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Elam Bartholomew

Born: June 9, 1852, Strasburgh, Pennsylvania. Married: Rachel Isabel Montgomery, June 14, 1876. Died: November 18, 1934, Hays, Kansas.

Elam BartholomewElam Bartholomew was born June 9, 1852, in Strasburgh, Pennsylvania to George and Fanny Bartholomew. In 1854 the family moved to Granville, Ohio, and in 1865 to Farmington, Illinois. Bartholomew was interested in natural sciences and in 1873 began teaching school in a nearby district. In 1874 he moved to Kansas, homesteading on 160 acres in Bow Creek Valley, Rooks County. In Farmington, Illinois, Bartholomew married Rachel Isabel Montgomery, June 14, 1876, returned to the Rooks County homestead where they lived in a sod house. They remained on the homestead until 1929, raising seven children. He was a school and town officer, was an elder in the Presbyterian Church and was a clerk of the district court of the county. 

Bartholomew became a well-known horticulturalist and botanist who understood the significance of fungi as the cause of plant diseases. Although Bartholomew had no formal college education, Kansas State University conferred an honorary degree of master of science in 1898, and a doctoral of science degree in 1927. That year he published The Fungus Flora of Kansas, listing 1,829 species in Kansas, only 465 had previously been identified. He published North American Plant Rusts in 1928, considered his most important work, which was republished in 1933. His diary, from 1877 to 1880, reflects his active participation in Republican Party politics, local government, his church, farm organizations, and experimental farming. He served as curator of the mycological museum at Fort Hays Kansas State College.

Bartholomew died November 18, 1934, and is buried in Hays, Kansas. After his death, his original herbarium of about 40,000 specimens was acquired by Harvard University.Bartholomew house

Entry: Bartholomew, Elam

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2014

Date Modified: February 2018

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.