George G. Barnum

George G. Barnum, one of the old residents of Duluth, was born in Buffalo, New York, October 10, 1843. Enlisted in the Hundredth Regiment, New York Volunteers from Buffalo. Served three years in the Civil War and retired as captain and is a member of the Loyal Legion.

Came to Duluth in 1867 as a member of the first survey party, surveying a railroad from St. Paul to Duluth, afterwards known as the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railway Company, of which he was the paymaster and purchasing agent. Left the employ of the railroad company in 1873, when with Col. J. B. Culver and William R. and George Stone he took a contract with the Duluth Blast Furnace Company to bring up 300,000 tons of iron ore from Marquette. To do this they bought the propeller Manistee and steamer Metropolis. The Manistee ran from Duluth to Buffalo and the Metropolis opened a line from Duluth to Marquette.

These steamers were the first large boats on the lakes owned and operated by Duluth people. The Manistee was afterwards lost between Bayfield and Ontonagon. The steamer Metropolis, after running several seasons, proved to be too small for the trade and was sold.

Mr. Barnum then entered the grain business at Duluth, was one of the incorporators of the Duluth Board of Trade and general manager of the Globe Elevator Company with a capacity of 5,000,000 bushels, for eighteen years. He then organized the Barnum Grain Company, which exists at this time. He has been identified with the Washburn-Crosby Company since 1872 and is now one of the directors.


  • Van Brunt, Walter, ed. Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota Vols. 1 – 3. The American Historical Society. Chicago: 1922.
  • Menu