Harry Bonnen owns and occupies a farm on section 29, Dix township. It is a place of one hundred and fifty-six acres and the corner adjoins the corporation limits of the village of Guthrie. He is not actively engaged in the development of the fields now but rents the land to others, although he still lives there.
He was born in Germany on the 11th of January, 1850, his parents being Bonnie P. and Tillie (DeGrote) Bonnen, who came to America in the fall of 1867 with their family of four sons and three daughters, namely: Richard, who now follows farming in Dix township; Harry, of this review; Anna, who is living in Kansas City; Peter, who was killed by a horse; Bertha, the wife of Henry Farris, who is farming in Drummer township; George, who carries on farming in Dix township and is mentioned elsewhere in this work; and Caroline, the wife of Harry Schutte, who is also represented on another page of this volume.
The father was a farmer by occupation, devoting his entire life to that pursuit. Sailing for the new world on the vessel America, accompanied by his family, he landed at New York city after a. voyage of fourteen days and then went to Springfield. Illinois, where he remained for three days. He next proceeded to Petersburg, Menard county, and soon afterward rented an eighty acre farm about ten miles from Petersburg. In 1873 he purchased the tract of one hundred and sixty acres on section 28, Dix township, upon which Harry Schutte now resides. He lived in Menard county for three years and in Cass county for one year and then came to Ford county, settling on a farm two miles south of Gibson, which was his home until his labors brought him sufficient capital to enable him to purchase what is now the Schutte farm. His life was one of industry and enterprise and in this regard proved an excellent example for his family.
Harry Bonnen was reared to habits of thrift, industry and perseverance, lie acquired his education in the schools of Germany and the home atmosphere was always one of culture and intelligence. His father was a highly educated man, who acquired his education in Germany and for two years studied for the ministry of the German Lutheran church. He was especially proficient in mathematical lines and could readily figure out most difficult problems. Harry Bonnen was about seventeen years of age when he accompanied his parents to the new world, assisting them in the work of the home farm until 1878, when he started out in life on his own account. He has since been dependent entirely upon his own resources, and his perseverance and diligence constitute the basis upon which he has builded his success. After his parents died he remained with his brother George for several years or until his marriage. Eighteen years ago he purchased his farm of one hundred and sixty acres and for a considerable beriod was active in its management and development.
On the 15th of March, 1899, Mr. Bonnen was united in marriage to Miss Mollie Gerdes, who was born in Menard county, a daughter of Ubbe and Meta (Oncon) Gerdes, who were farming people and came to Ford county in 1873. After residing here for three years they removed to Champaign county, where they are now living, their home being on a farm near Mayview. Their family numbered seven children, namely: Mrs. Bonnen; William, who carries on general agricultural pursuits near Urbana, Illinois; Elizabeth, at home; George, who follows farming in Dix township; Tena, the wife of Kirk Snedeker, who is farming about three-fourths of a mile south of Champaign; Frank, who carries on the same pursuit near Urbana, Illinois; and Ernest, at home. Mrs. Bonnen acquired her education in the schools of Champaign and Ford counties and by her marriage she has become the mother of three children: Bonn H., Charles Edward and Leslie V.
Mr. Bonnen now rents his land and the property provides him with a good income, obviating the necessity for further labor on his part. His political allegiance is given the democracy but he has never sought the honors nor emoluments of public office. His fellow townsmen have long known him as a representative agriculturist and regard him as a citizen of worth.

Extracted 16 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 2, pages 478-482.

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