A One-Name Study
for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname
Notes for Abel BARNUM
The Genealogical Record of the Barnum Family
refers to this person as both Abel and Abed Barnum. That publication states that he served during the Revolutionary War with the 5th Connecticut Line, Captain Hart's Company. He enlisted in September of 1777.
The Barnum Family, 1350-1907
exhibits some confusion about the children of Abel and Althea Beardsley, quoting a probate record from Danbury, Connecticut which states that Abel, Jr.; Zadok; and five daughters were mentioned in the settlement of the estate of Abel, Sr., and concluding that this vital statistic disproves the family tradition of sons Eli, Samuel, John and Seth. In fact, it appears that Abel was married to (1st) Ruth Bronson and (2nd) Phebe Bartram, having children only with his first wife. In the records of the New Fairfield Congregational Church appears the notation "Barnum, Abel & Wife, June 21, 1761 attended ye Lord's Supper." An article in TAG 71 (1996):74, by Warren D. Buchanan, cites Farmington, Connecticut Deeds 19:308, listing a Farmington land transfer on 27 Sep 1771 by Abel and Ruth Barnum, of New Fairfield. The deed states that the land was given to the wife of Abel in the Will of her father, John Brownson (Bronson) of Farmington. So, it appears that Abel was still married to Ruth Bronson in 1771. Also mentioned in the article was the fact that John Bronson's will (made prior to his death in Farmington, 9 Aug 1749) noted his daughter as Ruth Barnum. This covers a period from 1749 through 1771. Zadok Barnum was appointed Administrator, on 20 Jun 1799, for the Inventory and Distribution (28 Jan 1800) of Abel Barnum's estate (he died intestate) as recorded in Danbury Probate Records, Vol. 7, pg. 433-436. The following are named: Phebe, widow and relict; Abel, eldest son; Ruth and Mary, daughters; Rachel, daughter and wife of David Stevens; Eleanor, daughter, and wife of Noah Hoyt; Silence, daughter, and wife to Ebenezer Stevens; Huldah, daughter, and wife of Oliver Terrill; Zadok, son; Sarah, daughter, and wife of Daniel Stevens; Dorcas, daughter, and wife of Jabez Elwell, Jr. Abel Barnum was the grandson of Thomas Barnam, the immigrant ancestor on the North American continent and one of the original settlers of Danbury, Connecticut. Abel and his brother Samuel arrived in New Fairfield in 1742. Abel and his first wife, Ruth Bronson, were listed as members of the New Fairfield Congregational Church as early as 1758. Ruth died 31 Oct 1788, at the age of 72. Abel married his second wife, Phebe Bartram, four years after Ruth died. He was 73 years old at that time and died seven years later. Nehemiah Beardsley, esq., Gideon Allen and Jonathan Bulkley were appointed administrators of Abel's estate. Phebe, in the probate records, was referred to as "widow and relict of the deceased." Her share of Abel's estate was, "during her natural life the use of the lower south room in the dwelling house and the chamber above said room and one quarter part of the cellar under said house; with the liberty of passing and repassing to and from said house and a privilege at the well. Also, equal quarter part of barn with privilege to pass to and from said barn. Also about 24 acres of land" The administrators distributed about 20 acres to his eldest son Abel, and to Ruth and Mary, daughters of the deceased, as tenants in common, at their request, about 20 acres of land adjoining the land and dwelling given to them by their father in his lifetime. Also distributed to Rulla (daughter) and Mary 12 acres of land in "the swamp." To his granddaughter Eleanor Hoyt, daughters Silence Stevens, Huldah Terrill, Sarah Stevens and son Zadok, the administrators equally divided an additional 100 acres, more or less. Ruth and her sister Mary lived together for years in a tenant house that their father had given to them. Apparently, Ruth and her sister Mary farmed their land, as her estate inventory listed "hay in the barn, and rye and oats in the sheaf." Her one-half share of the dwelling and barn was valued at $300. Mary inherited Ruth's one-half share and continued on the farm.
Birth date calculated from gravestone inscription.
His daughter Ruth Barnum is buried in the New Fairfield or Town Center Cemetery, the oldest existing cemetery in the town of New Fairfield. It is located on the east side of Brush Hill Road (Route 39) across from the Town Hall and the former location of the Congregational Church. The members of the New Fairfield Cemetery Association believe that Abel may also be buried there.
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A Research Guide to the Genealogy of the
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