William Bonnell

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William Bunnell

Birthplace: Cheshire, England, (Present UK)
Death: Died in New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut Colony, (Present USA)
Immediate Family:

Son of Benjamin Bonnell; Benjamin Bunnell; Rebecca Brooks and Rebecca Bunnell
Husband of Anne Bunnell (Wilmot)
Father of Benjamin Bunnell; Samuel Bunnell; Lydia French; Mary Peck; Nathaniel Bonnell, Sr. and 3 others
Brother of Solomon Bonnell(Bunnell); Benjamin Bonnell(Bunnell); Benjamin Bunnell and Solomon Bunnell

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Bonnell

Information from Tom E. FLEMING of Springfield, Virginia says he was born 1610 or 1617. Also:

"William Bonnell (Bunnell) came from England to New Haven, Conn. after 1635 and before April 13, 1650. He returned to England in May, 1654 after the death of his wife and youngest child, after which he returned to New Haven.

Ref: Jacobus, Donald L. "Families of Ancient New Haven" Vol II pgs 358-360" All his children are listed as "BUNNELL".


He emigrated to Massachusetts Bay Colony prior to September 28, 1630, and removed to New Haven about 1640.

"A Potter-Richardson Memorial" states that town records convey a sordid picture of his life. [Wonder what that means?]

It also states his death occured about 1660/1.

"The Ancestry of William Francis Joseph Boardman" states that his death occured bef 1669.

"Ward and Allied Families" states that he made one trip to England before October 1651, and returned to New Haven, but, in May of 1654, his wife and youngest child (Ebenezer) having died, he returned to England.


From: http://www.concentric.net/~pvb/GEN/nbonn.html

The eldest Nathaniel Bonnell* (1648-1696) was the son of William Bonnell* (b. c1610) and Anne Wilmot*, daughter of Benjamin Wilmot* and Anne Ladd*. According to the Virkus reference, William was born in Cheshire County, England, and came to Massachusetts on the ship James in 1630. The Coate Duduck reference indicates that he was a Juror in Watertown MA in 1630, implying that he was at least 20 years of age and thus probably born in 1610 or earlier.

It may also be questionable that he was born in Cheshire, because his parents (as indicated in many references - see below) were in London. There may be confusion with an old neighborhood of New Haven, known as Cheshire CT, in which he may have lived. He subsequently joined a settlement in New Haven CT in 1638. New Haven was first settled by a Puritan group under Reverend John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton, who founded the Colony of New Haven in 1638. However, this Puritan group of 500 settlers arrived in Boston on the ship Hector in 1637. See: A New Look at Old New Haven. In any event, William and Anne Bonnell may have been among the very earliest settlers of New Haven CT. See the History of New Haven. William Bonnell, described by the Virkus reference as a "farmer and tanner", married Anne Wilmot, in 1640 in New Haven CT. However, the Coate Dudick reference indicates that William and Anne were married in about 1635 in Wallingford CT (about 10 miles upriver from New Haven). However, Wallingford was not settled until 1669. It is not known where Anne was born (most probably in Europe) and when and where she arrived. It might be supposed that Anne was also in the Puritan group which settled New Haven. However, it is also possible that she arrived on the ship Elizabeth and Ann to Boston in 1639, and subsequently moved to New Haven.

In Jan. 1650/1, William Bunnell* and his family were apparently facing poverty and he sought to return to England, possibly to find financial support. He left his wife and children with his father-in-law and returned to England. Meanwhile, back in New Haven, his two oldest children, Benjamin (age about 9) and Lydia (age about 8), were apprenticed as child laborers by his impoversihed wife and father-in-law, while Nathaniel* and Mary, were only about 6 and 1, respectively, or less in age.

William* returned to his family in New Haven before Mar. 11, 1651/2 and sought to have his children returned to him. The town court apparently refused to break the apprenticeships and offered 2 shillings per week to compensate him for their loss. The town also offered an appreticeship for his second son, Nathaniel Bonnell* (1645-1696), who was then about 7 years old to pay for the cost of a cow. William refused to put Nathaniel into apprenticeship indicating that he had some small degree of success in finding enough funds while in England to afford the cow.

In 1654, William's wife, Anne*, took ill, and both she and her newly born son, Ebenezer (b. 1653), died. William and his two youngest children, Nathaniel* and Mary, may have moved to Elizabethtown NJ after Anne and Ebenezer died. It is possible that they went first to Newfoundland, Canada, or to New London CT. William Bonnell* (b. c1610-7, d. 1669), was from England, but his parentage is unproven. According to the Virkus reference (and others), he was born to Benjamin Bonnel* (b. c1570), who was born in Flanders, the son of Thomas Bonnel* of Ypres and Jacque Marie Bygote. This Benjamin (c. c1570) was married to Rebecca Brooks*, who was most probably English in birth. Benjamin died in London, England. This account is refuted by the Coate Dudick reference, however no alternative is suggested by Coate Dudick, but that: "at least a dozen parents fit the names and time lines for this William Bunnel".


