September 14, 2011.
ANSELLS FROM CURRITUCK COUNTY AND BEYOND by Burness Ansell Jr and Rebecca Ansell Rose.
WALTER FENTRESS ANSELL (1878-1943) and AGNES CLAIBORNE BONNEY (1886-1923)
The author’s Grandfather, the youngest of Caleb (1826-1898) and Betty’s children, was born William Walter on 18 March 1878. Died 24 August 1943. As a child he worked on the family farm and received some of his early “schooling” from the tutors hired by Ferdinand BONNEY. This is probably when he first met and began “courting” Agnes BONNEY. Before 1900 Walter had dropped the William and added Fentress as a middle name. The reason for these changes is unknown. Walter went to work as a salesman, possibly in a local store.
He married Ferdinand BONNEY’s daughter, Agnes Claiborne BONNEY, on 15 November 1903, and they had six children: Burness Ferdinand (3 July 1905-25 May 1971), Ira Holt (26 May 1906-15 November 1913), Ruth Elizabeth (26 May 1908-1 May 1981), Louise Bonney (27 October 1909-26 January 1986), Letha Estelle (6 August 1911-March 1986) and Agnes Holt (28 July 1914-16 February 1988). Walter and Agnes lived with the BONNEYS until 1908.
In 1908 Walter bought four acres of land, house and lot, for five hundred and twenty-five dollars, from Ben E. SMITH. ln 1910 the family was still living on Knotts Island, and Walter was a station agent for the Norfolk and Southern Railroad.
Sometime before 1915 Walter had moved to Norfolk and was one of the foremen at the Norfolk Gas Company. The family probably moved with him. Walter, Agnes and family could not be found in any of the Virginia or North Carolina census indices. When researching the Bonney line, Agnes’ brother Fleetwood was found in the 1920 Census enumerated with Walter, Agnes and all the children. They lived in Norfolk on East 25th Street.
Ruth bought the old BONNEY home place on Knotts Island in 1962. The old house had been destroyed by fire in the 195O’s, so Ruth and husband Paul rebuilt, but closer to the bay. They created a thriving Charolais cattle farm, which they named “Bonney Acres.” Ruth enjoyed gardening and spent a lot of time in their greenhouse working with her flowers. Ruth’s daughter, Bonney, and her family, as well as the nephews and their families, were frequent visitors to the farm. Ruth and Paul split their time between Knotts Island and Washington until 1977. At that time they were forced to sell the farm to William Martin because of health reasons.