Fermilab History and Archives Project

Griffith/Bartelt Farm: Site 37

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Griffith/Bartelt Family History

George Bartelt, and his sister Mayme, were born to German-born parents Carl and Caroline (Schimelpfennig) Bartelt, and were raised with ten brothers and sisters on a farm on Hart Road in Batavia.  On October 29, 1904, George and Mayme, along with her husband, John F. “Jack” Buelter, Jr., purchased a 183-acre farm from the Ed Griffith family, who had built the house in 1885-90.  George and Jack worked very hard to clear the land, located just beyond the curve on old Batavia-Warrenville Road.  A few years later Mayme became sick and died.  Jack gave up farming and moved to Wisconsin.

At the age of 27, George married Della Zoller in 1908 and they made their home at the lovely farm. Two children, Roger Carl and Helen Sarah Marie, were born to them. Roger and Helen attended Buelter School along with the children of Mr. Hazelwood, a neighboring African-American farmer hired by George.

Following many happy years of farming their land, sharing Farmers Community Club activities with neighbors and the family enjoying numerous pets, tragedy struck. One month after Roger’s Batavia High School graduation, George suffered a critical injury when he fell from his hayrack and died a few days later. This tragic accident determined Roger’s future -- he remained on the farm to help his mother instead of going away to college as he had hoped. His sister Helen was still in high school at the time.  In 1937, Helen married Cliff Anderson from site 33, who was working in his father’s hardware store in Batavia. 

In 1944, Roger married Myrtle Carlson from Batavia.  Together they raised their three children, Marilyn, Ronald and Duane, on the family’s farm. Marilyn has many memories of her years on their farm including a tornado that blew away her high school bug collection. Roger found many Indian arrowheads over the years along trails in the fields. A friend of amateur archaeologist and Batavia Postmaster Augie Mier, the two gathered remarkable collections.

Roger moved with his family to Polo, Illinois in 1969 and continued farming there until his death in January 1997. Roger loved his life on the farm and wouldn’t have traded it for any other career.  The Bartelts’ sons, Ron and Duane, have continued the family’s farming traditions in Polo.

The Bartelt House is presently located at #5 Sauk Circle.

Rod Oxe's Memories of the Tornado of 1961

Click on individual photographs for more information.

George, Roger, Helen and Della Zoller Bartelt 3 generations: George, Carl, and Roger Bartelt Bartelt family picnic, 1915
Marilyn, Ronald and Duane Bartelt Roger and Myrtle Carlson Bartelt wedding August 5, 1944 John Fitzgerald in front of his barn, destroyed by the tornado of September, 1961
From left to right: Ronald, Duane and Marilyn Bartelt George Bartelt on tractor, 1915 Roger Bartelt on tractor
Bartelt family. Tornado aftermath, 1930s Bartelt family. Tornado aftermath, 1930s Tornado damage to Bartelt home, September, 1961
Bartelt homestead Roger Bartelt home, Batavia Road Tornado damage to Bartelt home, September, 1961


Farm Families

Farm Families