Friday, June 13, 2014



Since that day in 1923 that Clarence Bartlett assumed his first public office, the post of city attorney of Hartford, when he was only 28 years old, he has grown steadily in influence, importance and stature in his city and county and today, as Judge Clarence Bartlett, he can be said to hold a foremost place among his fellow citizens.

Judge Bartlett not only sits on the Circuit Bench, enforcing justice, but holds a leading place in innumerable other spheres—being one of the head men of the Knights of Pythias, of the Hartford Chamber of Commerce, of the Ohio County Republican organization and active in other fields of human endeavor and interest, including the Christian Church. In addition he operates a dairy farm.

Judge Clarence Bartlett was born near Red Hill, in Daviess County, Kentucky, December 9, 1895, coming from a family which established itself in that county and Ohio County in the days when the American Republic was being brought to fruition after the Revolutionary War. His father is Richard Dudley Bartlett, born in Ohio County on February 27, 1875, now engaged in farming near Hartford; the mother was Sarah Ellen (Himes) Bartlett, born in Daviess County on March 30, 1875. Richard Dudley Bartlett, like his judicial son, is a member of the Christian Church and is a Republican. His own parents were William Samuel and Mary (Chamberlain) Bartlett. The former, who spent his entire life in his native Ohio County, was a farmer about ten miles north of Hartford, served in the Union Army during the War Between the States, and also was a Republican and a member of the Christian Church. He died on the farm near Hartford in May, 1915, at the age of seventy-four. His wife, Judge Bartlett’s grandmother, was born in Hancock County, Kentucky, and died in Ohio County on August 19, 1886. William Samuel Bartlett’s father was W. W. Bartlett, a native of the Holston River section of Tennessee, who became a pioneer farmer in Ohio County and who died there. Judge Bartlett’s mother, Sarah Ellen (Himes) Bartlett, was a daughter of Addison and Lucy (Mahaney) Himes; the father having been a native of Tennessee who came to Daviess County, Kentucky, to farm and who died there in March, 1913, at the age of sixty-four; the mother having been a native of Allen County, Kentucky, who died in Daviess County.

Clarence Bartlett first attended the public schools of Daviess and Ohio Counties, following which he studied at the Western Kentucky State Teachers College, at Bowling Green, from which he was graduated in 1918 and granted a life teacher’s certificate. He took his legal training in the law school of Indiana University, at Bloomington, spending two and one-half years there, and then spent a summer at the University of Kentucky. In September, 1921, he was admitted to the Kentucky bar. During the period he was preparing for his legal career, the future judge taught school in Ohio County in 1914, 1915 and 1917.

Having been admitted to the bar, he came to Hartford and formed a law partnership with A. D. Kirk, which lasted from 1921 to 1923. In 1924, Clarence Bartlett became associated with the law firm of Gordon, Gordon and Moore, of Madisonville, and practiced his profession in that community for about a year.

When, in March, 1925, Mr. Kirk was appointed United States Commissioner for the Western District of Kentucky, with headquarters at Louisville, Mr. Bartlett returned to Hartford and the two restored the old partnership, forming the firm of Kirk and Bartlett. This firm was again dissolved when Mr. Bartlett went on the bench.

Mr. Bartlett had become active in the Republican Party early in his legal career and in 1923, through the party’s support, became city attorney of Hartford. His active interest, and leadership in public affairs, continued through the years that he engaged in his private practice. In 1937, his ability was again recognized, and he was elected County Attorney of Ohio County. This post he resigned the next year to accept the candidacy for Circuit Judge, a post to which he was elected in November, 1938, to fill an unexpired term. In 1939, Judge Bartlett was returned to the bench for a full six-year term.

In 1945, Judge Bartlett became his party’s nominee for another six year term on the Circuit Court bench and his re-election was assured as he was without opposition. He wished however to return to private practice and therefore resigned his office and entered into a partnership with Hon. Ernest Woodward of Louisville, and Hon. Charles I. Dawson of Louisville, former Federal Judge for the Western District of Kentucky. This firm maintains offices in Owensboro and Hartford, Kentucky. In Owensboro the firm name is Woodward, Dawson, Bartlett and Halbrook and in Hartford it is Woodward, Dawson, Bartlett and Catinna. Aside from his bench and other legal activities, he has maintained his activity in the Republican Party, and has served as the President of the Ohio County Republican Club. Also, he has been chancellor commander of his lodge, Rough River No. 110 of the Knights of Pythias, has been chairman of the Hartford Chamber of Commerce and held office in various other fraternal, civic and legal organizations. Since 1935, he has successfully operated a dairy farm. In 1927, he was elected a State Senator, serving for four years, and in 1944 he was a candidate in the Republican Primary for the office of United States Senator.

Judge Bartlett married Miss Willie Lorene Hoover, born in Ohio County on February 24, 1897, near Hartford on June 1, 1917. Mrs. Bartlett is the daughter of C. W. and Oma Belle (Westerfield) Hoover, both also natives of Ohio County. Mr. Hoover, a successful farmer and Democrat, is the son of James M. and Catherine (Brooks) Hoover, natives of Ohio County and a farming family, who died there. Mrs. Bartlett’s mother is a daughter of William and Sarah (Wallace) Westerfield, the former a native of Ohio County, the latter of Spencer County, Indiana. Mrs. Bartlett was educated in the public schools of Ohio County and is now, like her husband, active in the Christian Church. They have two sons: Lawrence D. Bartlett, who was born on June 5, 1919, and Conard Dale Bartlett, who was born on May 6, 1924. (A third son, Richard Wilson Bartlett, who was born May 12, 1918, died the following day.) Both Lawrence and Conard Bartlett are engaged on their father’s dairy farm. The former married Martha Allen on February 22, 1938. They have three children—Sandra Dale Bartlett, born on December 9, 1938; Clarence Dudley Bartlett, born on March 4, 1940, and Judith Allen Bartlett, born on August 29, 1941. Conard Bartlett is married to the former Bonnie Daugherty of Hartford, the wedding having taken place on November 15, 1941. They have one child, Conard Dale Bartlett, Jr., born in Hartford on May 18, 1943.

Following his many interests in a fashion which contributes to the advancement
of numerous civic and professional enterprises, and dispensing justice in kindly,
impartial manner, Judge Clarence Bartlett continues to win ever more respect and esteem from his fellow citizens in his part of the state.

Source: A Sesqui-Centennial History of Kentucky; by Frederick A. Wallis. Published 1945.

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