Joseph Bonham
  b: ~1735 - NJ
  d: ~Jan/1804 - Wythe Co., VA - bur: Old Bonham Cem., Grayson Co., VA

Father: Hezekiah Bonham, Jr.
Mother: Martha Runyon

Spouse: Naomi Parke
  m: 1767 - NJ

Child-1: William
          2: Rachel - b: 5/Sep/1770 - VA
                           d: 1820 - Grayson Co., VA - bur: Weiss Family Cem.
                          m: ***** Ball - m: Mathias Weiss - 18/Nov/1798 - Wythe Co., VA
          3: Catherine - b: 1771 - VA
                               m: ***** Howell
          4: Zilpha - b: 1772 - VA
                          m: Richard Davis
          5: Hezekiah
          6: Elizabeth (Betsy)
          7: Ephraim - b: 1782 - VA
          8: Alsa - b: 1785 - m: James Wallace - 16/Mar/1809 - Wythe Co., VA
          9: Mary Elizabeth (Polly)

Biographical Details:

The parentage of Joseph Bonham is a vexed question, as is the year and location of his birth.  Within this context, he has commonly been regarded by many researchers as a son of Jacob and Polly Warford Bonham, born about 1751 in Chester County, Pennsylvania, which lies in the extreme southeastern corner of the present state.  Even so, this birth year seems too late and appears to derive primarily from the work of E. B. Hazie in the various editions of his book on the Bonham family, which was itself a revision of an earlier work by E. L. Smith.  Mr. Hazie further identified Jacob Bonham as a son of Hezekiah, Jr., and Martha Runyon Bonham, born about 1726 in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.  However, in her history of the Bonham family, Ms. Trula Purkey cites in addition to Hazie, an earlier researcher, Hugh G. Bonham, as asserting this relationship as being only probable and admitting that a different descent could be possible, perhaps, through Samuel Bonham who married "a Stout" as suggested by Monnette.  Unfortunately, there is apparently no support for Monnette's claim, which has been largely refuted and illustrates the typical unreliability often found in his research.  Nevertheless, the combination of incomplete and confused civil records as well as the large number of Bonham descendants known to have been living in New Jersey during the eighteenth century provides ample opportunity for propagation of various alternative pedigrees.  Obviously, by their very nature the published works of Hazie and others must be regarded as secondary sources and, in addition, there is a paucity of primary source citations in all of them, which suggests that they were based mainly on "received" tradition handed down through various branches of the extended Bonham family.  Moreover, according to research published more recently by Howard E. Bonham, and also cited by Ms. Cecilia B. Parke, a historian of the Parke family, in the 1750's and 1760's Joseph Bonham was resident in the household of his uncle and aunt, Cornelius and Catherine Runyon Anderson, in Hunterdon County.  Of course, such an arrangement would be indicative of a close family relationship.  This is further supported by archived New Jersey civil records confirming that Joseph Bonham was a witness to the will of Cornelius Anderson, which was made in Hunterdon County on December 6, 1765, and proved August 19, 1768.1  Clearly, according to English common law as it then prevailed in the American colonies, this implies that Joseph must have been at least twenty-one years of age in 1765.  Therefore, his birth could have been no later than 1744 and was probably earlier, perhaps, 1740 or before.  Accordingly, this suggests that he had been taken in by his aunt and uncle after the deaths of his parents and that rather than a grandson, Joseph was actually a younger son of Hezekiah, Jr., and Martha Runyon Bonham.  Indeed, such a presumption is clearly consistent with "family lore", again, included in H. E. Bonham's excellent work, which asserted that Joseph Bonham was born the same year that his Grandfather Bonham died, i.e., about 1732.  Concomitantly, it would seem almost certain that he must have been born in New Jersey, probably in Hunterdon County, although, the period 1735 to 1740 is, perhaps, marginally more plausible.2  In any case, there can be little doubt that Joseph Bonham was a direct descendant of Nicholas Bonham, who as a child was an immigrant to New England and as an adult was an early settler of the East Jersey Province.  Subsequently, through his son, Hezekiah, he became the common ancestor of a very large extended family, which according to documentary sources as well as family tradition, moved in stages south and westward through New Jersey into Pennsylvania, Virginia, and beyond.3,4,5

