Eli Starr BARNUM

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Eli Starr BARNUM

Birthplace: Danbury, Fairfield, CT
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:

Son of Eliphalet Barnum and Mary Barnum
Husband of Mary BARNUM
Father of Eli Moseley BARNUM and Susan Louise Bryan
Brother of Rachel Barnum; Rebecca BARNUM and Polly PECK

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Eli Starr BARNUM


The Firelands Pioneer, Volumes 4-5

1863 - Northwest, Old

Page 91



Another of the pioneers of the Firelands has passed away since our last meeting. Eli S. Barnum died at East Cleveland on the 22d of December last, in the 80th year of his age. Mr. Barnum was for almost fifty years a resident of Florence, Erie Co., whence he removed with his family to East Cleveland a few years since. He was born in Danbury, Connecticut, on the 8th of March, 1783, where he resided until he was 26 years of age. In the spring of 1809, he started for the far West, accompanied by his sister Rachel, who subsequently married Mr. Joseph Brooks, and resided in Florence until her death in 1856. In those days emigrants to the West had to depend on their own means of conveyance, for Railroads and steamboats were then unknown, and even the stage coach had not found its way to the western extremity of New York State. Mr. Barnum arrived in the township of Florence, then called Jessup, on the 16th of July, 1809, and settled on the farm on which he resided untill near the close of his life. Only one family preceded him in the settlement of the township, Mr. Ezra Sprague, and that only by a few months. Mr. Sprague, with his family, came in May, in season to plant some corn and potatoes. Mr. Barnum was too late in the season to raise anything the first year, and but for the crop of his neighbor would have been compelled to have returned to some eastern settlement the first winter. As it was the trials of that first winter of pioneer life, to which these two families were exposed, can be but faintly conceived at the present day. They had advanced forty miles into the wilderness beyond Cleveland, the nearest point from which any supplies could be obtained. No roads! No channel of communication! For many weeks grated corn formed their only staple for bread. The first winter was unquestionably the period of the greatest privation and trials to these pioneer families. Never without deep emotion, could either of these men narrate the scenes of their first winter in the wilderness. Several other families came into the township in the course of the year 1810 and 1811. Then followed the War with England, which put a stop to emigration for four or five years.— The whole of this period, from their first arrival, to the close of the war was one of great perplexity and trial to the settlers. No mills, no market within forty miles. No refuge in case of attack by the Indians, who roamed through the Wilderness, and who were for the most part, in the interests of the enemy. “These were times that try men’s souls.”

Mr. Barnum was married in 1818, to Miss Mary Root, by whom he had six children—two sons and four daughters—all of whom are still living. He always occupied a prominent and useful position in society, and served his fellow citizens most acceptably and in various public offices.He was the first Postmaster in the township, and retained the office for almost thirty years.

He was for about forty years the principal agent of the original proprietors of the township, for the sale of their lands, and from this cause was brought into pecuniary transactions with most of the early settlers of the township. In this relation he was thought to be overbearing in exacting the full amount of interest upon contracts for land, and complaints were sometimes made. But in all such cases, on careful investi. gation of the subject, the complaints were found to be groundless. Mr. Barnum was possessed of a nice sense of justice to his employers, in doing business for them. He would see that their just dues were fully met, and hence arose most of the complaints to which allusion has been made. The writer relates an instance that occurred some years since, illustrative of this point. A person had been settling up a contract for land of some twenty years standing, he was surprised to find so much more due on it than he had expected. He was confident that some injustice had been done him. He had paid at different times during these twenty years, some hundreds of dollars more than the original contract called for; and yet he was informed that several hundred dollars were still due. He could not compute interest himself on such a contract, and hence was surprised to learn its amount.

He was advised to submit his contract to some competent person, in whom he had confidence, that a correct computation of the interest might be made. He did so, and was surprised that Mr. Barnum had done him no injustice—had demanded only what was legally due the proprietors. Well would it be for our country, if all in public and responsible stations, were possessed of as nice a sense of truth and justice in all their acts.

Mr. Barnum was a regular attendant upon public worship, though not a member of the church. He was a constant and liberal supporter of religious institutions, and ever ready to bear his full share in any effort for the public good. ... When in the spring of 1841, an effort to build a house of worship for the Congregational Church in Florence was commenced, he said to the Committee of the Society: I will pay one-fourth of the whole cost of the building, be it more or less, and the better building you can secure, the better shall I be pleased. This pledge was fully redeemed in the final settlement of the cost of the house.

