Nathaniel Bonnell

Dates of Birth and Death

1636-1711

Nathaniel Bonnell (Bunnell, Bonnell, Bonnel) was born in New Haven Connecticut in 1636 to parents William Bunnell and Ann Wilmont. He married Susanna Whitehead, daughter of Issac Whitehead and Mary Brown, on 3 Jan 1665 (probably in New Haven).

In September 1664 the Duke of York sent a fleet to drive the Dutch from New Amsterdam. This was accomplished without a shot, and Colonel Nicolls became the first English Governor of the area. A small group of Associates from “overcrowded” New England petitioned the new English governor for the right to purchase a large parcel of land west of the Hudson River between the Raritan and Passaic Rivers, and to settle a “plantation” at Achter Kol. Permission was received on the 18 October. A delegation of the Associates met with the Indian Sachems on Staten Island and concluded the negotiations on 28 October. In November 1664 a few of the new owners sailed across the Achter Kol, up the Elizabeth River about two miles, past vast salt hay meadows, to the end of the navigable waters where there were falls, an ideal place for mills and a settlement. So was founded the first settlement in what was now New Jersey. On 1 December Governor Nicolls registered the deed and set forth the “Conditions for New Planters.”

In August 1665 Governor Carteret, whose brother had been granted the land of all East Jersey, arrived from England. He issued a proclamation promising land to the settlers. After Carteret’s arrival the settlement was renamed Elizabethtown, after the wife of the Governor; and Carteret made the settlement the first capital of New Jersey.

Among the eighty Elizabethtown Associates in the purchase were Nathaniel Bonnell and Issac Whitehead (father of Susanna). They signed the “Oath of Allegiance and Fidelity” as inhabitants of Elizabethtown on 19 February 1665. Nathaniel was granted a farm of sixteen acres and a six-acre town-house lot in an area with others who had come from Connecticut. Before 1682 he had built a house, which is still standing (1045 East Jersey Street; headquarters of New Jersey Society of Sons of the Revolution), in Elizabeth. In 1692 and 1696 he was a member of the General Assembly of New Jersey from Elizabeth.

The Bonnells had seven children: Nathaniel II abt. 1670, Isaac l 1673, Samuel 1675, Lydia l 1677, Jane l 1680, Benjamin 1682, and m 1685. Nathaniel died in 1711 and was buried at the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth, where his grave is marked with a tombstone, which reads Nathaniel Bonnel who died Sept. 4 1736, in his 67th year of his life. After his death Susanna moved, probably to the family farm, in the area of Elizabethtown called Connecticut Farms (now Union). In 1730, the followers in the area had tired of traveling four or five miles to the church at Elizabethtown, and built the Connecticut Farms Presbyterian Church. Susanna Bonnell died 13 Feb. 1733, and was the second person buried in the cemetery at the new church.

Biography Author

#296B Evelyn Hunt Ogden

References

Church of the Founding Fathers of New Jersey: A History. First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth, New Jersey 1664-1964.

Connecticut Farms Church History. Connecticut Farms Presbyterian Church, ctfarms.org