This small quaint seaport has roots back to April 7, 1730 when Isaac and Jonathan Green Sr. purchased from Ebenezer Harker "a certain plantation and track of land containing by estimation 441 acres situate lying and being in ye Carterett in ye county of province of aforsaid being ye west side of ye mouth off White Oak River." By 1771 Theophilus Weeks started a town on his plantation, laying out a plat and selling lots. Formerly known as Bogue, Week's Point, The Wharf and New Town, the town was officially designated by the North Carolina General Assembly on May 6, 1783. Above photo (from North Carolina State Archives) courtesy Jack Dudley, as included in Swansboro - A Pictorial Tribute

Charles Hickok Barnum

Thomas Barnum, the fourth great grandfather of Charles Hickok Barnum, was the first Barnum to come to the new world.  
Born in County Kent, England, Thomas Barnum (1625-1695) left England in 1640, settled in what would become Bethel, Connecticut and married Hannah Hurd of Norwalk, Connecticut. Several generations of the family were born in Connecticut including Charles Hickok Barnum. Thomas (1663-1730) married Sarah Beardsley. Ephraim Sr. (1710-1775) married Mehetabel Starr. Their grandson Philo (1779-1828), son of Ephraim Jr., was the father of Phineas Taylor “P.T.” Barnum (1810-1891) who founded what became Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
David Barnum (1739-1795), brother of Ephraim Barnum Jr., married Rachel Benedict. Their son Thomas (1775-1847) married Lucy Hickok. Their son Charles Hickok Barnum (1816-1865), born in Danbury, moved to Onslow County, North Carolina and married Alice Harget (1823-1867) on May 11, 1845. As noted above, Charles was a kinsman of P. T. Barnum—their great grandfathers were brothers.

During the first half of the nineteenth century, Charles H. Barnum, William P. Ferrand, Cyrus Glover and Robert Spence McLean were the town’s chief exporters of naval stores; Barnum and Glover also operated a saltworks facility. In 1846 Charles H. Barnum became Swansboro’s second postmaster.

In the records of the US Southern Claims Commission, Disallowed and Barred Claims, 1871-1880 appears the case of C. H. Barnum, as follows:

Case of Estate of Charles H. Barnum. The County of Onslow, North Carolina. The above claimant owned two schooners which were sunk in the Inlets of North Carolina to obstruct the Channels. Barnum filed a claim in the Confederate Treasury Department for pay for the above vessels. House of Representatives US Feby/21/88. Received of Clerk, House of Reps. sundry papers in above named case. /ss/ J. Randolph, sec.

Charles and Alice Barnum had three known children. Mary Amelia Barnum, born in 1846, married Major Russell; their daughter Lina Russell (1870-1967) married Swansboro builder Robert Lee Smith.

Edward Hargett Barnum, the second child of Charles and Alice Barnum, was born in 1849. In 1887 Edward married Ida Dolly Harget Fulford, widow of Francis Joseph Fulford. In the 1900 census Edward and Ida Dolly were living in New Bern with stepson Joseph C. Fulford 19, stepdaughter Julia May Fulford 16, Charles Harget Barnum 10, and 8-year-old Robert Barnum.

In the 1850 Swansboro census, in the household were: Charles H. 33, merchant; Alice 28; Amelia 3; Edward H. 1; Z.B. Barnum 28, merchant and brother; Daniel A. Hargett 25, clerk; and E.H. Remick 32, teacher.

The third child of Edward and Ida Barnum, Charles Hickok Barnum Jr., was born in 1855.

In the 1860 Swansboro census, in the household were: C.H. 43, merchant; Alice 37, seamstress; Amelia 13; Edward 10; Charles 5; William H. Hawkins 16, domestic; Arabella Sanders 12. The value of Barnum’s real estate was noted as $15,000, with a personal estate of $30,000. At that time, Charles H. Barnum owned twelve slaves.

Both Edward and Ida Barnum were buried in the Ward-Jones Cemetery in Swansboro.

Charles Hickok Barnum and Alice Hargett Barnum were buried in the Ambrose-Hargett Cemetery on Hammock Beach Road in Onslow County. Others interred there include Daniel Ambrose (1781-1850), Daniel Ambrose Hargett (1825-1872) and Rosamond Ambrose Hargett (1795-1859).



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