A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname



Notes for Francis Marion BARNUM


Francis Marion Barnum was named after Francis Marion (1732-1795), a lieutenant colonel in the Continental Army and later Brigadier General in the South Carolina Militia during the American Revolutionary War, who became known as the "Swamp Fox" for his ability to use decoy and ambush tactics to disrupt enemy communications, capture supplies, and free prisoners.

The 1880 Federal Census for Elmira, NY, Fifth Ward shows: House #210, dwelling #46, family #48; Barnum, Marion, 30, M, hus, laundry, b. NY, father b. NY, mother b. NY; Josie, 29, F, wife, housekeeper, b. NY, father b. NY, mother b. NY; Arthur, 3, M, son, at home, b. NY, father b. NY, mother b. NY; Gileram, Anna, 11, F, boarder, b. NY, father b. NY; mother b. NY.

The 1882 Business Directory for the City of Elmira, NY shows: Empire Laundry, M. Barnum, proprietor, 110 W. Water.

The Elmira, NY City Directory for 1888 shows: Empire Laundry Co. (M. Barnum and S. J. Pierson), 110 W. Water.

The 1891 Directory for the City of Elmira, NY shows: Empire Laundry Co., (M. Barnum and S. J. Peirson) 110 W. Water.

The 1900 Directory for City of Elmira, NY and Elmira Heights, NY in Chemung County shows: Empire Laundry, F. M. Barnum propr., 110 W. Water and residence 205 W. Henry St., F. Marion Barnum.

From A Biographical Record of Chemung County, New York, page 103: Frank M. Barnum, an enterprising laundryman of Elmira, was born in Waterville, Oneida County, New York, March 21, 1850, and is a son of Seth Barnum, who died in 1882 at the age of fifty-six years. The family is of English lineage, but was founded in America at an early date. [N.B., Francis M. Barnum was a 5th great grandson of the immigrant ancestor, Thomas Barnum (1625-1695)].
Seth Barnum was a foundryman and machinist, and for many years engaged in business in Waterville. His life was an active, useful and honorable one, and he put forth every effort to provide for his family and promote their welfare and happiness. He was united in marriage to Candace H. Gibson, who was born in Rome, New York in 1827, and was a daughter of Ira H. Gibson, who was of Scotch extraction. The marriage of Seth Barnum and Candace H. Gibson was celebrated in 1848 in Waterville. Both were well educated people of culture and refinement and had a large circle of warm friends. Mrs. Barnum spent the greater part of her life in Rome and Whitesboro, New York. After her husband's death she made her home in Utica for about twenty years and in July 1900 came to Elmira to live with her son, in whose home she passed away in January 1902 at the age of seventy-five years. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Barnum were born four sons, the eldest of whom is Frank M. Barnum of this review. The others are Hiram R., who is engaged in the laundry business in Utica; A. Stanley, who follows the same business there and Seth who died in infancy.
Frank M. Barnum obtained his education in the public schools and remained under the parental roof until eighteen years of age when he left home to make his own way in the world. For seven years he resided in Ithaca, where he was engaged in the men's furnishing business for a time, while later he established a laundry. At length disposing of his business in that city, he came to Elmira in 1875, and established the first steam laundry here equipping his room with modern machinery. He began operations, however, on a small scale, but soon secured a good trade and added to his equipment until his laundry is supplied with the most modern methods. He turns out a high grade of work, employing skilled men and women to assist him in the conduct of the business. In 1878, he removed to his present establishment and since that time has maintained a leading position as one of the most successful laundrymen in the city.
In 1872, Mr. Barnum was united in marriage to Miss Josephine Caitlin, who was born in Ithaca in October 1850, a daughter of Thomas and Elzina (Tracy) Caitlin. Mrs. Barnum was educated in the public schools of her native city, and by her marriage has become the mother of one son, Arthur L., who was born April 1, 1877, and is superintendent of the laundry department of the soldier’s home in Bath, New York. He married Fannie E. Brewer of that city.
From the Elmira Star Gazette, Elmira, NY, Monday, February 15, 1937: Frank M. Barnum, 87, of 206 West Henry Street died late Sunday night, Feb. 14, 1937, after a brief illness. He is survived by one son, Arthur of Odessa; five grandchildren; five great grandchildren; two brothers, Amos and Hiram Barnum of Utica. Mr. Barnum conducted a laundry in Ithaca many years ago and later removed his business to Elmira. He was the caretaker at Grace Episcopal Church about 12 years and later was employed as a clerk. He attended the First Church of Christ, Disciples. The body is in the Phillips funeral home where the funeral will be held Tuesday, 2 p.m. Rev. A. M. Laird. Woodlawn Cemetery.
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