Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and love that this blog helps with that. I consider much of my research as a work in progress, so please let me know if you have conflicting information. Some of the surnames I'm researching:

Many old Cape families including Kelley, Eldredge/idge, Howes, Baker, Mayo, Bangs, Snow, Chase, Ryder/Rider, Freeman, Cole, Sears, Wixon, Nickerson.
Many old Plymouth County families including Washburn, Bumpus, Lucas, Cobb, Benson.
Johnson (England to MA)
Corey (Correia?) (Azores to MA)
Booth, Jones, Taylor, Heatherington (N. Ireland to Quebec)
O'Connor (Ireland to MA)
My male Mayflower ancestors (only first two have been submitted/approved by the Mayflower Society):
Francis Cooke, William Brewster, George Soule, Isaac Allerton, John Billington, Richard Warren, Peter Browne, Francis Eaton, Samuel Fuller, James Chilton, John Tilley, Stephen Hopkins, and John Howland.
Female Mayflower ancestors: Mary Norris Allerton, Eleanor Billington, Mary Brewster, Mrs. James Chilton, Sarah Eaton, and Joan Hurst Tilley.
Child Mayflower ancestors: Giles Hopkins, (possibly) Constance Hopkins, Mary Allerton, Francis Billington, Love Brewster, Mary Chilton, Samuel Eaton, and Elizabeth Tilley.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

George Bonham (ca 1609-1704) and Sarah Morton (ca 1620-1694)

George Bonham (also spelled Bonum and Bonam) was born about 1609 [based on age at death], probably in England, to parents who are unknown. He migrated to Plymouth Colony where he purchased a house and land in 1640. He married Sarah Morton on 20 Dec 1644 at Plymouth. (PCR 2:79) She was daughter of George Morton and Juliana Carpenter, born say 1620 at Leiden, Holland.  It is possible Sarah was his second wife as single men weren’t often allowed to buy property at Plymouth.

Sarah and George are my 10th great-grandparents on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Ellis Davis’ side of the family.


Sarah and George had six children, likely all born Plymouth:

1. Ruth born about 1646, married Robert Barrow/Barrows 28 Nov 1666

2. Sarah born Plymouth 4 December 1649 [MD 16:121]; she died that same month [no day is given for her death recorded in 1649 at Plymouth] 

3. Sarah born Plymouth 12 January 1650[/51] [MD 16:235]; died young

4. Sarah born 10 December 1653 [MD 17:70]; she likely married John Bryant of Plympton (now Carver) and died 10 Jan 1742 in her 89th year [TAG 35:146]

5. Patience, shown to be daughter from deed of land from her father to her daughter; she married first Richard Willis in 1670 who died in 1678; married second John Holmes

6. George born about 1657, married Sarah Jenney 

I descend through Ruth.

Civic Involvement

George Bonham was on the 1643 list of Men Able to Bear Arms, took the Oath of Fidelity at Plymouth in 1657, and appears on the list of Freeman of New Plymouth in 1683 recorded by Nathaniel Morton [his brother-in-law].  George was a Deacon in the Church. He often witnessed wills and other deeds, using his signature. He was called on to measure land boundaries. In 1658 he served on a grand jury. [PCR 3:137]

George was a surety for Thomas Lucas twice and John Dunham the younger once. I find George’s support of Thomas, who is my 9th great-grandfather, to be endearing. Thomas had a great issue with alcohol and was frequently bought to court and fined for drunkenness. 

Land Transactions

George Bonham must have been a man of means as he acquired a good deal of land in the colony.  It appears he lived in the Chiltonville area of town and also downtown Plymouth.

On 29 August 1640 Thomas Pope sold to George Bonam  “all that his house and land thereto belonging containing five acres and the enlargement since and all the fence in and about the same.” [PCR 12:61]

On 13 February 1640[/1]  “Richard Willis” sold to “Georg Bonume…all that his house and lands lying at the fishing point upon the Eele River…which said house and lands the said Richard Willis lately purchased of Willm Dennis.” There is a notation in the margin that states “This debt was paid be Gorge Bonham to John Barns as the assignee of Richard Williams and is cleared by an acquittance under the said John Barns his hand dated the 16th of April 1649 which is also entered in this book.” [PCR 12:69-70, 166]

On 1 November 1647 George Bonum sold to John Faunce “that lot of land that lyeth next me at the Eel River with the housing and fencings thereabouts.” Manasseh and Jane Kempton witnessed the deed. [PCLR 2:1:161]

Eel River, Plymouth

On 30 October 1652 Thomas Pope of New Plymouth, cooper, acquitted George Bonum of all debts owed to Pope. [PCLR 2:1:13]

On 24 May 1653, “Mr. Willam Paddy of the town of Plymouth…merchant,” sold to Gorge Bonum of the town aforesaid…planter,  a parcel of upland ground lying near the town of Plymouth aforesaid being about ten acres…with all the meadow in and about the said upland.” [PCLR 2:1:53]

On 21 Nov 1656, John Rickard of Plymouth for three pounds ten shillings paid by Gorge Bonum of Plymouth, husbandman, sold a parcel of land at Fresh Lake in Plymouth on the south side of the brook running out of the lake, containing 25 acres of upland. [Note that Fresh Pond is in the Manomet section of Plymouth.]

On 22 November 1656, Richard Sparrow of Eastham sold to George Bonum, husbandman of Plymouth, for eight pounds “all that his house and garden plot on which the house stands being scituate in Plymouth aforesaid in the South Street near the mill together with six acres of upland…in the new field.” [PCLR 2:1:69] [Note that his location is downtown Plymouth and that the house built in 1640; the mill referred to would be the grist mill owned by John Jenney where there is a reproduction mill today.]

