Friday, January 16, 2015

Central New York Peat & Marl Company

       Henry A. Barnum - Medal of Honor Recipient           

In my downtime, I enjoy reviewing my collection of certificates while sitting in my family room deciphering signatures and exploring the Internet for details about who the certificate was issued to and who signed it. It should be noted that the collection of famous signatures is referred to as Philography not Scripophily.

When signatures appear on old stock certificates, it can increase the value and cross interest of the certificate. I find that in my hunt for a great hidden gems, almost famous people including Jay Gould's son, George and Abe Lincoln's son Robert Todd are easily overlooked and available at reasonable prices. My primary mission is focused on the certificate so if I score a decent historical signature in the process than lucky me.

I acquired a cache of certificates last year, many issued to Seldon E. Marvin and his son. What was so interesting is that many of the certificates were signed by other military leaders from the Civil War. I assume that many of the Generals and other officers, who went into business after the war, approached their comrades in arms from their past military time to become partners in new business ventures.  One certificate is The Central New York Peat & Marl Company. These post civil war certificates are some of the only instances where multiple Generals sign the same document.

The Central New York Peat & Marl Company certificate is issued to Seldon E. Marvin (1835 - 1899), Vice President, New York War Staff (Major 1861-5 U. S. Volunteers). Marvin had previously served as the Adjutant of the 112th New York Volunteers and signed by H.A. Barnum as President and Joseph F. Franklin Esq., Secretary printed by Francis & Loutrel, 45 Maiden Lane, N.Y. and dated Valentine’s Day 1866. That’s February 14th, for those guys that still need the Hallmark advertisements to remind them.
The Central New York Peat & Marl Company - 1866

Henry A. Barnum, Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, recipient of the Medal of Honor, was born September 24, 1833 in Onondaga County, New York. He attended public schools in Syracuse, and in 1856 became a tutor at the Syracuse Institute.  He continued his studies in Law and was admitted to the New York bar.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, he worked tirelessly raising troops in Onondaga county; having just passed the bar exam, Henry Alanson Barnum enlisted in the Twelfth New York Regiment as a private. Before the end of his first day, May 13, 1861, he was elected captain of his company. He worked to raise troops which was one of the earliest regiments organized in New York state. On November 1, 1861 he was promoted to Major, served after that a short time as a member of General Wadsworth's staff, and then rejoined his regiment and fought in the Peninsular campaign.

At Malvern Hill he was shot with a musket ball which passed through his left lower abdomen inflicting a wound from which he never fully recovered. At the time the injury was typically fatal, and at the Colonel's own request the American flag was wrapped about his person, his body was abandoned but soon fell into the hands of the enemy.

A body, supposed to be his, was buried, while at his home a funeral oration was delivered. He, in fact was taken to Libby prison, remaining there until July 18, 1862 released in a prisoner exchange. Two years later, an infection set in, under the care of his personal physician, Dr. March, General Barnum survived. Dr. March took a unique approach to prevent the infection from spreading. He passed an oakum cord through the bullet wound to keep it open so the infection could drain. Over the years, General Barnum kept the cord in place himself, while gradually reducing its size to a finer thread. He continued his war service, never allowing the wound to close using the cord to keep it open.

Henry A. Barnum - Pension File 
After a six months' leave of absence, Barnum returned to the war as a Colonel, leading his regiment at Gettysburg, and at Lookout Mountain, where he was wounded again earning a flesh wound in his right forearm. At that same battle, his command took 5 of the eleven flags and was asked to convey all the captured flags to Washington, with permission to display them at the great Sanitary fair at Cincinnati, at Syracuse, and before the Legislature of the State of New York and to deliver them to Washington for deposit in the War department. As a result of that action, he was nominated for the Medal of Honor, which was finally presented to him in July 1889.

He was again wounded in the Atlanta campaign, being again wounded by a fragment of a shell in the right breast, at the battle of Peach Tree Creek, before Atlanta, July 20th, 1864. While in command of a brigade in Sherman's march to the sea, Barnum had the distinction of being the first officer to enter Savannah Georgia. He commanded his brigade in the great review at the close of the war, in Washington. On March 13, 1865, he was brevetted a Major-General of volunteers, and soon promoted to a full Brigadier General on May 31st of that same year.

The following January he resigned, having declined a colonelcy in the regular army, and became inspector of prisons in New York and President of The Central New York Peat & Marl Company. Henry Barnum caught a severe cold at an Old Guard Ball and developed into pneumonia and died on January 29, 1892.

Now it's time to take a longer look at those older or even newer certificates as there might be a great story found buried in an old signature.

1 Prospectus The Central New York Peat & Merl Company - PRINTED BY SUMMERS & BRO., 22 EAST RAILROAD STREET - 1866
3 From Civil War Curiosities, by Webb Garrison; 1994: Henry A. Barnum
4 Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson and John Fiske. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 & edited Stanley L. Klos, 1999

1 comment:

  1. Interesting read and lovely certificate. Thank you !