A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname



Notes for Rachel BARNUM


There is quite a bit of confusion about the correct parentage of Rachel Barnum b. 1772 in Vermont. Although some sources show that Sergeant Jehiel Barnum (1750-1831) was the father of Rachel, family tradition suggests that she was a daughter of Jehiel's older brother Lieutenant Barnabas Barnum (1742-1778).
The first child of Jehiel and his wife Hannah Eaton was a daughter named Rachel, born in 1770. Some have assumed that she died in infancy and that Jehiel and Mariah then applied the same name to Rachel born in 1772, who would have been their second child. However, the fact no death date has been found for Rachel b. 1770 is certainly no guarantee that she didn't live well beyond her birthdate. Also, records show that Jehiel's first, third and fifth children were all born in Kent, Connecticut Colony, while Rachel b. 1772 was supposedly born in Sunderland, Vermont, as were both sons of Lieutenant Barnabas Barnum. Jehiel did have one son born in Vermont, but that birth took place in 1786, 14 years after the birth of Rachel in 1772.
Perhaps the most telling fact in this discussion is that the first wife of Barnabas died in 1770 and he did not remarry until 1774. Taken on balance, then, it appears that Rachel b. 1772 was most likely a daughter of Sergeant Jehiel Barnum, and not of his brother Lieutenant Barnabas Barnum. She has been placed in her present family group based upon that premise.
Prior to 1777 the area constituting the present-day state of Vermont was claimed by three British colonies. The Province of Massachusetts Bay claimed the land on the basis of the 1629 charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Province of New York claimed Vermont based on land granted to the Duke of York (later King James II) in 1664, and the Province of New Hampshire, whose western limits had never been determined, also claimed Vermont. On 18 January 1777 the area was constituted as New Connecticut, and on 2 June of that same year it became the Independent State of Vermont. It joined the Union as the 14th state on 4 March 1791.
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