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Below is a family biography included in The History of Sebastian County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  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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Mrs. Sue Bonneville. Among the people of more than local note who have made Fort Smith their permanent home, and whose manner of living gives to Fort Smith social circles the metropolitan tone so evident to the astute observer, none is better known than Mrs. Sue Bonneville, widow of Gen. B. L. E. Bonneville, of the United States Army. Her home, on Hickory Street, is one of the most beautiful in the city, and her household consists of herself, her niece, Miss Kate Emric, and her nephew, John Emric. Her niece and nephew were left orphans when mere children, and been reared and educated with as great solicitation by Mrs. Bonneville as if they had been her own children. Miss Emric is a highly accomplished and educated young lady, and a favorite in Fort Smith with young and old. Mrs. Sue Bonneville was born in Fort Washita, Chickasaw Nation, May 24, 1846, and is the daughter of Anton and Catherine (Sengel) Neice. [See sketch of Anton Neice.] Mrs. Bonneville is an orthodox Roman Catholic, and was educated in a convent. She was married to Gen. B. L. E. Bonneville, in Fort Smith, November 30, 1871, and with the exception of a few years succeeding her marriage, spent in St. Louis, has made Fort Smith her home since that event. Her position in life as the widow of a Federal officer has brought her into contact with many of the most talented and noted men and woman of our country. She is a patriotic and typical southern woman. Mrs. Bonneville has in her possession all the deeds of lands and property signed for Gen. B. L. E. Bonneville by the President of the United States. She has also a letter written by the Marquis de La Fayette to the mother of Gen. Bonneville, requesting that the latter be permitted to suspend his studies for a period, at West Point, and go with him upon a visit to France. The Bonneville family and the family of Marquis de La Fayette were intimate friends. Gen. B. L. E. Bonneville was born in Paris, France, April 14, 1796, and “his father,” says Washington Irving, “was a worthy old emigrant, who came to this country many years since and took up his abode in New York. He is represented as a man not well calculated for the sordid struggle of a money-making world, but possessed of a happy temperament, a festivity of imagination and a simplicity of heart that made him proof against its rules and trials. He was an excellent scholar, well acquainted with Latin and Greek and fond of the classics.” Gen. Bonneville inherited much of his father’s temperament, but thorough discipline in the military school at West Point, from which he graduated in 1815, fitted him better to grapple with men and events than was the case of his worthy sire. On graduating from West Point he entered the army, and the nature of the military service led him to the frontier, where, for a number of years, he was stationed at various points in the far West. “Here,” says Irving, “he was brought into frequent intercourse with Indian traders, mountain trappers and other pioneers of the wilderness, and became so excited by their wild tales of wild scenes and wild adventures, and their accounts of vast regions as yet unexplored, that an expedition to the Rocky Mountains became the ardent desire of his heart, and an enterprise to explore the untrodden rocks was the leading object of his ambition.” By degrees he shaped his day dreams into a practical reality, and a leave of absence was granted him August 3, 1831, on condition that he would furnish the Government information for the war department concerning the wild tribes he met on his journey. Being possessed of no fortune except the soldier’s boon, his sword, he repaired to New York, then the center of American enterprise, where there are always friends ready for any enterprise, however chimerical or romantic. On the 1st of May, 1832, Gen. Bonneville found himself in possession of the requisite means and at the head of 110 men, most of whom were experienced hunters and trappers and ready for the expedition. It was upon his return from this expedition, in 1836, that he was met by Washington Irving, at the table of John Jacob Astor, in New York. His journal, edited and amplified by Washington Irving, was published in 1837, under the title of “Adventures of Captain Bonneville (U.S.A.) in the Rocky Mountains and Far West.” So long had all communications been cut off between Capt. Bonneville and the United States Army while he was on his trip through the West, that his name was dropped from the army roll, and he was considered lost. He was afterward restored to the army, and served in the Indian Territory, and in Florida and Mexican Wars, becoming major in 1845 and brevet lieutenant-colonel in 1847. He became colonel in 1855, was assigned to the department of New Mexico, and in 1857 commanded the Gila expedition. In 1861 he was retired from active service for disability, and during the Civil War served as superintendent of the recruiting service and disbursing officer in Missouri. In 1865 he was made brevet brigadier-general. In 1871, soon after his marriage with the present Mrs. Sue Bonneville, he retired to Fort Smith, built a residence outside the city, and amidst books, flowers, shrubs and trees, and in the happy society of his young wife, passed the remainder of his days. He died June 2, 1878, and his remains were interred with martial honors in St. Louis, Mo.

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This family biography is one of 217 biographies included in The History of Sebastian County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Sebastian County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Sebastian County, Arkansas family biographies here: Sebastian County, Arkansas

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