Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff
Mrs. Bartlett, Housemother, c. 1927-1940
Barbara Merrill Bartlett (1879-1961)


Dogwood Breakfast at Zande House, 1934. Bartlett ; Glyn Morris ; Hank Savage ; Dr. Ruth Stapelton ; E. Frank ; Edith Brooks [?] ; Rev. Robert Stapelton in front, left. [X_099_workers_2501c_mod.jpg]

TAGS: Barbara Merrill Bartlett, Barbara Bartlett, housemothers, PMSS staff, teachers, Amherst College, Eleanor Bartlett, Ernest M. Bartlett, Josephine M. Merrill, Alice Cobb stories, Model Home, Practice House, Country Cottage, Harriet Crutchfield


Housemother at Practice House, Far House, Boys House;
Housemother and Dietitian at Laurel House, c. 1927-1940

 Before Pine Mountain

In 1899, at the age of 19, Barbara Merrill of Brownsville, Maine, married Ernest Bartlett from New Hampshire and a graduate of Amherst College in Massachusetts. In 1901, the couple and their baby daughter, Eleanor, moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he was hired as a minister of the Pilgrim Congregational Church.

When Ernest died in 1905 at the age of 35, Barbara returned to Warner, New Hampshire, to live with Ernest’s parents and teach school. When her in-laws died in 1924 and 1927 and her daughter married in 1928, Barbara relocated with her younger sister Josephine to Pine Mountain Settlement School. (Source: Brief Life History on the Family Tree Page of


Only a few references to “Mrs. Bartlett,” who was apparently Mrs. Barbara Merrill Bartlett, have been found in the Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections to date. The Workers Guide lists her as a housemother in Practice House, Far House, and Boys House, then housemother and dietitian in Laurel House, 1935 to 1936. However, she is mentioned in other sources, serving as housemother in various campus locations as early as 1927 and as late as 1940.

Alice Cobb, a PMSS secretary and teacher, collected a number of stories about activities and people at the School and in the community. One of these stories, concerning a PMSS neighbor, Uncle Fiddler John, was attributed to “Mrs. Bartlett and Mrs. Holton.” Celia Cathcart Holton was a teacher and fundraiser in the earliest years of the School, 1915 and 1918-1919, and later a PMSS trustee. See a transcription of the story here: ALICE COBB Excerpts from Old Letters 1927.

In a letter dated October 16, 1929, to Marguerite Emerson, a former Model Home housemother, then-director Katherine Pettit wrote that Mrs. Bartlett is the current housemother at Model Home, with Miss [Marian] Kingman relieving her once a week.” Model Home was the original name of Country Cottage, also known as Practice House, where several girls lived with their teacher to learn about the arts of domestic science.  

Harriet Crutchfield also mentioned Mrs. Bartlett in a September 8, 1929, letter to her mother. As usual, there is a remarkable collection of workers here which it would take at least one sizable volume to describe. I have a perfect peach up here in Country Cottage — a Mrs. Bartlett from New England.”

In a letter of June 5, 1934, then-director Glyn Morris reported to Alice Cobb that Mrs. Bartlett will be moved from Farm House to Boy’s House.

JOSEPHINE MARTHA MERRILL, Sister of Barbara Merrill Bartlett

Barbara’s sister, Josephine M. Merrill, was a housemother at Pine Mountain Settlement School as a community worker (1931-1937) and a teacher and housemother (1937-1949). Although the sisters’ times at PMSS overlapped, no mention of their interaction has yet been found in Josephine’s correspondence or other resources in the PMSS Collections.

In August 1954, Dr. Francis Tucker, then-physician at PMSS Infirmary, received a letter from Mrs. Barbara Merrill Bartlett. In it, she sadly reported that “My sister Josephine is no longer with us. She died on the day after Christmas, with but a few days of acute illness. Her tired heart just had to stop and we miss her more than words can say.”


Barbara Merrill was born on November 12, 1879, in Brownville, Maine. Her parents were Arthur and Olive Elizabeth (Whitney) Merrill. She had two sisters:  Josephine Martha (1876-1953) and Katherine W. Merrill (1874-1920). 

Barbara married Rev. Ernest M. Bartlett (1870-1905), a clergyman, on July 26,1899, in Northbridge, Massachusetts. As of the 1900 U.S. Census, they were living in Kingston, Massachusetts. They had one child, Elanor Bartlett (1901-1989).

In later years, after Pine Mountain, Barbara was employed as a librarian in Newport, New Hampshire. She died on April 4, 1961, in Keene, New Hampshire, at the age of 81, and was buried in North Newport Cemetery in Newport, where her husband was also buried.

NOTE: PMSS records indicate that Helen Bartlett worked at PMSS as an office secretary from August 1943 until June 1944 when she left to marry Norman Tasker Johnson of Northwood Narrows, New Hampshire. Her parents were Mr. and Mrs. Elmer J. Bartlett of Warner, New Hampshire. However, no indication has yet been found that she was related to Barbara Bartlett. [See PINE CONE 1944 January, page 15.]

Title  Barbara Merrill Bartlett
Alt. Title  Barbara Bartlett ; Mrs. B.M. Bartlett ; Mrs. Bartlett ; 
Creator Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.
Alt. Creator Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;
Subject Keyword Barbara Bartlett, Barbara Merrill Bartlett, housemothers, PMSS staff, teachers, Amherst College, Eleanor Bartlett, Ernest M. Bartlett, Josephine M. Merrill, Alice Cobb stories, Model Home, Practice House, Country Cottage, Harriet Crutchfield, Glyn Morris
Subject LCSH Bartlett, Barbara Merrill,  — 1879-1961.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.
Date 2023-11-14 aae (re-used page)
Publisher Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.
Contributor n/a
Type Collections ; text ; image ;
Format Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet.
Source Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff
Language English
Relation Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff 
Coverage Temporal 1879 – 1954
Coverage Spatial Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Brownville, ME ; Warner, NH ; Madison, WI ; Northbridge, MA ; Keene, NH ; Newport, NH ; Kingston, MA ; 
Rights Any display, publication, or public use must credit the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Donor n/a
Description Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of Barbara Merrill Bartlett ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Barbara Merrill Bartlett ;
Acquisition n/d
Citation “[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.
Processed By Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;
Last Updated  
Sources “Bartlett.” Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

“Find A Grave Index,” database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 November 2023), Barbara Merrill Bartlett, ; Burial, Newport, Sullivan, New Hampshire, United States of America, North Newport Cemetery; citing record ID 48404905, Find a Grave, Internet resource.

“Maine, Marriage Index, 1892-1966, 1977-1996,” , FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 November 2023), Ernest M Bartlett and Barbara Merrill, 26 Jul 1899; citing Marriage, Maine, United States, State Archives, Augusta. Internet resource.

“Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921”, , FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 November 2023)), Entry for Ernest M Bartlett and Bartlett, 26 Jul 1899. Internet resource.

“United States Census, 1900”, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 November 2023)), Entry for Ernest M Bartlett and Barbara Bartlett, 1900. Internet resource.

See Also:
JOSEPHINE M. MERRILL Staff – Biography

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