BONNER-L Archives

Archiver > BONNER > 2007-08 > 1186118004

From: Adriana Leigh <>
Subject: Re: [BONNER] Jesse Bonner of Dinwiddie Co.,Va.
Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2007 22:13:24 -0700 (PDT)

I happened across an archived post about a Jesse Bonner of Reams, Dinwiddie Co. Virginia posted by Judy Cardwell. I realize the message is a good decade old, but I have a bit of information about Jesse Bonner and his family (including his will and his father's).

I am also quite excited about the letter posted and curious as to where it was found. My family is from Bonner Town and are the descendants of Jesse Bonner's slaves. The letter matches up about exactly with what we were told about that land and its history. I am very excited about the information in the letter, much of the records in the Dinwiddie Courthouse were destroyed making it difficult to research the history and make definitive links.

If anyone has any information on the letter it'd be greatly appreciated.


this is the archived post to which I am responding:DisplayMail('&#97;&#111;&#108;&#46;&#99;&#111;&#109;','&#74;&#117;&#100;&#121;&#83;&#67;&#97;&#114;</script>
Subject: Jesse Bonner of Dinwiddie Co.,Va.
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 1997 17:24:21 -0400 (EDT)
Hello, this is the letter that I previously mentioned. Can anyone identify
this Jesse Bonner? Thank you, Judy
20 Jun 88 [1888] - Norfolk, Virginia - This letter written by C. P. Bonner,
Norfolk,Virginia c/o N & W Ry. to his aunt:
"My Dear Aunt,
I went up to Reams[Dinwiddie Co.,Virginia] last Sunday and paid a visit to
the old home of the Bonner Family. I went up in the morning and spend the
day. I had no difficulty in finding "Bonner Town" that I
wrote to you about the last time that I wrote you. I soon found an old
darkey, Jno. Bonner by name, who piloted me around and gave me all the
information that he could. It seems that there was once upon a time "old
Jennie and Grandsir Ned" who were mother and father to all the existing
Bonner Darkirs. Old Jennie and Grandsir Ned, were the property of JESSE
BONNER and his wife - ("Brieye"[Bridget]) Bonner. Jesse Bonner was a poor
man when he married, acquiring with this wife a large tract of land and some
chattels among the rest, Jennie and Ned.
This wife died leaving no issue. She left, however, a will freeing Jennie &
Ned and settling upon there a tract of land agreeable to then law of Virginia
which, as nearly as I can make out, is held in trust forever for the
disenidants of Jennie & Ned by the State of Virginia. This land, 296 acres,
is now occupied by "The Bonners". But to go back, this will had a condition
the slave's children and all were to be the property of Jesse during his life
time, and at his death were to be free. In the course of time Jesse married
again this time marrying Becky MOORE, whose sister Caroline MOORE married a
Perkins. Jesse died leaving no children. No, I was mistaken, Becky Bonner
married a BUTTS after her her husband's death. Up until the time of her
second marriage, Jesse's widow lived on the farm and the the Bonner Darkirs
with her, but when she married BUTTS she moved away from the Bonner farm and
gave the place over to the darkirs, who have held it ever since from
generation to generation. Now "Candice" told me this and says that Jennie
was her grandmother and that she, Candice, is now in the ninterth[90th] year.
She looks very old and her son John is the youngest son and he said that he
was seventy - and he seemed to be as old as that. So you see the days of
Jesse Bonner are long since passed away. This is about all that I could
gather. It seems to have been so long since ago that it is rather a vague
history. John Bonner said as did also Candice, that there are no Bonners now
anywhere near except one that lives some place on Blackwater river and that
he had not been seen by anyone at Reams for forty years. The land' at Reams
is very poor, hardly more than sand, it gives but a scanty return. Jno. took
me to where the "Great House" stood, that is the mansion. The building is
all gone, the well is still there and and an old mulberry tree. A little way
off are three very large persimon trees that Candice told me were just as
large when she was little. Just a little way off in a group of pines is the
burying ground. There are no monuments, tombstones or anything of the sort.
John told me that there are no white persons buried there except Jesse and
his first wife, whose graves are at the foot of a large hickory. Around them
are a hundred or more graves, almost all Bonners(darkers) or their relatives.
All the Bonner darkers expect to be buried there I cut a cane from a holly
bush which grew on one of the graves a the foot of the hickory and have it
now. Very many of these darkers have gone away to work and to live, some
are in the Richmond some in Petersburg and two are here in Norfolk.
There are the Bonner names among them, John & Chapel & David, and William and
Ned. They seem to know nothing about our branch of the family, tho' I am
sure that they are of a common origin. Jno. Bonner told me that there is a
full history of the Bonner family giving the land titles etc. very far back
in Dinwiddie Court House. This is about ten mile from Reams across country,
so I could not go there.
John can read and write and told me that they could nearly all do so. He
asked to be remembered to all the "kin folks of Masr.[Master] Jesse" and
earnestly invited me here to come again to see them. This letter is for you
and Aunt Gus. I will write to the Xenia[Ohio] folks. How is Uncle Lene now,
is he still in Chester? Grace asks to be remembered to you all and give my
love to all and remember me to Uncle Will and Howard. I hope they are doing
well with their store. Write to me and tell me all the news."

Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge to see what's on, when.

This thread: