An American Family History

Samuel Bonham

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

Estate inventories give us a glance into the home life of Colonial Americans.

Samuel Bonham was born on February 6, 1693 at Piscataway, New Jersey. He was the son of Hezekiah Bonham and his first wife Mary Dunn.

He married Catherine Anderson, daughter of Enoch Anderson (Andrus, Andrews) and Catherine Opdyk.

They had at least two sons, Samuel, Bonham, and Ephraim Bonham

Samuel Bonham was living in Hunterdon County as early as 1722. In 1724 he was a road commisioner for Hunterdon County where the commision rerouted a road that inconvenienced his father-in-law.

He remained in Hunterdon until 1733 when he and three of his half brothers, Nehemiah, Zedekiah, and Jeremiah, were debtors to the estate of John Severns of Trenton.

Probably Samuel Bonham died in New Jersey near the end of the 1730's. Enoch Andress's (Anderson) will written October 2, 1741 mentioned his daughter, Catherine, and her two sons, but not her husband, Samuel.

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.

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.

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
  • Christ Church in Philadelphia was founded in 1695 as a condition of William Penn’s Charter. The current building dates to 1744.
    Early European settlers in the American colonies were mostly farmers and craftsmen. They had to work hard to provide daily neccesities for themselves.


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

    from 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. 91-108.

    The birth dates of Samuel [Bonham] and Ephraim Bonham are unknown. If 1714 is correct for Samuel, he was age 33 when he married Ruth Bowyer, 29 May 1747. Ruth was called "spinster" in the marriage bond. Ephraim married Margaret Jarrett, 5 Mar 1761. If he was born in 1716, he would be age 45 at time of marriage. Not impossible, but doubtful for a first marriage. It is probable that all of the estimates of the above dates are wrong. Samuel Bonham, Sr. probably married later than 1713; Samuel, Jr. and Ephraim were probably born later than 1714 & 1716. We have found no proof of births of Samuel, Jr. and Ephraim, or marriage of Samuel, Sr. and Catherine.

    Samuel was living in Hunterdon County as early as 1722 as he was mentioned in various records and he served as a Commissioner of the county in 1724. On 4 Nov 1727 he and James Hide made the inventory of Thomas McClellem of Trenton. 

    The final record we found of Samuel is 4 Mar 1732/3, when he is listed as a debtor in the estate of John Severns, Trenton, Hunterdon Co., NJ, (also listed were his step-brothers) . He is not mentioned in the will of his father-in-law, Enoch Anderson, which was proved in probate court 8 Oct 1741, although Enoch did mention his other sons-in-law. This could indicate that Samuel was probably deceased before that date. We believe that Samuel died between 1732/3 and the making of Enoch Anderson's will in 1741.

    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.

    Buy your own copy of Monnette's First Settlers.

    Mar. 4, 1732/3.  "Inventory of the estate of John Severns, of Trenton, Hunterdon Co., NJ, "as appears by a list of debts as they now stand upon his books," ... included Samuel, Zedekiah, Jeremiah and Nehemiah Bonham, all sons of Hezekiah Bonham, Sr."

    Hunterdon County originally included all or parts of Mercer, Morris, Warren, and Sussex Counties.

    When a mark is used for a signature, the person was probably illiterate, but may not have been able to sign because of age or infirmity.

    Minutes of Town Meeting, 1716-1928, Lawrence Twp., Mercer Co.,

    We the under written commissioners for layout and altering roads for the two countys Hunterdon and Burlington be applied to pursuant an act of assembly of the province by Enoch Anderson of Trenton. He presents to us that a certain road beginning at the mill bridge in Trenton and running through his land by the creek called Assunpink is much discommodious and predjudical to him which upon due examination we find to be true

    The which road was formerly laid out to the Division line of the Province through such imposible and difficult ways as renders the same unconvenient to the town of Maidenhead to markite of which they make to us a generall complaint desiring therefore that the said road may be maid null and void. 

    We the twelve commissioners upon due consideration to unanimous agree order and detarmine, by ye virtue of ye powers by ye law of this province commited to us and by ye authority of the same do from henceforth make null and utterly void the said road laid out for a four rod road from the aforesaid bridge to ye division line of ye Province by ye several courses whare it formily passed

    & in stid thereof to begin at ye mill bridge and from thence to run a four rod road, where ye dwelling houses in said street will admit of and from thence to run by ye frunt of Alburtes Ringo's lott from thence between Joseph Higby & John Lewis in a direct line until it falls in Maidenhead Road which leed unto ye Division Line ware it meets by Henry Mershon's plantation. 

    In witness whereof  we ye said commissioners have heare unto sett our hands this twentieth day of May in ye tenth year of his Maj'st reign   Annodomini...........1724 

    Signing for Hunterdon
    James (his mark) Price,
    Joseph Stout [son of Jonathan Stout],  
    David Stout [son of Jonathan Stout],
    John Biles,
    Thomas Reed,
    Samuel Bonham 
    Signing for Burlington: 
    Abraham Brown,
    Isaac Watson,
    Edward Bartor,
    Sam'll Wilson,
    Thomas Wright,
    Joseph Overton,
    Abner Phillips, Clk 

    ye is an archaic spelling of "the."

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

    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.


    from An Ancestral Chart and Handbook by Olive Barrick Rowland

    Born at Piscataway, New Jersey, Feb. 6, 1693; s. Hezekiah Bonham and his first wife, Mary Dunn. Monnette says; "He was a creditor in the estate of John Heath of Amwell, Huntertdon County, in the years 1724, 1729 Archives XXIII, p. 220). He was a debtor, 1732 to the estate of John Severens of Trenton, together with Zedekiah, Jeremiah and Nehemiah Bonham, his brothers."

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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