From Struggles and Triumphs or, Forty Years' Recollections of P. T. Barnum, Written by Himself. The Courier Co.: Buffalo, NY, 1882: On the 11th of April, 1877 my family were stricken with a heavy sorrow in the sudden death of my daughter, Pauline T. Seeley, at the age of thirty-one years, leaving a husband and three children. This blow would have been insupportable to me did I not receive it as coming from our good Father in Heaven, who does all things right.
Pauline Taylor Barnum, their youngest daughter, was born March 1, 1846, and soon became widely recognized as her father's favorite. On her 20th birthday, Pauline married Nathan Seeley, a local stockbroker. The couple had three children, Clinton Hallett Seeley, born in 1868; Herbert Barnum Seeley, born in 1870 and died in 1914, and Jessica Seeley, born in 1872 and died in 1896. Pauline died April 11, 1877, at age 31, from complications from measles and diphtheria.
Barnum and his second wife, Nancy Fish Barnum, had no children and Barnum took steps to ensure that his name would be perpetuated by approaching Pauline's eldest son, Clinton, and suggesting that he change his middle name to Barnum when he reached his 21st birthday. A $25,000 bequest in Barnum's will convinced Clinton to do so.