A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname

Notes for Harley Wesley BARNUM

Near the beginning of WWI, Harley sent a photograph of himself in Army uniform to Ray Brisbin, apparently a relative, with the notation on the back, "Harley Wesley Barnum; 2nd Det, Ft Stevens OARD; Overseas Casuals; Camp Merritt, New Jersey". A copy of the photo is posted online at: www.ancientfaces.com.

Camp Merritt was a large military camp in Bergen County, close to New York Harbor. As recruits for service in the Spanish-American War began assembling at Sea Girt in May 1898, the Federal Government began looking for a permanent campground for 50,000 mobilized troops, if necessary, with ample ground on the upper part of the Palisades in Bergen County for rifle ranges and maneuvers. The brief war with Spain ended, however, before any action on these plans was taken. With America’s entry into the First World War, the proposal was given new life. The United State Army needed an embarkation camp near Hoboken where troops could assemble for ship transport to France. In July 1917, Brigadier-General William Wright, Commanding General of the Port of Embarkation, selected a site centered on the intersection of Grant Avenue and Knickerbocker Road, but occupying 770 acres on the ridge between the West Shore and Northern Railroads in the Boroughs of Dumont, Cresskill, Haworth and Demarest. The site allowed troops to be carried by boat from the Alpine Ferry to transatlantic steamers at the port of Hoboken.

There is a Harley W. Barnum listed on the 1920 US Census for Washington State, King County, Black River. He lists his mother as being born in Canada, and father born in United States. His age is shown as 29.


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