An American Family History

Priscilla Bonham Langstaff

New Hampshire was first settled by Europeans in 1623. It was separated from Massachusetts in 1679.
An early American tavern (or ordinary) was an important meeting place and they were strictly supervised. Innkeepers were respectable members of the community. Taverns offered food and drink. An inn also offered accommodation.

Priscilla Bonham Langstaff was born on November 11, 1677 in Piscataway. Her parents were Nicholas Bonham and Hannah Fuller

She married John Langstaff about 1697. John was born in 1664 in Dover, New Hampshire. His parents were John Langstaffe and Elizabeth Fitz Randolph (daughter of Edward Fitz Randolph).

In 1699/1700, John Langstaff and Edward Slater who was Priscilla's sister, Elizabeth's husband were involved in anti-English, pre-revolutionary activities. The court wanted to hold proceedings in the Piscataway Public house. The townspeople were opposed to this and nailed the door shut.The sheriff attempted to break the door open and John and Edward stopped him forcibly. One account of this incident is below and another is on the Elizabeth and Edward Slater page.

John died November 13, 1745 in Piscataway. Priscilla died in 1710.
First printed in Boston 1745

This civil disobedience was an early example of the shift to Enlightenment thinking. Enlightenment philosophers such as John Locke said that the people gave the power to the government. Before that people believed that God gave the power to the government and that it was heresy to challenge it.

Children of Nicholas Bonham
and Hannah Fuller
  • Hannah Bonham Lippington
  • Mary Bonham Dunham
  • Elizabeth Bonham Slater
  • Sarah Bonham Fitz Randolph
  • Nicholas Bonham
  • Elijah Bonham
  • Hezekiah Bonham
  • Samuel Bonham
  • Jane Bonham
  • Priscilla Bonham Langstaff
  • Old Style Calendar
    Before 1752 the year began on Lady Day, March 25th,. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year. Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are used to indicate whether the year has been adjusted. Often both dates are used.

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

    The First Baptist Church of Piscataway is in Edison, New Jersey and was formed in 1689.



    ye is an archaic spelling of "the."

    The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) was between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the 13 colonies which became the newly formed United States.

    Documents Relating to the Colonial, Revolutionary and Post-revolutionary History of the State of New Jersey, by New Jersey Historical Society, 1881

    A Record of ye Justices of Midlsex Proceedings for Piscataway ye 3rd of March 1699/1700

    Att A Meeting Of ye Justices Of ye Court Or Court Of Sessions For sd County Of Middlesex In ye Town Of Piscataway This 19th March
    Present Justices Samuel Dennis
    Capt John Bishop
    Samll Hale
    Benj Griffith
    Machiell Vanweghtie

    Whereas this day being ye day appointed by Act of ye Generall Assembly of this province for holding ye County Courts for ye sd Town of Piscataway in ye Publick meeting house there they ye sd Justices went to ye sd publick meeting house And finding ye dooer thereof shutt they Inquired who had the Keyes of it.

    Answer was made by Some of ye Inhabitants of sd Town ye sd house belonged to their Town & ye they had nayled the doores thereof to wch ye Justices Replyed the house belonged to ye Country so as to keep Court there by Act of Generall Assembly & so demanded Entrance wch being Refused ye sd Justices commanded ye Sheriff to break open ye doore of sd house wch he attempting & Endeavouring to do

    Edward Slater of sd Towne layd violent hands on him & John Longstaff wth other Persons of sd Town stood close by ye doore to hinder ye Sheriff to Obey ye Justices Command, and the Sheriff & sd Edward Slater wrestling together ye people Called out let them have room & fair play, & ye Sheriff geting Clear of sd Edward Slater went to ye house doore & pushed it up with his foot & went into ye house

    & Severall others crouded in after him amongst whom were John Langstaffe Thomas Higgens Joseph & Benjamin Mannen with others of sd town and ye sd John Langstaff said let us turn ye Sheriff out again for wee are men Ennough here to do it and there being a great noise & confusion in ye house Severall persons said to Justice Dennes will you stand here and lett ye Sheriff be murdered in ye house, upon wch ye sd Justice went to another doore of ye sd house & pushed it open with his foot & Entring in

    Some persons of sd Towne whom he knew not layd hold on him & Edward Slater Came to him & took him by the Coller wth design as he Supposed to Strick him & said what do you come here for to whom ye sd Justice answered only in peace to keep his Majties Court but finding ye not acceptable he called Yelverton Crowell & Wm Englie to his Assistance who accordingly Relieved him from ye sd Edward Slater. Also John Keyse & Sam" Walker asked Severall times by what author itie they came to keep Court there and when it was answered to them by ye Kings authoritie they Replyed ye they had no Lawfull authoritie to keep any Courts there & ye ye house was ye towns & ye Justices had nothing to do with it, and so ye Justices finding such Resistance & opposition withdrew from ye sd house and went to ye Constables house of sd towne & made this Record of their proceedings.

    In contracts and pleadings usually people and things mentioned before are designated by the term said (sd ) for clarity. Aforesaid (afd, afsd, aforesd ) means it was already mentioned.

    A constable was an elected official who was responsible for keeping the peace. His duties were more limited than the sheriff's. He apprehended and punished offenders, helped settle estates, and collected taxes.
    The Bonhams are Mayflower descendants: Samuel Fuller, Hannah Fuller Bonham, Hezekiah Bonham, Amariah Bonham.

    from History of the First Baptist Church of Piscataway
    Stelton, New Jersey, 1889, by Oliver B. Leonard, Esq.

    Henry Langstaff, the founder of the family in New Jersey, was the son of Henry, who emigrated to New Hampshire with the colony sent out by Mason, the patentee, in 1630. He lived on the Piscataqua River up to the time of his removal to Piscataway township in 1668-9. Through his son John, born in New England in 1647, the name has been handed down to posterity in this latitude. The marriage of many of the female members into other pioneer families, has given some of the best representatives of this mother Church. The original male line was distinctly identified with the Episcopal Church.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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