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Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html


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Theron Barnum.

THERON BARNUM was born April 23d, 1803, in Addison county, Vermont. His father, Stephen Barnum, was a fanner in humble circumstances, and had the usual blessing of a poor man, a round dozen of children. He emigrated from Connecticut, in 1808, to Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, where he continued his agricultural pursuits. Young Theron Barnum worked on the farm, and assisted his father until he was seventeen years of age, receiving in the mean time the indifferent instruction usually afforded by a country school. Wishing to cultivate his mind, and at the same time to earn a livelihood, young Barnum at the age of seventeen commenced teaching school, which took up six hours a day of his time; and so desirous was he for mental improvement, that he walked at night the distance of eight miles to a school taught by a proficient scholar, where he could receive proper instruction in English grammar, and the more advanced branches of English education.

For several years he pursued the vocation of teaching, and finding himself then, by his education, qualified to fill with credit almost any position, in 1824 he went to Wilkesbarre, and engaged as clerk in a store. He staid at that town till the year 1827, when he went to Baltimore at the request of his uncle, the late David Barnum, who gave Barnum's Hotel in Baltimore the deserved fame which it so long bore, of being "the best hotel in the United States." With much advantage to himself, he remained with his uncle in the capacity of confidential clerk, and became, under his able instruction, well instructed in the mystery of keeping a first class hotel. During the time he was with his uncle, there was a great celebration in Baltimore, caused by the opening of the first fifteen miles of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to Ellicotts' Mills. Mr. Barnum, with many thousands of others, visited the place, and, it being at that time a terminus, he determined to put into practical effect the experience he had gained in hotel-keeping, and opened what was long known as the Patapsco Hotel. So long as Ellicotts' Mills was a terminus the hotel did a swimming business. It was there that the stages received their passengers for the national road across the mountains, and on the arrival of the cars, the passengers for the West breakfasted with Mr. Barnum. In the summer, hundreds of citizens, attracted by the reputation of the hotel, and the natural loveliness of the romantic country, would come from the city in the morning, and after spending the day, would return in the evening.

Mr. Barnum remained at Ellicotts' Mills so long as it was a terminus and a harvest was to be gathered; and when these essentials ceased to exist, he sold out his establishment to Mr. A. McLaughlin, now one of the proprietors of Barnum's City Hotel, Baltimore. [8] Whilst at Ellicotts' Mills, in 1832, he married Miss Mary Lay Chadwick, daughter of Captain Chadwick, of Lime, Connecticut, who was a captain for some time on one

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of the large packets that coursed between New York and Liverpool. The fruit of this marriage was two sons, Freeman and Robert, both of whom are living.

In 1835, Mr. Barnum removed to Philadelphia, and bought the Philadelphia Hotel, located in Arch street, but having long before thought of arranging his business and starting for the West, he sold out in 1838, determining to settle in St. Louis, whose great future, from the force of location, he knew was evident. On his way to St. Louis he was induced to stop at Terre Haut, a thriving town in Indiana, and take charge of a hotel owned by Mr. Chauncey Hose; however, he did not long remain in that place, feeling convinced that though it would become a town of most respectable size and business, it would never support the kind of hotel of which he was desirous of becoming the head; so he removed to St. Louis in March, 1840, and rented the City Hotel, situated on Third and Vine streets. This hotel was a long time the favorite house of the public, and Mr. Barnum, during his proprietorship, enlarged and improved it to a considerable degree. He kept that hotel successfully for thirteen years, and in September, 1852, sold out.

The activity of Mr. Barnum's previous life precluded any thing like inaction, and in a short time, after selling out the City Hotel, he made an effort to raise a stock company, for the purpose of building a magnificent hotel at a cost of $300,000, which would be worthy of the great metropolis of the West; but his spirited efforts were not met with the encouragement they deserved, and the project was abandoned, though Mr. George Collier, Colonel Brant, and Mr. Swearergen, each subscribed the liberal sum of $25,000. Ho afterward took his present hotel, which was built by Mr. George R. Taylor, and admitted Mr. Fogg, who was his clerk, as partner. Mr. Barnum always adopts the safe plan of selecting his chief and responsible officers from the number of his numerous employes whose merits and talents fit them for superior positions; by this means he has well-tried, trustworthy, and efficient officers.

The furnishing of his hotel cost Mr. Barnum the large sum of $80,000. The house is well known throughout the United States, and the well-known reputation of Mr. Barnum is evinced by the crowd of arrivals which daily enjoy his accommodations; and in private life his integrity, his enterprise, his courtesy and generous disposition have made him universally loved and respected.

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Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html
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