A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname



Notes for Eugene Gilbert BARNUM


Eugene Goodsell Barnum was born December 1, 1861, in Hardin County, Iowa, to Abram Goodsell Barnum and Nancy Malinda Southard. He was one of 11 children (6 boys and 5 girls). At some point, he decided to change his middle name from Goodsell to Gilbert - that is the way he was known to his children and grandchildren. Both names are included on the Affidavit of Birth, issued in Iowa November 25, 1936.

In 1882, Barnum moved to a homestead in Holt County, Nebraska. In 1893 he entered the farm implement business at Spencer, Nebraska. There he met and married Mary Lena Janousek (aka Mary Lena Hoffman), a widow, on January 24, 1894. He continued in that business until 1895 when he was elected county clerk of Boyd County, Nebraska, and served two terms. After his term as county clerk, he entered the banking business with H. A. Olerich of Butte, Nebraska. E.G. Barnum later closed out his bank business and moved his family to Dallas, South Dakota in 1909, entering the real estate business.

On May 1, 1911, the Barnums moved to Winner, South Dakota, where they built one of its earliest homes. It was the setting for many social events, from parties sponsored by their daughters to meetings of the Ladies Whist Club. Now known as the Key Home, the house at 205 Van Buren Street has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the Department of the Interior.

Eugene Gilbert Barnum was elected Winner's second mayor on April 16, 1912. One of the problems this city faced at that time was its water supply. Much of the credit for the final solution to the city's water problem goes to Mayor Barnum who on July 25, 1913, discovered a place seven miles south of Winner which would yield abundant soft water. Barnum convinced the people of the absolute necessity of bringing this water to Winner by means of a gravity system. This source of supply was still in use as of 1984. Mayor Barnum was also known for his anti-gambling campaign. After serving as mayor, he also served as alderman on the city council for many years.

Eugene Gilbert Barnum and Mary Lena (Janousek) Hoffman had 5 children: Olive (who died at 6 years old), Mary Estelle (1896-1985), Catherine (1901-1974), Eugene Gilbert, Jr. (? - early 1970's) and John David (1913-1913).

Mary Lena (Janousek) Hoffman died May 16th, 1936 and Eugene Gilbert Barnum died May 4, 1938 in Winner, South Dakota.
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