A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname



Notes for John Dibble BARNUM


The following information was taken from the Commemorative Biographical Record of Dutchess County, New York. published in 1897.

John D. Barnum, now living retired at Amenia Union, Dutchess County, was for many years one of the most energetic and wide-awake business men of Dutchess County, where his entire life has been passed, his birth having occurred August 7, 1834, at South Amenia, in the house now owned by Franklin Cline. Andrew Barnum, his father, was born at Danbury, Conn., January 3, 1790, and was the son of Daniel Barnum, a chairmaker of Bethel, Conn. Here Andrew attended school. On reaching years of maturity he engaged in farming and lime-burning at Ridgefield, that state. He married Miss Sally Chapman, who was born at Redding, Conn., February 8, 1792, a daughter of Phineas Chapman, and died in July, 1852. Eight children were born of this union, whose names and dates of birth are as follows: Milo, February 29, 1816; Joshua, September 15, 1818; Daniel September 27, 1820; Lucinda, September 2, 1823; Sarah, November 28, 1825; Mary, July 3, 1828; Andrew, August 27, 1829; and John D., August 7, 1834. All are now deceased with the exception of our subject, and Mary, the wife of Daniel Sharpsteen, of Battle Creek, Michigan. In 1830 the father removed to the town of Amenia, purchasing the place at South Amenia now occupied by Franklin Cline, and there conducted a flouring mill. In 1839 he sold to Philo Cline, giving possession the following year, and then went to Cortland county, N. Y., where he purchased a farm of 300 acres, which he continued to cultivate for ten years. On the expiration of that period he returned to Amenia Union, and there lived retired until his death, which occurred December 31, 1869. He was again married his second union being December 8, 1852, with Mrs. Eliza Stevens, who was born April 12, 1801, and died April 10, 1870. In politics he was first a Whig, later a Republican. The early education of our subject was obtained in Cortlandville Academy, and at the age of sixteen years he started out in life for himself, being engaged in the pump business with his brother at Danboro, Penn., for two years. The following summer he spent at Little York, Cortland Co., N. Y., while the winter was passed by him in the village of Cortland. He was then employed in selling tin for Cicero Beach, of Kent, Conn., for a year. Subsequently, Mr. Barnum, with his brother Andrew, established the firm of Barnum & AC., and engaged in the stationery business, traveling by wagon with paper supplies, and gathering material for the manufacture of paper. This they continued from 1853 until the death of Andrew in 1865, after which our subject conducted the business alone until 1885, running five peddling wagons on the road as far east as Hartford, Conn., west to Oneonta, N. Y., north to Utica, N. Y., and south to Bridgeport, Conn. He was also engaged in the manufacture of cigars at Amenia Union, which he sold to the retail trade from his wagons, a business he continued to carry on after he had stopped the paper trade. Later he went on the road for Morgan L. Potts, to whom he had sold out, and while thus employed he, in 1891, contracted gangrene, which grew rapidly worse, and resulted in his losing both legs. Since that time he has necessarily led a retired life. Mr. Barnum was first married September 1, 1857, to Anna J. Stevens, who was born October 12, 1840, and was the daughter of his stepmother. She died September 18, 1866, leaving one son, William S., now of Tarrytown, N. Y., who was born November 23, 1859, and married Caroline Andrews. At Livingston Manor N. Y., September 2, 1868, Mr. Barnum was again married, this time to Harriet Ann Potts, who was born August 11, 1833, and they have two children: J. Edmund, who was born November 20, 1869, and is now with the Wagner Palace Car Co., in New York City, and John Dibble, Jr., born July 21, 1871. In political sentiment, Mr. Barnum has always been an ardent a Republican, and he is devoted to the best interests of his town and country, being numbered among the most public-spirited and progressive citizens of the community.
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