Hezekiah Bonham, Jr.
  b: 1701/1702 - Piscataway Twp., Middlesex Co., East Jersey Prov.
  d: ~1753 - Hopewell Twp., Hunterdon Co., NJ

Father: Hezekiah Bonham, Sr.
Mother: Mary Bishop

Spouse: Martha Runyon
  m: ~1722 - Hopewell Twp., Hunterdon Co., NJ

Child-1: Hezekiah (Kiar)
          2: Jacob
          3: Mary - b: ~1728 - Hunterdon Co., NJ
                         m: ***** Smith
          4: Elijah - b: ~1730 - Hunterdon Co., NJ
                         m: Sarah Runyon
          5: Joseph

Biographical Details:

It seems reasonably certain that Hezekiah Bonham, Jr., was the oldest son of Hezekiah Bonham, Sr., and his second wife and, furthermore, that he was born about 1701 in Piscataway Township in Middlesex County in the East Jersey Province, which was joined with the West Jersey Province in 1702 to form the Royal Province of New Jersey.  The identity of his mother was proposed by Monnette as Ann Hunt; however, more recent research suggests that she was, in fact, very likely Mary Bishop, daughter of David and Mary Alger Bishop.  Moreover, it is known that the Bonham family subsequently moved to Burlington County, New Jersey, probably about 1702 or 1703.  It appears that Hezekiah Bonham, Jr., and Martha Runyon were married about 1722 in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, which had been formed from Burlington County on March 11, 1713 (1714  N. S.).  In support of this, it is known that Hezekiah, Jr., bought a farm adjoining that of his father-in-law, Thomas Runyon, in 1722.1  This is further supported by a tax list of that same year, which confirms that he owned five horses and/or cattle and one hundred and fifty acres in Hopewell Township.  It is believed that this property was located on or near Titus Mill Road, which at present runs eastward for approximately two miles between modern New Jersey state highway thirty-one and Pennington-Rocky Hill Road about a mile to two miles north of the town of Pennington.  (Today this location is in Mercer County, but in the eighteenth century it would have been in Hunterdon County.)  It is likely that Hezekiah, Jr., and his wife were Seventh Day Baptists, although this has not been definitively proven.  Moreover, it would seem that they remained resident in this locality during the remainder of the 1720's and into the 1730's since it has been recorded that on January 23, 1733 (1734 N. S.) Hezekiah Bonham, Jr., and Godfree Peters were witnesses to the will of Charles Stephens in Amwell Township.2  (At this time, Hopewell Township lay adjacent to Amwell Township along its southern boundary and both were included within the territory of Hunterdon County.)

