Henry William John Bonnycastle1,2

#14, (1813 - 1888)
FatherRichard Henry Bonnycastle1 (1791 - 1847)
MotherFrances Johnston1 (c 1792 - 1869)
RelationshipGrandson of John Bonnycastle
Charts5 Generations of Descendants of Sir Richard Henry Bonnycastle (1791-1847)
Ancestors of Hope Lyall Rudd (Jen's line)
Ancestors of Allan Lorne Bonnycastle (Dick's line)
Timeline of RH & Frances & Their Children
Henry William John Bonnycastle


Eleanor Mary Susan Rowed (1811 - 1891)

Life Events

OccupationHenry William John Bonnycastle was a lawyer, militiaman, farmer, councillor, and artist. 
BirthHe was born on 24 Jul 1813 in New Brunswick, Canada.1
Education On 29 Apr 1834, he was admitted as a student-at-law by the Law Society of Upper Canada but was never called to the Bar, having pursued a military career like his father [according to the Law Society of Upper Canada Records]. He studied law in the office of Judge Fairfield in Bloomfield, Ontario and became an attorney [according to a family history written in the 1950s].3,4 
Newspaper In the Kingston newspaper, there was a list of people with letters remaining in the Post Office at Kingston on 5th December, 1835. One rated with British Postage was for Henry Bonnycastle [I wish we could read it now!].5 
MilitaryHe was Brigade-Major at Kingston, under his father. Also was aide de camp to Col. Dundas of the 85th Regt between 1837 and 1839.3 
(Witness) Marriage Henry William John Bonnycastle witnessed the marriage of Alexander William Denmark and his future wife's sister Matilda Rowed on 11 Mar 1837 in Cobourg, Ontario.6 
Research Note There is a death cert for Daniel L Fairfield, Judge County Court, Prince Edward County in 1871, age 69. 
MarriageHenry William John Bonnycastle married Eleanor Mary Susan Rowed, daughter of Henry Rowed and Ann Lyall, on 12 Jan 1839 in Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario.
Bible entry: "Henry William John Bonnycastle born July 24th 1813 married to Eleanor Mary Susan Rowed born November 3rd 1811 on the 12th January 1839 by the Revd Stuart, Kingston, Canada."2
Henry William John Bonnycastle & Eleanor Mary Susan Rowed
Bible record of their marriage, 1839
Newspaper Published 16 Jan 1839.
Henry W.J. Bonnycastle son of Lt Col Bonnycastle of the Royal Engineers married Eleanor Rowed daughter of the late Capt Rowed of the Royal Navy by Rev George Stuart.7
1842 CensusHenry Bonnycastle appeared on the 1842 Census of Seymour, District of Newcastle, Upper Canada, at Lot 5 Concession 4. Only the head of the household was named in the 1842 census. Henry Bonnycastle was a farmer and the proprietor of real property which he received as a gift. The household consisted of 2 males under age 5 [that would be Alexander and Francis Edward], one male age between 30 and 60, married [Henry] and one female age between 14 and 45, married [Eleanor Mary Susan]. Two were natives of England and two of Canada. Henry reported that he had been in Canada 10 years. The family's religion was Church of England. They had hired one female servant.

Four of their 100 acres were classified as improved land. The produce raised by the Bonnycastles in the previous year was:
60 Winchester bushels of Oats
120 Winchester bushels of Potatoes
Their live stock were:
2 Neat Cattle
2 Sheep
2 Hogs.8 
1851/2 CensusHenry and Eleanor appeared on the 1852 Census of Seymour Township, Northumberland County, Canada West (Ontario), at Con 5, Lot 5 (300 acres), enumerated Jan 1852. The family lived in a one story frame & log home. Henry was a Farmer, born in England, religion Church of England, age next birthday 39, and was married. Eleanor was born in England, same religion, age next birthday 40. With them were their children Alexander, Frank, Richard, Charles, Rose and Harold. Eleanor's 80 year old mother Mary Rowed was enumerated immediately before them.9 
1861 CensusHenry and Helinor Bonycastle [sic] appeared on the 1861 Census of Seymour Township, Northumberland County, Ontario, at Con 5 Lot 5, enumerated 12 Feb 1861. Henry was 47 and was born in New Brunswick. Eleanor was 49 and born in England. With them were their children Francis, Charles, Richard, Rosalind and Harold. The family's religion was church of England and they lived in a one story Log house.10 
Note.A chart showing the crops raised by the Bonnycastles in 1851 and 1861 can be viewed here. The Seymour Township enumerator noted that in 1851, "The potatoes were almost all lost by rot, buckwheat failed due to hot September, and what was not worth growing if one used hired labour." 
Photograph Look here for more photos of the homestead, originally built in 1867 and now restored.11
The Bonnycastle farm house
(undated photo)
Note.Doris Knox recalled that "the part of our home that Henry built has the date 1867 cut in the stone."11 
1871 CensusHenry and Ellinor Bonnycastle appeared on the 1871 Census of Seymour Township, Northumberland County, Ontario, enumerated 2 Apr 1871. Henry was 57, born in New Brunswick, Church of England, of English origins, and was a farmer. Eleanor was 59 and born in England. With them was their son Frank, his wife Elizabeth and their three children. Sons Charles and Harold were also enumerated in their household but there is a marginal notation that I can't make out. Their children Charles Green and Harold John were living with them.12 
Note.Received a letter from [the first Canadian Prime Minister] John A Macdonald in response to a note from Bonnycastle regarding help with a political campaign. They likely met one another when studying law at Osgoode Hall in Toronto. [My great grandmother Lyall Bonnycastle claimed Sir John A & HWJB were 'bosom buddies']. [There was an Ontario election that year but I have not found a list of candidates or results.]

