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Below is a family biography included in The History of Darke County, Ohio published by W. H. Beers & Co. in 1880.  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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WILLIAM L. BONHAM, retired farmer, Sec. 36; P. O. Gordon; one of the old settlers of Darke Co.; he was born in Hunterdon Co., N. J., Feb. 12, 1815, and is a son ofAmbrose and Ann Bonham, natives of the same place; his father died in the place of his nativity, at the age of 81 years; after his death, his wife came to Ohio, and resided with a daughter till her death, which occurred at the advanced age of 86 years; our subject was reared on the farm, and assisted his father in agricultural pursuits till he was of age, when he began life for himself, and engaged in coopering for about fifteen years, mostly in Darke Co.; he emigrated to Ohio in 1838, and settled in Montgomery Co., seven miles below Dayton, where he resided for three years, and then came to Darke Co., April 1, 1841, and temporarily settled in Gordon for less than a year, when he removed to the place where he now resides, in February, 1842; his land was all in the woods, but by dint of hard labor and persevering industry, he soon cleared it of the mantle nature gave it; he now owns 65 acres of fine land, all in a good state of cultivation, with good, comfortable buildings erected thereon; Mr. Bonham is another of the self-made men of this township; he landed on the banks of the Miami River, with less than $75, but, by good management, combined with the assistance rendered by his amiable wife, has secured a competent income, from which to enjoy their declining years, and they are surrounded by all the comforts of life. He was united in marriage with Rebecca, daughter of David and Elizabeth Rittenhouse, July 1, 1837; they were also natives of New Jersey, and their remains are interred in their native State; Mr. H. died at the age of 81, and Mrs. H., at the age of 53 years; Mr. and Mrs. Bonham are the parents of eight children, of whom four are living, viz.: Harrison, born Aug. 24, 1840; Sarah, born June 29, 1844, now Mrs. Garrett Hulse; Uriah, born June 27, 1847; Martha J., born Sept. 3, 1856, now Mrs. Carter. The deceased are: Amy, born April 14, 1838, died Nov. 10, 1841; Ann, born Oct. 18, 1842, and died Nov. 4, 1842; Andrew, born Sept. 22, 1849, died Sept. 10, 1851; Susan, born March 4, 1854, and departed this life Sept. 9, 1854. Mr. Bonham assessed this township in 1845, for which service he received $3.50, and was also Constable the same year. Mr. and Mrs. Bonham are members of the Baptist Church of long standing, are among the faithful ones, and are consistent Christian people. Our subject has given his children good education, and his son Harrison is one of the leading educators of the county, and has followed the profession at intervals for fourteen years. At his country’s call for help to preserve the unity of the States, and to crush the rebellious spirit of the South, young Harrison was one among the first to respond and volunteer in Co. B of the 110th O. V. I. Aug. 22, 1862; the regiment was drilled in army tactics at Piqua, about two months, when they were removed to the front, in the vicinity of Parkersburg; his regiment participated in the severe and stubbornly contested battle of Winchester and after three consecutive days of incessant battle, were obliged to yield the ground on account of the overwhelming numbers of the enemy; he received a severe wound in the right arm, and was taken prisoner on the morning of the last day’s fight, and was entombed in the prison-pen at Belle Isle for one month when he was paroled, and returned to his home for three months, when he was exchanged, and again returned to the front; but by disease caused by exposure and army dirt, he was incapacitated from active duty till the following spring when health and strength again returned, and he took his place in the ranks of his battered regiment on the eve of the great battle of the Wilderness; in the first day’s fight, May 5, he received a severe wound in the right hip, and was again taken to the hospital, where he remained for some time, and then came home on a furlough; he recovered from his wound, and returned to the front in the winter of 1864; his regiment took an active part in the battles of the spring of 1865, that gave the death-blow to the rebellion; he was honorably discharged May 16, 1865. Has followed teaching for nine years, with the exception of two terms. He celebrated his marriage with Catharine, daughter of Hendrick and Elizabeth Barkalow, Nov. 26, 1865; they are natives of Butler Co., Ohio, but residents now of Darke Co.; Mr. Bonham has 79 acres of fine land, all in a good state of cultivation and his improvements are No. 1 in every particular.

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This family biography is one of 659 biographies included in The History of Darke County, Ohio published in 1880 by W. H. Beers & Co.  For the complete description, click here: Darke County, Ohio History and Genealogy

View additional Darke County, Ohio family biographies here: Darke County, Ohio Biographies

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