Father: William Bonham
Mother: Elizabeth (Betsy) Williams
Spouse: William Russell
m: 29/Aug/1822 - Grayson Co., VA
8: John Wesley
Anna Bonham was born in Wythe County, Virginia, on April 23, 1804. Her parents were William and Elizabeth Williams Bonham. She and William Russell were married in Grayson County on August 29, 1822. This was apparently a double wedding, since it is known that her brother, Joseph T. Bonham, married William's sister, Tabitha L. Russell, on the exactly the same day. Evidently, Anna accompanied her husband and children during their subsequent migrations from Virginia to Kentucky, from Kentucky to Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, then from Missouri to Texas back to Missouri and, finally, to Iowa. Moreover, it is clear from a letter that she wrote to her daughter, Charlotte, in 1860 that she was literate, although not highly educated by any means.1 Even so, this represents a considerable accomplishment since illiteracy was quite common, even normal, for women of her time and background. Anna Bonham Russell died in Henry County, Iowa, on March 31, 1868, and is reported to be buried in East Salem (Presbyterian) Cemetery. Undoubtedly, she was typical of pioneer women of the nineteenth century and, as such, was able to meet the hardships of life with a firm resolve.Source Notes and Citations:
1. Shirley Campbell Ramos and Patricia Campbell Kratz, Descendants of Phillip and Rebecca Russell, pg. 11, Gregath Publishing Company, P. O. B. 505, Wyandotte, OK, 74370, 1997.
Original letter from Anna Bonham Russell to Charlotte Russell Stephens in possession of Elizabeth Webb (great-granddaughter of Charlotte Russell):
"Bourbon Co. Ft. Scott (Kansas)
This 9th (?) day of April 1869
Tis with the greatest of pleasure that I take my pen in han to write to you. I am wel and harty and so is all the rest of the family. It is a long time since I heard from you and Jestin. I want you to write to me and let me now whear she lives and if you have been to see her and how she comes (?) on. I heard from Rebecca and Elizabeth last night. They were well and doing well. Mahalia is married to a man by the name of Frazier. She has a little girl. She calls her Bianca. We have a nice house and a barn almost finished---Lewis lives in Kansas. He has got---children. They has a par of twins---one was a boy and the other a girl. Thar Post ofis is Bourbon co. Ft Scot P O John is married and lives in one room of the house. I want you to write and tell me how many children Jestin has got be shore and tel the Place wher she livs and what the name of the ofis is where she livs. Direct your letter to Henry co. Salem P O Iowa. I want you to write as soon as you get this. Mahalia livs in a mile of us. Stephen lives at home yet.
from your loving and affectionate mother"
This letter cannot have been written in 1869 since both Anna and Charlotte died in 1868. Moreover, it is evident that when Anna wrote the letter she was visiting her son and daughter-in-law, Lewis and Mary Ann Perkins Russell, while they were living in the Kansas Territory. She also mentions Lewis and Mary Ann's first pair of twins, Edward and Eliza, who were born in September of 1859. However, it is clear that Stephen has not yet married. Since he married Lydia Hockett on September 23, 1860, it is clear that the letter was actually written April 9, 1860.
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2. Marriage Register, Bk. 1, Grayson Co., VA, pg. 16, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - City and County Records #18). ("Grayson County Marriages 1793-1836", Jeffrey Weaver (tr), New River Notes, www.newrivernotes.com/index.htm, 2015.)
3. Russell-Perkins Family Record, unpublished MSS.
4. Salem East Cemetery, Henry County, Iowa (www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&CRid=2259704&CScn=Salem&CScntry=4&CSst=14&CScnty=590&, continuously updated).
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