A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname



Notes for Ashbel Arza DEAN


This article was submitted by Leon W. Dean, 308 South Prospect Street, Burlington, Vermont 05401, the first president of the Genealogical Society of Vermont.

Six Years of Service -- Ashbel Dean, my direct Revolutionary ancestor, was born 18 May 1763 in Cornwall, Connecticut. He was descended from Thomas Dean, who came to this country from England on the Elizabeth and Ann in 1635 and settled in Concord, Massachusetts. Ashbel had two brothers: Benjamin, born 29 November 1760; and Ezra, born 3 January 1758. All three of the boys and their father, Moses, were in the Revolution.

Ashbel enlisted in the war when 13 or 14 years of age and served for six years as a cannoneer. It is said that he had his gun taken and retaken several times but that it finally rested with the Americans. He was at Yorktown when Cornwallis surrendered. Shortly after the war he settled in Monkton, Vermont, and was followed there by his father and his brother Benjamin, who died 27 November 1787, his stone bearing the earliest date in the old Barnumtown cemetery. What became of Ezra after the war we do not know, but would like very much to discover. Somewhere he may have descendants.

Ashbel married Rachel Barnum. Child's Addison County Directory, published in the early 1880s, states that her father as Jehiel Barnum, but a family tradition, stemming from Franklin Dean, one of Ashbel's sons, maintains that her father was Jehiel's brother Barnabas, who was killed in the Indian fight in Shelburne 12 March 1778, when be went outside the walls to extinguish a fire that had been started on the house by the Indiana. Her exact parentage is another mystery that we would like to solve.

One of the tales that has come down in the family about Ashbel is to the effect that his life was once saved by an Indian girl by the name of Arloa and that he and Rachel named one of their children after her. Another story has it that Ashbel brought with him into Monkton a cow and three or four sheep. The cow was a necessity because he had to live on curdled milk, probably as the result of a stomach ailment incurred during his war service. All of the sheep were killed by wolves except one old mangled ewe.

Ashbel died 5 May 1823 and Rachel 7 February 1842. They are buried beside Benjamin and Moses and not far from Arloa. Ashbel's gravestone carries the inscription: "A soldier of the American Revolution."

DAR Patriot Index, part 1, page 803; Centennial Edition: Ashbel b. 5/18/1764, NJ; d. 5/5/1823, VT. m. Rachel Barnum Matro (Matross); CL (Continental Line) NY; WPNS (Widow Pensioned).

The following entry for Ashbel appears in the 1828-1832 ledger of James Barton, Blacksmith, Ferrisburg Hollow, Addison County, Vermont:

Page 49 Under the account for John French is the entry:
June 22nd. [year not noted; probably 1832] To mending hook ring Ashbel Dean

Page 61
Ashbel Dean. See 91st Page.
July 3d 1831. To mend fork $0.17; Do [ditto] mend teeth rings $0.12 = $0.29
(line crossed out, moved to Page 91)

Page 231
Ashbel A. Dean. Dr [debit]
June 5, 1833. To Shoeing $0.13
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