Barnum, William Solon

William Solon Barnum was born on the 20th of July, 1855 in Danville Canada. He would later marry Bertha Susan Barnum. Barnum lived in New York up until 1884 when he moved his wife and two sons, John and Bill Barnum, to Medford, Oregon. A third son, George Barnum, was born in Medford. Once settled in Medford, Barnum started a small ‘sash and door factory’ and soon had enough money to begin looking for investment opportunities. In 1893 Barnum leased the Rogue River Railway Co. (RRVRR) which ran between Jacksonville and Medford, Oregon and bought it in 1899 for around $12,000.00. Soon after buying the RRVRR Barnum moved his family to Jacksonville. Though the distance one could travel on the RRVRR was limited to roughly five miles, Barnum’s railroad provided essential services in the valley up until the age of the automobile. William Barnum eventually sold the railroad in 1915 for $125,000.00. Barnum also built the Barnum Hotel (today's Grand Hotel) in Medford in 1914. Barnum's operationg of the railroad occasionally conflicted with local authorities, who once in 1905 arrested him for blocking traffic. He was also arrested for assault with a deadly weapon when he threw a double-bitted axe at J.F. Reddy, the mayor of Medford because Barnum was ordered to build a new railway depot. Barnum was found not guilty. REFERENCES Lewis, R. The Jacksonville Cannonball. Table Rock Sentinel, March 1986, pp 16-28 Olean Man Buys a Queer Railroad. Olean Evening Herald (NY), August 5, 1915, p. 3

City: 

Jacksonville

Birthplace: 

Danville, Canada

Place of death: 

Medford, OR

Mother: 

Belinda Barnum

Father: 

James H. Barnum

Spouse: 

Bertha Susan Barnum

Children: 

William Barnum; John Corbin Barnum; George A. Barnum

Nationality: 

Canadian

Occupation: 

Rogue River Valley Railway Company owner and operator, 1899-1915