& Biographical Record of Montgomery, Parke & Fountain Counties,
Indiana. Indianapolis: Chapman Brother, 1893, p. 467.
R. BONNELL, the present Postmaster of the city of Crawfordsville,
is one of the most obliging officials that this city has ever had.
Mr. Bonnell was born six miles east of this city Oct 2, 1858 in
the village of Fredericksburg now the town of Mace. He was the son
of John K and Emily (Benedict) Bonnell who were married in Cincinnati,
Ohio. Mr. Bonnell, Sr. was a native of Hamilton County Ohio and
came to Montgomery County, Indiana in 1857. With Reuben Smith as
a partner he opened a wagon-making shop and continued in the business
a long time. He was City Treasurer three terms. He was eminently
successful on account of the same genial, social qualities for which
his son is noted. John Bonnell received a comman school education
and at the age of 13 began to clerk in a store. From 1872 to 1878
he remained with the firm of Challis Brothers and with JR Challis
at Lafayette, Logansport and Crawfordsville in the boot and shoe
business. In 1878 Mr. Bonnell concluded he would learn what he cuold
accomplish in the way of business for himself, therefore he opened
a small store for the sale of cigars. His capital amounted for $105
and he continued in this business until 1890 when the trade had
become very large. For five years he had engaged in jobbing and
made money, the sales reaching $40,000 per annum. Since 1890 Mr.
Bonnell has been engaged in the jobbing grocery business also. In
this new venture Mr. Bonnell showed the same good judgment which
has always characterized his business life, having selected as partners
men concerning whose business qualifications he was very sure. The
grocery stock is large and complete with the exception of coffee
and sugar; the sales amount to $140,000 annually and the house requires
several traveling men, one new salesman having just been added.
The apopintment of Postmaster was made Aug 23, 1889 and in September
Mr. Bonnell took charge and made JH Cook, a veteran soldier, his
first assistant, and JD Tracy, another veteran, his second assistant.
Besides there, he has a delivery and stamping clerk, four carriers,
and one substitute. The office receipts amount to over $14,000 per
year. Mr. Bonnell has given great satisfaction and has thoroughly
conquered all the details of the business. He is adherent of Harrison's
administration and is a member of the Republican County and Executive
Committees. The marriage of Mr. Bonnell took place April 17, 1879
to Miss Fanny Evans of Lafayette, who was the daughte rof IA Evans
of that place. One little daughter, Helen, a maid of 4 years, brightens
their home. Mr. Bonnell has been very active in the Masonic fraternity
and has filled the post of Eminent Commander of Crawfordsville Commandery,
No. 25. Mr. Bonnell has exemplified in his career the results of
close application and energy to any given object. His beginning
was very small, but now it reaches mammoth proportions, all because
he has managed his business instead of permitting it to manage him.