A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname



Notes for Zebulon BARNUM


The record of Zebulon's birth in the town clerk's office at Ridgefield, Connecticut shows Zebulon Barnum as Abulon Barnum. The History of Ridgefield calls him Huston Barnum. Zebulon was born in Danbury, CT; in 1804 lived in Hartland, NY; 1817 Carlton, Orleans Co, NY; 1835, Barry Co, MI. He named the town of Carlton Center in Barry County, Michigan, after his homeland, Carlton, Orleans County, NY. Zebulon appears in the US Census of Cayuga County, New York through 1820.

Note from the historian for the Town of Hartland in Niagara County New York (June 2003). "Our town history shows Zebulon Barnum as being one of the 1803 settlers. Our Town was incorporated in 1812. The tax rolls for 1813 show Zebulon owning 247 acres in our town."

The book, History of Orleans County, New York on p 162 contains the following: ... "Zebulon Barnum, one of those universal geniuses who were better appreciated years ago than now, erected a shop table a mile southwest of Kuckville, where he manufactured wooden plows for the farmers and carried on the tailoring and blacksmithing businesses." Both Zebulon and his brother Abel Barnum are buried in the Fuller Cemetery in Barry County, Michigan.

From History of Allegan and Barry Counties, Michigan with illustrations and biographical sketches of their prominent men and pioneers. 1880. Philadelphia: D.W. Ensign & Co.: The Barnum Settlement. Zebulon Barnum was living in Jackson Co., Mich., in 1836, and in that year, determining to seek a home farther West, started with his son, I. H. Barnum, Nelson Sprague, Myers. Lovell, and Harrison Leslie on a land-looking tour. They had not been out long before swollen streams and the loss of a horse discouraged them, and all hands retraced their steps. Sprague and Barnum got a Mr. McOmber to locate some land for them in Carlton, and he secured for Barnum the northeast quarter of section 25, while for Sprague he located tracts on sections 24 and 36. In the fall of 1837, Zebulon Barnum, his son A. S. Barnum, and Nelson Sprague came to Carlton, finding Myers Lovell on section 25 and Senter Blood on 26. Sprague had hired Senter Blood, Stephen Barnum, and I. H. Barnum to come out early in 1837 to do some chopping for him, and had supplied them with sufficient provisions to last a week, at the end of which time he was to send more. They chopped away like heroes, and like heroes ate, until at the close of the week they had eaten all their provisions save a few potatoes, never doubting, of course, that Sprague would be at hand, as promised, to revictual them. Sprague was, however, detained beyond his expectations, and while they waited for him fully a week, they lived meanwhile on roasted potatoes, and of those they had so few that they were compelled to ration them. Deer, the only game to be thought of, they couldn't get, because the snow-crust on the ground gave the hunter no chance to surprise his game. Harrison Barnum [I. H. or Israel Harrison Barnum] got tired of the roasted-potato diet before the last week was ended, and made a start for Yankee Springs, but before he reached that place he had to fast twenty-four hours, and was altogether in an unhappy condition.

After Zebulon Barnum and Nelson Sprague had put up a house on Barnum's place they went back to Jackson for their families. On the way Barnum met Moses Durkee and Thomas Senter moving westward on a prospecting-tour, and, engaging them to go out to Carlton to chop for him, they turned their steps thither without delay. On the road to Carlton they overtook Timothy Longhead, bound for the same place, and so they journeyed on in company. When Barnum and Sprague returned in the fall of 1838 they found in the neighborhood Jesse Townsend and Richard and John McAuley. Timothy Longhead had made a settlement on section 11, and was the first settler in that part of the township.

Durkee chopped a few months for Barnum, and then, bargaining with him for 40 acres of land, became himself a settler on section 25. Melvin Barnum and Mr. Durkee chopped through the summer at such a rate that directly after commencing in the morning their shirts would be soaked through and through with perspiration. Then they'd take them off, wring them out, hang them up to dry, work until noon naked to the waist, when, their shirts being decently dry, they would don them and march to dinner. "That's the way," says Mr. Durkee, "the pioneers had to work, and I tell you I don't think you'll find such workers nowadays."

Among the early settlers in the Barnum neighborhood may also be reckoned James Lancaster, Samuel Durkee, Elihu Covey, Israel Hale, Abel, Philander, and Stephen Barnum, Anson Wood (who in 1844 occupied a portion of the land settled by Jesse Townsend in 1838), J. J. Fuller, M. P. Fuller, Richard Young, and James Townsend.
The Barnum Family, 1517-1904 gives his birth date as 15 Dec 1773; the Genealogical Record of the Barnum Family says 11 Dec 1772.
The Barnum Family, 1517-1904 gives him a death date of 7 Apr 1848.
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