An American Family History

Reverend Malachiah Bonham

Kingwood Township is on the western border of Hunterdon County, New Jersey. It was founded in 1798.
Baptist churches were found in early colonial settlements and grew out of the English Separatist movement and the doctrine of John Smyth who rejected infant baptism.
Childbirth was was perilous. Around 1.5 percent of births ended in the mother's death. Since women gave birth to many children, chances of dying in childbirth were quite high.

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.

Malachiah Bonham was born about 1713 at Maidenhead, Hunterdon County, (now Lawrence, Mercer County) New Jersey. He was the son of Hezekiah Bonham and his second wife.

His first wife may have been Jemima or Deborah Harker (Harken). His children with his first wife included:
Zerviah Bonham,
Daniel Bonham and
Absalom Bonham (1739, married Jemima Harker).

His first wife may have died in childbirth when Absalom was born.

In 1741 he was listed as a freeholder in Maidenhead Township, Hunterdon County.

Malachia married again on July 19, 1751. Some reseachers including Olive Barrick Rowland and Ora Eugene Monnette, believe his second wife was the widow, Hannah Buckingham Heath. Her parents were John Buckingham and Hannah Brunsden. John and Hannah were active Baptists. Hannah Buckingham's first husband was John Heath. John Heath died in 1748. His will was written in 1747 in New Castle County, Delaware. It named his wife, Hannah, and daughter, Elizabeth.

Malachiah was brought up as a Seventh Day Baptist, but changed his opinion and became active in the Hopewell Baptist Church. He joined the Heights Town (Hightstown) church before becoming a member of the Kingwood Baptist Church where he was ordained pastor in 1749. He was also involved in the organization of the Rocksberry (Roxbury) Baptist Church in nearby Morris County.

In 1752, Malachiah sold his father's farm in Maidenhead to John Johnson, Sr. His older brothers were in debt and involved in the Coxe lawsuit so he probably sold the property to avoid complications.

When he was about 43 years old, he took advantage of 17 year old Mary Fox. Mary Fox was the daughter of George and Mary Fox. Malachaih had been a witness to her father, George Fox’s ,Will in 1754. Mary had a son, Malachiah Bonham, Jr.

Malachiah, Sr. was excluded from the church. On February 3, 1757, twelve jurors ruled that

Malakiah Bonham. . . Yeoman, being a married man, on the first day of April in the 29th year of the Reign of our Now Sovereign Lord King George the Second at Kingwood . . . with one Mary Fox spinster then and there Adultery did commit. . . ." [Supreme Court Cases, Box 371 #20473, New Jersey Archives cited by Marfy Goodspeed].

In 1761, the church minutes noted,

Mr. Bonham cut off from privileges, [and later that year], Mr. Bonham appeared to express his desire for his place in the church which was denied him.

He was involved in the settlement of the estate of John Everitt in June, 1761.

He advertised his farm for sale in 1763 and 1764 and sold it at auction in 1765.


Hannah made a will in October, 1767, which was probated eleven years later, identifying her as the widow of Malachiah Bonham, Sr., and further indicating that they had no children.


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.

King George II ruled Great Britain from June 11, 1727 to October 25, 1760.

A freeholder is the owner of a freehold estate which is an interest in land that is not fixed by a specified period of time, but which may last during the lifetime of a person.

Children of Hezekiah Bonham:
  • Mary Bonham
  • Samuel Bonham
  • Hannah Bonham Stout
  • Sarah Bonham Runyan
  • Hezekiah Bonham
  • Nehemiah Bonham
  • Zachariah Bonham
  • Zedekiah Bonham
  • Amariah Bonham
  • Temperance Bonham Ayres
  • Amaziah Bonham
  • Malachiah Bonham
  • Jeremiah Bonham
  • Ephriam Bonham
  • Josiah Bonham
  • Zephaniah Bonham
  • Uriah Bonham
  • Obadiah Bonham
  • pence


    Lawrenceville, Mercer County, New Jersey was founded as Maidenhead in 1697, as part of Burlington County in the colony of West Jersey. In 1714, the village became a part of Hunterdon County.

