Ensign Nathan Bunnell Barnum Sr. was born 1739 in New Fairfield, Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States to Nathan Barnum (1701-1778) and Hanna Bunnell (1702-1786) and died 13 January 1795 in Long Point Bay, Charlotteville, Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada of unspecified causes. He married Lois Wheeler (1740-1780) 11 March 1762 in New Fairfield, Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States.

It looks most likely that Ensign Barnum either held a post in the British Navy or was otherwise closely affiliated with the Tory allegiance during the American Revolutionary War. Most likely near the end of the war his family was forced to move to Ontario in Upper Canada.

French & Indian Wars

Fighting the French and their Indian Allies

The French and Indian War, fought between 1754 and 1763, made North America British rather than French. It was not a war against Indians, but rather a fight between Britain and France for control of North America. Most Indians supported the French in the war. The French and Indian War was part of the Seven Years' War. The Seven Years 'War was waged both in Europe and outside it. In Europe, France, Russia, Austria, and Spain fought against Britain, Prussia, and Hanover. The reason these countries fought was because both Austria and Prussia wanted to govern Germany. But Britain and France joined because they each wanted to become the world's most powerful nation. In North America, the British and French clashed head-on.

To the settlers in America, however, the rivalry of the two powers was of immediate concern, for the fighting meant not only raids by the French or the British but also the horrors of tribal border warfare.

Nathan Burnam joined Capt. John Hitchcock’s Company, part of Col. Ebenezer Mash’s Connecticut regiment and saw service during the time of alarm for relief of Fort William Henry and the surrounding lands in August 1757. They were too late and the poorly garrisoned force of British regulars and provincial militia surrendered. The French allowed the British to withdraw and promised to protect them from the Indians while they withdrew. In one of the most notorious incidents of the French and Indian War, The French’s Indian allies violated the agreed terms of surrender and attacked the British column, which had been deprived of ammunition, as it left the fort. They killed and scalped a significant number of soldiers, took as captives women, children, servants, and slaves, and slaughtered sick and wounded prisoners.

Burnam was back in uniform from 1760 to 1762 with the Second Connecticut Regiment attaining the rank of sergeant before his discharge.

American Revultionary War

A farmer of Fairfield County, Connecticut, Barnum raised 200 men for the British at different times during the Revolutionary War. In November 1777 he was appointed an Ensign in Colonel Ludlow's Battalion of DeLancey's Volunteers. (Nathan was a reduced Subaltern Officer in Gen. DeLancy's Corps: ) (Wright, Esther Clark, "The Loyalists of New Brunswick", see Nathan Barnum.)

Flight to England

Joined the British Standard and became an Officer, and served for seven years. When the war was over in 1783, he fled to Nova Scotia and worked two years, it being hard times he could not realize much for his labor; he saved his trunk and his regimental clothes and that was all he had, and he had obtained so little money for his labor, he was compelled to take a deck passage to England, and go in his working clothes. Before he had been on board for three days, the Captain noticed him and gave him an invitation to come in the cabin, and then he had a comfortable situation with the Captain all the way to England.

In England He then changed his raiment; he put his regimental clothes on and went to the war office and found his name recorded there, and the Government acknowledged him and gave him his full pay up to that time, and established his half-pay for life. He remained in the City of London for seven years, and when he left, the Freemasons gave him a certificate printed on parchment, and it reads as follows:

"To all whom it may Concern, these are to certify that our excellent brother, Nathan Barnum, who hath in the margin signed his name, is a regular Royal Arch Mason, registered in our Grand Chapter of Holy Royal Arch in London, on the 4th day of April ,in the year of Masonry, 5792. In Testimony Whereof, we have subscribed our names and affixed the seal of our Grand Chapter this 9th day of May in the year of our Lord 1792, and of masonry, 1792." It is signed by five scribes.

When peace was established in 1783, ending the Revolutionary War, many thousands of Loyalists, who were referred to as Tories by their fellow Americans, left the newly created United States of America. They started their lives afresh under the British flag in Nova Scotia and in the unsettled lands above the Saint Lawrence rapids and North of Lake Ontario. A very interesting account of Nathan B. Barnum's long search for proper compensation for his Revolutionary War service is given in 'The Long Point Settlers Journal,' volume 4, number 3, July 1997.

  • From The Eighteenth Report of the Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario 1929 by Alexander Fraser, L. L. D.:

Settlement in Canada

p 150 - 13 July 1793 Nathan Barnum, a reduced Subaltern Officer in Gen. DeLancy's Corps: Petitioner prays for two lots at Toronto, No. 16, in the first concession for himself and No. 17, do. for one of his sons, and the remainder of the land that he may be entitled to, in some part of the Province that remains unlocated. Ordered that he shall have a grant of land that he is entitled to, but that part of his petition for lands at Toronto must stand over with the rest of the petitions. p 65/66 - 3 June 1794 Nathan Barnum: Prays for lands near Turkey Point and Patterson Creek. Ordered that 200 acres only can be granted the petitioner at present, it not being expedient to make settlements in that district at this time.

Charlotteville is located on the North Shore of Lake Erie, about 20 miles west of Niagara Falls & Buffalo, New York.


Offspring of Ensign Nathan Bunnell Barnum Sr. and Lois Wheeler (1740-1780)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Nathan Bunnell Barnum (1763-1829) 23 June 1763 New Fairfield, Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States 1829 Charlotteville, Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada Mary Wilson (1772-1832)

Wheeler Barnum (1766-1813)
Eliphalet Douglas Barnum (1768-1794)
Samantha Barnum (1770-)
Lois Barnum (1772-1830)



See Also

Footnotes (including sources)



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