A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname



Notes for Caroline Cornelia BARNUM


Caroline Cornelia Barnum, the first child of Phineas Taylor and Charity (Hallett) Barnum, was born May 27, 1833. She was very close to her father and, as she grew older, often took her mother's place as Barnum's traveling companion. Daughter and father shared the same sense of humor. Caroline once wore a heavy veil as a decoy to steer crowds away from opera singer Jenny Lind on her American tour in 1850, and posed as Tom Thumb's mother, carrying him in her arms. In 1852, Caroline married David W. Thompson, a Bridgeport businessman. Their son, Phineas Taylor Barnum Thompson, was born in 1865 and died three years later. A daughter, Frances, was born in 1853 and died in 1939. Caroline Barnum Thompson died in 1911 from a brain concussion received in a fall.

The New York Times, June 7, 1911. Will of Barnum's Daughter. Mrs. C. C. Thompson Left an Estate Valued at More Than $1,000,000.
Bridgeport, Conn., June 6.—Under the terms of the will of Mrs. Caroline C. Thompson of this city and New York, daughter of the late P. T. Barnum, an estate estimated at over a million dollars is disposed of.
To her husband is given an annuity of $6,000 and a life interest in the New York residence. Mrs. Frances Leigh, a daughter, is made residuary legatee.
There is a gift of $5,000 to provide for a free bed in the Bridgeport Hospital for the exclusive use of colored residents of the city. Several local institutions are given $1.000 each, and $2,000 goes to the Church of the Heavenly Rest, New York City.

The New York Times, May 21, 1911, p. 11 - Death Notice: Caroline C. Thompson died at Bridgeport, Connecticut on 5/10/1911.
From The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, Bridgeport, Connecticut, May 20, 1911: Mrs. Thompson's Death Causes General Grief; P. T. Barnum's Daughter a Woman of Brilliant Attainments Active in Church Work. In the death last evening of Caroline C. Thompson, wife of David W. Thompson, and daughter of the late P. T. Barnum, at her home, 446 Waldemere avenue, overlooking Seaside Park and the Sound, the city loses one of its oldest and best known residents, a woman of marked executive ability and of wonderful mind. She was in her 79th year. Death was due to congestion of the brain brought about by a fall sustained at her home about two weeks ago. Concussion developed three days before she passed away.
Mrs. Thompson was prominent in the social life of Bridgeport in her younger days and was a woman of cultivated mind and strength of character. She had a wide acquaintance and her death will be particularly mourned among the older members of the community. Not long ago she and her husband were sorely afflicted by the death of their granddaughter, Nancy Barnum Leigh, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. William B. Leigh, of this city, and in this they had the sincere sympathy of a very wide circle of friends. She was a native of Bethel, being born May 27, 1833. On Oct. 19, 1852, she married David W. Thompson at her father's home, "Iranistan", in this city. One daughter survives, Mrs. William B. Leigh. All her life, Mrs. Thompson had been active in church and charitable work. She had been president of the Durcas society of the Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York city for the past forty years. She possessed a charming personality, which she retained even though advanced In years. She was highly talented, and could speak several languages fluently. At her funeral services, which will be held on Tuesday, there will be several noted divines who will assist, including Rev. D. Parker Morgan, rector emeritus of the Church of the Heavenly Rest; Rev. Herbert Ship man, present rector of the same church, and Rev. "William" H. Lewis, rector of St. John's church. Mrs. Thompson by the will of her father inherited one-third of his estate, which was valued at $4,500,000. To his daughter the great showman also bequeathed the old family Bible, the full length portrait of his, three daughters, the marble bust of Jenny Lind and pedestal, the Jenny Lind contract, the lithographs of Jenny Lind, Benedict and Belletti, the family album of photographs, and one gold vase bought in Paris. 
Her estate, near a million, the bulk of it goes to her daughter, a few charitable organizations and an annuity to her husband.
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