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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Gray/Rossell/Bonnell connections

Several months ago (or maybe a year ago) both Marjorie and John B raised a question about the Benjamin Gray/Lydia Daniel marriage in 1801 in Mercer Co. KY for which a Wm Bunnell was a bondsman along with Benjamin Gray.  At the time I did not see any connection.  However, pursuing the Gray/Rossell connection with the Bunnells I now do see a connection.  

As I've mentioned in a previous email regarding the Rossells and Grays in NJ, Peter Rossell and both of his brothers were married to three sisters, the daughters of Joseph Gray of Hopewell Township in Hunterdon Co. NJ.  (Hopewell Township adjoined New Windsor Township of Middlesex Co., NJ in those days.)   The three Gray sisters also had a brother, Jonathan Gray, who died in 1754, shortly after his their father's death.  Jonathan was supposed to be co-administrator of his father's estate along with Sarah, his mother. But when both died before settling the estate Thomas Rossell along with Peter Rossell completed the estate administration.

The above Jonathan Gray, brother-in-law of Peter Rossell, had two sons one of whom was a Benjamin Gray.  This Benjamin, a nephew of Peter Rossell, was born in Hunterdon Co. NJ and  moved to Culpeper Co. VA in 1783 and remained there until 1798 when he moved to Mercer Co. KY.  He died there in October, 1801.  He had a son, also named Benjamin, born about 1780 in Culpeper VA.  The latter Benjamin is the one who married Lydia Daniel in July, 1801, in Mercer Co. KY.  At that time his father was apparently seriously ill,  since he died three months later, and was unable to be a bondsman for his son's marriage.  So William Bunnell signed the marriage bond instead.  By 1810 Benjamin and Lydia Gray had moved to Hardin Co. KY.

Charles Cornell is a descendant of the older Benjamin Gray (nephew of Peter Rossell) and has researched the Gray family extensively.  He cites the records of Shawnee Run Baptist Church in Mercer Co. for numerous records involving the Grays.  He also states that the Shawnee Run Baptist Church records show Peter Rossell deceased 19 April 1802.  So the Rossells must have joined their Gray relatives in Mercer Co. sometime before Peter's death.  And, apparently, there were some interactions between the Grays and Bunnells in Mercer Co.

We know that there were considerable interactions between the Peter Rossell and William Bunnell families in VA - but it looks like they even continued into later years in Mercer Co.

Next month I intend to make another research trip in KY and will take a look at the Shawnee Run Baptist Church records while I'm there.


Absolutely fascinating.  I just looked through the 1810 census for Hardin County and see Benjamin and Lydia Gray on page 5 of 24, with William Bunnell, Jr. on page 21 of 24.  It seems like they moved from Mercer to Hardin County about the same time, but did not settle close to each other. 

By the way, the Hardin County Order Books are online at  I had planned to manually work through them after I had finished with the New Jersey State Archives documents.  Earlier, we had postulated that perhaps William Bonnell, Sr. might have moved on to another county rather than passing away in Mercer County between 1805 and 1810.  Hardin County seemed to be a likely location to search for evidence of this. 

John Bunnell

1 comment:

  1. I am a Nehemiah/Peter Rossel desc. and researcher and am so pleased that you have shared information with us. Thank you for good writing and research. Teresa Martin Klaiber