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Friday, April 22, 2016

1819 Letter from R Bunnell on E-Bay

For sale on Ebay starting bid is $45; 5 days left to bid.

New York 1819 Autograph Letter By R. Bunnell to His Sons In The Care Of Family, 

Dear Boys .......

Asking them to act gentlemanly and stick their noses in their books instead of hanging out in the kitchen and be in the way of their hosts.

A 3 pages long letter full of advices and warnings from a father to his children.

Bid on it here: E-Bay Auction

Monday, April 18, 2016

George Farris writes:

I was in Kentucky yesterday and found a little bit more information.  My primary objective was to search through tax lists for all of the counties around Mercer to see if there were any Bunnell records or records for John or William Farris for the years when they were missing from Mercer tax lists.   That search came up empty.  I have to assume that they must have been in Mercer County but avoided the tax collectors for those years.

In a list of "removals", people who left the tax rolls because they moved to a different county, I did find Jonathan Bonnel moving to Green County in 1800 (he obviously returned to Mercer later) and Joseph Lyon moving to Barren County in 1800 (from which he later moved to Green County and then to Hardin County).

I reviewed the records of Shawnee Run Baptist Church in eastern Mercer County and found several references of interest in the early 1800s.  One of those references is to Joseph and Rebecca Lyon leaving that church in 1801.  There are several records involving Anne and John Farris, including them leaving in 1805, and a few for other Bunnells.  The records seem to be very incomplete.  
There was no mention of either William, Sr. or William , Jr, but a record for Polley Bunnel, presumably the wife of William, Jr.

Since members of several of the Bunnell and related families show up in the Shawnee Run records it appears that they lived in that part of the county - about 2 miles south of Shakertown.

The Gray family was very active in Shawnee Run and show up in many records.  This was the family of Benjamin Gray, originally from Hunterdon Co., NJ, and nephew of Peter and Anna (Gray) Rossell.  There is only one Rossell record, Peter's death record in 1802.  One of Peter's sons, John, lived in Fayette County at that time and he apparently moved to KY late in life and must have been living with the Grays at the time he died.

Some records involving members of the William Bonnell family in
 “Shawnee Run Baptist Church minutes 1799 – 1907, Mercer County, Kentucky”, compiled by Arland W. Benningfield and Walter Lee Bradshaw, 1993.

Note: The church is still active and is about 4 miles NE of Harrodsburg and 2 miles south of Shakertown. The minutes are not complete and not always consistent and sometimes confusing. I reviewed them at the Kentucky Historical Society Library in Frankfort on April 13, 2016. Items in square brackets are my additions.  Otherwise the records are as transcribed by the compilers.  GJF

25 November, 1800 – Rebeccah [Bonnell] Lion [Lyon] received by experience and Baptized

10 October 1801 – Joseph Lyon and his wife request a letter of dismission from the Church, the letter granted and gave.

August 1800 – [membership list] Ann [Bonnell] Faris (Dismissed by letter 1805)

13 Jan 1802 – John Faris is expelled from Society for his miss conduct by drinking two much spiritual liquers.

7 May 1802 – John Faris came forward and acknowled his fault and the church forgave him.

1 September 1802 – John Faris is expeld from Society for drinking too much spiritual Liqures.

12 October 1805 -  John Faris came forward joine the Church, they referd him to next meeting.  Sister Ann Farris aplyed for a letter of dismission, the church granted it.

8 March 1806 – the reference from the December meeting respecting John Faris ofring to join Society is dismissed.

11 October 1804 – Rec'd by letter Polley Bunnel

14 December 1805 – Received by letter Polley Bunnel

9 March 1805 – Bro. Jeremiah Bunnel applyd for a letter of dismission, letter granted.

12 June 1802 – Received by experience – Jonathan Bunnal

11 April 1807 – Brethren Rob't Denny, Jonathan Bunnel & Peter Rigg is apointed to wate on Bro. Even Thompson & sister Cresy to try to settel some existing grievences which are between them.

