A One-Name Study
for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname
Notes for Horace E. BARNUM
The following information was copied from the Find A Grave website, where it appears without a source citation: Probably no other state in the Union may boast of such a large number of pioneers, such as the late Horace E. Barnum, whose ancestry reaches back to the good old days of New England and has to do with the foundation of our great republic. He was born on May 9, 1854, near Hastings, Mich., the son of Philander Barnum, whose father, Elijah Barnum. was a New Englander who early removed to the wilderness of Barry County, Mich. He cleared a space in the forest and built a log cabin, and among the maple and beech trees, he created an attractive homestead, and there closed his days, having enjoyed life to the full with his family. Philander Barnum grew up a farmer to succeed his father, and when he retired, he removed to Battle Creek whose climatic attractions were already being felt. He had married Harriet E. Bidwell, a native of Albion, Mich., who also came of a long line of New Englanders. They had five children. Mr. Barnum died at Battle Creek, and Mrs. Barnum at Hastings, and both were widely lamented. Horace was the fourth child in the order of birth, and the only one to come to the Pacific Coast. He attended the public schools of Battle Creek and Albion, and in the middle of the seventies, just when California was getting ready to make its bow to the nation at the Philadelphia Centennial, he came west to the Golden State. He passed three years in the Sacramento Valley, then went to Washington, and after a year returned to California and located at Woodland. In Yolo County he followed agriculture for several years. With T. L. Reed Mr. Barnum came south to the San Joaquin Valley in 1885, and leased the South Mountain tract. He had to break seven or eight sections of the land, and needed to employ from eight to ten horses on a plow ; but he was rewarded by a large crop of grain, although he had to haul it sixteen miles to market. In time, Mr. Reed offered him 160 acres of land in Tulare County for his interest in the firm, and in Tulare Mr. Barnum farmed for a year. Removing then to Lemoore, Mr. Barnum embarked in the hotel business for a year, but was burned out. He resumed hotel management in Reedley, however, and also invested in twenty acres of land for an orchard. He had just entered upon the contract and made the first payment, when he met with a frightful accident that might easily have cost him his life, and that would have robbed most men of courage and the stuff needed to go forward. A gun placed in the buggy in which he was returning from hunting fell and discharged its contents into his side and shoulder, causing such a wound that the surgeon had to amputate the arm. Nevertheless, Mr. Barnum prepared his land for irrigation, made a park on the river bank, set out an orchard and went ahead with his projects in hotel management. Mr. Barnum was appointed constable, and at the end of a year, he entered on a two-year term as roadmaster. His conscientious and able discharge of duties in these offices led to his being called for as Republican candidate for County Auditor in 1894, and he was elected by a plurality of six hundred votes for a term of four years. In 1898, was renominated for the same office, and was elected over the fusion candidate by a majority of one hundred eight votes, being one of two Republicans to reach office that year. In 1902, a majority of seventeen hundred votes, the largest vote in the county, enabled him to lead his ticket and again to be reelected. In 1906 and in 1910 he was again elected, each time without opposition, and he had announced his candidacy for 1914, when sickness and death interfered. He died on June 15, 1914. To permit himself to reside near his office, Mr. Barnum removed from his ranch to Fresno, and for years lived in this city. While in Yolo County in 1894, Mr. Barnum was married at Woodland to Miss Mary Eva Dearing, daughter of John and Ellen Dearing, among the sturdiest and most honored pioneers of that county. She was born in Morgan Valley, Lake County, and two children blessed their union Ida May, Mrs. F. F. Minard; and Charles E. Mrs. Barnum, who has been a consistent Baptist, is living in Fresno. Besides being active in Chamber of Commerce work, and in national politics under the banners of the Republican party, Mr. Barnum was an Elk, a Knight of Pythias, a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, a Forester, and a Woodman of the World. He had a strong, impressive personality, a large heart, high ideals and a winning disposition; was a good citizen and a good friend.
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