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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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HENRY S. BONNELL is well known to the residents of Seneca County, as he was born on the farm where he now resides, four miles northwest of the village of Waterloo, October 14, 1831, His parents were Charles and Deanna (Dell) Bonnell, both of whom were born in Dover County, N. J.

The father of our subject was brought to this portion of the Empire State by his father, Henry Bonnell, when a lad of five years, in 1806. The grandfather located near where Henry S. is now living, and there resided for many years, eventually removing to Wayne County, this state. About this time Charles attained his twentieth year, and, being given his time, worked out by the month, receiving at first $9. This was raised to $10 the second year, and the third year also saw an increase of $1. He saved the greater part of his earnings, and a few years later went to Michigan and purchased a quarter-section of wild land. He soon disposed of this, however, and in partnership with his brother became the owner of one hundred and fifty acres of land in the town of Galen, Wayne County, this state. This they divided equally, and on his share the father erected a log house and barn. He then began the arduous task of cutting away the trees and placing the land under cultivation. The place he afterward sold to his brother, and the property is still in the hands of some of the Bonnell family.

The maternal grandparents of our subject had friends living in Canada, and on one occasion, when going to visit them, crossed over the land which our subject now owns. The grandmother was greatly pleased with the locality, and on their way back they stopped and purchased it. The following spring they moved upon this new farm, and at that time there were very few houses between them and the little village of Waterloo. Our subject’s mother inherited a portion of this farm, and later Charles Bonnell purchased a large amount of the property, owning at one time about six hundred acres.

The parental family included five children, four of whom are now living. Rachel D. married Edmund Mitchell, and is now living in Ontario County. Elizabeth became the wife of William C. Dutton; the family make their home in the town of Waterloo. Henry S., of this history, was the next-born. Phebe W. married Joseph Lynch, and on his death became the wife of Levi Lundy; they are now living in the town of Galen, Wayne County, N. Y. Mary T. died when young. The father of this family was a Whig in early life, and a strong anti-slavery man, and cast his first Presidential vote for John Q. Adams. After the organization of the Republican party he joined its ranks and was a loyal supporter of its candidates until his death, which occurred in 1879. In religious belief he was a Quaker.

The subject of this sketch was fairly well educated, and passed his boyhood days on the home farm. He was married, March 26, 1860, to Miss Elizabeth W. Thorn, who was born in Wayne County. Her parents were Isaac and Rebecca (Palmer) Thorn, well known and highly respected residents of that locality. To Mr. and Mrs. Bonnell there were born six children, of whom Clara died in infancy; Mary T. married George Pletts, and at her decease left two children; Ellen C. married Dillwyn Barton, and they make their home on the old homestead; Stella May died at the age of seventeen years; Dora E. became the wife of H. R. D. Mitchell, and is living in the town of Waterloo; and Charles C. is at home.

Mr. Bonnell cast his first vote for Winfield Scott, and in 1856 supported Fremont. He has since been a firm adherent of Republican principles. Although he has never desired to hold office, he has been frequently solicited to do so. He was reared by Quaker parents, and therefore clings to the faith of that sect.

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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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