William Bonnell

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William Bunnell

Birthdate: (54)
Birthplace: Cheshire, England, (Present UK)
Death: August 18, 1669 (50-58)
New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut Colony, (Present USA)
Immediate Family:

Son of Benjamin Bonnell, II; Benjamin Bunnell; Benjamin Bunnell, II; Rebecca Brooke; Rebecca Bunnell and 1 other
Husband of Anne Bunnell and Anne Bunnell
Father of Mary Peck; Benjamin Bunnell; Samuel Bunnell; Lydia French (Bunnell); Mary Peck and 4 others
Brother of Benjamin Bonnell and Solomon Bonnell

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.


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.

The progenitor of the Bonnell family in America was William Bunnell who settled in New Haven, Connecticut in 1638." --- Register of Ancestors, The Hugenot Society of New Jersey, Inc. 1975.

Historians have written of the first Bunnells in New Haven (William, Soloman and Benjamin) as "being without exception men of character and peity, who used every opportunity to promote education and religion, and were the first in all history to adopt a written constitution and to refuse compensation for public service." When the first census was taken in 1790 in the Thirtenn Colonies, there were Bunnells recorded in every state, and their descendants are wide spread. ---Connecticut, 1600s-1800s Local Families and Histories: New England Families, Vol. I, Genealogies and Memorials, Page 66.
Notes for WILLIAM BUNNELL: (The following was compiled by William R. Austin, March 5, 1999) WILLIAM BUNNELL was certainly born in England, although no evidence showing the date or place of his birth has been found. From circumstantial evidence, I have concluded that he was born "about l600." William appears first in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, where he was selected on 28 September 1630 to be a juror in an inquiry concerning the death of one Austen Bratcher. Therefore, we can suppose that he was one of the settlers who arrived in New England in the great Winthrop fleet of 1630. (Charles Edward Banks, in his book THE WINTHROP FLEET OF 1630, identified this juror with the William Burnell who died at Boston in 1660/1. However, the name is clearly Bunnell in the record, and there seems to be no reason to assume it was spelled wrong.) William Bunnell does not appear in the records again for the next ten years. In the meantime he married ANN WILMOT, daughter of Benjamin and Ann Wilmot. Presumably they were married at Massachusetts Bay, although I have found no record of the Wilmot family in Massachusetts. Benjamin Wilmot was one of the early settlers of New Haven Colony, where he signed the covenant some time after June 1639. No earlier record of him has turned up anywhere in the colonies, but it can be shown that most, if not all, the early settlers of New Haven first came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, where they lived anywhere from nine months to ten years before moving to New Haven in 1638-43. I will assume that the Wilmots followed this pattern unless conflicting evidence can be found. The first three children of William and Ann Bunnell must have been born at Massachusetts Bay. The order of birth given below is the traditional one, followed by Donald Lines Jacobus in FAMILIES OF ANCIENT NEW HAVEN, although no record seems to exist which mentions the age at any time of any of the three. In 1640 we find the first of the numerous records of the public assistance provided to William Bunnell and his family, when the General Court of the Colony requested the town of Watertown to provide William Bunnell with a lot, which the Colony would pay for if William could not. If the lot was actually provided, no record of it has been found. In 1645 the General Court appointed a committee with power to dispose of the children of Goodman Bunnell, "if their grandfather will not take care of them" (The grandfather Benjamin Wilmot, had moved to New Haven Colony several years before.) On the same day the Court provided that certain goods be delivered to the same committee "to be disposed of to Goodman Bunnell & his use." Six months later, in May 1646, William Bunnell returned to England, and the Court agreed to pay for 30 shillings worth of clothing for him when he arrived there. There is nothing to show why William went back to England or where in England he went, but he seems to have simply abandoned his family. In a court action in New Haven several years later his wife testified that "he left little or nothing to maintain them, and she asked him what she should do with them; he said they were hers as well as his, and he left them with her." One of the sons, presumably Benjamin, testified that "he remembers his father did say so to his mother." With no alternative, Ann Bunnell took the three children and moved to New Haven to live with her parents. Her father could not support such a large addition to his family, and they decided "to put forth the children." Nicholas Elsy took one of the boys, presumably the elder (Benjamin, in the traditional order), and Samuel Whitehead took Lydia. By the middle of 1649, or earlier, William Bunnell returned from England and followed his family to New Haven. On 3 April 1650 he makes his first appearance in the New Haven records, when "The Court freed old Goodman Bunill from paying his poll money to the town, because of his poverty, age and weakness." This is the only reference to William's age in any record. I find it difficult to believe that he was less than 50 years old at the time this statement was made. On 4 May 1650 Ann Bunnell gave birth to another daughter, Mary, and in August of that year William was fined 5 shillings for failure to report the birth within three months. A few months later he was in trouble again. On 7 January 1650/51 John Tompson sought the help of the Court to make William Bunnell move out of Tompson's house. Tompson said he was willing to give him a year's rent if he would move peaceably out. This probably means that the Bunnells were at least a year behind in their rent payments, which Tompson would forgive if they would simply vacate. The Court ordered William to move, and gave him two or three weeks to do so. A month later John Tompson was back in Court again asking that William Bunnell be put out of his house. This time Stephen Goodyear undertook to guarantee the move if Tompson would let the Bunnells stay for another week. John Tompson expressed himself satisfied with that arrangement, and apparently it was successful, since the issue did not come before the Court again. In October 1651 it was William's turn to sue, when he asked the Court to revoke the apprentice agreements Ann and her father had made with Nicholas Elsy and Samuel Whitehead. The Court refused to do so. During the next six or eight months the Town authorities had to "consider of the charge which old Bunill hath been to the Town, and how it migt be lessened." The first step was to give him an allowance of two shillings a week, "provided that he and his family do what they can towards their maintenance." Then they took up the problem of the son who was still at home (presumably Nathaniel). The Townsmen felt that the boy should be put out to apprenticeship, both to reduce the charge to the Town, and for the good of the boy, "who now for want of due nurture grows rude and offensive." William Judson offered the Bunnells a cow if he could take the boy for "such a number of years as might answer it." When William Bunnell refused to accept this arrangement, the Townsmen retaliated by withdrawing the weekly allowance. On 28 August 1653 another son, Ebenezer, was born to the Bunnells. He seems to have died very soon. The following February it was reported that Ann Bunnell was sick, and the authorities were still concerned about how much public support was proper and how to make sure that the two remaining children (Nathaniel and Mary) were put out "both for the good of the children (who are not educated as they should) & for the easing the Town of charge." Ann Bunnell died soon after and on the first of May 1654 William told the Town he wanted to go to old England where "he hath some friends to take care of him." The Townsmen and Treasurer were authorized to negotiate his passage on a ship bound from Milford to Newfoundland (and presumably from there to old England). Their conclusion was that this "might free the Town from some charge, though they made some present disbursement for his passage and other necessaries for him." That is William Bunnell's last appearance in the records of New Haven. We can assume that he boarded the ship and returned to England. He left his four children in New Haven. No record exists to show whether the two younger children were "put out" or if so to whom. Perhaps their grandparents or their maternal uncles assumed responsibility for them. Benjamin Wilmot, in his will dated 7 August 1669, left 20 shillings to each of his Bunnell grandchildren. William Bunnell probably died in England if he ever arrived there. It is sometimes asserted that he died on the island of Barbados in the West Indies, since a man of that name was buried in the parish of St. Michaels, Barbados, 5 August 1678. This seems very unlikely, since William would have been around 80 years old and would have made at least five crossings of the Atlantic Ocean.