Within this context, there is good evidence that Hezekiah, along with his brother, Nehemiah, as well as many of their neighbors, relatives, and friends became entangled in the infamous "Coxe Affair", which was an acrimonious dispute arising out of conflicting and, perhaps, fraudulent, land titles.3  The issue had its source in the earliest organization of the colony.  With the obvious exception of Native Americans, the Delaware Valley was originally occupied by non-English, e.g., Dutch and Swedish, settlers and, consequently, in 1655 first came under jurisdiction of the Dutch colony of New Netherlands (later New York).  The English seized control in 1664 and the entire area lying between the Delaware and Connecticut Rivers was granted by King Charles II to his brother, James, the Duke of York.  The Duke then presented a large portion of the land lying west of the Hudson River to two noblemen, Sir John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret.  Twelve years later, as a consequence of these dual grants on July 1, 1676, the territory of the present state of New Jersey was formally divided into the Provinces of East Jersey and West Jersey.  The western part was organized under a joint stock company having one hundred shares or "proprieties" and the name "West Jersey Society of England".  These were sold to investors as whole or fractional parts, which were ultimately to be disposed of as lots to settlers.  In 1685, Dr. Daniel Coxe, a physician to the Royal Household, became involved as a speculator and on December 4, 1689, bought twenty-eight thousand acres "lying above ye ffals of ye Delaware", i.e., territory including Hopewell Township.  Many of the original West Jersey investors had been Quakers, but by 1691 they had been disenfranchised by Anglican investors.  Concomitantly, Dr. Coxe held about a fifth of the shares and, naturally, was "Cheife Proprietor".  Even so, it seems that in the early 1690's Coxe was in need of ready cash and agreed to sell some of his holdings back to the West Jersey Society.  Ordinarily, this should have caused no difficulty, but the Society failed to execute a deed to obtain a clear title to the "Hopewell tract".  In addition, it seems that from his position close to the royal family, by 1701 Coxe had become aware that East and West Jersey were about to be united and reorganized as a royal colony.  Unfortunately, for the settlers of Hopewell Township, Coxe proved to be unscrupulous and recognized this as an opportunity to realize a large profit for himself and his family.  Accordingly, he promptly conveyed his interest to his son, Colonel Daniel Coxe, who was dispatched to North America along with the Royal Governor, the Queen's first cousin, and the elder Coxe's good friend, Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury.  Together these two formed the "Cornbury Ring", which was notorious for shady dealing and abuse of government authority for personal profit.  Inevitably, the Ring and the Society came into collision.  Even so, it took many years for the conflict to be resolved.  Indeed, in 1708 Cornbury who was incompetent, insane, or both (as well as infamous for dressing himself as a woman), was recalled to England because of the turmoil caused by his obvious corruption.  As a result, the Coxes lost influence, the younger Coxe returned to England, and the Society remained in control of land sales.  Nonetheless, although Dr. Coxe died in 1715, by 1719 his son was able to return to New Jersey as an influential and wealthy colonist who was able to build a mansion for himself in the new town of Trenton.  Moreover, during the 1720's a rapid influx of settlers made speculation in land especially lucrative, which motivated Coxe to try to reassert his ownership of large tracts including some lying in Hopewell Township.  Indeed, both Coxe and the West Jersey Society were selling land in the township at the same time.  The long gathering storm broke in 1731 when "Col. Coxe and other heirs of the late Dr. Coxe" insisted that most of Hopewell Township, in fact, belonged to them.  Obviously, this claim was without real merit, but the failure of the Society to obtain a court record to prove the original conveyance more than thirty years before allowed Coxe and his allies to obtain writs, i.e., court orders, against, perhaps, one hundred or more Hopewell residents either to "Pay" a second time for their land or to "Quit".  As can be imagined the community was infuriated by this injustice and on April 22, 1731, a solemn "Fifty Men's Compact" was formed to resist Coxe and his allies.  They then secured the services of an attorney, Mr. Kinsey, and sued Colonel Coxe as sole defendant.  It is known that Nehemiah Bonham was one of the fifty plaintiffs.  In addition, some researchers believe that Hezekiah Bonham, Jr., also joined with his brother and others in the suit.  Even so, the lawsuit did not stop Coxe and during August of 1732 the New Jersey Supreme Court issued "Writs of Trespass & Ejectment" against settlers who had not repurchased their land.  Unfortunately, at a court held at Burlington before Judge Hooper, a jury of twelve Quakers subsequently found against the Society and the Compact.  The verdict was then appealed to the leading judicial officer of the colony, Chancellor William Cosby, but in December of 1734, perhaps, because Coxe was so influential, he upheld the decision against the Society and Compact.  No further appeal was possible because Colonel Coxe himself was Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, a position that he held until his death five years later.  At this point, some families immediately moved away while others remained in Hopewell Township and assumed the financial burden, at least for awhile.  (Still others were driven to acts of revenge and violence.)  Accordingly, contemporaneous court records indicate that eleven individuals, including Hezekiah Bonham, "escaped for debt" to avoid imprisonment and seizure of personal property.  However, exact details are not clear and in his excellent work, Mr. Howard E. Bonham associates this "escape" with the outcome of  a lawsuit of Jonathan Stout and Andrew Smith against Hezekiah Bonham which was settled with a confessed judgement and a debt penalty.  Even so, it seems probable that these particular circumstances were not unrelated to the overall distress and turmoil associated with the actions of Coxe and his allies.