From: http://ancestrees.com/pedigree/63.htm

What we know about William Bunnell is that he shows up in Watertown, MA by 1630 as a juror in a murder trial. This means that he would have been of age by 1630, and was probably born in 1610 or earlier. His early arrival in our country, has made his descendants eligible for entry into the "Order of Founders and Patriots." (F-32)

He apparently moved to New Haven, CT by 1638. He is in the General Court Meeting Records of New Haven, CT. On April 3, 1650 (when he would have been about 40+), "the Court freed old Goodman Bunill from paying his poll money to ye towne, because of his poverty, age and weakness." In Jan. 1650/51, his landlord told him he'd give him a years rent if he would peaceably leave the premises. He asked the court for assistance in getting William Bunill to move out. The court gave William 3 weeks to find a new residence. He finally left, apparently to England, about 4 weeks after this court decision.

While he was in England, his wife and father-in-law apprenticed his son to Nico Elsy and his daughter to Sam Whitehead. William had returned to America by Oct. 7, 1651 as he was in court on said day to get his children back because he needed their help. This violated the terms of the apprenticeship. William's wife had only done what was proper, considering she had no money to care for them. The court did decide to pay William a sum of 2 shillings a week to help compensate for the loss of his children. On March 11, 1651/52, the court asked William if they could "put forth his boy" (second oldest son) so that the "Towne may be at as little charge as may be." His apprenticeship was to be paid for by a townsman with a cow. The boy was to be in service to him for several years to pay off the cost of the cow and to learn discipline as he was "spoyled for want of govermt." William refused to have his son apprenticed out. The court therefore withdrew his 2 shilling stipend for his family.

A year and a half later, Feb. 27, 1653/4, Goodwife Bunnil was in the court records as being very ill. The town decided it had done as much as it could for her, and that it was time to have her two youngest children "put out" so as to receive an education and lesson the burden of the town.

By May 1, 1654, Goodwife Bunill and one of her children had died. In this court session, William asked the court to return him to England. "The court ordered that the Townsmen and Treasurer should help him gain passage on a ship bound from Milford to Newfoundland. He said he had friends in England to care for him. This is the last record of him in the New Haven Town Records, Vol. I, (1649-1662) by Franklin Bowditch Dexter, New Haven Historical Society, 1917. (F-136)

William's birth date and death date are not by any means known. The dates above are only second hand sources that might not apply to this William Bunnell of New Haven, Connecticut.

A commonly but erroneously printed parentage for William Bunnell of New Haven, is Thomas Bonnel (or Boonell) who fled from Ypres, France (Flanders) about 1577-79. He settled in Norwich, England. He married twice, the first wife being unknown. He had 4 sons by the first wife, one still recorded by name as Benjamin (b. before 1595). His second wife was Jaque Marie Bygote. This marriage brought forth 2 sons and 4 daughters. Four of their names are known: Elizabeth (chr. Aug. 10, 1595), Abraham (chr. April 15, 1599), Isaac (chr. 1601), and Judge (chr. Mar.1605/06). Benjamin, son of Thomas, might have been born in Flanders and died after 1607 in London. He and an unknown wife, had a son named William, born about 1610. (F-136) This theory has pretty much been dispelled as it came from an early 20th century researcher, Carolyn Syron Valentine, who only found one Bunnel in England at the time, and so she connected it, stating clearly that it was a guess. People have since taken it as truth, when in current records, at least a dozen parents fit the names and time lines for this William Bunnel. (F-410)


From Iva Norton: William Bunnel left his family . Leaving his wife and children. To live with her parents it is believed that he is the William Bunnel that died in Barbadoes; at that time it was a debter state for those that owed England -------------------- Came to United States in 1638 and settled in New Haven, Conn.

Five children -------------------- Served on a jury to inquire into the death of Austin Bratcher at Watertown, MA, 1630, and in other Watertown records through 1646.

Moved to New Haven, CT, c. 1649-50.

http://www.bunnellfamily.com/pubpages/Immigrants/william.php -------------------- Some references note that William Bunnell came to America about 1630. -------------------- William arrived in New England with the Winthrop Fleet of 1630. According to the Bunnell Annex website, he had trouble caring for his family, and was considered a burden on society. He eventually abandoned his wife and children and went back to England. He did return and reconcile with his wife eventually, but then went back to England for the remainder of his life.

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William Bonnell's Timeline

Cheshire, England, (Present UK)
Age 21
Watertown, (Present Middlesex County), Massachusetts Bay Colony
Age 22
New Haven, New Haven, Connecticut
Age 23
Cheshire, England
Age 23
Cheshire, England
Age 27
New Haven, New Haven Colony, (Present Connecticut), (Present USA)
April 10, 1649
Age 34
New Haven, New Haven, CT, United States
May 4, 1650
Age 35
New Haven, New Haven Colony, (Present Connecticut)
August 5, 1650
Age 35
New Haven, New Haven, Connecticut, USA