It is further known that in June of 1753 Joseph Bonham was assessed tax in Hunterdon County in the amount of one shilling and one pence.  This would appear to coincide chronologically with the death of his father and, perhaps, the assessment arose out of an estate settlement, but this is merely speculation.  Accordingly, circumstantial evidence implies that he and Naomi Parke must have married in New Jersey about 1767.  It further appears that she was quite young, perhaps, only fifteen or sixteen years old, and that Joseph was substantially older.  Even so, if the assertion made by their son, William, in the population schedule of the 1850 census as to the place of his birth is taken as factual, then they must have moved to Virginia shortly after their marriage.  Within this context, it is very likely that there were already members of the extended Bonham family living on the northern Virginia frontier at this time (in particular, the family of Amariah Bonham, Joseph's uncle).  Again, citing the work of Howard Bonham, Joseph was assessed tax for the years 1770, 1771, 1773, 1774, and 1775 on one tithable, i.e., himself, in Shelburne Parish (formed in 1770 from Cameron Parish) of Loudoun County, Virginia.  (At this early date tax assessments were seemingly specified in "squirrel scalps", i.e., skins or pelts.)  Geographically, Shelburne Parish corresponds to a present day location between the communities of Hillsboro and Purcellville, Virginia.  Subsequently, the name of Joseph Bonham appeared on a "Tytheable" list of Loudoun County for the year 1779, e.g., "A list of Tytheables by Farling Ball", which according to the work of Ms. Purkey included residents of Shelburne Parish.  Likewise, in 1782 Joseph Bonham was included on a "List of Tithables ... takin by James McInaney", which, again, implies a location in Shelburne Parish.  Furthermore, his assessment was seventeen shillings and nine pence for three horses, seven head of cattle, and one white male sixteen years of age or older.  Once again, Joseph Bonham, apparently along with an unnamed son, i.e., two tithables, appeared on the Loudoun County tax list of F. Ball taken on September 13, 1785.  This accords well with the family of Joseph and Naomi Parke Bonham, since their oldest son, William, would have been sixteen or seventeen years old by this time.  Likewise, Joseph Bonham again paid tax in Loudoun County in 1787.  Nevertheless, in his book, Howard Bonham also cites Revolutionary War military records which indicate that Joseph Bonham served as a sergeant in the New Jersey militia between the years of 1777 and 1784.  Concomitantly, the paymaster was indicated as Captain Anderson, who obviously might have been Joseph's relative.  In addition, it seems evident that during this interval Joseph's name appeared less often in tax records for Loudoun County, which suggests that he may well have traveled between Virginia and "back home" in New Jersey several times during the war.  Indeed, enlistments in colonial militia or the Continental Army were typically for short terms that had to be renewed periodically as necessary.  Consequently, it was common for soldiers to serve several tours of duty between which they returned to their families.  Even so, it seems unlikely that the Joseph Bonham listed in 1792 as a member of the Hunterdon County militia from Hopewell Township was the husband of Naomi Parke Bonham, but it is quite plausible that he was a younger relative.

According to a long held family tradition by the early 1790's Joseph and Naomi Bonham and their children had left Loudoun County and moved further southwest to Washington County, Virginia.  No land records have yet been found for Joseph Bonham in either Loudoun or Washington Counties; however, such arrangements were often informal on the early frontier and only later legally ratified with appropriate deeds or patents as the density of settlement increased.6  In any case, there is documentary evidence that other members of the extended Bonham family were present in Loudoun County as well as Washington County and neighboring Wythe County in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.  Of course, this is just a further imdication of the contemporary propensity of extended family groups to migrate together rather than as individual nuclear families.  Concomitantly, circumstantial evidence implies that Joseph and Naomi Bonham probably lived very close to the original Wythe-Washington County boundary just to the west of the present village of Sugar Grove.  Joseph Bonham made his will in Wythe County on June 22, 1803, which was presented in court for probate the following February.7  This suggests that he had died shortly before, perhaps, during the month of January, but this can only be speculation.  Concomitantly, some researchers have suggested that Naomi Parke Bonham died before 1780 and that Joseph had a second marriage which resulted in three younger children.  However, the text of his will contradicts this and specifically indicates that his wife, Naomi, was still alive in 1803 as well as naming seven of his children explicitly and further mentioning at least two more unmarried daughters.  (In addition, the will also identified two grandchildren, Nancy and Sarah Ball, who were apparently daughters of  Joseph's oldest daughter, Rachel, from a previous marriage.)