Naturally, destinations for the refugees from Hopewell Township were varied, but were generally south and westward toward the wilderness frontier and unoccupied lands.  Within this context, according to the research of Ms. Ethel Stroupe, a particular destination appears to have been the area along Back Creek in northern Virginia, which was included within the confines of Frederick County when it was formed in 1738.  Moreover, it seems that a few years later some of these families had migrated further south into North Carolina.  In addition, there is also evidence of direct migration to North Carolina from New Jersey.  Indeed, in the second half of the eighteenth century, the Jersey settlement in Rowan County, North Carolina, included many residents having the same names, or at least the same surnames, as had been present earlier in the century in Hopewell Township.  Of course, this is not definitive proof of identity by any means or even of a family relationship, but it is strongly suggestive of a connection.  Even so, no members of the extended Bonham family have been identified as early residents of the Jersey settlement, but there do appear to have been some in northern Virginia.  Alternatively, if Hezekiah Bonham, Jr., left Hunterdon County in the 1730's it is possible that he would have associated elsewhere with his co-religionists.  Within this context, there was, of course, the Seventh Day Baptist congregation at Piscataway, but in addition there was another Baptist sabbatarian settlement at Cohansey Corners (later called Shiloh) in Salem County, New Jersey.  Indeed, it is known that members of the extended Bonham family were living in both of these localities later in the eighteenth century.  Moreover, published histories of Cumberland County (formed from the eastern part of Salem County in 1748) have stated that although sabbatarians probably lived in the area since the first decade of the eighteenth century, the Shiloh Seventh Day Baptist Church was organized in 1737.  Chronologically, this would correspond precisely with emigration from Hunterdon County as a result of the Coxe Affair.  Nevertheless, there is no known documentary evidence that Hezekiah Bonham, Jr., ever lived outside of Hunterdon County.  Indeed, Howard Bonham has asserted in his book on the Bonham family that although Hezekiah lost title to his land to Coxe it is probable that he did not immediately leave Hopewell Township.  Alternatively, he might have left temporarily but returned later.  In any case, it would seem that he was present in 1740 as a party to a lawsuit and, certainly, in 1745 as Hezekiah Bonham was directed along with others to see to local road maintenance.  Similarly, in May of 1757 he and his brother, Samuel, were mentioned with others, probably as debtors to the estate of Richard Heath.4  (Even so, this does not necessarily imply that either Hezekiah or Samuel Bonham were still living in 1757.)  Various children have been attributed Hezekiah, Jr., and Martha Runyon Bonham including a daughter, Mary, and as many as eight sons, viz., Hezekiah, Jacob, Elijah, Joseph, Robert, Aaron, Samuel, and Daniel.  Of these, the last four are almost certainly spurious or misattributed.  Of the remaining five children, the least well documented would seem to be Elijah; however, there is a longstanding family tradition (for which there is no good reason to doubt) that he married Sarah Runyon.  It seems that Hezekiah Bonham, Jr., remained alive until at least until April 16, 1753, since he was listed in the disbursement of the property of his deceased father-in-law, Thomas Runyon.  Within this context, some researchers have asserted that since Martha Runyon Bonham was not mentioned this indicates that she was deceased by that time.  However, Cornelius Anderson, who was married to Catherine Runyon, another of Thomas' daughters, was also mentioned instead of his wife.  Accordingly, it is known that Catherine Runyon Anderson was alive after 1760, hence, this usage merely reflects the prevailing colonial legal convention that a wife had no legal standing apart from her husband, who, thus, would inherit from his father-in-law "in right of wife".  In any case, it seems probable that Hezekiah Bonham, Jr., must have died not long afterward, perhaps, later in the year 1753.

Source Notes and Citations:
1. Howard Eugene Bonham and Jean Allin, Bonham and Related Family Lines, Bonham Book(s), 5104 Bridlington Ln., Raleigh, NC, 27612, printed by Genie Plus, Bradenton, FL, 1996: pgs. 226-32.
     "In 1722 Hezekiah, Jr. purchased a farm adjoining his father-in-law, Thomas Runyon, property later known as Titus Mill Road.  Although he lost this land in the 1730's (Writ of Ejection by Coxe), he probably did not immediately leave.
     1722, Tax List of Hunterdon County, NJ.  Hezekiah Bonham, Jr. is listed as owning 5 horses and/or cattle (are lumped together) and 150 acres of land in Hopewell Township."
     "1733/34, Hezekiah Bonham in early Court Records in Hunterdon Co. listed under 'Escape for Debt' along with ten others [Vol. 4, pg. 56] ... Jonathan Stout & Andrew Smith vs Hezekiah Bonham, Jr. - confessed judgement - in debt penalty.
     There were many deaths near this time which had a bearing on land titles.  Mary (Runyon) Drake, wife of Benjamin Drake, died 1744.  She was a sister of Thomas Runyon, Sr., who was the father of Martha (Runyon) Bonham, wife of Hezekiah Bonham, Jr.  Martha was the niece of Mary (Runyon) Drake.
     In 1733-1736, Hezekiah, Jr. and his brother Nehemiah, were in Court over land titles.  In 1740 Hezekiah was back in Court over 1/3 of land, while Nehemiah was one of the 50 pioneers who sued and lost title to land in 1735 (Writ of Ejection by Coxe).  Also five members of the Parke family were listed in the Ejection Suit and later left Hopewell as did many of the citizens who refused to pay a second time for property they had purchased from agents of Coxe, Sr., after losing the court suit with Coxe.
     1736.  Hezekiah Bonham was among the names listed in the Johnson Account Books.
     1745.  Hezekiah Bonham, Jr. was listed, as was Cornelius Anderson, Vincent Runyon, John Reed, and others to relay public road."
     "1749, Aug.  John Drake, s/o Mary (Runyon) and Benjamin Drake, purchased from John Coxe 197 acres of land located on Titus Mill Road.  This purchase apparently consisted of most, if not all, of the Hezekiah Bonham, Jr. farm - original 150 acres."
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2. Abraham Van Doren Honeyman (ed), New Jersey Archives - First Series (alt. title Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Adminstrations, Etc. Vol. II: 1730-1750), New Jersey Historical Society, Trenton, NJ, The Unionist-Gazette Assoc., Printers, Somerville, NJ, 1913: Vol. 30, pg. 454.
     Jan. 23, 1733 (1734 N. S.).  "Stephens, Charles, of Amwell, Hunterdon Co., laborer; will of.  Daughter, Mary, residue of estate and gold ear rings of her mother.  Executors---William Lumicks and Philip Ringo.  Witnesses---Godfree Peters, Hezekiah Bonham, Jr.  Proved April 5, 1737, Philip Ringo, in the absence of William Lumicks, sworn."
back to bio.

