A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname

Notes for Aaron P. BARNUM

Aaron Barnum (c1756, Danbury CT) has emerged as a likely candidate for the father of Joshua Barnum, Sr. (1782-1857) and Judah Barnum (1790/92-aft 1860). Aaron appeared on the 1790 census of Ballston, Albany NY, where Judah was born in 1792. By 1800 he was living in Pittsfield, Otsego NY. He may be the A. Barnham living in Milford, Otsego NY in 1810. In each census year, males are present of the correct age groupings for Joshua and Judah.

Aaron Barnum is said to be the son of Judah Barnum of Danbury, Connecticut and his wife Lydia. He had a brother Judah who remained in Danbury.

The Genealogical Record of the Barnum Family gives Aaron's birthdate as "about 1733", and states that he married Martha Foster on 26 Oct 1756 and Renée Parsons on 5 May 1774. However, that birth year is contradicted by their father's will, which shows Aaron as a younger brother of Judah Barnum Jr. born in 1748. No other record hs been found for a wife named >Martha Foster.
Since it is probable that Aaron was born "about 1756" and possible that the marriage date of 26 October 1756 which the Genealogical Record of the Barnum Family gives for his supposed marriage to Martha Foster was actually his real birthdate. What is obvious from the dates given in that source is that he could not have married her as his first wife, since his recorded marriage to Renée Parsons took place on 5 May 1774, when he would have been 18 years old. Based on census enumerations, Aaron was born about 1856, and would have been only 18 when he married Reue. This also seems to preclude an earlier marriage to Martha Foster.
Research indicates that Aaron Barnum of Saratoga and Otsego, New York, was born about 1756.
Ancestry.com lists an Aaron Burnham, who served in the French and Indian War. Perhaps the Genealogical Record of the Barnum Family confused those two Aarons.
Aaron, son of Judah, is said to have been a soldier during the Revolutionary War. This statement appears to be based upon a reference to Aaron in the Revolutionary War pension application of Seth Barnum of Danbury, Connecticut.
In the 1790 US Census for Balls Town [Ballstown], Albany, New York, the family of Aaron Barnum was enumerated as 1 free white male of 16 years and upwards, 3 free white males under 16 years, and 4 free white females.
Based on age groupings provided on the 1800 and 1810 census records, Aaron’s birth can be calculated as occurring between 1756 and 1760. Since he had 6 children born by the 1790 census enumeration, he was likely born closer to 1756.
It was stated in the Genealogical Record of the Barnum Family that Aaron married Renée Parsons on 5 May 1774. This date and surname have not been confirmed; however Otsego County, New York deeds do record that the name of Aaron’s wife was Rene or Rhene, so there is some support. No early Parsons families were found living in the towns of Danbury or New Fairfield, but there is record of that surname in nearby Dutchess County, New York. Census records also indicate that Rene was a year or so older than Aaron. She died between 1810 and 1815: According to a statement made by a witness to an Otsego County, New York deed recorded on 5 May 1815, “…Rhene the wife of the said Aron [sic] is not living but dead…” Otsego County, New York Deeds, T: 123-4.
Seth Barnum’s Revolutionary War pension file stated that Aaron Barnum enlisted at Danbury, CT in 1775 in an infantry company under the command of Captain Noble Benedict in a campaign of seven months or more, to the north. Enlisting at the same time were Seth Barnum, John Barnum, Drake Hoyt & Thaddeus Hoyt, all of the same neighborhood in Danbury. No Revolutionary War records have been located for Aaron.
Aaron first appeared in Danbury land records in 1783, when he sold land to Seth Barnum. Note that earlier Danbury town records were destroyed during the British raid on Danbury at the onset of the Revolution.
As stated previously, Aaron purchased land in Danbury from his father in 1784. Then, on 5 Apr 1787, Aaron Barnum of Danbury sold about 64 acres of land at Titicus and Kingstreet in five separate transactions. That was likely about the time Aaron left Danbury.
Aaron Barnum was recorded as a head of household on the 1790 census for Balls Town, Albany County, New York: 1 male 16+; 3 males under 16; 4 females. That portion of Albany County was set off for Saratoga County in 1791.
In Apr 1791 Aaron Barnum, “of Ball Town in the County of Albany and State of New York,” sold tracts of land in Danbury at Kingstreet in 2 separate transactions.
In April 1794 Aaron Barnum, “of Ball Town in the County of Albany [sic] and State of New York,” sold 2 acres of land to Eleazer Bedient of Danbury. With the exception of his father’s will, this deed was the final record found for Aaron in Danbury.
Sometime before the 1800 census enumeration, Aaron moved his family to the town of Pittsfield, Otsego County, New York, where his family included: 3 males under 10; 1 male 10-15; 1 male 16-25; 1 male 26-44 (Aaron); 1 female under 10; 1 female 10-15; 1 female 16-25; 1 female 45+ (Rene). Other Ballston neighbors also made the move to Pittsfield, including John B(arnum) Knapp who was a near neighbor to Aaron in both locations.