Source Notes and Citations:
1. Abraham Van Doren Honeyman (ed), New Jersey Archives - First Series (alt. title Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Adminstrations, Etc. Vol. IV: 1761-1770), New Jersey Historical Society, Trenton, NJ, The Unionist-Gazette Assoc., Printers, Somerville, NJ, 1928: Vol. 33, pg. 15.
     Dec. 6, 1765.  "Anderson, Cornelius, of Hopewell, Hunterdon Co., yeoman; will of.  Wife, Coterin (sic - Catherine), £15 every year, beds, cows, etc.  Son, Cornelius, £10, to be paid to him five years after my death, with 1/3 the profits of the plantation.  Son, Thomas, rest of my estate.   Executors---said Thomas Anderson and Daniel Drake.  Witnesses---Joseph Bonham, John Smith, Timothy Smith.   Proved Aug. 19, 1768."
     Aug. 12, 1768.  "Inventory, £424.8.0, made by John Hart and Timothy Smith."
     Jan. 5, 1778.  "Account, by Daniel Drake, the Executor."
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2. 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. 254-60.
     "The family probably lived with Joseph's Aunt Catherine (Runyon) Anderson, wife of Cornelius Anderson, who died in 1765.  Cornelius operated a mill, which would provide a good job for Joseph.  Naomi's father, William Parke, died in 1764 when Naomi was ca 13 years of age."
     "Catherine Runyon , b ca 1705, d/o of Thomas, Sr. & Martha (Dunn) Runyon, was the sister of Martha (Runyon) Bonham, b ca 1706.  Catherine m Cornelius Anderson, s/o Cornelius & Anna (Opdyck) Anderson, in 1721."
     "Family lore told that Joseph was born the year his Grandfather died and that he was two years old when his Grandmother died.  Hezekiah Bonham, Sr. died 1732 and Mary (Bishop) Bonham died 1734."
     "1753-1755.  The Tax List of Hopewell, Hunterdon Co., New Jersey included:  Joseph Bonham ... 1s 1d."
     "1777-1784.  Joseph served as Sgt. in the NJ Military.  Capt.    ?    Anderson was his paymaster.
     1787. Joseph Bonham paid tax, listed as 1 male ... ; 3 horses, 7 cattle.  1787 Census of Virginia, Loudoun, Co. - Tax List 'A' p. 23.
     A Joseph Bonham listed in the 1792 Militia of Hunterdon Co. in Hopewell Township.
     Joseph's will was drawn 22 Jun 1803; presented for probate Feb 1804."
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3. Robert Glenn Thurtle and Lillian S. King (eds), Pedigrees of Descendants of the Colonial Clergy, pub. by Edwards Bros., Ann Arbor, MI, for The Society of the Descendants of the Colonial Clergy, Lancaster, MA, 1976: pg. 617.
    "The Bonham family of Grayson County trace their ancestors to a Massachusetts family of English descent.  There is a record of Nicholas Bonham who married Hannah Fuller, the granddaughter of two Pilgrims.  Some members of the Bonham family moved to Burlington County, NJ, (ca) 1666, then to Chester County, Pennsylvania, to Loudoun County, VA and then to Wythe County, VA.  Joseph Bonham was on the 1782 tax list in Loudoun County, then his will is recorded in Wytheville in 1803."
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4.  Paula Hathaway Anderson-Green, "The New River Frontier Settlement on the Virginia-North Carolina Border 1760-1820", Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 86, pgs. 413-31, 1978.  (Paul B. Anderson, New River Notes,, 2005.)
    "The intricacies of kinship groupings are demonstrated in the Anderson-Bonham-Runyon family connections.  This interrelationship was established in Burlington County, New Jersey, before entry into the southern back country; however, such family interweavings intensified on the remote frontier.  In New Jersey, Cornelius Anderson was married to Catherine Runyon, whose sister Martha was wife to Hezekiah Bonham.  Further, Cornelius's sister, Catherine Anderson, married Samuel Bonham.68  The Cornelius Anderson family moved southwest by stages; his name surfaces in Augusta County, Virginia,69 and finally the same name appears on the New River frontier in the 1790 Wilkes (now Ashe) County, North Carolina, census.70  Furthermore, the related family of Bonhams also moved steadily west and then south.  The name Bonham is of English Puritan origin; the family entered New Jersey from Massachusetts in 1666, possibly leaving Massachusetts because they had become Quakers.71  From New Jersey they moved in the eighteenth century into Chester County, Pennsylvania, then to Loudoun County, Virginia, and finally into Southwest Virginia.  Joseph Bonham, who was on the tax list in Loudoun County in 1782, died and left a will in Wythe County in 1803.72  After entering the New River area the Bonhams and Andersons became closely associated with the Hashe and Osborne families; numerous marriages took place among these clans."