3. Ethel Stroupe, "First Families of Jersey Settlement"; Rowan County Register, Vol. 11, No. 1, Feb 1996.  (Wallace L. McKeehan, "Origins of the Jersey Settlement of Rowan County, North Carolina", Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas, www.tamu.edu/ccbn/dewitt/mckstmerjersey.htm, 2003.)
     "New Jersey historians wrote of Hopewell and Carolina historians wrote of Jersey Settlement.  Nobody wrote about how, when and why North Carolina's Jersey Settlement grew out of (and interacted with) its parent community, Hopewell, New Jersey, nor why so many of old Hopewell's solid citizens fled to North Carolina.  To satisfy her curiosity, the author mined facts with the help of librarians, genealogical societies in both places, and other descendants.  Eventually, a story emerged of the Settlement's origins: it was older than expected, and its first settlers were Hopewell citizens who migrated after being swindled by Proprietors and royal Governors, especially Dr. Daniel Coxe and his son Col. Daniel Coxe, two powerful and greedily villainous Proprietors, in 'The Coxe Affair.'  What these Jersey men endured in Hopewell directly affected the Yadkin's Revolutionary generation, explaining why Jersey Settlement had reacted so violently against N.C.'s corrupt Gov. William Tryon's sticky-fingered royal officials, John Frohock, Rowan Court Clerk and Edmund Fanning, King's Attorney, whose thievery and injustices caused the 1771 Regulator War (considered by historians the first true battle of the American Revolution), and caused Charles Lord Cornwallis to call central North Carolina 'a hornet's nest of rebellion.'
     The earliest families of Jersey Settlement came from Hopewell Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, where some had been members of Pennington's Presbyterian Church, and others were Quakers and Baptists who baptized their children in St. Mary's Episcopal church for practical, political reasons.  The earliest families identified in Jersey Settlement c1745 were those of Jonathan Hunt, Thomas and Rebecca (Anderson) Smith, Robert Heaton, and John Titus. (Hunt and Titus were married to Smith's nieces.)  Others from Hopewell, e.g., Cornelius Anderson, came in this first party or soon followed.  They were founding this settlement so that they (and groups that followed) could recoup losses suffered when New Jersey's Supreme Court invalidated deeds to thousands of acres in Hopewell, land their fathers had purchased as wilderness.  To understand this amazing story of invalidated land titles, one must 'begin at the beginning' with the founding of West Jersey's Hopewell Township, followed by a slow build up to the surprising events that preceded this migration.
     Hopewell's first inhabitants were Lenapes, an Algonquin tribe who welcomed Europeans because they needed protection from other Indians.  Their Hopewell villages were Wissamonson (Woodbridge) and Minnepenasson (Stoutsburg).  New Jersey's first Europeans were Swedes and Dutch from New York and Pennsylvania.  In 1655 Peter Stuyvesant brought it under Dutch control with landowners called Proprietors, but the Dutch governed inhabitants.  In March, 1664 England's King Charles II -- who did not own New Netherlands -- gave it to his brother, James, Duke of York, and sent a fleet that easily seized it.  The Duke of York then gave half of New Jersey to George, Lord Carteret, including the right to govern inhabitants on lands held.  Thereafter, any wealthy man could be a Proprietor and govern residents, a land power system predestined for abuse of power for personal gain and disputes over land ownership.  The colony developed as a Proprietary System, like a corporation, and London speculators dealt in 'percentages of Proprietary Shares.'  In 1664, the British seized New Jersey, but, to avoid the expense of Indian wars, decreed that land be purchased before settlement, buying West Jersey for wampum, trinkets, a few bolts of cloth and two kettles.  The Lenapes lived among Europeans on Stony Brook from the 1680's to c1725, then moved west, declaring: 'Not a drop of our blood have you shed in battle---not an acre of our land have you taken without our consent.'
     In 1673 Lord Berkeley sold his shares to John Fenwicke and Edward Byllynge who planned a Quaker Refuge like Pennsylvania.  In July 1676 the 'Province Line' divided East and West Jersey, giving control to the Quakers who owned five-eighths.  William Penn drafted a constitution.  In 1677 ships brought 230 Quakers from Yorkshire and London who founded a settlement at Burlington.  In late summer 1677, the Flie-Boate Martha of Burlington, Yorkshire, sailed from Hull bringing 114 passengers, including two heads of families, Thomas Schooley and Thomas Hooten (a.k.a. Houghton), future residents of Hopewell."
     "Thomas Revell, 'Gentleman', a first Justice of the Peace, was appointed by a group of Proprietors as 'Agent for the Honorable West Jersey Society in England' to survey and sell land and issue deeds.  On September 8, 1680, he made his first entry in Liber A, Revels's Book of Surveys.  Early Trenton was called 'At the ffalls of Dellaware,' early Hopewell 'Above the ffalls of Dellaware.'  On June 4,1680 'John Hooten, Andrew Smith, Englishmen, (were among) ye ffreeholders & Inhabittants within ye Court at Burlington.'  In November 1680, a Delaware river survey for John Hooten on NW side of Crosswick's Creek (near Trenton).  On January 20, 1681, Revel surveyed for Peter Fretwell 'above the ffals of Dellaware' (Hopewell), and 200 acres for Andrew Smith 'at the ffalls (Trenton).'   Burlington County was divided into 'Tenths'.  1682 officers: Thomas Revel, Provincial Clerk-Recorder; Daniel Leeds, Surveyor; Robert Schooley & John Pancoast, Constables, Yorkshire Tenth; Thomas Sharp, Constable, Third Tenth.  In 1685 a large share-holder, Dr. Daniel Coxe , 'Ciregeon (surgeon) of London and Doctor in phisick,' entered the New Jersey action without leaving London.  His political power was from being physician to the royal court, while his great wealth enabled him to buy extensive land shares.  A ruthless, 'bottom-line' speculator, Dr. Coxe aimed to maximize his power and profits by any conceivable method.
     He began a series of acquisitions and manipulations, writing the Council of Proprietors: 'It would be for your good --- to contrive any method thereby the government might legally ... be involved with the Proprietors.'  By 1685, as largest share-holder, he declared, 'The government of West Jersey is legally in me as full as Pennsylvania is in Penn'.. I therefore assume the title of Governor, and lay claim to the powers and authority therein annexed...'  For several years he governed from London.  The first white man in Hopewell was Jonathan Stout who in 1685 explored the wilderness from his parent's home in Middletown, lived several years at Wissamonson with the Indians, then returned home.  On March 30, 1688, Adlord Bowle, agent for 'Daniell Coxe, Esqr', Governor & Cheife Proprietor' of West Jersey, met with eleven Indian Chiefs who sold their rights to a huge tract of land that included Hopewell, Ewing and north Trenton for hatchets, knives, needles, tobacco, rum, beer, kettles, 30 guns, shot and lead.  With land sales now legal, Dr. Coxe directed his agents to subdivide and sell to settlers.  In May 1688 Andrew Smith, Sr., 'yeoman,' bought 200 acres, but not from Coxe's agents, from Cornelius Empson of Pa., 'in what is called Hopewell,' a tract later occupied by his son Thomas Smith (a pioneer of Jersey Settlement).
     In 1688 the Council of Proprietors accepted the plan of Dr. Coxe, an Anglican, to disenfranchise the Quakers whose rights came from a deceased Proprietor:  'All the deeds granted Edward Byllinge ... shall be adjudged and esteemed insufficient for the commission to grant warrants upon.'  The Council left land records in the hands of Thomas Revel.  (At this point, Coxe and Revel were not at odds.)  On December 4, 1689, Hopewell was surveyed for Dr. Daniel Coxe who bought it estimated as '28,000 acres of wilderness inhabited by wild beasts and Indians.'  Then, apparently temporarily short of cash, in 1691 he sold part of his holdings:

For a valuable consideration Dr. Daniel Coxe of London, Esquire, Governor and Cheife Proprietor of the Province of West Jersey transfers the right of government and some of his land holdings in the Colony--- (to a company of businessmen)... the West Jersey Society of England.
This first agreement excepted the Hopewell tract, but between 1692 and 1694 Coxe made a second agreement transferring it to the West Jersey Society -- which failed to execute a deed.  The Society and Agent Revel continued selling land and developing the area.  The West Jersey Society distributed fliers on the north-east seaboard advertising 'Fertile Land for Sale Cheap,' offering to residents in New England and in older New Jersey communities cheap land 'lying above ye ffals of ye Delaware' (Hopewell) with inducements to buy farms by cash or mortgages.  In 1690 Roger Parke, an English immigrant, lived in a Quaker settlement on Crosswick's Creek, but he traveled so often to Wissamonson to study medicine under old Indian squaws and medicine men that his path was called 'Roger's Road.'  About 1700 he moved his family to Hopewell as its first white settlers.  Surveys preceded settlement, and Hopewell's first farm was surveyed on February 27, 1696 by Revell for Thomas Tindall, but not occupied until c1706 by his son-in-law John Pullen..."
     "The February 1699 Burlington County Court received a 'Petition of some inhabitants above the ffalls for a new township to be called Hopewell, as also a new road and boundaries of Said town...'  The Township's location was described c1770:
Hopewell is situated 40 miles S.W. (sic - N.E.) of Philadelphia, bounded on the East by the Province line, West by the Delaware River, on the North by Amwell Twp., and on the South by Assunpink Creek, and included the Indian village of Wissamensen at the head of Stony Brook, some miles north of the falls of the Delaware."
     "In 1701 Dr. Daniel Coxe, as physician to the Royal Household, learned that New York (and New Jersey) was about to become a Royal Colony --- and that the West Jersey Society had not registered his transfer of the Hopewell tract to them.  Using this inside information, in 1702 Dr. Coxe gave Hopewell to his son: 'Dr. Daniel Coxe of London Doctor in Phisiq' (conveyed his... tracts and proprietary rights to) 'Daniel Coxe of London, Gentleman Son and heir apparent of the said Daniell Coxe Doctor in Phisiq.'"
     "In 1702 the political event that Dr. Coxe anticipated occurred: the Jersey Proprietors relinquished their rights of government to the Crown, Queen Amne was on the throne, Dr. Coxe was her private physician --- and the new Governor coming from London was the Queen's first cousin, Dr. Coxe's good friend, Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury -- accompanied to America by Dr. Coxe's son, Col. Daniel Coxe.  Together they composed the Cornbury Ring, which quickly became infamous for abusing government authority for personal profit.  Both the Ring and the Proprietors fought to control land sales because whoever did also controlled the government -- and had a handsome income.  As governor, Lord Cornbury changed the political climate, being allied with the Coxes against the West Jersey Society over ownership of large tracts of land, one of which included Hopewell Township.  In 1706, Lord Cornbury and his Council (the upper House of Legislature, of which Col. Daniel Coxe was a member) launched an attack on the proprietary faction, challenging their authority over the land system.  They also alleged that the West Jersey Society lacked any title, that being Col. Coxe's position, taking advantage of the Society's failure to register his transfer (for a consideration) to them of the Hopewell tract c1692/3.
     Like so many of the early British governors in the colonies, Lord Cornbury, of New York and New Jersey, was notorious for his greed and incompetence.  But Cornbury had an added claim to fame. (Lord Cornbury's) great insanity was dressing himself as a woman.  Lord Orford says that when Governor in America (Cornbury) opened the Assembly dressed in that fashion.  When some of those about him remonstrated, his reply was, 'You are very stupid not to see the propriety of it.  In this place and particularly on this occasion, I represent a woman (Queen Anne) and ought in all respects to represent her as faithfully as I can.'  Mr. William says his father has told him that he had done business with him (Lord Cornbury) in woman's clothes.  He used to sit at the open window so dressed, to the great amusement of the neighbors.  He employed always the most fashionable milliner, shoemaker, stay maker, etc.  Mr. Williams has seen a picture of him at Herbert Packington's in Worcester, in a gown, stays, tucker, long ruffles, cap, etc.  He was a large man, wore a hoop and a headdress, and with a fan in his hand was seen frequently at night upon the ramparts....."