February 1817 – [membership list] Jonathan Bunnel (dismissed)

One other record of interest:

19 April 1802 – Peter Rosel, Deceased

Peter's son John was then living in Fayette County, KY and Peter's nephew, Benjamin Gray and his family were very active members of this church. So Peter reconnected with the Bonnells late in life.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Bonnell/Bunnell lineage from William Bunnell/Ann Wilmot as it applies to the ancestry of William Bonnell of Kentucky

From George Farris:

I've pondered all of the new records that we've accumulated over the past year, mostly through John Bunnell's efforts, plus what has been published in the past regarding the Bonnell/Bunnell lineage from William Bunnell/Ann Wilmot as it applies to the ancestry of William Bonnell of Kentucky.  

The most important new information that was apparently not available or not researched by William Austin and others in the past includes the records from Woodbridge and the records of the Samuel Bonnells of Middlesex County, NJ which together cover the period from 1707 through the mid 1760s.  And these then tie into the migration records that we've assembled for the Bonnells through Virginia to KY over the period 1768 - 1799.  

Based on this I submit the following analysis of the suggested ancestry of William Bonnell.  

I would welcome your comments, questions, insights, and criticism regarding this.


Ancestry of William Bonnell, progenitor of the “Kentucky Bunnells”
Over the past year or so William has been tracked back from Kentucky through five counties in Virginia, and an associated Samuel Bonnell back from Spotsylvania and Loudoun Co. VA to Windsor Township in Middlesex County, NJ and on to Woodbridge, NJ back to at least 1707. 

We know, from John Bunnell's Y-DNA results that this line goes back to the immigrant William Bunnell of New Haven and, therefore, must be a part of the Nathaniel Bonnell/Susanna Whitehead line of Elizabethtown, NJ. 

Since William had a daughter, Anne, married in 1785, he was probably born in the 1740s and apparently the son of Samuel Bonnell, Jr. born in 1707, and, therefore, a grandson of Samuel, Sr. 

Given the timeframe of the records in NJ it seems to be inescapable that the Samuel Bonnell, Sr. of Woodbridge and Windsor/Middlesex County has to have been #280017, the Samuel who originated in Elizabeth Town and the son of Nathaniel. 

There are two potential problems with this suggested lineage:  

  1. it is alleged that Samuel (280017) died in 1715, and 
  2. he had a wife named Abigail while the mother of Samuel, Jr. was named Susannah.
Regarding (1), above, the death of a Samuel Bonnell in 1715 was listed in New Jersey Genesis magazine according to William Austin. The original source of this information is unknown. Some researchers have referred to this death as being in Springfield Township. 

As Marjorie Gibbs has stated, based on communications with William Austin, there was another Samuel Bonnell (290009) listed as a son of Joseph Bonnell and Rebecca Dod – but he was not mentioned in Joseph's will or in other records. Their children were born between the time of their marriage in 1705 and Rebecca's death in 1713. It seems likely that this Samuel died as a young boy and was probably the death reported in 1715. Joseph and his family lived in the Springfield Township area.

Regarding (2), above, it has seemed odd that the records involving Abigail in 1698, 1701, and 1714 do not mention her husband. Normally, if a husband existed he would have been involved and listed rather than the wife – especially in the 1714 action consenting to the apprenticeship of Abigail's son Benjamin.

From Y-DNA analysis of descendants of this Benjamin he was also of the same Bonnell lineage – and therefore probably a son of Samuel. While divorces were rare in those days they did happen – and the above records suggest that Abigail and Samuel separated and that he then married a person named Susannah and lived in Woodbridge and in Windsor Township in Middlesex County, NJ.

So the suggested lineage is:

  • Nathaniel Bonnell/Susanna Whitehead → 
    • Samuel Bonnell, Sr./Susannah -- →
      • Samuel Bonnell, Jr./ – →
        • William Bonnell/ – →
          • The “Kentucky Bunnells”
There are obviously many pieces of this puzzle missing and more research to be done. This hypothesis could be incorrect, but it is based on the foundation of previous research by William Austin and others plus records from the Woodbridge Town Clerk and the numerous and highly enlightening court records that John Bunnell has unearthed from the NJ Archives that were not cited in previous research.