    New Jersey's first permanent European settlement was in 1660.

    The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America and was ratified in 1789.

    The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America and was ratified in 1789.



    The Bonhams are Mayflower descendants: Samuel Fuller, Hannah Fuller Bonham, Hezekiah Bonham, Amariah Bonham.

    John Buckingham was born about 1670 in England. He was the son of William Buckingham. On August 8, 1682, John and his father arrived in America on the Amity.

    He married Hannah Brunsden in 1698 in the Brandywine Baptist Church where they remained active. Hannah Brunsten was born about 1681 in England. Her parents were John & Alice (Glover) Brunsden. Hannah was one of the founding members of Brandywine.

    The couple had eleven children in Birmingham Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania.
    1. Hannah, d.1776 m. John Heath,
    2. Sarah, d. aft 8 1765, m. Daniel Nichols
    3. Esther
    4. John, d. aft 10 1752, m. Sarah Knowles,
    5. Abel
    6. William, 1701-1789, m. Jane James,
    7. Alice, m. Edward Jones,
    8. Margaret, d. 3 1752, never married
    9. Mary, d. 3 1753, m. Wm Kirk,
    10. James, 1723-1793, m. Mary Chambers,
    11. Joseph, 1726-1795, m. Margery Piggott

    After Hannah's death John lived in Mill Creek Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware

    He died in 1754 in New Castle County, Delaware.

    Chester County was one of the three original Pennsylvania counties created in 1682.

    from History of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, New Jersey by James P. Snell and Franklin Ellis,

    Rev. Malachia Bonham, son of Hezekiah Bonham, Sr. was born in 1713. He was a resident of Kingwood Township, Hunterdon Co.; was ordained as a minister in 1749, served at the Kingwood Baptist church until Feb. 17, 1757. He died in 1789, aged seventy-six.



    from Bonham and Related Family Lines by Howard Eugene Bonham and Jean Allin, p. 172-87.

    Malakiah was included in a list of Freeholders in Hunterdon County, New Jersey about 1741. This enumeration of Freeholders was apparently the list from which the jury was selected for a trial of a certain Rev. William Tennant. Juries were selected from Freemen above five and Twenty Years of Age. Malakiah Bonham was on the list from Maidenhead Township, Hunterdon Co., N. J.  Born in 1713, he was twenty-eight years old at the time of Jury Selection. 


    from Century-Old History of the Baptist Church at Kingwood,

    [Malakiah] was born at Maidenhead, (now the township of Lawrence) and bred a Sabbatarian; but changing his opinion relative to the Sabbath, he joined Hightstown first, and then Kingwood,

    and in 1749, he was ordained pastor of the church by Messrs. Miller and Carmen; he continued in the pastorship until February 17th, 1757, when he was refused the pulpit on account of an evil report that was spread concerning him; and March 24th 1761, was excluded from the church. 

    He died in 1789, in the 76th year of his age.


    from The Tenmile Country and Its Pioneers, p. 297

    Hannah [Buckingham Heath] purchased an interest in the mill of her two brothers, John and William, on 30 Jan 1751, as Hannah Heath. Therefore, Malachia married at some date after 30 Jan 1751.


    from Hopewell Valley Historical News Letter, 1981

    There is an entry in Pennsylvania Vital records - Marriage, Vol. I, p. 490:  __ __, and Malachia Bonham, 1751, July 19. The name of the bride in this old record is unreadable, due to the old papers wear and tear.

