Edward Phelps Barnum (1831–1902), of St. Cloud, was born in Stonington, New London, Connecticut, on June 16, 1831. His father, John S. Barnum, was a Vermont native born in Shoreham in 1801. His mother was Edward P. Hannah (Hobart) Barnum, a native of Connecticut. He followed a seafaring life and was the captain of a ship. The subject of this sketch was educated in the public schools and academies of his native town. He spent four years at Troy Conference Academy in West Poultney, Vermont.
In his early youth, he entered into a mercantile and milling business in partnership with John B. Folsom, of Folsom Dale, Wyoming County, New York. Folsom was the grandfather of Frances Folsom, who later graced the White House as President Cleveland’s popular wife. Mr. Folsom’s wife was a distant cousin of Mr. Barnum’s.
In 1855, Edward Phelps Barnum moved to Iowa and, for about a year, ran a hotel in Des Moines with significant success. While living in Des Moines, he lost his only children, a boy of three years and a girl of eighteen months. In 1856, he moved to Hastings, Minnesota, erected a sawmill, formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, C. W. Nash, and for eight years was actively engaged in the lumber business.
In 1864, Edward Phelps Barnum was appointed by Edwin M. Stanton. Secretary of War, post-sutler of Fort Abercrombie He served in that post for three years. For an equal period of time, he was the proprietor of a hotel in Sauk Center, known as the Sauk Center House. Subsequently, he was engaged in the furniture business in the same town. He assisted in forming and held a responsible position at the Bank of Sauk Centre, which he held for ten years.
In 1870, Edward Phelps Barnum purchased the Sauk Center Avalanche, a Democratic organ, in his son’s interest. F. E. Barnum The son edited it during the first year after its purchase, and then Mr. Barnum himself took up the editorial work for a year. The Avalanche is still flourishing under Barnum’s junior management.
Edward Phelps Barnum’s political principles are loyally Democratic. The Minnesota constituency has nominated him twice for Lieutenant Governor. This was the first time on the ticket with Edmund Rice for Governor and the second with Ten R. W. Johnson. He was also his party’s candidate for Congress from what was known as the “bloody Sixth” district during the famous “Kindred-Nelson” campaign.
In 1876, Edward Phelps Barnum was elected a member of the Stearns County County Commissioners for three years. He served one year as chairman of that body. In 1891, he was appointed enrolled clerk of the State Senate. The following year, on A. L. Crumb’s resignation, he received an appointment to the office of clerk of court, Seventh Judicial District of Stearns County. In 1894, he was elected to that post for four years by a large majority, and in 1898, he was re-appointed without opposition.
Edward Phelps Barnum has been a Mason for more than half a century. The main events of his Masonry history are as follows: In February of 1857, at Hastings, Minnesota, he was a Master Mason in 1860 and a Royal Arch Mason in 1863. Knight Templar in Damascus Commandery of St. Paul; in 1894, a member of the Mystic Shrine in Osman Temple, St. Paul
In 1868, he received from the Grand Lodge the appointment of district deputy, in which capacity he assisted in the dissemination throughout the state of the present ritual work. In the following year, he was elected grand junior warden. In 1893, he was appointed to the board of custodians of the work over which he now presides as chairman.
Edward Phelps Barnum was married on April 15, 1852, to Irene Elizabeth Barnum in Rutland County, a native of Ypsilanti, Michigan. Her parents were J. Wesley Barnum of Shoreham, Vermont, and Harriet Z., daughter of Col. William Frost of Michigan, formerly of Genesee County, New York. One son, Francis E. Barnum, associated with the Sauk Centre Avalanche, is the only remaining issue of their union.
Edward Phelps Barnum enjoyed wide popularity during his career. His career has been varied, and he has made many friends and acquaintances. The newspaper fraternity holds him in special esteem. His attendance is always counted upon at Minnesota editors’ conventions and excursions, and although Lie is older than most members of the present editorial staff, his youthful and genial temperament makes him equally companionable to all.
They visited Denver, Colorado Springs, and the Omaha Expo last September as part of their annual extension. In addition, he contributed substantially to the trip’s success and enlivenment. Mrs. Barnum, too, is gifted with many social qualities, a fact well appreciated by her numerous friends who have enjoyed the hospitality of the Barnum home circle.
Edward Phelps Barnum died on January 10, 1902, at age 70, in Saint Cloud, Stearns, Minnesota, United States. He was buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
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Edward Phelps Barnum (1831–1902), of St. Cloud, was born in Stonington, New London, Connecticut, on June 16, 1831.
Edward Phelps Barnum (1831–1902), of St. Cloud, was born in Stonington, New London, Connecticut, on June 16, 1831.


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