In the spring of 1857 Mr. Barnum sold his farm in Florence and removed to East Cleveland. For the last two or three years of his life, his mental faculties gradually failed, but the assiduous attention of his wife and two daughters, anticipated every want and he sank quietly to rest in a good old age, like a shock of corn fully ripe in its season. Florence, March 9th, 1863.

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Eli Starr BARNUM's Timeline

March 8, 1783
Danbury, Fairfield, CT

1860 Census: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MCGD-SQ3

Name: Eli S Barnum
Residence: , Cuyahoga, Ohio
Ward: East Cleveland
Age: 76 years
Estimated Birth Year: 1784
Birthplace: Connecticut
Gender: Male
Page: 7
Family Number: 46
Film Number: 803955
DGS Number: 4282501
Image Number: 00218
NARA Number: M653

name: Mary R Barnum
residence: , Cuyahoga, Ohio
ward: East Cleveland
age: 64 years
estimated birth year: 1796
birthplace: Massachusetts
gender: Female
page: 7
family number: 46
dgs number: 4282501
nara number: M653

name: Mary Barnum
residence: , Cuyahoga, Ohio
ward: East Cleveland
age: 35 years
estimated birth year: 1825
birthplace: Ohio
gender: Female
page: 8
family number: 46
dgs number: 4282501
nara number: M653

name: Belle G Barnum
residence: , Cuyahoga, Ohio
ward: East Cleveland
age: 20 years
estimated birth year: 1840
birthplace: Ohio
gender: Female
page: 8
family number: 46
dgs number: 4282501
nara number: M653



Eli was listed in the 1811 tax list for Cuyahoga County, Ohio. He was the Postmaster of Florence, Huron County, Ohio in 1828.

In the 1850 US Census for Florence, Erie County, Ohio the family of Eli S. Barnum was enumerated as follows:
Dwelling #190; Family #196
Eli S. Barnum, 68, M, Farmer Real property $4,000, b. Connecticut
Mary R. Barnum, 54, F, b. Massachusetts
Mary Barnum, 25, F, b. Ohio
Charly P. Barnum, 15, M, b. Ohio, Attended school within the year
Isibel G. Barnum, 11, F, b. Ohio, Attended school within the year
James Cowles, 35, M, b. Connecticut
Rhoda Cowles, 28, F, b. Ohio
Florence A. Cowles, 3, M [sic], b. Ohio

June 3, 1823
Age 40
Florence, Erie County, Ohio, United States


Sketches of the Alumni of Dartmouth College, from the first graduation in ...
By Dartmouth College, George Thomas CHAPMAN
Riverside Press, 1867 - 520 pages

ELI MOSELEY Barnum, the son of Eli Starr and Mary (Root) Barnum, was born at Florence, Ohio, June 3,1823. He read law with Joseph M. Root at Norwalk, Ohio, in 1845 and 1846; was at Florence on a farm in 1847; resumed legal study with Beecher and Leonard at Sandusky, Ohio, in 1848 ; was in practice at Norwalk in 1849 and 1850 ; was a merchant in Salem, Oregon, from 1851 to 1853; then opened a law office there in 1854, and so remains; was a commissioner for building the Territory Capitol in 1853 and 1854; has been Adj. Gen. of Oregon from 1855 to this time, and served as such in the Indian war of 1855 and 1856. He married Frances W. dau. of Picket Latimer of Norwalk, Nov. 1, 1849.



A National Register of the Society, Sons of the American Revolution, Volume 1
By Sons of the American Revolution, Louis Henry Cornish, Alonzo Howard Clark

FREDERICK CHARLES BRYAN, Washington, D. C. (2240). Son of Constant and Susan Louise (Barnum) Bryan; grandson of Elijah Bryan, private Third Conn. Line; grandson of Eli Starr and Mary (Root) Barnum; great-grandson of Eliphalet (and Mary Benedict) Barnum, Sergeant Conn. Militia; great'grandson of Thomas Benedict, private Conn, troops.


Between 1860 and 1880

1880 Census for his Widow: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M8M9-L49

Name: Mary R. Barnum
Residence: Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio
Birthdate: 1796
Birthplace: Massachusetts, United States
Relationship to Head: Self
Spouse's Name:
Spouse's Birthplace:
Father's Name:
Father's Birthplace: Massachusetts, United States
Mother's Name:
Mother's Birthplace: Massachusetts, United States
Race or Color (Expanded): White
Ethnicity (Standardized): American
Gender: Female
Martial Status: Widowed
Age (Expanded): 84 years
Occupation: Keeping House
NARA Film Number: T9-1008
Page: 159
Page Character: A
Entry Number: 2994
Film number: 1255008
Household Gender Age
Mary R. Barnum F 84
Child Isabella J. Barnum F 42