A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname



Notes for Milo BARNUM


In the 1850 US Census for Salisbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut the family of Milo Barnum was enumerated as follows:
Dwelling #158; Family #176
Mylo [sic] Barnum, 59, M, Farmer, Real property $7,000, b. New York
Laura Barnum, 53, F, b. Massachusetts
Lucy Stevens, 73, F, b. Connecticut
Mary Lake, 22, F, b. Connecticut

Barnum, Richardson and Company was established in 1830 by Milo Barnum and his son-in-law Leonard Richardson in Salisbury, Connecticut. Barnum was born in Dutchess County, New York in 1790 and moved to Lime Rock in Salisbury, CT in 1820 to engage in business as a merchant. The town of Salisbury was well known, at that time, for its extensive iron bed and for the exceptional quality of its iron ore. The company was based on a foundry that re-smelted pig iron. Barnum, Richardson and Company, as it was first called, was a small firm specializing in the production of clock and sash weights, plow castings, and other small items.

In 1840, Barnum's son William joined the company and the firm expanded to include production of hardware for the new railroad industry. The company's first major products were chains, frogs and headblocks for the Boston and Albany Railroad, which had just begun construction. Salisbury iron proved most valuable in the manufacture of railroad car wheels. The iron did not break easily under tension and it was almost impervious to extremes of heat and cold. Barnum, Richardson and Company prospered because of the increasing demand for this high quality iron, and owned a number of the town's manufacturing concerns and most of its housing.

In 1852, Milo Barnum retired from active service and the name of the company was changed to Richardson, Barnum and Company. In 1858, the company purchased the Beckley furnace in East Canaan, and in 1862, obtained the Forbes furnace in the same town. At about the same time, the company purchased another foundry in Chicago. The company was reorganized as a joint stock company and renamed the Barnum and Richardson Manufacturing Company. In 1864, Leonard Richardson died, and the company was reorganized again as the Barnum Richardson Company, a joint stock company with William H. Barnum as president and general manager. The heirs of Leonard Richardson continued to maintain an interest in the company.

A second foundry was built in Salisbury in 1870 and a third furnace in East Canaan in 1872. A new wheel foundry was built in Chicago in 1873. In 1870, the Salisbury foundries produced 10,000 car wheels. The foundries in Chicago had a capacity of three hundred car wheels per day. By 1881, the company owned eight blast furnaces in the Salisbury area, which used an average of twelve-hundred bushels of charcoal per day and produced eleven tons of iron per furnace per day. The company also owned and operated its own mine, the Ore Hill mine, which in the late 1880s was providing 20,000 tons of ore per year.

Barnum, Richardson merged with several small companies during its history including: Landon, Moore and Company; S. B. Moore & Company; Sterling, Chapin & Company; and Sterling & Moore Company. Subsidiaries of Barnum Richardson included Hunts-Lyman Iron Company, Lime Rock Iron Company, Sharon Valley Iron Company, Cornwall Bridge Iron Company and Millerton Iron Company. Companies affiliated with Barnum Richardson included Brook Pit Mining Company, Forbes Ore-Bed Company, David Digging Company, Adams-Chatfield Company and Chatfield Mining Company.

In 1889, William Barnum died after a long and exceptional career as an industrialist. By the early twentieth century, the Salisbury iron industry was in decline. The newly imported Bessemer steel process, which produced a product more adaptable than the iron produced in small quantities by Barnum Richardson, made the small furnace iron industry of Connecticut obsolete. In 1920, Barnum Richardson Company was purchased by the Salisbury Iron Company. This new firm went out of business in 1923 and shut down what was then the last of Connecticut's iron furnaces.
U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules Index about Milo Barnum. Surname: Milo Barnum; Year: 1860; County: Litchfield; State: CT; Age: 69; Gender: M (Male); Month of Death: May; State of Birth: NY; ID#: MRT197_16137; Occupation: Manufacturer; Cause of Death: Palsy. [N.B.: Palsy, in the past sometimes listed a cause of death, refers to paralysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles].
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