Week 41: Colorful: Eleanor Hardenburg

The optional prompt offered by Amy Johnson Crow for week 41 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge is colorful and it’s a tough one!

Admittedly, at this time I am running out of direct ancestors that I have anything meaningful to write about irrespective of theme.  To that end, I have to either vary from the theme or expand by subjects to collaterals and associates.  For the time being, I will stick with ancestors.

Eleanor Hardenburg was born on about the 11th or 12 of November, 1809 at Newtown, Long Island, New York.  She was also known by the first names: Ellen, Ella, Helen, and the surnames Smith and Bonner.  For simplicity I will use the name on her death certificate, Eleanor, realizing that records of different times recorded her name differently.

Newtown, Long Island is the area currently known as Elmhurst, Queens.  At about the time of the establishment of the county of Queens the name was changed to reflect the elm trees that covered the area and to differentiate itself from the polluted Newtown Creek.

Eleanor’s birth information was extrapolated from her death certificate- the informant is not noted.  Parents names were not requested on the certificates at the time, so other than a birth in Newtown, no further origin of Eleanor is noted.

Eleanor and Charles Smith, presumably married, were parents to daughter Sarah Maria Smith, born circa 1830.  Records of Sarah indicate she was born in Florida. It is unknown why the family were so far south, although it would be reasonable to guess that Charles may have been a sailor of some sort.  It is possible there was another daughter, Ann, also born in Florida.  Evidence of Ann is scarce, limited to one census, and it may be that the name listed on that document was in error and it is actually Sarah.  (Ann is listed as Ann Bourne Bonner.  Not only is there no other corroborating record of Ann, the name Bourne is also curious.  There is no record of an Ann Bourne that married a Bonner. Sarah and her husband, Benjamin Bourne, married at the time of the census, later divorced and were possibly separated at the time.)

In any event, either by death or divorce, the marriage of Charles and Eleanor was ended by 1835 when Eleanor and her second husband, John D Bonner became parents to a boy, George.  Eleanor and John had at least 7 children, gaps in the ages of the later children leave room for more that perhaps died young.  Eleanor’s son, Charles Bonner and his wife Lydia were witnesses to daughter Sarah’s second marriage.

Eleanor Bonner died 7 August 1894, about 15 years after her husband John. She is buried along with him and several of their children in the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.



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