Comments and discussion are very welcome.

These are some of the comments we've received:

John Bunnell
Thanks for this analysis, I think you are exactly on track.  As you stated, there is still much research to be done, but I think the pieces fit together well enough that there is a very high probability that we have finally reconnected the Kentucky Bunnells/Bonnells.  I will use this as the basis for research whenever I can get to New Jersey again.  Given that I just scratched the surface last time I was there, I imagine there is much more to be found.  I think it will take about a week of on-site work to feel that we have exhausted the records.  I think the priority order would be: 1) back to the state archives for a manual search through the post-1764 Middlesex Court records, as well as a fresh look at everything else, 2) Middlesex County records held in Perth Amboy, 3) local records in Windsor (the state librarian indicated that there may be some church records, etc), 4) Somerset County records, as I believe Samuel Bonnell, Jr. may have been there for a number of years surrounding 1732, 5) Woodbridge local records, and finally 6) Essex County records.  Of all of these, I only feel that the Essex County records have been well-searched, but even these may yield new information since we now have a much clearer idea of what we are looking for.  

After your email, I looked at William Austin's write up on the Elizabeth Town Samuel carefully for the first time.  I think it is interesting that Austin also came to the conclusion that Samuel divorced his first wife, even though he did not seem to be aware of the second marriage record or the reappearance of our Samuel Sr. in Woodbridge and Windsor.   

George's reply:

I don't have a copy of Austin's book and wasn't aware that he had also concluded that Samuel and Abigail Bonnell were divorced.  That helps support our conclusions regarding the ancestry of William and the "Kentucky Bunnells."  Austin apparently didn't find the Woodbridge records regarding Samuel - or any of the other records in Middlesex County.

I think it may be possible to research the original Woodbridge Town Clerk records on microfilm from LDS.  From a comment by one of the transcribers, the original records were apparently badly damaged before they were microfilmed - which may help explain differences in transcriptions by different authors. But, knowing the dates we are looking for, we can probably focus on the specific Bunnell records that John Grady found and determine the proper transcriptions. 

I expect it may be a while before you are able to spend more time in NJ, but when you make it there also put on your research list to be on the lookout for any possible connection of the Samuel Bonnells of Middlesex with the Isaac Bonnell of Perth Amboy, born in 1738, the loyalist who was Sheriff of Middlesex for a short time and ultimately ended up in Nova Scotia.  My conjecture is that he may have been a brother of William.

Thank you and the others involved for your assiduous research and analysis. Although I have not been actively involved in this aspect of determining the William Bunnell line of descent, I was some years ago, and know how frustrating, addictive and exhilarating such research can be. I think you’ve made a monumental contribution toward untangling some of the mystery and obscurity of the Bonnell story. I will amend my own family narrative accordingly. I think your hypothesis, George is right on, and until and unless something further comes to light, I accept it as the probable reality. Thank you for including me in your emails.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Samuel Bonnell as Witness to the Will of Benoni Lee in July 1705

From George Farris:

I suppose this reference should be added to the chronology.  It's the only direct reference that I've found to Samuel Bonnell in Elizabeth Town - as a witness to the will of Benoni Lee in July 1705.   This was just a couple of years before the first reference to Samuel Bonnell in Woodbridge in 1707.  

The will includes property in Elizabethtown, in the Rahway meadows derived from his father Thomas Lee, and "on the country road."  John Lee, brother of Benoni, died in Woodbridge in 1720 according to the summary of his will on the same page.  The Rahway meadows area was half way between Elizabeth and Woodbridge.

Increment 19: New Jersey Superior Court Case #6155 (1732): Carman, Richard v. Bunnell, Samuel Junior


This is the last primary source document in the stack, but potentially avery important one.  

First, this ties together, at least tenuously, several geographically separate areas:  1) Sommerset County, 2) Woodbridge in Middlesex County, and 3) Elizabeth Town in Essex County.  This might fizzle out into nothing, but it might also provide the first clues to tie into the known Bonnell families in Elizabeth Town.