Sparrow house original section built 1640

On 17 June 1649 Nathaniel Masterson made over to Gorge Bonum of Plymouth all right and title unto all lands bought from Elder Cushman in the New Field at Plymouth. 

On 9 July 1660, at the request of “Gorge Bonum” regarding their portions in the South Meadow, “Edward Banges, Nicholas Snow and Josias Cooke do upon our certain knowledge affirm that Josias Cooke had the first option laid out to him by lot namely ten acres” [PCLR 2:2:42] 

On 3 June 1662 George was on the list of ancient freeman and others to get land at Taunton. [PCR 4:20]

Gorg Bonum was one of 25 men who was granted land on the west side of Nemasket River on 15 November 1665. George received lot 24. [MD 36:38] [The river is in current day Middleborough.]

On 5 April 1666 Samuel Hicks of Dartmouth sold to Gorge Bonum of Plymouth, planter, for 14 pounds his six acres of land lying at Brickill Field and marsh meadow called the High Pines. [MD 43:68]

On 2 July 1666 John Barnes of Plymouth for 5 pounds 16 shillings old to Gorge Bonum of Plymouth, husbandman, five acres of land meadow in the upper south meadow of Plymouth below Barnes Bridge. [MD 43:68]

On 16 May 1670 Edward Gray of Plymouth sold 50 acres for ten pounds to George Bonum of Plymouth a parcel of upland meadow that lies on both sides of Jones River from a white oak to an island abutting Thomas Prence’s land and a spruce abutting Francis Cooke’s land. [MD 37:120] [Jones River is located in what is now Kingston.]

On 3 November 1675, George Bonum of Plymouth, planter sold land to Thomas Clarke, on Eel River in Plymouth which had had bought of Thomas Pope, Richard Willis, and Mark Mendum. It was bounded by Eel River to the Northeast, land of Robert Finney that was formerly Stephen Hopkins’s on the northwest side, and southeast by lands of Thomas Clarke. Also one acre of meadow at Eel River bounded by Thomas Faunce’s meadow on one side and Thomas Clarke’s meadow on the other side. Acknowledged by George Bonum 13 November 1675; recorded 2 Feb 1694/5. [MD 41:70]

On 15 Feb 1683 “Gorge Bonum senr of…Plymouth…laborer…in consideration of the Naturall affection…I Beare unto my granddaughter Ruhamah Willis the Daughter of Richard Willis of Plymouth aforesaid Deceased and other good Considerations” conveyed to the said Ruhamah Willis all that his share lot or portion of meadow granted unto by the town of Plymouth containing six acres in the lower south meadows so called…my six acres thereof is bounded on the Northerly neared with the meadow land of Nathaniel Morton senr of Plymouth aforesaid running over “thawrt” the meadow from upland to upland over the river that runneth through the said meadow. 

Wintesses: Baruch Jourdaine and Nathaniel Morton Jr.

George Bonum acknowledged the deed “”As alsoe Sarah his wife Gave her free Consent,” on 20 Feb 1683 before William Bradford, Deputy Governor.

On 23 Jan 1687 George Bonum sold for 4 pounds to William Harlow half of his marsh that he formerly bought of Samuel Hicks at High Pines. 


George is listed as a husbandman/planter in most records, indicating he was a farmer. Most farmers of this time also had a side job and perhaps that was the case with George as he was sometimes owed money from other townspeople.

Gorge Bonum was owed 5 shillings from Jacob Cooke’s estate, from inventory taken 18 December 1675. He was owed 6 shillings/6 pence from the estate of Gov. Thomas Prence, from inventory taken 23 April 1673.

Court Disputes

On 5 Jan 1640/41 a dispute between Bonham and George Bower was sent to arbitration, with Manasseh Kempton and James Hurst on Bonham’s side and John Winslow and William Paddy on Bower’s side. [PCR 2:6]

In 1659 the court found Bonham’s charges that John Smith had made opprobrious speeches against him to be frivolous, and ordered the two men to choose some of their neighbors to hear the controversy and make an end to it. [PCR 3:169]


Sarah Morton Bonham died in 1694 at Plymouth. She was 76. George outlived her by ten years.

George Bonan Senior died 28 April 1704 at Plymouth at an incredible 95 years of age. [Plymouth Church Records, Volume 1, Part 3]

It seems likely George and Sarah would have been buried at Burial Hill in Plymouth but there is no surviving headstone or records proving this.

On 26 Feb 1696/7 John Barrows of Plymouth sold for 8 pounds to his brother Samuel Barrows land that belong to his grandfather George Bonum of Plymouth who gave it by deed on 21 Feb 1679 to John’s father and mother, Robert and Ruth Barrow. The parcel was at New Field in Plymouth bounded by land of John Rainor and Andrew Ring.  He also sold six acres of George Bonum’s bounded by land of Sarah Atwood and the Town Common and four acres near the brook where Southern Marsh lies. 

Plymouth Court of Common Pleas in March 1739/40, George Holmes v Nathaniel Jackson, ejectment of 1 1/4 acres in Plymouth. George Holmes said that in 1704 his grandfather George Bonum died seized of land and that it descended to his only son George, Patience who was the plaintiff’s mother, and to George’s daughters Ruth and Sarah. Patience died in 1730 leaving seven heirs so that George Holmes was to receive 1/7th part.

Sources Not Mentioned Above:

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1995

Bertha Clark, The American Genealogist, “John Holmes’s Two Wives Patience, 38:235 (1962)


Eugene Stratton, Plymouth Colony: It’s History & People 1620-1691, 1986

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