bartch spent his spare time reading law, passed the bar examination and was admitted to the bar in 1884. His first law office, located in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, marked the beginning of a successful legal career. In 1888, two years after he opened his first office, he moved to Canon City, Colorado. The reasons for his emigration are unclear but perhaps he sensed that greater opportunities existed in the West. While in Colorado, Bartch met John W. Blackburn, who was also practicing law in Canon City. The two decided in March 1888 to move to Salt Lake City where they established the law firm of Blackburn and Bartch. The decision to move to Salt Lake City proved propitious for both Blackburn and Bartch.

The Bartch family had long been staunch Republicans and George Bartch was no exception. The Republican Party in Utah, however, was sadly disorganized. The issues dividing the national Republican and Democratic parties were of less concern in Utah's politics than the issues that divided Mormons and Gentiles. Utah's major political parties were the People's Party, which represented Mormon interests, and the Liberal Party which represented Gentile interests. Utah's territorial apprenticeship was almost over when Bartch moved to Salt Lake City and the residents of Utah had begun to believe that affiliating themselves with the national political parties would best serve their interests. Bartch was active in early efforts to organize the Republican Party in Utah and, in fact, was selected to become a Utah delegate to the National Committee in 1888.

President Harrison recognized Bartch's efforts in 1889 by appointing him Probate Judge of Salt Lake County. In February 1893, Harrison reaffirmed his support by appointing Bartch to the bench of the Third Judicial District filling the vacancy caused by the death of his associate John Blackburn. The following year Bartch was commissioned to sit on the Territorial Supreme Court of Utah and in November 1895, the Republican Party nominated Bartch for the Supreme Court. During the election of that year, Utah voters chose Bartch as one of the first Supreme Court Justices of the new state. He served on the Supreme Court from January 1896 to October 1906. During his term he served as Chief Justice twice, once from 1899-1900 and again from 1905-1906.

Bartch's resignation from the Supreme Court signaled the end of his public career. He returned to his private law practice and in addition to serving his clients began to exhibit an interest in land speculation. Shortly after Bartch resigned from the Supreme Court, he traveled to Mexico to determine the extent of mineral resources in the Oaxaca district. His diaries indicate that his interest in mines lasted from 1907-1919, but they fail to document any purchases in Mexico. The letters from this period of Bartch's life show that Bartch shared the enthusiasm of many Americans who wished to invest in Mexico around the turn of the century.

George Bartch died in Salt Lake City at his home on 15 March 1927. He was survived by three daughters, one of whom, Mrs. D. M. Guillote, presented his papers to the Utah State Historical Society.

Content Description +/-

The George W. Bartch Collection is composed of limited amounts of business correspondence, arranged chronologically, that date from May 1884 to April 1905. There are also diaries that date from 1869 to 1913. In addition, the collection contains ledgers dating from 1869 to 1905, and one box of legal documents.

Bartch's life can be divided into five distinct periods, the first beginning in 1884 and extending to 1886. Bartch was in Pennsylvania making his living as a teacher during these years and would later become Superintendent of the school district. There are two documents that pertain to this time in his life. The first document is a letter from the Shenandoah School District expressing regret at Bartch's decision to resign from the position of Superintendent of Schools and the other is a letter admitting him to the practice of law in Pennsylvania.

No record remains in the collection of Bartch's early legal career in Pennsylvania or Colorado. However, the second folder does contain documents pertaining to Bartch's appointment as Probate Judge in Utah and corresponds to the second period of his life. This group of documents, dated November 1889, are letters of recommendation from various people addressed to President Benjamin Harrison advocating Bartch be appointed to the Utah Probate Court. Included among the letters is one from J. P. Wickersham, former United States Minister to Denmark, and Pastor R. G. McNiece who presided over the Presbyterian Church that Bartch attended.