     "By now, settlers had cleared land, built cabins and barns, widened paths, and established a ferry to connect with the Philadelphia road where many went to shop or to church so that the Jersey wilderness was becoming a productive, English style, rural community of isolated farms joined by lanes and a few wagon roads.  In 1707 Col. Coxe acted to reclaim the Hopewell tract he had conveyed to the West Jersey Society by persuading the Cornbury Ring to make a new survey of the Hopewell tract in his name.  Then, in 1708 the Coxes had a major setback: the Crown removed Lord Cornbury as Governor because of the turmoil caused by his obvious corruption.  The new Governor supported the Proprietors, Col. Coxe was removed from Council and Assembly, and soon found the political climate so hostile that he returned to England.  With him in disfavor, the West Jersey Society maintained its claim to the Hopewell tract without dispute."
     "In 1715 Dr. Coxe and Thomas Revel both died.  Thomas Revel's Book of Deeds passed to son and heir, Col. Daniel Coxe.  The West Jersey Society assigned a new agent to make sales, collect mortgage payments, and keep land records.  In 1719 Trenton Township was formed from old south Hopewell.  By now, the political climate having swung far enough back to the Royalists for Col. Daniel Coxe to return from his self-imposed exile in England, a wealthy and powerfully connected man who built a mansion in Trenton. ... When a 1720's land boom increased profits, he tried to reclaim ownership of huge tracts, including Hopewell.  In this period, both Coxe and the West Jersey Society sold land in the township."
     "In 1731, calamity befell these honest and hard working settlers when 'Col. Coxe and other heirs of the late Dr. Coxe' declared that most of Hopewell belonged to them, a claim without an honest basis, e.g., improper surveys or failure to pay -- but the West Jersey Society lacked a court record proving Dr. Coxe's transfer to them.  His heir, Col. Coxe, had enough political clout to induce Hunterdon's Supreme Court to order High Sheriff Bennett Bard to serve perhaps a hundred or more Hopewell residents with Writs ordering them to 'Pay' for their land a second time or 'Quit.'  Those who failed to repurchase their own farms then received 'Writs of Ejectment' which called them 'Tenants' and 'Tresspassers' on Coxe's land!  On April 22, 1731, in an impressive show of unity, fifty of the earliest settlers of Hopewell entered into a written agreement and solemn compact to stand by each other and test the validity of Col. Coxe's claim.  They hired an attorney, Mr. Kinsey, and filed a counter suit naming Col Daniel Coxe as sole defendant.  The Township had more people, but some were not affected, having purchased from Coxe.  Others considered it useless to fight a man as powerful as Col. Coxe, so did not join in the law suit.  The August 1732 term of the New Jersey Supreme Court issued Writs of Trespass & Ejectment against each settler who had not repurchased."
     "Hopewell was not the only tract affected.  A group of citizens in Gloucester County hired a lawyer, Mr. Evans, and also filed a counter-suit.  Unaffected communities were distressed that the Royal government abetted deed revocations, anxieties that encouraged later migrations from Hunterdon, Gloucester and Essex Counties.  Still, the most violent reaction came in Hopewell where citizens actively resented the political maneuverings behind Col. Coxe's claims to ownership.  After a long and tedious trail at Burlington by Judge Hooper and a panel of twelve Quaker jurors, the verdict was against the West Jersey Society and the Fifty Mens Compact.  Mr. Kinsey then appealed to New Jersey's leading judicial officer, Chancellor William Cosby, who in December 1734 issued a judgment upholding the decision against the Society and Compact.  Unfortunately, Mr. Cosby's ruling was based less on the legal strength of Col. Coxe's claim than on personal hatred of his arch-enemy, Lewis Morris, who after the death of Thomas Revel became primary Agent of the West Jersey Society.  No higher appeal was possible because Col. Coxe was Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, a post he held till his death five years later.  The settlers had three choices: pay, remove, or resist.  Historian Ralph Ege (born in Hopewell in 1837) wrote about the great dilemma:
This verdict caused the most distressing state of affairs in this township that was ever experienced in any community.  Some moved away immediately, but the majority stayed, at least initially, and assumed the financial burden.  Cattle and personal possessions were sold, and a great struggle began which impoverished many families for years to come.  Then came the great excitement incident to ejecting the settlers from the farms which they, or their fathers had purchased, and on which they had built dwellings, barns and fences.  Their lands had cost them only fifty cents per acre, it is true, but they had purchased them in good faith and spent the best years of their lives in clearing them.  Many had mortgaged them to pay for the expense of improvement consequently not being able to incur the additional expense, they were compelled to leave their homes and seek new homes elsewhere, risking for the second, and for some of them the third time, the perils of the wilderness."
     "ESCAPED FOR DEBT:  Thomas Palmer, William Hixon, James Tatham, Benjamin Merrill, John Palmer, Ralph Parke, Jr., James Gould, Joseph Parke, Albert Opdyke, Hezekiah Bonham, Thomas Mayberry."

