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Capt. Frederick Bonsey Biography


This biography appears on pages 1077-1078 in "History of Dakota Territory" by George W. Kingsbury, Vol. IV (1915) 

Captain Frederick Bonsey, of Pierre, South Dakota, carefully supervises his invested interests and has contributed in substantial measure to the business development and prosperity of the city. A native of Maine, he was born in Ellsworth, May 5, 1855, his parents being Samuel and Susan (Lords) Bonsey, both of whom were descended from old New England families. The first of the Bonsey family came to America from Scotland early in the seventeenth century, making settlement in Maine and through generations representatives of the name have been seafaring men. Samuel Bonsey was a sea captain, devoting his entire active life to that vocation. His death occurred in 1896 when he had reached the venerable age of eighty-six years. His family numbered ten children, all of whom are yet living, excepting Edward, who passed away in June, 1915, and the youngest is fifty-four years of age. Two of the sons are sea captains. 

Captain Bonsey of this review attended the common schools until his fourteenth year when, following the family precedent, he went to sea, shipping before the mast. He sailed out of New York for eight years in the West Indies, Windward Islands and South American trade and subsequently became captain of the schooner Senator, plying between New York city and Maine, remaining there three years. He saw his share of excitement and dangers and when in a reminiscent mood relates many interesting experiences of those days. In 1883 he resigned his command and came west, settling for a short time in Minneapolis, but later in the same year removed to Dakota territory. For a time he resided in Spink county and later in Sully county, where he took up homestead, preemption and tree claims. Later he returned to Spink county and at Ashton conducted the Bonsey Hotel for three years. In 1889, soon after the capital was established at Pierre, he removed to that city and served as the first chef of the Locke Hotel, remaining in that connection for three years, when he resigned to engage in the restaurant business on his own account. He continued therein with growing success for sixteen years, having one of the first chess establishments of the city and enjoying a most liberal patronage. In 1914 he sold that business and then entered into the canning business, being one of the organizers and a director of The Hield Canning Company, of which he is also manager. Their only line is tomatoes and they now have forty thousand tomato plants out which they cultivate themselves. This company is one of Pierre's most important commercial productive institutions. He is likewise the owner of considerable residence property, from which he derives a gratifying annual income. 

On the 7th of February, 1886, was celebrated the marriage of Captain Bonsey and Miss Frances Winter, a daughter of Nicholas and Mary Winter, of Boscobel, Wisconsin, and they have two children, Ruth and Andrew. Mr. Bonsey exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the republican party. In matters of citizenship he is thoroughly progressive, supports all measures of public improvement and does everything in his power to advance those interests which are a matter of civic virtue and civic pride. His chief sources of recreation are hunting and fishing and he has hunted big game in all sections of the northwest, bringing off many trophies of the chase. Fraternally he is a member of lodge No. 23, A. O. U. W. In his broad and varied experiences he has learned much concerning the correct valuations of life and has due regard for all those forces which make for the benefit and upbuilding of the community and which count as factors in those warm friendships which make life worth living.


 

 


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