A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname



Notes for Samuel MATTHEWS


This birth date differs by more than two years from the one given in his biography.
From The History of Lorain County, Ohio; Philadelphia, Williams Brothers, 1879, p. 196: When a truly good man passes away, the community in which his noble qualities were known and appreciated stand in awe at the divine dispensation, and are naturally led to wonder why Providence should select one who, by the very excellence of his life and character, could be so much more benefit to mankind in general than many others. But His ways are inscrutable, hence the seeming inconsistency of events, as viewed from a mortal's standpoint. The above thoughts are called forth by reference to the obituary notice of the death of the late Samuel Matthews, who departed this life May 8, 1877, and of whom it can be truly said, no better man ever lived within the limits of Russia Township.
Samuel Matthews was born in Addison County, Vermont, September 19, 1817. His ancestors had been prominent citizens of that State for many years, and we find his father, Lucius Tuttle Matthews, and his grandfather, Darius Matthews, residents of Cornwall, the latter living there in 1788, and the former born there in 1793. They were a hardy, honest and practical class of citizens, just the kind, in fact, to be the progenitors of pioneers. When Samuel was a boy, his father moved to Ohio, and settled in Thompson, Geauga County. In the year 1837, at the age of nineteen, he (Samuel,) struck out for himself, came to Russia Township, and contracted for one hundred acres of land, upon which his widow and daughters now reside. He made his home with his uncle, Deacon Daniel B. Kinney, while making a start upon his new farm. With but little capital, except a strong constitution, a brave heart and willing hands, he commenced making an opening in the wilderness, got out timber for a barn, erected a log house, and brought his father and mother on to share his home. Here they all lived together until 1849, when, on the 19th of September of that year, he married Lomanda, daughter of Enoch Barnum. She was born in Ashtabula County, Ohio, March 12, 1816. Her father was a soldier of the war of 1812, during which he was severely wounded, and on that account was a pensioner. There were born to them two daughters, Emma Augusta, born February 14, 1851; married Herbert H. Barnum, January 18, 1871; (has two children, Maude Louise, born November 18, 1871; Roy David, born January 7, 1875;) Myra Louisa, born March 25, 1857; died December 25, 1861.
As showing how difficult a matter it was, in early days, to obtain money, and what slow work it was to pay for his farm, he used to raise oats and sell them for one shilling per bushel, and when he had thus gathered a few dollars, he would go to Amherst, the home of the agent, on foot, after a hard day's work, and pay it on his article, and so persevered, paying little by little, until his farm was all paid for.
His parents were Christians of the old puritan Congregational school, and being naturally sober and thoughtful, he early made a profession of religion, and soon after arriving in Russia united with the Congregational church of Oberlin. At the division of the society, he was one of the number that withdrew from the old church and formed what is now known as the Second Church. His heart was enlisted in the work of erecting a church edifice, and he voluntarily pledged two hundred dollars to this object to be paid in installments, but realizing the immediate need of funds, he borrowed the money, at ten per cent interest, and paid it all at once. He and his excellent wife, who joined him in every good work, afterward took on a hundred dollars in the building fund, which they soon after paid. He was never forward or ostentatious, never seeking notoriety, but in his quiet, retiring way, was ever a steady, earnest, consistent Christian. His deeds of charity were numerous and constant; many were the acts of kindness which he performed without any hope of reward, and which will live in the hearts of his neighbors long after his mortal remains shall have moldered to dust. His home was a constant hospital for the needy and suffering. After his marriage his father and mother went to Iowa, to live with children there, but at the death of his mother, his father returned to finish his days with his son Samuel. The father and mother of Mrs. Matthews also found a home in his house, and in their declining years were cared for with generous kindness until removed by death.
Mr. Matthews was a man whom to know was to love, and whose name from the first to the last continued a synonym for all that was benevolent, generous and good. His character for personal integrity was above reproach. In the exalted relations of husband and father he was kind and affectionate, a good provider, but reasonably exacting in family discipline and obedience. In fine, he was a man whose life in general constituted a worthy example of practical usefulness.
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