Mr. Bonney was born in the State of New York, in the year 1810. His ancestors
settled in Massachusetts, during the colonial period. His grandfather was a
Colonel, commanding a body of State troops, at Springfield, Mass., in an
engagement there during what is popularly known as the whisky insurrection.
Col. Bonney’s family consisted of nine children. Luke, the second son, was
united in marriage with Eunice Hinman, and removed to the State of New York, in
1802. Their family consisted of five children, three boys and two girls. Luke
Bonney, the father of these children, died in 1819. Poverty compelled the mother
to place these boys at service s soon s their small hands could earn anything,
and with hard labor did they earn the scant allowance, often grudgingly given,
which barely kept them above want, and giving no opportunity for schooling.
After remaining a widow for about five years, the mother married Matthew
Lounsbury, some of whose descendents reside in Menard county, Illinois.
George A. Bonny was the third child, and was apprenticed to the cabinetmakers’
business. He came to Illinois in 1833, with his sister, his mother and
stepfather. They moved with their own wagons, as was the custom at that day, and
were six weeks in making the journey.
Mr. Bonney first settled in Cass county, (then a part of Sangamon) where he soon
became acquainted with and married Miss Sarah Stanard, from New Hampshire. After
fifteen years of farm life, he removed to the then new county of Mason. Having
been licensed to preach while quite young, he joined the Illinois Conference,
and was transferred to Missouri in 1851, and was stationed in the southeastern
county in the that State. Here he had an almost fatal attack of that
much-dreaded scourage, Asiatic cholera, from which he apparently recovered, but
exposure brought on an attack of asthma, from which he never was entirely cured.
After two years in the itineracy he located on account of poor health, and
returned to his farm in Illinois. After a few years of farm life, he erected a
warehouse, for the storage and shipment of grain, on the Sny Carte slough, which
flowed through his farm. Just as he was beginning to reap the benefit of his
arduous and protracted labors, it was fired by incendiaries. Soon after he sold
his farm and removed the village of Bath, where he resided until his death.
Mr. Bonny was a firm temperance man. This principle was a cardinal one with him
from early youth, and made so by the example and experience of his employer, who
died a fearful death from delirium tremens. His resolution was formed at a time
when even ministers indulged in their drams before breakfast, and on their
social and pastoral visits. He was extremely conscientious and scrupulous in
regard to his word or his promise, and believing others would be the same, he
was oftentimes defrauded of his just dues. With childlike confidence he trusted
all, only to meet with repeated losses. He seemed to think --
“Better trust all and be deceived,
And weep that trust and that deceiving.”
He was ever the enemy of oppression, and his strong anti-slavery views made him
many enemies. He was sometime justice of the peace, a position he was well
qualified to fill, but his busy life was spent in other ways than seeking
office. His ministerial services were often called for; and often in the field
or when engaged in his every day occupation, it was his duty to perform the last
rites for some of his neighbors or for members of their families; while he has
performed marriage ceremonies on all days, and in some instances at almost all
hours. He always deemed it his duty (and duty was his law) to be regularly at
church without regard to weather or to his condition of health.
His last sickness was long and painful. It was overtaxing his mind and body that
brought him to his sick bed. His wife survives him, and resides in Bath. Their
family consisted of six children-- four boys, who die din infancy, and two
daughters, whose homes re also in Bath -- Mrs. O. E. Juzi, whose husband died in
the service of his country, and Lois, wife of B.F. Rochester, of Bath, Illinois.
Mrs. Juzi, the oldest daughter, has been engaged s a teacher in the Bath
schools, a position her education and abilities peculiarly qualify her to fill.
Contributed by: Jeanie Lowe