E. B. Farnum


1826 – 1878


Who was E. B. Farnum?

Ethan Bennett Farnum was one of the first residents of Deadwood, who was not a miner or prospector; he was the owner of a general store. Farnum was married to Mary Farnum, with three children: Sylvia, age 16, Edward, age 12, and Lyde, age 2 when he arrived in Deadwood. He was the first mayor of the town of Deadwood.

Farnum came to Deadwood from Wisconsin and opened his store in 1876, acquired other Main Street properties, and invested in some of the mining operations such as the Laura Mine and the Prince Oscar Lode; he also partnered with other camp entrepreneurs to have the Deadwood to Centennial Toll Road constructed to ease the flow of supplies to their businesses.

On August 18, 1876, he was elected mayor, winning 672 votes out of 1,139; in this position he was active in convincing the Dakota Territories to officially recognize the town and establish a nearby Army post, as well as instituting a pest house to quarantine those with communicable diseases and a system of street cleaning, all to be funded out of licensing fees for town businesses. In December 1876, Farnum established the town's fire department and sent the town's first telegram, to the mayor of Cheyenne, Wyoming. His position also included duties as head of the school board, and Justice of the Peace and judge; he established the town's first school, in November 1876 presided over the town's first marriage, Fannie Garrettson to Daniel Brown, and presided over numerous trials.

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Nov 10, 1826
  • United States of America

on July 23, 2013


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