Relevant footnotes:
     "68. Samuel Jeremiah Bonham, The Bonham Family (Niles, Ohio, 1955), p. 98.
      69. Chalkley, Court Records of Augusta County, Virginia, 11, 62.
      70. United States Census, 1790, Wilkes County, North Carolina, in Heads of Families, p. 120.
      71. Bonham, Bonham Family, p. 26.
      72. Fothergill and Naugle, Virginia Tax Payers, p. 12."
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5. The diary of Rev. Nehemiah Bonham, a travelling Lutheran minister, which is now in the North Carolina State Library and is cited elsewhere, provides strong confirmation of these family relationships.  In several entries made in October and November of 1828 he mentions staying with his cousins, Noah Greer (Greear), John Woods, and William Bonham.  The latter is without a doubt the oldest son of Joseph and Naomi Parke Bonham, who was living in Grayson County, Virginia.  Likewise, Noah Greear and John Woods can be confidently identified as husbands of Joseph and Naomi's daughters, Mary and Elizabeth.  They were also living nearby in the same locality in Grayson County.  (Of course, reference to husbands specifically rather than wives was customary practice in the early nineteenth century.)  In addition, Rev. Nehemiah Bonham had married Rachel Kerr (or Karr) in Wythe County, Virginia, in 1791.  She was the daughter of John Kerr from whom William Bonham bought one hundred and fifty acres in 1796.  Of course, Nehemiah's father was Rev. Hezekiah Bonham, who was an early Methodist preacher in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania and who can be identified as the son of Nehemiah Bonham of Hunterdon County, New Jersey.  Thus, if Joseph Bonham was the son of Hezekiah Bonham, Jr., of Hunterdon County, then he and Rev. Hezekiah Bonham would have been first cousins.  Moreover, they seem to have had a parallel history, both probably being born in Hunterdon County within a few years of 1740, both marrying in New Jersey in the 1760's, and both migrating to the same general area of Maryland and northern Virginia before 1770.  To be specific, Joseph and Naomi Parke Bonham lived in Loudoun County, Virginia, until the early 1790's, at which time they then moved to Wythe County and Rev. Hezekiah Bonham apparently lived first in Frederick County, Maryland, then in Hampshire County, Virginia, and last in Frederick County, Virginia.  Furthermore, it would seem that his son, Rev. Nehemiah Bonham, also moved to Wythe County about 1790, which although, perhaps, merely coincidental, would suggest that he and Joseph and Naomi Bonham might have moved at the same time as an extended family group.
     Within this context, it should be noted that the importance of geography is commonly ignored in genealogical research and that the appearance of the same surname contemporaneously in different locations does not necessarily imply a close family relationship.  This is true even for a separation in distance as close as that of adjoining counties, such as those mentioned above, simply because a journey of even twenty miles was a considerable undertaking at a time before modern modes of transportation existed.  Even so, this case may provide an exception to this general observation since it is known that Rev. Hezekiah Bonham was an "itinerant" Methodist preacher and, as such, probably travelled quite often.  Therefore, it is a plausible presumption that he would have visited his relatives with reasonable frequency and, thus, would have maintained close family ties that might have otherwise been lost.  It would seem evident that his son, Rev. Nehemiah Bonham, continued this same practice.  (unpublished notes)
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6a. Elmer Burt Hazie, Bonham, 1631-1973: letters, quotations, genealogical charts, military records, directory index, privately published, Los Angeles, CA, 1973: pg. 78.  (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.)
     "They came to Rye Valley, Va. from Loudoun Co. Va. ca 1792 where he appears on the tax rolls as early as 1775.  A Joseph Bonham was sergeant in N. J. troops during the Revolutionary War in Capt. Thos. Patterson's Co.  Lt. John Kinney's and Col. Francis Barber's Co. 3rd N. J. Regiment.  He enlisted Jan. 13, 1777 for the war.  War Dept. Record.
     It has not been established that this is the Joseph Bonham, it is disputed."

