"[L]iberty must at all hazards be supported.
We have a right to it, derived from our Maker.
But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us,
at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood."
-- John Adams, 1765
Estate inventories give us a glance into the home life of Colonial Americans.
A yeoman was a man who owned and cultivated a small farm. He belonged to the class below the gentry or land owners. A husbandman was a free tenant farmer. The social status of a husbandman was below that of a yeoman.
Jeremiah Bonham was born about 1715 at Maidenhead, Hunterdon County, (now Lawrenceville, Mercer County), New Jersey. He was the son of Hezekiah Bonham and his second wife.
He became a settler at Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, New Jersey where he was a farmer. Shrewsbury is just southeast of Piscataway. He was there before 1739 when he participated in the inventory of the estate of Benjamin Corlis in October, 1739.
According to Early New Jersey Marriages, he married Margaret Cook (Cock) a spinster of Shrewbury on May 24, 1758. In the marriage bond he was described as a yeoman.
He was a strong supporter of the American Revolution and a member of the Committees of Freehold in Shewsbury at the opening of the Revolution.
Shrewsbury 23, Septr, 1775 At a meeting by appointment of the township of Shrewsbury to chose a township committee. They mett at the house of Mr. Bonham. . .
Jeremiah died in Shrewsbury in 1782.
A marriage bond was paid to the court by a groom prior to his marriage. If the marriage didn't take place, he would forfeit the bond. The bondsman, or surety, was usually a close relative.
Hunterdon County was originally part of Burlington County, West Jersey. It was set off from Burlington County on March 11, 1714. It included Amwell, Hopewell, and Maidenhead Townships.
The Dutch were the first Europeans claim land in New Jersey. The region became a territory of England in 1664 when an English fleet sailed into New York Harbor and took control of Fort Amsterdam.
New Jersey's first permanent European settlement was in 1660.
from Early New Jersey Marriages- Extracts
Jeremiah Bonham and William Little, both of Shrewsbury, yeomen... [bound to]... John Reading Commander in Chief... 500 pounds... 24 May 1758 ... Jeremiah Bonham... obtained license of marriage for himself and for Margaret Cock of Shrewsbury, spinster... [w] blank [back of bond has "Margaret Cook"]
Mister ( Mr.) was derived from master and Mrs. and Miss were derived from mistress. They indicated people of superior social status in colonial America.