Works Cited by Stroupe:
1. Ralph Ege, Pioneers of Old Hopewell, Race & Savidge, Hopewell, NJ, 1908, Reprint ed., 1963.
2. Richard W. Hunter and Richard L. Porter, Hopewell: A Historical Geography, Township of Hopewell, Historic Sites Committee, Titusville, NJ, 1990.
3. Richard Zacks, History Laid Bare, Harper Collins, New York, NY, 1994: pgs. 209-10.
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4. op. cit. (A. Honeyman): Vol. 30, pg. 228.
     Apr. 6, 1747.  "Heath, Richard, of Bethlehem, Hunterdon Co.  Int.  Inventory: made by Jno. Coats and Peter Schmuck."
     Apr. 10, 1747.  "Bond of Mary Heath, of Bethlehem, as adminstratrix.  Daniel Ketcham, of the same place, yeomean, surety.  Witnesses---William Peirson, Joshua Howell, Mary Heath (a Quaker)."
     May 16, 1757.  "Account of Mary Park, formerly Mary Heath, administratrix of the estate.  Mentions Jno. Farnsworth, Jos. Linn, ..., Hezekiah Bonham, Samuel Bonham, ..., Daniel Pegg, Henry Oxley."
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Additional Citations:

5. Minutes of the Court of Common Pleas, Hunterdon County, Flemington, NJ: Vol. 4, pg. 56.  (cited op. cit. (H. E. Bonham): pg. 232.)

