URBEN BARNUM, farmer, section 33, Ashland Township, was born in Tompkins Co., N.Y., Dec. 22, 1832. His parents, Czar and Margaret (German) Barnum, were natives respectively of Connecticut and New York. In 1839 they removed to Lenawee Co., Mich., and the son remained at home aiding in the labors on the farm until he reached the age of 13, when he was engaged in the same cpacity with a neighboring farmer, his father judging that the proceeds of his labors would further his own interests to better purpose than to retain him at home.
When he was 19 years of age, associated with one of his brothers, Mr. Barnum took a farm in Hillsdale County, which remained under their joint managment three years, where he acquired a practical knowledge of all the details of successful agriculture and an understanding of its responsibilities in an independent sphere. To this purpose he purchased a farm of 80 acres in Ashland, Newaygo County.
Mr. Barnum was married Dec. 23, 1856, in Hillsdale County, to Susan, daughter of Nicholas and Barbara (Voat) Ish. The parents were born in Switzerland, and after their marriage came to the United States, locating in Stark Co. Ohio, where the daughter was born Oct. 15, 1832, and resided until she was 16 years old, when she came to Hillsdale County and lived until her marriage. About a year after that event Mr. Barnum settled on his farm in Newaygo County, which he had purchased as mentioned. It was situated in the midst of unbroken forest, with no neighbors in sight; but himself and wife entered cheerfully and hopefully into the work of the "regulation" pioneer, encountering privation with hardihood, grappling courageously with toil and baffling circumstances, and emerging from all their conflicts with victory on their banners. The character of the spirit i which they have accomplished their life work is fully attested by the temper of their most prominent remembrance of those early days. Its fairest features and those which afforded relief and relaxation from cares are uppermost in thought and word, and their recitals are filled with interesting anecdotes and reminiscenses of times when small opportunities were eagerly seized upon to secure a breif tenure upon social ties; and a ride five miles with an ox team over a forest trail to enjoy the festivites of a dance or the excitements of a revival meeting had attractions in no sense outdone by the more elegant accompaniments of a more perfect civilization. Mr. Barnum's farm now contains 200 acres, three-fourths of which is in a state of advanced and highly creditable cultivation.
Mr. Barnum enlisted Feb. 15, 1865, in Co. A., Ninth Mich., Vol. Inf., and was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland. He was in active service but five months, becoming disabled by camp fever. His regiment was discharged Sept. 13, 1875, but he was compelled to continue some time in the hospital to recover his health. In political faith Mr. Barnum is a Democrat, and has held various offices in the local government of the affairs of Ashland Township.
Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Barnum, as follows: Edgar M., Sept. 28, 187; Frank L., Nov. 2, 1859; Bertha J., Aug. 19, 1862; William H., feb. 3, 1872; Fred N., born March 1, 1870, died Aug. 25, 1872.