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Robert Willis Bonner    

ROBERT WILLIS BONNER.  Robert Willis Bonner, Confederate soldier, was born in Franklin County, Alabama, December 31, 1842. When thirteen years of age, he moved with his family to Texas, settling in Dallas County.

Mr. Bonner was living in Navarro County at the outbreak of the Civil War, and he joined the Confederate Army from that county. He served with distinction throughout the four years of the conflict, and his record as a soldier in Company E. 12th Texas Cavalry, Parsons’ Brigade, is a thrilling and glorious narrative.
In leading a charge of 40 men, for Capt. W. G. Veal, of Parker County, he ran into an ambush while riding fifty yards ahead of his command. His horse was shot and killed, but Mr. Bonner escaped unhurt. The horse had been captured by him at Longee River, Ark., and had belonged to a Yankee Colonel, The next day after this encounter, while following on foot, he again became separated from the main command and was overtaken by a squad of Yankee Cavalry, but by hiding in the weeds he escaped notice. As the last man passed, Mr. Bonner fired and the trooper fell to the ground. Springing on the soldier’s horse, he escaped and rode back to his command. This incident took place at Yellow Bayou, La. After he had overtaken his command, he was saved from his perilous position by General Parsons, who took him up behind him and carried him out of danger.

At Blair Landing, on the Red River, when Gen. Tom Green was killed, Mr. Bonner was shocked by a bomb and left on the battlefield as dead. He revived, however, and made his way back to camp.

At the Battle of Cotton Plant, Ark., the gin in front of the command was shot to pieces, but Mr. Bonner received only a wound in the arm, the gin having saved his life. At Searcy Lane, Ark., he was surrounded and cut off from his men. Yankees were on every side shooting and cutting at him with sabers. He shot his way out with a six-shooter and got away unharmed, losing only his hat.

Later he received the first furlough that was issued in his company, permitting him to come home for sixty days. This special consideration was allowed for meritorious conduct. Only two other furlaughs were granted at the time.

In 1908 Mr. Bonner organized a company of old Confederate soldiers known as the Parker County Greys, which he had the honor of commanding. Thus, he became familiarly known among his friends and associates as Captain Bonner. In reality, however, he received still higher honors than this. He was elected Adjutant General of the Fourth Brigade, Confederate Veterans of Texas. He held this position until the failure of his eyesight during the last years of his life. A few years prior to his death on August 7, 1923, Captain March-banks presented him with the old battle flag of his brigade, which he had carried during most of the war.

After the close of the war, Mr. Bonner returned to Texas and was shortly afterward married to Miss Mary Sherwood Green of Hopkins County. They moved to Dallas in 1868 and from there to Jacksboro. They came to Weatherford in 1882, and Mr. Bonner took partnership with D. C. Haynes in the grocery business, which was located on the ground floor of the old Haynes Opera House. Following Mr. Haynes’ death, Mr. Bonner continued with the business, later buying Mrs. Haynes’ interest, the firm becoming known as R. W. Bonner and Son. His last years of business were with his daughter, Mrs. Rena Bonner Conway. He retired in 1917. He was an honored member of the Masonic Lodge, having been a member for some 60 years at the time of his death. He became affiliated with the Methodist Church in 1893.

Mr. and Mrs. Bonner were the parents of five children: Mabel Bonner Lewis, Kate Bonner Craft, Rena Bonner Conway, Ranger and Russell Bonner.

History of Parker County and the Double Log Cabin: being a brief symposium of the early history of Parker County, together with short biographical sketches of early settlers and their trials, Weatherford, Tex.: Herald Pub. Co., 1937, pages 94-96 View the image of this page online.  Search Hundreds of 1880s-1920s Texas History Books for biographies and historical information on your ancestors.  View the book page images on line and print them out for your genealogy file!  Try the family history collection for free for 14 days!

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