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Friday, August 5, 2016

Bunnells in the Christopher Hoogeland of Windsor, New Jersey, Estate Records, 1763

Here's the latest from John Bunnell on his research in the New Jersey State Archives–

I was able to spend several more hours in the New Jersey State Archives last month.  Overall, I found a number of other documents related to the Samuel Sr./Samuel Jr./William Bonnell family.
Unfortunately, those document do not, at first review, shed any more light on untangling Samuel Sr. from Samuel Jr., which was my primary purpose. However, there are some important pieces of information. 

Most significantly, I was able to find the young William Bunnell in records relating to the same location on which we've been focused, Windsor, Middlesex County, New Jersey.  The document is the accounts of the estate of Christopher Hoogeland from 20 September 1763.  This is a very large document, so I've just copied the relevant pages.  These include the title pages for the two main sections, followed by the page listing William Bunnell as a creditor to the estate (near the top of the page).  This is followed by the page on which Samuel Bunnell and Jacob Wright are listed as debtors to the estate (middle of the page).  If there were any lingering doubts as to whether these New Jersey Bunnell/Bonnells were the same as appeared in Virginia several years later, they must certainly be dispelled by finding all three on the same document together in Windsor.

I admit that the quality of these copies is poor.  This is mainly a function of the microfilm reader I was working on.  I have much cleaner copies from another machine, but these are printed on 11x14 paper, so I can't fit them in my scanner.  I think there is little need, however, as I have also attached a transcription of the complete document from the New Jersey Genealogical Magazine that captures  their names as well as providing the context.

I think we will discover the relationship between Christopher Hoogeland and the Bonnell/Bunnells was geographic, at a minimum.  In a document I'll forward later, Christopher Hoogeland is a signatory to a request for a liquor license where they state that the public house run by Samuel Bonnell is, in effect, their local pub.
Finding William Bunnell on this document also provides some clue as to his age.  We've seen guesses between 1740 and 1750.  I think this document shows us that the 1750 date must be too late.  I think his latest date of birth is probably 1745, which would have made him of age (18) at the time of this document.  1740 is likely the early limit, as this is the first appearance we see of him in the record, which contains voluminous mention of Samuel Sr., Samuel, Jr., and Isaac.    
The article John refers to is "Accounts of the Estate of Cristopher Hoogeland of Windsor, 1763," by Thomas B. Wilson, published in The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey 82-59-69 May 2007, pages 59-69. I can't post the copy that John included in his e-mail because of copyright laws and regulations. I can quote from it, however.

"Administration on the estate of Christopher Hoogeland of Windwor, Middlesex County, was granted 14 September 1763 to his brother Jacob Hoogeland and Peter Schenk, both of Somerset County. …The original estate file can be found in the New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, N.J., in the series Department of State, Secretary of State's Office, Wills and Inventories, ca. 1670-1900, #3935-68L. The packet includes three inventories drawn up by the administrators, all dated 20 September 1763."

page 67:"…William Bunnell, credit  Balance £8.6.10 outstanding 7 mo." (found on page 3959 in the original file, see below, copy courtesy of John Bunnell).

page 69: "…Samuel Bunnell amounnt £10.0.11  paid £9.94  balance £0.11.7  outstanding 3 mo." (shown on page 3962 of the court file)

George Farris added:

As a location reference, this Christopher Hoagland (who was fairly young - 1732-1763) bought the mill property in November 1758.  It included a grist mill, bolting mills (used to separate flour from the larger particles), a dwelling house and "other improvements."  It was located on the SE side of the Perth Amboy - Burlington Road where it crossed Rocky Brook.  This is now the center of Hightstown, NJ - Main Street of Hightstown is on part of the old Kings Highway. Peddie Lake in Hightstown was the original mill pond.  The old mill site itself is now a city park.   

