Thursday, May 01, 2008

George Bonnett "news boy" leaves $20,000 estate

The recent post Recluse dies in motel leaving $263,000 in cash in room at Genealogy Miscellanea reminded me of a distant relative who died with a fairly large estate in the early 1900s. The newspaper article, unidentified and not dated, is in a family scrapbook. Based on his age in census records, George would have died after 1910.
George Bonnett Died in Chicago. Former Resident of Near Larwill Died in Chicago. Left Estate Estimated to be Worth $20,000 - John McNabb and Dunfee Family Related.

he Wooster Daily News, of Wooster, Ohio, contained the following article concerning the death of George Bonnett, who at one time resided two miles from Larwill in this county. The News article reads as follows:

I. D. Bonnett, Shreve druggist, is one of the heirs to a $20,000 estate left in Chicago by George Bonnett, proprietor of a corner news stand who died early this week. Word of Mr. Bonnett's death came in a letter to Charles M. Lovett, of Wooster, a half brother, and probably an heir. Mr. Bonnett has one sister residing in Iowa.

The death of Mr. Bonnett comes after a period of more than 35 years during which he had not been heard from. In the letter received by Mr. Lovett from the Chicago Tribune, it is stated that the letter was sent to him because he had in his possession a letter written to Bonnett from Mr. Lovett over 35 years ago. Mr. Lovett well remembers writing the letter.

George Bonnett was born at Lakeville and lived there during the early part of his life. He was over 70 years of age at the time of his death. A short time after he left Wooster Mr. Lovett wrote to him and received an answer. He wrote a second time but received no answer and since that time no relatives here have heard from Mr. Bonnett.

The fact that the letter written so long ago was found in his possession shows that he cherished the memory of the days he spent in this vicinity and of the friends and relatives he left behind. Mr. Lovett, in the letter he received, was asked to the particulars about his leaving here for Chicago. In the letter he is called a "news boy" but this was no doubt due to the fact that he was the proprietor of a news stand at a street corner. Proprietors of these stands sell many papers and while the fact that he accumulated $20,000 doing this work may sound strange, it is by no means unprecedented.

The Post is informed that Mr. Bonnett was a first cousin to John W. McNabb, the Dunfees, the late John Robinette's children, and to the wife of William Broxon, all residents of this county, and it is probable that they will share in the estate.
Census records indicate that George was born about 1840 in Ohio. He was more than 70 years old at the time of his death so that would put it after 1910. The only census records I've found for George are in 1850 and 1860 when he was living in Washington Township, Holmes County, Ohio. In 1850 he was listed with his step-father and mother, James and Mary Dunfee Lovett. His father, Isaac Bonnett had died on February 2, 1846 and on March 28, 1850 his mother married James Hanson Lovett. Sadly, James died about six years later.

In the 1860 census, twenty year old George Bonnett is listed as head of household. His occupation was farmhand. Listed in his household were his youngest brother, 15 year old Henry, and three half-siblings; 10 year old Charles Lovett, 8 year old Eva Lovett, and 5 year old Franklin Lovett.

The next household enumerated was that of his mother, Mary Lovett, a 42 year old widow with real estate valued at $4,000 and a personal estate of $700. Listed with her was her 24 year old daughter, Rebecca and 22 year old son Isaac. Both were listed with the Lovett surname, but their father was Isaac Bonnett. Also listed in the household were Susan M. age 13, John H. 11, and William H. Ship age 9. I haven't yet determined what relationship, if any, there is with the Ship(p) children and Mary. In April 1877, William H. Shipp would marry Mary's daughter Alveretta Jo Lovett. Alveretta was listed as Eva in the 1860 census with her half-brother George Bonnett.

George Bonnett was my 1st cousin four times removed. His mother, Mary Dunfee Bonnett Lovett, was a sister of my 3rd great grandfather, William Hamilton Dunfee. Their parents were James and Sophia Elizabeth (Hazlett) Dunfee.

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