Father: Zachariah Bonham
Mother: Maria Marlett
Spouse: Hezekiah Bonham
m: 17/Mar/1762 - Piscataway Twp., Middlesex Co., NJ
Child-1: Zachariah - b: 4/Mar/1763 - NJ or VA
d: 10/Mar/1837 - bur: Irville Cem., Muskingum Co., OH
m: Sophia Johnson - 1788
m: Susannah Hoover - 4/Jan/1820 - Muskingum Co., OH
2: Nehemiah - b: 1/Nov/1765
d: 5/Nov/1846 - bur: Morning Star Cem., Haywood Co., NC
m: Rachel Kerr - 6/Sep/1791 - Wythe Co., VA
3: Robert - b: ~1768
d: Jun/1800 - Baltimore, Baltimore Co., MD
4: Eunice (Unis) - b: ~1785
m: James Finley
Essentially nothing is known of the life of Mary Bonham beyond that she was a daughter of Zachariah Bonham and his first wife, Maria Marlett. Indeed, it is possible that her name was really Marcy or Mercy. Nevertheless, it is believed that she was born about 1742 in New Jersey. Church records confirm that Mary Bonham married Hezekiah Bonham on March 17, 1762, at the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Piscataway. They were first cousins. Subsequently, it would seem that she moved with her husband to Maryland and Virginia and probably became a Methodist after hearing the preaching of Robert Strawbridge. The first two sons of Hezekiah and Mary Bonham were named Zachariah and Nehemiah; obviously namesakes of their maternal and paternal grandfathers, respectively. In addition, Howard E. Bonham and others have reported two more known children, Robert and Eunice. Within this context, there is undeniable evidence from court records still extant in Wythe County, Virginia, and recently abstracted by Mary B. Kegley, that these two younger children were, indeed, a son and daughter of Hezekiah Bonham. However, historians and descendants of the Finley family assert that Eunice's mother was Mary Cordrey.1 Within this context, it is possible that Robert and Eunice were both children by this putative second wife since Eunice was explicitly identified as Robert's sister without any mention of other siblings in the previously cited legal document. Moreover, it does seem reasonably certain that Eunice was considerably younger than her older brothers, Zachariah and Nehemiah. Concomitantly, it is generally believed that Robert was born about 1768; however, it is possible that he was several years younger. According to his obituary published with the minutes of the annual Methodist Episcopal Church conference, he began traveling as a minister in 1794. At this time, he might have been as young as twenty or twenty-one, which would then place his birth about 1774. Therefore, such a chronology suggests that Mary Bonham Bonham may have died about 1770 and Hezekiah remarried Mary Cordrey a year or two later. Of course, this remains entirely speculative and it is just as possible that family tradition is in error and that there was no second wife. Accordingly, if this is true then Mary Bonham must have lived past 1780. In any case, no details of her death or burial are known.Source Notes and Citations:
1. "In a letter from Rev. Thomas B. Stratton to Eldridge Todd Finley of Dunlow, West Virginia, dated December 22, 1932, he stated that his grandmother's maiden name was Eunice Bonham and that her mother's name was Mary Cordrey." Eldridge Todd Finley, born July 22, 1875, in Wayne County, West Virginia, can be identified as a grandson of Hezekiah and Elizabeth Helvey Finley (son of William M. Finley and Julia Ann Poindexter). Thomas B. Stratton, a Methodist minister living in Covington, Kentucky, at the time of the census in 1930, was apparently a son of Hiram and Rhoda Finley Stratton, born in December of 1854, although unaccountably he seems to have been called Nehemiah T. Stratton in population schedules for Pike County, Kentucky, taken in the years 1860 and 1870. (Kenneth L. Dyer; database - dyer2000; worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com, 2004.)
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2. William Nelson (ed), New Jersey Archives - First Series (alt. title Documents Relating to the Colonial, Revolutionary and Post-revolutionary History of the State of New Jersey, Marriage Records 1665-1800), New Jersey Historical Society, Trenton, NJ, The Press Printing and Pub. Co., Paterson, NJ, 1900: Vol. 22, pg. 643.
3. 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: pg. 131.
4. Mary B. Kegley, Abstracts of Court Orders of Wythe County, Virginia, Kegley Books, Wytheville, VA, 1996: Vol 1, pg. 106.
5. Anonymous, Minutes of the Methodist Conferences, annually held in America: from 1773 to 1813, Methodist Episcopal Church, Daniel Hitt and Thomas Ware, pub., New York, NY, 1813: pgs. 91-2. (Reprinted by Magnolia Press, Swainsboro, GA, 1983.) (cited op. cit. (H. E. Bonham): pg. 131.)
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