A Narrative History
The People of Iowa
JESSE L. BONAR is in point of continuous service one of the oldest members
of the Kossuth County bar, having practiced at Algona for thirty-five years.
He has been a resident of Iowa since 1874.
Members of the Bonar family are widely scattered over the United States. It
is a family with relationships as American citizens since the late Colonial
The founders of the American family were three brothers, Bernard, John and
William Bonar, whose early home was near Belfast, Ireland. They were of
Scotch ancestry, what is known as Scotch-Irish, and Presbyterians in religion. In
the year 1740 these brothers came to America, landing at Baltimore. One of
them, Bernard, went to South CArolina and was a soldier in the War of the
REvolution, under Gen Francis Marion. Later he established a home in
Southwestern Pennsylvania, Washington County, where he died in 1805. The second brother, John, went to Kentucky, and some of the Kentucky Bonars are probably descended from him.
The third brother and the ancestor of the Iowa attorney, William Bonar, was
born in Ireland in 1722. After landing at Baltimore he moved to Southwestern
Virginia, at what is now Roanoke, and lived there the rest of his life. He
and his oldest son, James, were soldiers in the Revolution, and both were
present at the siege of Yorktown, ending with the surrender of Cornwallis. This
son, James, was born at Roanoke, Virginia, in 1759, and later moved to what
is now Moundsville, West Virginia. He was grandfather of the Iowa attorney.
Mr. Jesse L. Bonar was born at Moundsville, West Virginia, October 24, 1865,
son of Jackson and Eveline (Trueman) Bonar. Jackson Bonar, who was born in
Marshall County, West Virginia, was a farmer and stock raiser. In 1874 he
brought his family to Iowa and settled near Nevinsville in Adams County, and
resumed the occupation he had followed from early manhood. He passed away
March 17, 1904, when eighty-three years of age. His wife, Eveline Trueman, was
born in Jefferson County, Ohio, November 1, 1834, and died at Nevinsville,
Iowa, December 27, 1921, aged eighty-seven. Of the six sons of these parents
two, Trueman and Jackson, died in infancy. The four living are George Nelson,
of Creston, Iowa, James Robert, of Fargo, Oklahoma, Jesse L., and Charles
Abel, of Long Beach, California.
Jesse L. Bonar spent his early life on a farm in Adams County, Iowa. After
the common schools he entered Iowa Wesleyan College at Mount Pleasant, and
from that institution transferred to the University of Iowa, where he took his
Bachelor of Arts degree in 1893. In the meantime he had made the decision
of the law as his life work and in 1894 was graduated LL.B. from the
University of Iowa School of Law. On January 12, 1895, he established his home at Algona, and has always enjoyed an enviable reputation as a safe and resourceful attorney. He has given his time to a general law practice, and in connection therewith has held the office of city solicitor continuously since 1897, except for two years.
Mr. Bonar married, June 30, 1906, Miss Florence Lusk, daughter of T. A.
Lusk, of Milwaukee. She died July 24, 1908, and their only son, Howard, died in
infancy. Mr. Bonar in 1914 married Rhoda Lee Crull. They are very proud of
their daughter, Bonnie Lee. Mr. Bonar has filled all the chairs in Lodge No.
174, Knights of Pythias, and has been a delegate to the Grand Lodge. He is
also a member of Prudence Lodge No. 205, A. F. and A. M., and the Kiwanis