A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname

Notes for Silas BARNUM

The information for Silas Barnum's parentage taken from The Barnum Family, 1517-1904 and The Barnum Family, 1350-1907, both by Noah G. Barnum, shows him as the son of Ebenezer Barnum (1712-1798) and Sarah Sturdevant. Since the information from Silas' gravestone shows him as being born a few years before his father, that connection has always been suspect.

An update by researcher Bob Furtaw, posted to Ancestry.com on 4 Aug 2005, reads as follows: "I have been working on finding the parents of Silas Barnum, husband of Martha Platt, for several years. Iíve come across some contradictory information and have placed queries on message boards only to be pointed back to contradictory or otherwise inaccurate documentation. The information in the Genealogical Record of the Barnum Family by Eben Lewis Barnum I believe is incorrect, since I donít see how itís possible for the son to be born before his father. Itís been pointed out to me that the genealogy is correct and only the dates are wrong. Iíve noticed that Silasí birth date has been adjusted to fit various genealogies on the internet but not adjusted to fit the facts.

"An entry in Emma Edwards Campís diary says that Silas and Martha are the grandparents of Sarah H. Barnum b. September 10, 1801. This concludes that Silas was not born in Jul 1795, as is shown in many peopleís genealogy databases on the internet. I think I have found the solution. The answer was always there but I failed to take notice. I took another look at the Barnum family in Beaver Bog Cemetery. I added all the names into my genealogy database (Legacy), Silas and his family included, and noticed:

"1) The oldest Barnum there was David b. 1733 and Jemima Stevens b.1734
2) Notations were made about the relationships, of which I took careful notice.
3) All of the named children of Silas are present there.
4) Silasí birth date was calculated wrongly in the Note. He was not born in December but on June 18, 1774.
5) Silas fits perfectly as a son of said David, right in between twins Mehitabel and Ebenezer b. 31 Oct 1772, and Jemima b. 12 May 1775.
6) It makes sense that Silas and his immediate family would be buried with his close family; this was not just a coincidence. All the names are within 4 generations and are siblings, parents, nephews and niecesÖno distant cousins.

"I have accounted for 7 Silas Barnums born before 1900. They fall into two clear branches of the family. Thinking that names usually cluster in a family, it makes sense that Silas belongs as a son of said David. He falls into the bigger cluster of 5 Silasís with very close relationships, and the two other Silasís are in another distant cousin branch.

"I also looked at all the census from 1790 to 1840 census records. I believe this Silas only appears in the 1820 census. The others are relatives. If you are familiar with these records, you know that all you get is head of household, wife and children by age groupingÖno names. If anyone else is living there, you get that person counted in the age group also, and you get no indication about the relationship. Also, looking at neighbors, on adjacent lines and pages provides clues. The 1820 census provides enough clues to show that we have the right Silas. It also indicates he had more children. That makes his age consistent with the properly-calculated age above. Said Sarah H. also fits.

"I donít why Ebenís book contained such an error but itís obviously wrong and has been throwing people off for a while. I donít believe only the date is in error. Silas was misplaced.

"You can find my database on Ancestry.com. Search for Silas Barnum b. Jun 18, 1744 and make sure you have found my database (contact name: Bob Furtaw). Your comments are welcome. Please e-mail me at bob@furtaw.com."
The Beaver Bog Cemetery, which is located at the intersection of Bigelow Road, Beaver Bog Road and Route 37, was originally part of the Methodist Church. The present church was built in 1835 and was called the Methodist Episcopal Church. The building was built by Jesse and Isaac Scudder, Archibald Campbell, Hezekiah Wildman and Amos Stevens. Several of the early families buried at this cemetery belonged to the church. The cemetery separated from the church in 1935, since most of the original church members were then deceased. At that time it became the Beaver Bog Cemetery. An association was formed in later years to cover the maintenance. The oldest legible stone in the Beaver Bog Cemetery is that of Zebulon Plat, the father-in-law of Silas, who died in 1809. This burial ground was recorded in 1915 and again in 1934. After comparing those records with the actual tombstones left in 1982 there were found to be 24 stones missing, destroyed or totally illegible. In 1908 a monument was erected there to honor the Revolutionary War soldiers buried at Beaver Bog Cemetery.

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