Otsego County, New York deeds include records of several transactions involving Aaron: On 18 Aug 1806, Aaron Barnum of Pittsfield, sold 40 acres to Sealy Gregory; on 3 Sep 1807, Aaron and wife Rene of New Lisbon (formerly Pittsfield) sold land to Daniel Tiffany; and on 24 Mar 1809 Aaron and wife Rene of New Lisbon sold 56 acres to Daniel Tiffany. This final deed is the one recorded in Apr 1815 in which a witness testified that Aaron’s wife Rhene was deceased by that date. There are no deeds recorded in Otsego County for Aaron’s initial purchase of the above properties. Note that the town of New Lisbon was set off from Pittsfield in 1806.
Lisbon Town Register, Book 1, held by New Lisbon Town Historian Virginia Schoradt in February 2011, included a list of the taxable inhabitants and the number of days they were assessed to work on the roads in their wards. Aaron Barnham was living in Ward 33, and was assessed 4 days in 1808 and 3 days in 1809. There was no additional note of Aaron in New Lisbon town records after 1809.
However, of greater interest and significance is the record for Joshua Barnham [sic], who was living in Ward 37 and was also assessed for road work beginning in 1808 and continuing through 1815. According to town records, Wards 33 and 37 were adjacent to one another.
In 1810, Aaron Barnum was no longer enumerated in the town of New Lisbon, so he probably moved around the time of the 1809 land sale mentioned above. J[oshua] Barnum did appear on the New Lisbon census, and was enumerated just three households away from D. Tiffeny [to whom Aaron sold land in 1807 and 1809].
Legal notices in Otsego county newspapers offer an explanation for Aaron’s apparent disappearance after 1809. “Whereas default of payment has been made of the monies secured to be paid by a certain mortgage executed by Aaron Barnum, of the town of New Lisbon, in the county of Otsego, to the subscriber of New Lisbon, in the county aforesaid, bearing date the first day of June, 1807 – Notice is hereby given, that by virtue of a power contained in the said mortgage, and in pursuance of the account in such case made and provided, will be sold at public venue… William Garratt.”, Olive Branch, 27 Mar 1809, p 3. This sale was postponed, as follows: “The sale of the mortgaged premises of Aaron P. Barnum, which was to take place on the 28th day of June instant, is postponed to the first day of September next, at two o’clock in the afternoon, at the court house in the village of Otsego. William Garratt”, Olive Branch, 17 Jul 1809, p 3. And finally, “Whereas Aaron Barnum, of the town of New Lisbon, county of Otsego and state of New York, to secure the payment of four hundred and eight dollars and thirty-nine cents, current money of the United States, did, on the first day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seven, grant, bargain, sell, release, alien and confirm, unto William Garratt, of the town, county and state aforesaid … one equal half or moiety of lot number thirty-nine, … contains fifty-six acres and fifty-four rods of land. And whereas default has been made in the payment of the aforesaid sum of money…notice is hereby given, that … the above described premises will be exposed to sale…at the house of John Roberts, Innkeeper, in New Lisbon, on Saturday the 26th day of December next…William Garratt.” Cooperstown Federalist, 27 Jun 1812, p. 3.
In 1810, an A. Barnham was living in the town of Milford, Otsego County, New York. Milford is east of New Lisbon. Age groupings in this family are consistent with those previously recorded for Aaron Barnum: 1 male 10-15; 1 male 15-25; 1 male 45+ (Aaron); 1 female 15-25; 1 female 45+ (Rene). This is believed to be the final record for Aaron Barnum as a head of household.
Though there is no known record of Aaron’s death, the Otsego County, New York deed recorded in 1815 implied that he was still living at that date – it was stated that Aaron’s wife was no longer living, but no similar statement was made concerning Aaron. It appears likely that he was living with a son and his family in 1820 (see the 1820 census record for Judah Barnum recorded elsewhere in this genealogy).
As a side note: A younger Aaron Barnum appeared on the 1840 census for the town of Lockport, Niagara County, New York. He was age 40-50, which is consistent with the age of the youngest son of Aaron Barnum of Danbury, Ballston and Pittsfield/New Lisbon/Milford. Aaron is not a common given name among the descendants of Thomas Barnum of Danbury, Connecticut. These two Aarons may be related, perhaps as father and son.
Then in 1850, yet another Aaron Barnum, age 24, was enumerated in Niagara County, New York, town of Newfane, lodging with the family of George W. Round. He may be another of this line, perhaps a son of the Aaron Barnum who was in Lockport in 1840.
Descendant Sharon Braun stated in 2013 that Aaron and Rene Barnum were the parents of Juda Barnum Jr. and Joshua Barnum Sr. The area of Otsego and Saratoga were very near the county line with Connecticut and there were no other Barnums in the area at that time. From Otsego they migrated to Newstead, Erie County where it appears that Aaron must have died (Rene having died sometime before that).


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