A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname

Notes for Lela Alta BARNUM

From The Dalles Chronicle, The Dalles, Oregon, January 16, 2005: Widow of newspaperman Giles French dies at 104.
Lela Barnum French, 104, died at a local care facility in The Dalles on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2005.
She was born April 14, 1900 on a farm east of Moro, the second child of Elvin E. and Mary Medler Barnum.
She had two brothers, Lester and Cleo and two sisters, Arlene and Erma. Her grandfather, Henry Barnum, settled in what is now Moro in 1868. Her great-grandfather, George Masiker, came to Sand Springs in 1862, when The Dalles-Umatilla Landing stage started running.
The Masiker family was the second family to settle in what is now Sherman County. Henry Barnum married Elmira Masiker.
She started school in the Harmony District, then Moro and finished in Grass Valley after they moved to the ranch. She then attended Pacific University in Forest Grove and the next year transferred to the University of Oregon. She enjoyed basketball in high school and also played for the University of Oregon.
She married Giles L. French on July 13, 1919 at her parents home. They farmed for a few years before buying the Grass Valley Journal. They later bought the Sherman County Observer and moved to Moro in 1931. The name was changed to the Sherman County Journal.Soon after, they bought the Wasco News-Enterprise to make one newspaper office. She worked as linotype operator after Ella Johnson left and ran the presses until they retired in 1963.
She enjoyed going to the Sherman County dances and when Giles was elected to the Oregon legislature, she enjoyed the diversion of being his secretary from 1935 to 1951.
She was chosen to christen the WWII Liberty Ship "Fond du Lac."
In her younger days she was an excellent pianist and a fine steelhead fisher on the Deschutes River.
She is survived by two daughters, Jane A. Frees and Patricia R. Moore. She has seven grandchildren, Toni Reynolds, Michael Frees, John Frees, Kathy Harris, Ernest Moore, Jill Lieuallen and Christopher Moore. Eight great-grandchildren, Erin Frees, Alex and Meredith Frees, Adam Lieuallen, Anna, Clint, and Ethan Moore and Brandy Moore. She was preceded in death by her husband in 1976 and two sons, Clinton B. in 1931 in a horse accident and Wyman J., killed in WWII.
Funeral services will be held at Moro Presbyterian Church at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2005 with Pastor Bob Stone officiating. Interment will follow at the Moro Cemetery. Smith Callaway Chapel is in care of arrangements.
Memorial contributions may be made to Sherman County Historical Society, PO Box 173, Moro, OR 97039 or the Sherman Station Endowment Fund c/o Ernest L. Moore, PO Box 351, Moro, OR 97039. [Note: The Sherman Experiment Station was purchased by Sherman County from two parties in about 1909: The Eastern Oregon Land Company sold 160 acres for $6,400 and Lela's uncle Ladru Barnum sold 74 acres for $3,280, a total of $9,600 a little more than $40 an acre].

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