Hon. Columbus Bartlett, a prominent citizen of San Francisco, was born at Columbus, Georgia, August 13, 1833, a brother of the late Governor Washington Bartlett; received his early education in his native city, and at Tallahassee, Florida.In early life he went to New Orleans, and for about a year studied law in the offices of his uncle and brother Julian.Following the advice of his brother here, he came to California, arriving in November, 1852.They established the Evening News, a vigorous journal, independent in politics, but influential among all parties, in connection with which our subject exhibited superior talent.In 1857, the paper was merged into the True Californian, and Mr. Bartlett, not approving this, left it and became the Sacramento correspondent of the Evening Bulletin.When the Fraser river excitement began to prevail, Mr. Bartlett, having no close business ties here, went to Victoria in 1858, determined to establish a paper, as a multitude of men had thronged to that point, reaching upward of 30,000 before the bubble burst.He started the Victoria Gazette, the first paper established in British Columbia, and he conducted it first as a semi-weekly, and afterward as a daily.It prospered from the first, and it was a clean, bright and spicy journal.He had even the Government printing, besides liberal advertisements from the merchants.But when a trouble arose between this country and England, Mr. Bartlett naturally took the American view and consequently lost considerable business.
In 1859 he returned here to San Francisco, where his brother was then County Clerk, and he became deputy for four years, having charge of the probate department; and during this period he renewed his study of the law, and was admitted to practice in 1863.In 1883 he was nominated by the Republican party for Superior Judge, while his brother led the Democratic municipal ticket for the Mayoralty, and the Republican party that year was badly beaten.After his brother was inaugurated, he assisted him as private secretary for four months, until that important position could be filled by another party acceptably to the Governor.He is now one of the Regents of the University, being appointed by one of the first official acts of Governor Waterman.
In 1872 Mr. Bartlett invested largely in property in Alameda county, and he has been very active in promoting every industry there, being one of the most efficient members of the Alameda County Improvement Association.He has been prominent in the I.O.O.F. and was Grand Representative and Grand Patriarch of the Grand Encampment of California.He has done an immense amount of brain work, which one might imagine has hastened the whiteness of his hair.Yet he is in the meridian of his powers, while his life is temperate and his habits careful.
Transcribed 9-29-04Marilyn R. Pankey
Source: "The Bay of San Francisco," Vol. 1, page 528-529, Lewis Publishing Co, 1892.