A One-Name Study
for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname
Notes for George Scott BARNUM
In 2010 a couple from the Netherlands, vacationing in Turkey, found Georges gravestone on display in the Archaeological Museum of Van. Gürsan Cümbüs Seyhun, a Turkish citizen who was a foreign exchange student in Oregon in 1959, called the Van Museum and spoke with the curator/art historian, who told her that George Scott Barnum had died during a typhoid epidemic when he was six and was buried in Tatvan, a county of Van. His tombstone was later moved to the museum. His mother, Helen Randle Barnum (1842-1914), and his brother, math professor Henry Huntington Barnum (1878-1939), are buried in the American Section of the Protestant Cemetery in Ferikoy, Istanbul. The curator also told Ms. Seyhun that the Museum directors wife, Nese Tozkoparan, (who is a professor at Ankara University) has published an article about the missionaries in Turkey during the nineteeth century.
According to that article, when the Barnums moved first to Russia and then to Istanbul due to ethnic unrest, they could not take the tombstone with them and left Henry Scott Barnum's grave behind. For years the tombstone remained abandoned somewhere near Van, until Islamic radicals protested at having a Christian tombstone near where they lived. In order not to have the historic evidence destroyed, the officials of the Van Museum then moved the tombstone inside the museum to preserve its historic and archeological heritage.
Interestingly, George's brother Henry Huntington Barnum once taught at the American College for Girls (ACG), where many years later Gürsan Cümbüs Seyhun was a student.
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