Second, this document clearly identifies the defendant as Samuel Bunnell, Junior (name spelled different ways throughout the document).  The fact that Samuel Junior was mature enough to sign this obligatory note in 1730
indicates to me that he was the generation before the Virginia/Kentucky William.  At the same time, I agree with George that even this does not provide enough information to determine if it was Samuel Bonnell Junior or Senior that accompanied William and Jacob Wright to Virginia.

Third, this document reiterates that Samuel Bonnell Junior was a blacksmith and was in the custody of the Sheriff of Sommerset County in September of 1732.

John Bunnell

From George Farris:

Richard Carman, the plaintiff,  as well as Samuel Moore who witnessed the Obligatory Note were residents of Woodbridge.  William Robison who co-signed the note owned property on Robison's Branch of the Rahway River between Elizabethtown and Woodbridge.  Robison was a defendant in numerous debt suits in Essex and Middlesex Counties and ended up deeding his property in Rahway to Philip Kearny in 1734 and 1737.  (Possibly as a result of co-signing this note for Samuel Bonnel, Jr.)  Kearny was the wealthy and prominent attorney in Perth Amboy who sued Samuel Bonnel for debt in 1749.   So all of this points back to Woodbridge where Samuel Bonnel, Jr. was born in 1707. It appears that both of the Samuels may have first gotten into debt in Woodbridge before moving on to Somerset County and Windsor in Middlesex County and never were able to completely pay off their debts.

Transcription of New Jersey Superior Court Case #6155 (1732):  Carman, Richard v. Bunnell, Samuel Junior
New Jersey Sup Court Anno
Septo Georgi Soenndier Regi
Do Terireus Augusti MDCCXXXII

Rich Carman }
V } Narr
Samuel Bunnell } copy of the bond

filed 9th September 1732

Enfor Judgmt for want
of a plea

Middlesex fs Richard Carman complains against Sam’el Bunnell otherwise called Samuel Bunnell Jun’r of the County of Sommerset in ye province of East New Jersey Blacksmith in Custody of Dan Don Dunstarr Esq’r High Sheriff of the County of Sommerset – of a plea that he render unto him thirty pounds Cur’t money of New Jersey at eight Shillings p ounce – which to him he Doth unjustly detaineth for y’d teheen the Said Samuel the eighth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand Seven hundred Thirty at Perth Amboy in the Said County of Middlesex by his certain writing Obligatory which he the Said Richard with the Seal of him the Said Samuel Sealed brings here unto Court whose date is the same day and year Acknowledged himself to be held and firmly bound unto the Said Richard in the aforesaid Thirty pounds as thereunto required nevertheless the said Samuel altho often required the s’d thirty pounds to him the said Richard to be paid unto the Said Richard when he should hath not paid but the same to him as yet to pay hath altogether refused & still doth refuse to the Damage of him the said Richard Ten pounds like money and thereof he brings this suit et’a
Price Pdun } zolegy Joh’n Dod &
Def’d in Custodia } Richard Red
Middlesex  The above Named Richard Carman puts in his place Benj’a Price his Attorney ag’t him the Said Samuel Bonnel in the above plea of Debt

Know all men by these presents that too Samuel Bunnel Junior of the County of Sommerset in the province of East New Jersey Blacksmith and William Robison of Elizabeth Town in the County of Essex in the province of East New Jersey Gent’m ~ are held and firmly Bound unto Richard Carman of the town of Woodbridge of the County of Middlesex & of the province aforesaid yeoman in the full sum of thirty pounds current money of the province att Eight Shillings p ounce ~ to be paid unto the said Richard Carman or to his Certain Attorney Ex’r Adm’r or Assigns For this which payment well & truly to be made & done we do hereby bind ourselves our Heirs Ex’r Adm’r & Every of them Joyntly and Severally firmly by these Psents Sealed with our seals dated the Eighth ~ day of June in the third ~ year of his Maj’tey Reign Anno gue Dommini 1730

