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The Bartow and Reid Families

Theodosia's great-grandfather Thomas Bartow, a physician in Devonshire, was descended from a French family that had fled to Britain after the anti-Protestant St. Bartholomew Day's Massacre in the late sixteenth century. One of the children of Thomas and his wife, Grace, was Theodosia's grandfather John Bartow.

John, born circa 1673, was educated by a tutor and then at Christ Church, Cambridge. He studied for the Church of England ministry and served at Pampisford, Cambridgeshire. After they received a request for a minister from a congregation in Westchester, the Propagation Society of London chose John to establish a church there. He agreed, was licensed to officiate in the Province of New York by the Bishop of London, and arrived in 1702. His parish included Westchester, Eastchester, Yonkers, and the Manor of Pelham, an area with a population of about 2,000. Reverend Bartow was assigned a salary of 50 pounds and given a house and a lot; later, he was given a more extended piece of adjoining wilderness property. He also gave missionary service to a number of places on Long Island and in New Jersey, including Amboy, Shrewsbury, and Freehold, where he met and married Helena Reid. She had been born at Shanks, Scotland, in 1680 and come to America with her parents as a young child.

Helena’s father, John Reid, like his father and grandfather, had studied to become a gardener and landscaper. He was brought up at Niddrew Castle near Edinburgh; gained employment as a gardener to Sir George MacKenzie, the Lord Advocate of Scotland; and wrote a book entitled The Scots Gardener. In 1678, when he was twenty-three, he married Margaret Miller. The couple had three children and decided to immigrate to the American colonies in 1683.

John Reid had an illustrious career in America, working as a surveyor and becoming one of the first settlers in Freehold. He was elected to the New Jersey Assembly, became surveyor-general of New Jersey, was named a judge of the Court of Common Pleas, led the Provincial Council, was appointed Commissioner of Highways, and acquired an extensive amount of land for himself and his family. John Reid also was interested in education. He assembled a personal library of more than eighty books. His children, including Helena, were sent to local schools and then to Philadelphia for additional schooling.

When Helena married John Bartow in 1705, she moved with him to New York. They had six sons who lived to adulthood and found success. In addition to Theodosia’s father, Theodosius, they were:

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