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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Seneca and Schuyler Counties, New York published by Chapman Publishing Co., in 1895.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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GEORGE A. BONNELL, who is known all over the state as an extensive grower of seed potatoes of the best varieties, is the owner of a well cultivated farm of one hundred and thirty-five acres near Waterloo, Seneca County, which is devoted almost entirely to growing this commodity. Northwestern New York produces the most vigorous seed potatoes, and during the World’s Fair our subject sent thirty varieties to Chicago for the state of New York, and later placed on exhibition thirty more varieties under his own name, for which he received two gold medals. The “Empire State Express,” “Fast Mail” and “Through Freight” are some of his late productions.

The ancestors of our subject came to America in company with William Penn, and were also Quakers. The grandfather, Henry Bonnell, was born and reared in the state of New Jersey, where he was also married. He came to New York in company with Richard Dell, another Quaker, who went to the land-office at Albany and purchased a farm for both of them. The land was cultivated and improved, and Mr. Bonnell there made his home for several years, when he removed with his family to Wayne County, settling upon property near Clyde. There his son Henry, Jr., the father of our subject, was reared to mature years, although his birth occurred on the estate where George A., of this history, now lives.

Henry Bonnell, Jr., was married to Miss Mary Dell in the old Quaker Church in the town of Waterloo, Seneca County, and soon thereafter purchased the land which our subject now owns, but which was formerly occupied by his father. The latter continued to live in Wayne County until his decease, which occurred July 28, 1829. His good wife, who was the mother of a large family of children, survived him many years, passing away in Wayne County, March 17, 1848.

The father of our subject was a great lover of poetry, and could repeat passages from memory by the hour. He was also quite a poet himself, and a short time before his decease wrote a very beautiful poem, entitled, “A Synopsis of Life.” His wife was one of the best of women, faithful, loving, and generous to a fault. She was a true helpmate in all the departments of life, and in the devotion to and care of her children had no peer, pursuing the even tenor of her way with such rectitude that they looked upon her as one who could not make a mistake.

The subject of this sketch was born on the farm where he now resides, April 28, 1849. He was the youngest in the parental family of five children, and was given such an education as could be gained in the schools of the district. His father, who was one of the pioneers of Seneca County, early in life began growing potatoes on an extensive scale, and as soon as he was old enough George A. assisted him, thus becoming familiar with all the details of the business.

Mr. Bonnell was married, on Christmas Day, 1876, to Miss May E. Halsted, then a resident of Walworth, Wayne County, N. Y. She was born in Cayuga County, August 20, 1852, her parents being Reuben and Hannah (Halsted) Halsted. Her education was received in the academy in Cayuga County, and she remained with her parents until her marriage. By the union of our subject and his wife there was born one daughter, Adah N., her birth occurring January 9, 1887.

Our subject has always lived on the farm which he now owns. Besides his other interests, he has a fine poultry-yard on his farm, and makes a specialty of raising the Rose Comb Black Minorcas, the Sicilians, Buff Wyandottes, Buff Plymouth Rocks, White Rocks, Black Dangshans and Golden Sebright Bantams. In his political views our subject is a strong Republican, and his motto is, “The United States Against the World.”

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Seneca and Schuyler Counties, New York published in 1895. 

View additional Seneca County, New York family biographies here: Seneca County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Seneca County, New York here: Seneca County, New York Map

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