5th Feb 79
My dear Bonnycastle
I was glad to see your hand writing once more after so many years intermission and to notice from it that you are as strong as ever. How many years have passed since we knew each other, and only to think we have not met for forty years! You must carry your Riding for the Local and I shall do all I can to help you. When Kieler comes down next week I shall talk all the subjects mentioned in your note over with him. I can scarcely fancy that you have a son big enough to be a Township Councillor and all the rest of it. I see he bears the same name as your good old father Sir Richard. Could not you take a run down during the Session? I should be very glad to see you.
Yours faithfully
John A Macdonald

Hy Bonnycastle Esq
Seymour O.13
1881 CensusHenry and Eleanor Bonnycastle appeared on the 1881 Census of Seymour Township, Northumberland County, Ontario, enumerated 4 Apr 1881. Henry was 67, born in New Brunswick, religion Church of England, English origin, and a Farmer. Eleanor was 69 and born in England. With them was their son Frank, his wife, and their 6 children. Enumerated next to them were sons Richard and Charles and their children. That's 16 grandchildren on that one page!.14 
Henry & Eleanor Bonnycastle
undated photo
Burial.Henry William John Bonnycastle was buried on 23 Jul 1888 in Christ Church Anglican Cemetery, Campbellford, Northumberland County, Ontario. The church burial register recorded Henry as a yeoman, aged 75, of Campbellford. Doris Knox recalled that the middle of a sod farm field on Concession 5 Lot 5 of Seymour Township is the old burying ground for several of the Bonnycastle family. [The exact location of the grave has not yet been found]15,11,16 
Last Edited1 May 2014


  1. Letters from Doris Knox, Ontario, to J Kolthammer, dated early 1990s "letter, 17 Apr 1991 (quoting a bible)."
  2. Photocopied page of Bonnycastle/Rowed marriage from a family Bible (received from Doris Knox, provenance unknown).
  3. Evelyn Luttrell, Bonnycastle Family Tree, undated but likely circa 1950.
  4. Law Society of Upper Canada website, accessed 1 May 2014. They have his admission certificate in their archives.
  5. The Kingston Chronicle and Gazette, Saturday, December 12, 1835, page 4. digital image viewed on PaperofRecord.com.
  6. Rootsweb Mailing List, archived online at http://lists.rootsweb.ancestry.com/, Upper-Canada-L, 26 Jan 2001.
  7. The Kingston Chronicle and Gazette, 16 Jan 1839, Page 3 Column 2 & 29 Jan 1839, Page 3 Column 2. digital image viewed on PaperofRecord.com.
  8. "Canada, Upper Canada Census, 1842." Index and images. FamilySearch. https://familysearch.org. Henry Bonnycastle, Seymour, Newcastle District, pages 5 & 6.
  9. Online image of the 1851/2 Census for Canada (Library and Archives Canada, http://www.collectionscanada.ca/02/020122_e.html), Canada West, Northumberland (24), Seymour (228), Part 1.
  10. Online image of the 1861 Census for Canada (viewed at Ancestry.com), Canada West, Northumberland County, Seymour township (1), page 17.
  11. Letters from Doris Knox, Ontario, to J Kolthammer, dated early 1990s.
  12. Online image of the 1871 Census for Canada (viewed at Ancestry.com), Ontario, Northumberland East (55), Seymour (g-2), page 52.
  13. Letter from John A Macdonald, Ottawa, to Henry Bonnycastle, dated 5 February 1879, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Henry Bonnycastle fonds, 985236-001. Image published on their website.
  14. Online image of the 1881 Census for Canada (viewed at Ancestry.com), Ontario, Northumberland East (123), Seymour Township (G-1), page 1.
  15. Parish Register of Christ Church Anglican, Campbellford, Ontario (Diocese of Toronto Archives, photocopied records), Henry Bonnycastle burial, 1888.
  16. Index of monumental inscriptions in the County of Northumberland County, Ontario, computerized index at Cobourg library.
  17. Province of Ontario Marriage Registers: Northumberland County Marriage Register, p. 43; returns from the Methodist Episcopal Church, Family History Library.
  18. Death certificate registered in the Province of Ontario "Richard Henry Bonnycastle, #022302-11."
  19. Death certificate of Charles Green Bonnycastle, died 12 October 1926, registered 14 October 1926 in the Province of British Columbia, Certificate #26-09-371001.
  20. 1861 Census for Ontario "Northumberland County, Seymour Township."
  21. Marriage Registrations of Ontario, 1857-1928. Image viewed at Ancestry.com. Bonnycastle/Skinner, #007483-78.
  22. Death certificate registered in the Province of British Columbia "Harold John Bonnycastle, #17-09-095431."