A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname

Notes for Sylvester Hoyt BARNUM

The Barnum Family, 1517-1904 shows Sylvester as a son of his uncle Richard D. Barnum.

From the History of Litchfield County, Connecticut (pub. 1881): Sylvester H. Barnum was born April 3, 1803, in Kent, Litchfield Co., Conn. (an engraving accompanying the history represents him at fifty years of age). He was a son of David and Rachel (Hoyt) Barnum. His father was a son of David Barnum, one of the first settlers of Danbury, and who afterwards became one of the original three proprietors of Kent, moving thither in 1752.

David, Jr., was born in Danbury, Conn., and moved to Kent with his father, and became one of its early settlers. He had seven children - Ebenezer, Delilah, Abigail, Lydia, Sylvester, David, and John, all born in Kent. In 1811 he removed to New York. Sylvester was at that time eight years of age, and was bound out to a farmer of Kent to remain until he was of age. His life was a hard one; poorly fed, thinly clad, and worked like a brute, the young lad twice sought refuge in flight; the first time he was overtaken and carried back, and the last returned voluntarily and stood his hardships until released by operation of law. During the entire thirteen years he received but three months schooling. When he became of age he went to see his sister (Mrs. Martin Cole) at Cornwall. His entire capital consisted at that time of the not-very-good suit of clothes on his back. He worked for Mr. Cole and his brother, on the farm and in the saw-mill, for two years. There he became acquainted with Lucy Ann Stone, whom he married June 29, 1826. Her parents were Eli and Eunice (Crissey) Stone, formerly of Kent.

Mrs. Barnum was born Nov. 22, 1804, in Canaan. Mr. Stone was born May 16, 1775, and died Oct. 9, 1845; Mrs. Stone was born May 22, 1776. For the first year after marriage this worthy young couple, commencing life with nothing, worked at different places by the week and month to gain sufficient money to provide for housekeeping. They did this and also earned enough to purchase a small house and two acres of land in what is now West Cornwall, then Hart's Bridge. Still working hard, Mr. Barnum purchased forty acres of land, mostly woodland, on which he began to make charcoal and farm in it small way. These avocations he followed for about thirty years. He never kept a place long, but bought and sold rapidly, making something on each. At various times he was the owner of three places in Cornwall, five in Sharon, three in Washington, one in New Milford, and one in Canaan. During fifty-one years of married life they moved twenty-five times, and never but twice to places he did not own. He was careful, prudent, economizing, and made money. He had an able, practical wife, who was a true helpmate for him, and for over half a century they worked together in harmony, and at their golden wedding, June 29, 1876, over three hundred guests participated.

Mr. Barnum would never accept public office; shrank from making himself conspicuous, but had a generous heart and an open hand, and more than one young man now grown up received assistance for which they reverence his memory.

He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Sharon, and a liberal supporter of Christian movements everywhere. Mrs. Barnum has been for years a member of the Congregational Church of North Cornwall.

They had six children - Elizabeth, Lydia, Louisa J., Eli, Delia, Lucy. Mr. Barnum died April 26, 1877, much respected. At his death but one child, Elizabeth, was living. She was born in Cornwall, Dec. 9, 1827; married, April 6, 1847, Lewis O'Cane, of Sharon. They now live in Canaan, and have four children - Celia (Mrs. Wallace Pierce), Luana (Mrs. Chas. Keeler), Ette, and Louisa J. Mrs. Pierce has one daughter, born in Pittsfield, Mass., in 1871.
Connecticut Town Birth Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection) Record about Sylvester Hoyt Barnum. Name: Sylvester Hoyt Barnum; Gender: Male; Birth Date: 3 Apr 1801; Birth Location: Kent; Parent Name: David; Parent Name: Rachal [sic]. Vol. 2, page 20.

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