b. ibid.: pg. 89.
     "Joseph Bonham's will gave the 70 acre homeplace to his son Hezekiah, and ordered his son William, 'to give a good deed for the same.'  Smyth Co. Deed Book #4, pp. 131, 132, shows a deed from Hezekiah and Esther Bonham to their son James, dated March 5, 1845, as follows: '... by a recent survey, 71 acres, more or less, being a part of the tract of land patented to Jonathan Bishop, 4th of June, 1794, containing 327 acres by survey bearing the date of 10th of Jan. 1792.  On the south fork of the Holsten River in Smyth Co.'"
     The patent (Land Office Grants, Bk. 30, pgs. 472-3, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - Land Office Grants and Patents #96).) indicates that the parcel adjoined property of Matthias Smok and William Tillotson and was originally located in Washington County, Virginia (but, subsequently was transferred to Smyth County when it was authorized February 23, 1832).  Furthermore, according to H. E. Bonham, Washington County records confirm a transfer between Jonathan Bishop and William Bonham (probably shortly after Joseph's death).  Even so, no formal transfer from William to Hezekiah was found, although as was not unusual, this may have been done without a deed by court order or entry.
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7. In the name of god, amen, this 22d day of June in the year of our lord 1803   I  Joseph Bonham of Wythe County and the State of Virginia, being sick and weak in body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given, to god then for calling unto mind the mortality of my body and Knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die  do make and ordain this last will and Testament, that is to say principally and first of all I give and Recommend my soul into the hands of god that gave it to me  for my body I recommend it to the Earth to be buried in a christian like and deacent (sic) manner at the discretion of my Executor, nothing doubting but at the general Resurrection I shall receive the same by the mighty power of god and as touching such worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased god to bless me with in this life, I give, devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form
     Item  It is my will and I do order in the first place that all my Just debts and funeral Charges be paid and
     Item  I give and bequeath unto well beloved wife Naomy The land whereon I now live containing seventy acres to be for her support as long as she lives, or remain single, but if she marries to belong to the proper heirs
     Item  I give to my son Hezekiah Bonham the above mentioned Tract of land containing seventy acres which I have William Bonham's obligation for which I do order that the sd William Bonham do make to the above Hezekiah Bonham a good deed agreeable ... to the before named obligation
     Item  I give and allow my single daughters Each one bed and one Cow and six sheep one spinning wheel and chest
     Item  I give ... to my two grandaughter Nancy and Sarah Ball if they stay till of age each one bed and one cow and six sheep one spinning wheel and a chest
     Item  I give to William Bonham  Caty Howell  Zilphy Davis  Rachel Whise  Betsey Woods and Ephriaim Bonham each the sum of one Dollar
     Item  I give and allow all the rest of my goods chattels and moveable property to my wife Naomy as long as she lives single and she is to have no power to dispose of any of sd property If she marries for it is my will and desire that it shall be equally divided among all my children
     I do appoint and allow my well beloved wife Naomy to be my sole Executor of this my last will and Testament and do hereby utterly disallow Revoke and disannul (sic) all and every other Testaments, Wills, legacies and executors by me in any wise before named wills and bequeaths  Ratifying this my last will and Testament in Witness Whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written
     Enterlined before signed   /s/Joseph Bonham  hisXmark (seal)
     signed sealed published pronounced and declared in the presence of   /s/Jonathan Henderson /s/John Carr   /s/James Wallis   Wythe County Court, Feb 1804   The last will and testament of Joseph Bonham, deceased, presented in Court and thereunto ordered recorded.  By: Teste, Fleming Teigg   (Will Bk. 1, Wythe Co., VA, pg. unk., Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - City and County Records #13) (cited in Trula Fay Parks Purkey, Genealogy of William Bonham, Pioneer Settler of Grayson County, Virginia, 731 Rockbridge Rd., Trout Dale, VA, 1984: pgs. 29-30.))
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Additional Citations:

8. 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. 17.

9. Loudoun County Personal Property Tax List of 1782 & Loudoun County Personal Property Tax List of 1785, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - Personal Property Tax Records #207).

10. Netti Schreiner-Yantis and Florene Speakman Love, The 1787 Census of Virginia: An Accounting of the Name of Every White Male Tithable Over 21 Years, Genealogical Books in Print, Springfield, VA, 1987: Vol. 1, pg. 23.

11. Hugh Goodwin Bonham, "Genealogical chart of the Bonham family, 1635-1949", manuscript, Pulaski, VA, 1949.

12. Cecilia B. Parke, Descendants of Roger Parke, immigrant, 1648-1739, privately published, 7162 Cambridge St., Spring Hill, FL, 34606-4201, 2000.

13. Trula Fay Parks Purkey, Genealogy of William Bonham, Pioneer Settler of Grayson County, Virginia, 731 Rockbridge Rd., Trout Dale, VA, 1984: pgs. 27-35.

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