     It could be Hannah Heath; the date would fit as she purchased an interest in the mill of her two brothers 30 Jan 1751. By 19 July 1751, she could have married Malachia Bonham. ..


    from Some Records of Old Hunterdon County, 1701-1838 by Phyllis B. DAutrechy,

    Second Saturday in August, 1749.  ... our Brother Malakiah Bonham preached the word on Sabath Day

    . . . on Monday Mr. Benjamin Miller preached the ordination Sermon and then they proceeded to ordain our Deare Brother Malakiah Bonham our Minister and pasture (sic) over this Church

    . . . Third Saturday in September, 1749. Elected  Andrew Bray, clerk; James Bray, Moderator; Malakiah Bonham and Andrew Bray, messengers to the Association; James Bray and Edward Hunt, deacons. . .

    January 15, 1749. Chose Andrew Bray, clerk and Malakiah Bonham, moderator. Suspended: Nathaniel Farnsworth, Edward Slatter [Slater], William Woodard and Richard Palmer. 
    Selected as Admonishers: Andrew Bray and John Crichfield, James Bray and J. Schrunfield, Edward Hunt and Ezekel Oliver and Andrew Bray

    February 7, 1757.  Andrew Bray, clerk ...
    Mary Fox suspended for having a bastard child which she swore was Malakiah Bonhams. Sent for Mr. Benjamin Griffey and Mr. Benjamin Miller in regard to Malakiah Bonham who will be notified by Brother Romine.

    August 27, 1757.  Andrew Bray, clerk ... Malakiah Bonham found guilty and barred from the church. Hannah [Buckingham Heath] Bonhams letter of dismission to be written by Joshua Obdyke.

    September 6, 1760.  William Lock, clerk ... Mr. Bonham continues to be under suspension.  Thomas Curtis suspended
    March 2, 1761. Mr. Bonham cut off from privileges.

    June 5, 1761.  Andrew Bray, clerk ... Mr. Bonham appeared to express his desire for his place in the church which was denied him.

    September 5, 1761.  ... Mr. Bonham continued to be denied place in the church


    from Extracts from American Newspapers Relating to New Jersey. Volume V: 1762-1765, New Jersey Historical Society, Trenton, N. J.

    To be sold at publick Vendue On Monday the 22nd Day of April [1765] ... A Very valuable Plantation containing 210 Acres, lying in Kingwood, a very flourishing Part of Hunterdon County, in West New-Jersey, 25 Miles from Trenton and 40 from Philadelphia. There are upon it 100 Acres of plow land, and 15 of Meadow cleard and in good Repair; and 25 or 30 Acres more of good Meadow may be made:

    The Land is good for Grain and English Pasture, and has on it the following Improvements, Viz.

    • A new Stone House 2 stories high, with two good Chimneys, and
    • an extraordinary good Cellar.
    • A good framed House with two good Fire Places.
    •  A good Kitchen with an Oven in it;
    • a good Grainery, and a Cellar under it;
    • a good framed Barn 36 by 24 Feet,
    • a thriving Orchard of 100 Trees, many of which are Grafts, and both very Fruitful:
    • a good Spring of Water rises about 5 or 6 rods from the Door. 

    The whole Buildings are every Way convenient for any publick Business, and are on a very publick Road, about one Mile and a Half from a Landing, and an Excellent Fishery on the River Delaware, very convenient for sending Produce and bringing Goods from Philadelphia by Water.

    At the same Time will be Sold, 

    • Twenty-five acres of Wheat and rie on the Ground,
    • a Team of good Horses,
    • cows and young Cattle, Sheep and Hogs,
    • an Iron bound Waggon, Plow, Harrow, and all farming Utensils,
    • with sundry Shop and Household Goods, too tedious to mention.

    The Vendue to begin at 10 o Clock, on the Premises, where due Attendance will be given, and an indisputable Title made to the Purchasers by Malakiah Bonham. All Persons indebted to me, are desired to make immediate payment, or they will be proceeded against according to Law.

    Any man entering a colony or becoming a a member the church, was not free. He was not forced to work, but his movements were carefully observed to see if they followed the Puritanical ideal. After this probationary period, he became a "freeman." Men then took the Oath of a Freeman where they vowed to defend the Commonwealth and not to overthrow the government.

    The rod or perch or pole is a surveyor's tool equal to 5 1⁄2 yards.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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