The Condition of this Obligation is such that if y’e above Bounden Samuel Bunnil and William Roberson their Heirs Ex’r Adm’r do & shall well & truly pay or Cause to be paid unto the above named Richard Carnan or to his ~ Certain Attorney Hiers Ex’r Adm’r or Assigns the full & just sum of fifteen pounds ~ Curr’t money aforesaid on or before the Eighth Day of June next Ensuing from the date hereof ~ And that without fraud Cover or further delay then this Psent Obligation to be Void & of none Effect or Else to Stand be & remain in full force & Virtue
Samuel Bunnill
Sealed & Delivered
in the Psence of W’m Robison
Samuel Moore 

William Heder

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Version 4 of the Chronology

John Bunnell provided version 4 of the chronology with information through Increment 18. He  also removed the Burlington, Gloucester, and Philadelphia references, now that we understand the other family to which they properly belong.

Increment 18: New Jersey Superior Court Case #21387 (1749): The King v. South Bainbridge


Here is an interesting court document.  It appears that this case is from August 1749. One of the Middlesex County Samuel Bunnells provided evidence for the King in an inquisition into the poor state of Bainbridge's Bridge and the servicing causeway. This appears to have resulted in a writ for the Sheriff to take into custody Richard Fitz Randolph, William Stone, Ezekiel Fitz Randolph, and James Wilson. Interestingly enough, Ezekiel Fitz Randolph was one of Samuel Bonnell's fellow jurors in the 1764 inquisition versus Josiah Wynans.  

As with most of these, there are some disconnects that I cannot completely resolve. The inquest document clearly states that it was written the second Tuesday in August (12 August) 1749. The writ was written three days later (15 August, 23d year in the reign of King George the Second = 1749). The third document was written on the sixteenth of August and is also signed by Charles Read. However, it sure looks like it declares the year as the third year of the reign of King George the Third. If true, this would mean that this document would have been written in 1763. I think it most likely that all three were written in August 1749, but I cannot explain the third document. 

The fourth document appears to have been erroneously connected with this case. I can find no reference to the individuals listed in this final document with any of the individuals listed on the previous ones, and it appears this court case was from the post-revolutionary period (1790-1792).

I cannot, on a modern mop, make out where Bainbridge Bridge is or was along the South River. I imagine we can figure it out, however, and this location may help improve our understanding of where the Bonnells were in 1749.

John Bunnell 

George Farris reports:

The key to the location is that it was the Bridge over the South River on the King's Highway.  The Kings Highway connected all of the colonial capitals - running from Boston to Charleston.  There were three separate branches in New Jersey - but the only one that crossed South River was the one that ran from Amboy to Burlington and crossed the river at what is now the community of Old Bridge, NJ.

You can probably see Old Bridge and part of what was Kings Highway (the railroad followed the same route before 1850) better on the 1850 map of Middlesex at

Even at that time it was called Old Bridge.

Transcription of New Jersey Superior Court Case #21387 (1749): The King v. South Bainbridge 
Aug’t 1749
The King }  
v }
South Bainbridge }

Bella bera 
Edw’d Crowell  foner cui

Evidence for the King 

Deitrich Vemul
Thomas Aplegate
Samuel Bunnell

New Jersey }
Middx } fs.  At a Supreme Court of Indicature held at the City of Perth Amboy in the County of Middlesex in and for the Province of New Jersey the Second Tuesday in August in the Year or our Lord one Thousand Seven hundred and Forty Nine.

The Grand Inquest for our Sovereign Lord the King for the Body of the County of Middlesex being duly charged sworn and affirmed on the respective oath and affirmation of at least Twelve Honest and Lawfull men of the Said County DO Present that the Public and Comon Bridge situate in the King’s High Way upon and over a certain River call’d South River within the County of Middlesex aforesaid usualy called Bainbridge’s Bridges together with the Causeway thereunto adjoining and belonging for Sometime past has been and now is in a very ruinous Condition and in Great Decay for Want of repairing the Same So that the Loyal Subjects of our now Lord the King, upon over and across the Said Bridge and Causeway by themselves of with their Horses Cattle and Carriages Cannot and dare not Travel Pass and Repass without Great Danger and Hazard To the Comon Nusance of all the Said Loyal Subjects of our Said Lord the King who by reason of their lawfull Business have occassion to travell and pass over the Same And further the said Grand Inquest Do Present That the Inhabitants of the Said County of Middlesex of Right ought to Amend and Repair the Said Bridge and Causeway. 
J Hassell Att Gen’l 