6. Rev. George Hale, A History of the Old Presbyterian Congregation of "The People of Maidenhead and Hopewell", Press of Henry B. Ashmead, Philadelphia, PA, 1876: pg. 13.

7. Elmer Burt Hazie, Bonham, 1631-1973: letters, quotations, genealogical charts, military records, directory index, privately published, Los Angeles, CA, 1973: pg. 27.  (rev. of Emmet Lincoln Smith, Smith-Bonham, 1631-1908, privately published, Chicago, IL, 1911; also Emmet Lincoln Smith, rev. by Elmer Burt Hazie, Bonham, 1631-1959: letters, quotations, genealogical charts, illustrations, military record, directory, privately published, Los Angeles, CA, 1959 & Elmer Burt Hazie, Bonham, 1631-1975: letters, quotations, genealogical charts, military records, directory index, privately published, Los Angeles, CA, 1975.)

8. Thomas Cushing and Charles E. Sheppard, History of the Counties of Gloucester, Salem, and Cumberland, New Jersey, Everts & Peck, Press of J. S. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia, PA, 1883: pgs. 693-8 & pgs. 722-4.

9. Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Elder, History of the Early Settlement and Progress of Cumberland County, New Jersey, George F. Nixon, Pub., Bridgeton, NJ, 1869: pgs. 94-5.

10. Orra Eugene Monnette, First Settlers of ye Plantations of Piscataway and Woodbridge, olde East New Jersey, 1664-1714, a period of fifty years, The Leroy Carman Press, Los Angeles, CA, 1930-35: Part 4, pg. 229.

11. Olive Barrick Rowland, Genealogical Notes of the Sutton and Rittenhouse Families of Hunterdon County, New Jersey, Garrett & Massie, Pub., Richmond, VA, 1935: pg. 114.

12. Trula Fay Parks Purkey, Genealogy of William Bonham, Pioneer Settler of Grayson County, Virginia, 731 Rockbridge Rd., Trout Dale, VA, 1984: pgs. 20-3.

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