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The Bartholf Family in the Military

Amidst three generations of the Bartholf family, they registered over 100 years of service in the military, with wartime experience from the Civil War to Vietnam.

Assistant Surgeon Dr. John Henry Bartholf could not return to a quiet life after he was mustered out with the 18th in 1863. He was back in uniform before the war ended. Serving in the same capacity in the medical field for the United States Volunteers, Dr. Bartholf returned on January 5, 1865, and by October he was made a brevet captain and honorably discharged. Dr. Bartholf was really attached to the military and eventually joined the postwar army as assistant surgeon on May 14, 1867. Two years later he was promoted to the rank of captain. While stationed at the Vancouver Barracks [present-day Fort Vancouver] in the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Bartholf’s wife died in 1884. He continued his service and was promoted to full surgeon with the rank of major, in 1886. He eventually married a second wife in 1890, whom was thirty-four years younger, and their marriage produced a son. Nearing the age limit in the military, Dr. Bartholf retired on his sixty-fourth birthday on March 13, 1894. Ten years later, the Medical Corps honored him with a promotion to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He died on January 31, 1918, at the age of eighty-seven, but his legacy of military service continued through his family.

His son, John C. P. Bartholf, served thirty-one years with the Signal Corps and U. S. Army, and was one of the first pilots in the country, and reached the rank of brigadier general during World War II.

John C. Bartholf (Son of John C. P. and grandson of John Henry), graduated from West Point in 1946, and retired as a highly decorated brigadier general from the U. S. Air Force, with numerous honors for his service in Vietnam.

Even one of Dr. Bartholf’s granddaughters – Ann Bartholf – flew during World War II with the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs).


New York (State), Office of the Adjutant General: Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of New York. Albany, N. Y. C. Van Benthuysen, Printer, 1862.

Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, 1789-1903. 2 vols. Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1903, p. 196.

Columbia University, Catalogue of Officers and Graduates of Columbia University, XVI Edition. Published for the University, New York, 1916, p. 336.

River View Cemetery, Portland, Oregon, Emma C. Bartholf plot.

Riverside Cemetery, Plattsburgh, N. Y., John H. Bartholf plot.

Society of Colonial Wars in the State of New York. (1921). Year Book for 1920-1921, Publication No. 29. May 1921, p. 124.

The Albuquerque Tribune (Albuquerque, New Mexico), June 27, 1972.

United States Military Academy – Howitzer Yearbook – 1946, p. 131.

Military Times – Hall of Valor

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