New Jersey fs. George the Second by the Grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland King Defender of the Faith &c  To our Sheriff of Our County of Middlesex Greeting we Command you that you Distrein Richard Fitz Randolph, William Stone, Eseek Fitz Randolph and James Wilson ##### By all their Several Lands and Tenements Goods and Chattels in your Bailywick so that neither they nor any of them nor any one for them or any of them Meddle with or lay their Hands upon the same until another precept from us there of you shall have, And that of the Issues of the same to us you Answer, So that you have their Bodys Before us at our next Supreme Court of Judicature to be held for our Province of New Jersey at our City of Burlington on the first Tuesday November next To Answer unto us of a Certain Delinquency for not Repairing a Certain Bridge in your County Scituate, and Built Across South River commonly Called Bainbridge’s Bridge with the Causeway thereunto adjoining and for which the Inhabitants aforesaid County of Middlesex Stand united before us, And have you then and there this writ  Witness Robert Hunter Morris Esq’r our Chief Justice at our City of Perth Amboy the fifteenth day of August in the Twenty Third year of our Reign
J Warrell Att Gen’l Read

New Jersey }
Supreme Court } Charles Read Esq’r moof the Justice of the Supreme Court of our Lord the King, for the province of New Jersey by virtue of the Statute in puk Case made & provided upon his own Proper knowledge presents  That there was and yet is a Certain C______ and _____ King’s highway Leading from Jersey on the South side of Raritan in the Southward of Perth Amboy to South River Bridge in the land af’d Was for all the days people of our Lord the King & his Predecessors with their horses Coaches Carts & Carriages to go return pass ride & Imbis at there to ie, and that the s’d Common and Public King’s highway on the eleventh day of this Instant August in the third year of the reign of our new Sovereign Lord King George the Third, at the Southward in the City af’d was and yet is so Close and overgrown with heer & Brush, for want of Due Cleaning the same that the Loige Subjects of our Lord the King this the same Day with their Coaches horses Carts & Carriages Could not During the time af’d BryoHangs Return pass ride & Labor without Danger to themselves & the Loss of their goods to the Common Nuisance & Great Danger of all the Subjects of our Lord the King & Against the peace of our Lord the King his Crown & Dignity &c And that the Inhabitants of the Southward of the City of Perth Amboy af’d the Highway af’d Ought to repair & amend when & so after as it shall be necessary  In Testimony whereof Thos Charles Read Esq’r to there presents hath set his hand and seal this sixteenth day of August in the year af’d
Charles Read

Sup Court 
David Kinpland } Copy of
v } Reasons 
Henry Speir } in Lnor
On bord

Abr Ogden Atty
Filed April Term


New Jersey Supreme Court
April Term 1790

And the said David Kerplam by Abraham Ogden his attorney comes into the said Supreme Court and says that the judgement af’d of the said Henry Speir Esq’r out to be unsaid and set aside for the following reasons, towit, for that it does not appear by the Reason and Providings afo’d returned by the said Speir that the said Joshua Sealy had any cause of action against the said David Kerplam, And also for this that it does not appear by the Ruro, Returns, and Providings of the said Henry Speir that the said Joshua Sealy did not from the parts on which it appears by the Rurno, Returns, and Providings af’d his action af’d was founded – And also for this that the summons af’d of the said Henry Speir Esq’r by which the said Henry Kaplam was summoned to appear before him in the action af’d was not sealed with the seal of the said Henry Speir – There is also manifest error in this that the said Henry Speir gave judgement for the said Joshua Sealy the Plaintiff when by the Law of the Land the Judgement ought to have been given for the said David Kerplam the Defendant – And the said David Kerplam Prays that for these and other errors in the Ruors, Return and Providings of the said henry Speir the judgement af’d may be reversed annult and held untruly Void and that he may be restored to all things which he has lost by the said judgement 
Abr Ogden Atty fs Shff  

In Lnor