SOURCES: Records of the Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay, edited by N. B. Shurtleff, 1853, Vols. 1 & 2. Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven from 1638 to 1649, edited by C. J. Hoadley, 1857, vol. I. New Haven Town Records, 1649-1662, edited by Franklin B. Dexter! Vol. I. Vital Records of New Haven, Conn., to 1850. The Winthrop Fleet of 1630, by C. E. Banks, 1930. The Original Lists of Persons of Quality, etc., edited by J. C. Hotten, 1874. Families of Ancient New Haven, compiled by D. L. Jacobus. "Lieutenant William French and His Descendants," in the New England HistorIcal and Genealogical Register, Vol. 44. One Bassett Family in America, by Buell B. Bassette, 1926.

More About William Bunnell: Fact 3: He was a landowner, farmer and tanner..

More About William Bunnell and Ann Wilmot: Marriage: 1640

A brief history of William Bunnell take from "Roots & Shoots of he Bunnell Family" by Dot Bunnell Ray (Compiler) 1991.

Thomas Bunnell let France and settled in Norwich, England were he died in 1607. He was the father of Benjamin, who was the father of William, the American imigrant who was born on England about 1600. The first reference to him which appears in public record is dated 28 September 1630. on that date he was seleced to be a huror in an inquiry concerning the death of one Austen Bratcher at Massachusetts Bay. Therefor, he was probably one of the first settlers who arrived in New England in the great Winthrop fleet of 1630. About 1635 or perhaps earlier, probably at Massachusetts Bay, he married Ann Wilmot, daughter of Benjamin and Ann Willmot. Their first three children (Lydia, Benjamin and Nathaniel) were probably born at Massachusetts Bay. William returned to England, leaving his wife and children to fend for themselves. His wife then took her children to New Haven, CT. to join her father, who had settled ther about 1839. The elder son, Benjamin, was aprenticed there to nicholas Elsey and the daughter, Lydia, to Samuel Whitehead, since Benjamin Wilmot was not in a position to support this addition to his family. William Bunnell return from England sometime before the end of 1649 and joined his family in New Haven. His two younger children, Mary and Ebenezer, were born there. in October 1651, William Bunnell sued for the return of his two apprenticed children, but the court ruled against him. Ann Wilmot Bunnell and her infant son died in 1654. Shortly thereafter, William again retrned to England. Nothing is further known about him. William Bunnell has two sons to carry on the family name. Benjamin Bunnel born about 1636, remained in Connecticut, as did his descendants for several generations. Most of all of Benjamin's decendants spelled their name with a "u". Nathaniel Bunnel, born about 1640/42 removed to Elizabethtown, New Jersey in 1665. Most of his descendants have spelled their name with an "o", although some large branches of the family returned to the se of the "u".

Titus Jefferson Bunnell and his brother Asa, were born in Farmington, CT., sons of Titus and Sybil (Yale) Bunnell moved to orth carolina about 1815 or 1820 and founded a large branch of the family in that state. William Bunnell, the American imigrant was a farmer and tanner. Our family descent stems from William and Ann Wilmot Bunnell as follows: William Bunnell: born 1600 (M) Ann Wilmot Benjamin Bunnell born 1636 (M) Rebecca Mallory Hezekiah Bunnell born 1681 (M) Ruth Plumb Hezekiah Bunnell born 1702 (M) Esther Bristol Titus Bunnell born 1735 (M) Sybil Yale Asa Bunnell born 1776 (M) Martha Smith George Washington Bunnell born 1830 (M) Winnie Jane Smith Daniel Milton Bunnell born 1859 (M) Lllie Ann Freeman & Kate Bryant Parker Thomas Jefferson Bunnell born 1892 (M) Elizabeth Owen Furmage William Curtis Bunnell born 1914 (M) Pearl Barker James Thomas Bunnell born 1954 (M) Evangelina Warner

view all 17

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
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 Colony