The Hoagland families owned considerable property along the Brunswick - Princeton Road and this Christopher (there were several Christopher Hoaglands) was born in 1732 near Harlingen in Somerset County.   This particular mill must have served a very wide area when Christopher Hoagland owned it since his customers seem to span an area from Penns Neck at the western end of Windsor Township all the way to Freehold in Monmouth County and south to Bordentown as well as north to Cranberry.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Virginia Revolutionary War record for a William Bonnell

John Bunnell gave an update to his research:
I''ve been heavily occupied at work recently, so I've not been able to think much about Bunnell/Bonnel geneology.  However, questions regarding the Virginia Revolutionary War record for a William Bonnell are still churning through my mind.  As a reminder, it was a salary payment made on 28 April 1785 for naval service that I sent earlier (Virginia Auditors Accounts, volume XXXI, page 31).  I've examined the document again and determined that all the payments on that page were for service in the Virginia State Navy (as opposed to the US Navy) in the Revolutionary War.  In the attached spreadsheet, I've cross referenced the names versus the extremely incomplete set of muster rolls I've found online.  I was actually surprised at the number of individuals I was able to match against their ships of service.  Unfortunately, this did not include William Bonnell.  Also, I was not able to identify any trends that would tie William to any other person on the page.  As you can see from the spreadsheet, officers and crew from all of the Virginia ships are mixed together. 
I have discovered that a "Master" in the navies of the day was not the captain, but instead a relatively low-ranking warrant officer who was responsible for navigation and the fitting of the ship.  This level of responsibility is confirmed on the William Bonnell pay sheet, as his line has no "No XXX" annotation associated with the payment, unlike the commissioned officers (Lieutenants, Captains, and the Commodore).  
I know that we have no other indication that William Bonnell had any connection with the sea.  I find it intriguing, however, that at least two ships of the Virginia line, the Dragon and the Pocahontas, were built and outfitted on the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg.  This area is the northern border of Spotsylvania County, where the Bonnell, Wright, and Rossell families were living at the time.  The crews for these two ships were recruited from that area from 1777 until 1778.
Some other points to ponder: 
  • This Bonnell family appears to have been tradesmen rather than farmers.  We know that Samuel, Sr. and Samuel, Jr. were both blacksmiths.  We've not found that William Bonnell owned land at any place he lived, so I think it is reasonable to assume he was also involved in a trade.  Tradesmen would seem to be sought after in the initial outfitting of a ship.  
  • It is seems clear that although the William Bonnell in this record served honorably enough to receive pay in 1785, this service did not result in a land grant.  Land grants were only awarded if the service member completed three years of service, so this individual must have served less than this period.
  • We've not found that anyone has claimed connection to this naval William Bonnell with the DAR or SAR.  Unlike most of these records, where there is a stamped of people trying to prove their Revolutionary War connection, the familial connection to this record seems lost.
  • We still don't know why Jacob Wright died, but that event occurred while these ships were outfitting and recruiting at Fredericksburg.  Was there any connection?
  • There were other Bonnells and Burnells involved in shipping further north during this period.  Is there any connection? (see attached photos).
 In summary, we still don't have enough information to say what this record means, but I think the coincidences are strong enough to justify a deep research dive to determine if this naval Bonnell is the same as our ancestor.  I'll include a couple of websites I found useful so far...

George Farris responded:

Thanks for this information and analysis.  I had also been searching through the RW records available on this week for any Bonnell records that might apply to the William Bonnell of Spotsylvania VA.  There were none that I could find there.  The Brumbaugh compilation from 1936 that you reference is probably as complete a  list as exists anywhere for the VA naval vessels and their crews.  But, again, no William Bonnell is listed so these rolls must not be complete since the one VA pay record that you found does show William Bonnell as a VA ship's master.  Given the timeframe and location refernces that you cite involving the VA naval vessels it seems likely that this was our William Bonnell.  But there may not be any way to verify that from existing records.  I've encountered a similar situation regarding John Farris's RW service.  There seem to be no muster or pay rolls or other direct evidence of his service other than his own account in his pension application that is consistent with historical records.

When you make it back to do more research in the VA Archives some time in the future perhaps you can find more about this William Bonnell.  I think we have already identified enough other areas requiring more research there to occupy many days.  Perhaps your military career will take you back to that area and allow some research time in the future.