The third folder contains correspondence dating from June 1890 to February 1894. During these years, Bartch was busy establishing himself as a leader of the Republican Party in the state and expanding the horizons of his legal career. Letters from this period include one from Charles Zane and another from John W. Blackburn urging Bartch be appointed to the National Republican Committee of Utah. There is also a letter from George Roberts, the Attorney General of Idaho, urging that Bartch continue his efforts in behalf of the Republicans. In response to the admonitions of his associates and following his natural inclinations, Bartch responded by writing an open letter, dated 1 May 1892, to all Republicans in the State warning them to be on guard against the Mugwumps and the Democrats. The remainder of the manuscripts are letters of endorsement for Bartch's request to President Harrison to consider him for the position of judge in the Third District Court.

The fourth period of Bartch's life began in August 1895, when he was nominated to the Supreme Court, and ends in 1900 when he was selected to be its Chief Justice. The collection contains several letters congratulating Bartch on his nomination. Bartch's legal career was enhanced when in November 1895 Utah held its first election of state officers and Bartch was chosen to sit on the State Supreme Court. Some letters in this folder are from men who had attained political recognition in the regional or national arena and reflect the importance of Bartch's new position. Included among these are letters from Matthew D. Quay, George Shoup, and Heber M. Wells.

The last folder contains miscellaneous correspondence dealing with a variety of topics. The fifth period of Bartch's life extends from 1900 to 1905. During this period of time Bartch was selected as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court twice and it seems reasonable this would be the most productive time of his life. Yet the correspondence he saved does not reflect the significance of Bartch's position or the turbulent early years of statehood over which his Court presided. The last piece of correspondence is dated shortly before Bartch resigned from the Supreme Court. All undated correspondence is located at the back of this folder.

The second box of material contains diaries dating from 1869 to 1913. Although Bartch began teaching in country schools in 1865, it is apparent that he found it difficult to subsist on one source of revenue. The earliest diary contains a daily account of the monies he received in compensation for baling hay or plowing. Other diaries contain entries which reflect the changes in Bartch's life. As his legal career matured, he notes the number and kinds of cases he tried and the fees he received. The last set of diaries written after his resignation from the Supreme Court of Utah provide the only insight the collection contains of Bartch's personal life. Bartch shared the enthusiasm of those Americans who wished to invest in Mexico's abundant natural resources. His diaries document the meetings he held with various officers of the Mexican government including one with President Diaz.

The third box contains a potpourri of material. In the first folder are the family records and memorabilia of Olive Guillote Glasier, who was the daughter of Judge Bartch. The second folder contains the memoriams for Judge Bartch, his wife Amanda and for Catherine Lerkie, whose connection with the Bartch family is unknown. The third folder contains a miscellaneous assortment of recipes for elixirs, a receipt of payment for a doctor's bill, a condition of sale and an advertisement for Briar Creek Mutual Insurance Company. In addition, there are blank checks, a wedding announcement, and the Masonic Register for 1894.

The fourth box contains legal documents. The first folder contains nine documents concerning Bartch's interest in Mexican land that date from around 1909. The second folder contains miscellaneous legal documents that are printed but bear no date and are not addressed. The third folder contains handwritten legal documents dating from 1865 to 1882. Most are not addressed, and they may have been examples of common legal forms an apprentice lawyer could use in his study. There are also five handwritten legal briefs of court cases heard during Bartch's tenure on the Supreme Court.

The fifth box contains account books and check books. There are three account books which are dated from 1872, 1889, and 1892 respectively. The latter two account books are from the law firm of Blackburn and Bartch. The checkbooks date from 1869 to 1905 and are the personal financial records of Bartch and his wife.

The sixth box contains oversized materials. One oversized scrapbook contains newspaper clippings dating from 6 May 1909 to 9 June 1910 that pertain to mining in Mexico and the problems of that country's communication and transportation systems. There is also a large bound history of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania published in 1881, which contains biographical information about Bartch.

Collection Use +/-

Restrictions on Access:

Restrictions on Use

Administrative Information +/-



Bartch, George Washington, 1849-1927.




Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008


5 boxes (2.5 linear ft.)

Language of the Finding Aid:

Finding aid written in Englishin Latin script

EAD Creation Date: