A One-Name Study
for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname
Notes for Seelye BARNUM
Seelye Barnum was born 28 Sep 1792, it is believed in Bethel, Connecticut. He was the son of Ephraim and Sarah (Seelye) Barnum. As early as 1818 we know that he and Louisa were members of the New Fairfield Congregational Church. Their daughter, Rachael Aurilla, was baptized in that church on 17 Oct 1819. Seelye was very active in the church for years, became a deacon, and was appointed Superintendent of the Sabbath School on 30 Apr 1830. He was also listed as Clerk at Church Meetings in April and August of 1833. Town land records show that he bought and sold several pieces of property in the mid 1800s. He died 10 Apr 1856. At the time of his death, April 10, 1856, a note was placed in the Church Record of the New Fairfield Congregational Church, stating that he had served as Clerk of the Church for more than 25 years.
Seelye Barnum appears as the postmaster of New Fairfield in the Connecticut Annual Register
In the 1850 US Census for New Fairfield, Fairfield County, Connecticut the family of Seelye Barnum was enumerated as follows;
Dwelling #43; Family #51
Seely Barnum, 58, M, Merchant, Real property $2,500, b. Connecticut
Louisa Barnum, 58, F, b. Connecticut
Enoch Knap, 44, M, Farmer, Real property $5,000, b. Connecticut
Rachel A. Knap, 30, F, b. Connecticut
Mary L. Knap, 9, F, b. Connecticut, Attended school within the year
Almira C. Knap, 7, F, b. Connecticut, Attended school within the year
Sarah T. Knap, 4, F, b. Connecticut, Attended school within the year
[Note: Rachel A. Knapp was Seelye and Louisa's daughter].
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. There are several stones dating back to the 1700s. The oldest legible one is that of Hannah Brush, who died April 3, 1774. Numerous fieldstones and illegible stones also remain in the cemetery. Since the last recording of this cemetery in 1934, 13 stones are now missing, destroyed or totally illegible. A primitive art form unique to New England exists in the carved designs on the ancient tombstones. The Stone of Benjamin Bearss, who died March 8, 1802, and his wife Abigail, who died March 14, 1802, has two death's heads carved into it. Several others have the willow and urn designs, which were one of the most popular mortuary decorations. Buried here among the families of the town is Phillis, a slave of Martin Kellogg who died April 30, 1810, in the 46th year of her age. The original Congregational Church was located near the site of the present Consolidated School. It remained there from its beginning in 1742 until 1836/7, when a new church was built next to the Town Hall, across from the Town Cemetery. The church remained in that new location until a new one was built and dedicated in 1957, at the present site of Meeting House Hill Road. Supposedly, there was an ancient burying ground located near the original parsonage on Meeting House Hill. It was reported in 1885 that the graves were marked with small natural stones.
His gravestone reads: Barnum, Deacon Seelye Barnum, died Apr. 10, 1856, aged 64 years.
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