Bartlett Brothers, comprising Erastus H. and Ai J. Bartlett, are the proprietors of the Excelsior Mills at Warner. The plant was first established by these gentlemen in 1872 as a pail, butter tub, and sap bucket factory. The original mill was destroyed by fire in 1873, entailing a loss of three hundred and fifty dollars beyond their entire assets, a grievous blow to the two young men just started in business. Nothing daunted, however, they commenced again on borrowed money. This time they engaged in the manufacture of excelsior for mattresses and furniture, in which they have since built up an extensive and lucrative business.
In making excelsior the firm uses poplar wood, which is obtained anywhere within a radius of from twenty to forty miles from the village, and costs five dollars a cord. They began on a modest scale, their output at the start being but fifteen hundred pounds of excelsior a day. Now they manufacture five tons in the same length of time, or about fourteen hundred tons annually. The water-power has been used for at least threescore years, there having formerly been a wheelwright’s shop here. In 1893 the present mill was erected. One of the finest in New England, it cost, with its equipments and modern machinery, about eight thousand dollars. Two other excelsior-mills that stood near by when this one was started have since passed out of existence. The Messrs. Bartlett are both men of good business ability, energetic and progressive, strictly honest and upright in all their transactions, and very pleasant people to deal with. They employ nine hands in their work, and are themselves busily employed all the time. They have also invested in Contoocook valley property, being interested in several houses in this vicinity, preferring to have their wealth where they can look after it themselves.
The Bartlett family was first represented in New Hampshire by three families, who came from Massachusetts to the town of Deering, Hillsborough County, soon after the Revolution, making settlements on three different hills. Parker Bartlett, a son of Stephen Bartlett, was the father of the Bartlett brothers. He spent the larger part of his life in Deering. Later in life he came to the village of Warner, where his death occurred in 1896, at the venerable age of eighty-four years. He married Miss Eleanor Bartlett, a daughter of Daniel Bartlett, of Deering; and she survives, making her home in Warner.
Ai J. Bartlett was born, reared, and educated in New Boston. He married February 4, 1880, Miss Allie Jones, of Webster, N.H., and now has three children-Fred Ai, Elmer, and Mildred Imogene. Ai J. Bartlett is a