Skip to main content
Report this ad

See also:

March 2014 History Walk in the Cemetery coming to Phoenix

Updated stone for Joseph T Barnum
Updated stone for Joseph T Barnum
Photo by Debe Branning

A Historic Walk in the old Cemetery (Pioneer & Military Memorial Park) in Phoenix, Arizona will be underway on Saturday morning, March 22, 2014. The March event is sponsored by the Pioneers’ Cemetery Association to raise money for the Tombstone Restoration Fund to repair and maintain the aging tombstones.

This historic walk will feature the tales of some of Phoenix’s early sheriffs and lawmen as told by eight re-enactment players in period costumes. The stories will be told by ‘the lawmen or their wives.’

One of the men feature is Thomas Joseph Barnum (AKA Joseph T Barnum) . Barnum was the first elected sheriff of Maricopa County (his predecessor, William Hancock, was appointed to the post). He was born in Potsdam, New York in 1833. He married Jeanetta Osborn in 1865 in Prescott, Arizona and had a total of 12 children.

When Barnum moved his family to the Salt River Valley in 1868, his wife was one of only four Anglo women in the entire rough settlement. Barnum was quick to see the Valley's potential for growth and went into partnership with J. W. Swilling in digging irrigation ditches. He helped build the north extension of the Swilling Canal.

In 1871 a candidate campaigning for sheriff shot and killed the other candidate in a gunfight and Thomas Barnum became the front runner for the office.

He was elected and served from May 1871 until November 1871—just a short term. He resigned in order to devote his full attention to his ranch. The census records show Barnum’s vocations as a farmer, miner, and even a saloon keeper!

Thomas Barnum died in January 1909 at 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon at the home of his son in law in Phoenix. His death came as a result of asthma and heart trouble. He was survived by 7 of his children, Hattie, Lulu, Edward, Joseph, Herbert, Lester, and Lucius. He was 77 years old.

Thomas had one other claim to fame…He is said to have often bragged about being a cousin of P.T. Barnum, the famous circus showman.

Thomas used to love this old PT Barnum quote I will share with you today…”Every ‘crowd’ has a silver lining.” The PCA is hoping YOU will be a part of the crowd who comes to visit and take the cemetery tour on MARCH 22nd!

Registration begins at 10:30am. The tour starts promptly at 11:00am. Please be on time! Adult tickets are $10.00. Students under 12 are $5.00. Children under 5 are free! This is an event the entire family can enjoy together! There will be root beer floats available after the tour for an additional $2.00.

For more information go to

Pioneer & Military Memorial Park (cemeteries)
14th Avenue and Jefferson Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Arizona Haunted Sites examiner: Debe Branning

Report this ad