Biography of Thomas Austin Bonnell

Thomas Austin Bonnell, born January 1, 1875, in Madison Township, Guernsey County, is a prominent lawyer and politician. The son of Thomas C. and Jennie Boyd Bonnell, he grew up on a farm and began teaching at eighteen. He studied law under Rosemond & Bell and Judge J. W. Troette, being admitted to the bar in January 1906. Bonnell is known for his dedication to education and his legal expertise. In 1910, he was elected as a Republican representative to the Ohio Legislature. He married Aurelia Wirick on September 6, 1899, and they have one son, Bollo W.

Precedence among anyone of the several professional lines to whose following both pre-eminent and mediocre ability has been given can be attained by no side-path but must be gained by earnest, heroic work. It must be the result of subjective native talent supplemented by closest application and a breadth of intellectuality that will render possible the ready and practical use of mere theoretical knowledge. Among the large number who essay the achievement of preferment and honor, the percentage of failures is far in excess of that of successes, a fact that supplies direct proof of statements already expressed.

Success has attended the efforts of Thomas Austin Bonnell, one of the best known of the younger members of the Guernsey County bar, because he has been endowed by nature with the qualities that win and also because he has worked assiduously along his chosen line of endeavor. He was born on January 1, 1875, on a farm in Madison Township, this county, and he is the representative of one of the excellent old families of Guernsey County, being the son of Thomas C. and Jennie Boyd Bonnell, both also natives of this county. The father grew to maturity and was educated in his native community and became a progressive farmer. When the Civil War was in progress, he enlisted in the Seventy-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry and served two years until the close of the war, seeing some hard service. He was a Republican in politics and took much interest in public affairs. He served Madison Township several years as a member of the board of trustees.

Thomas A. Bonnell remained on the home farm with his parents until he was eighteen years of age and assisted with the general work on the place, attending the country district schools in the wintertime. He applied himself very assiduously to his studies and began teaching at the age mentioned above. He followed this during the winter months and attended college through the summer until he had prepared himself for some profession. He selected the law and became a student in the office of Rosemond & Bell of Cambridge, finishing his course under Judge J. W. Troette of this city, and he was admitted to the bar in January 1906. He has retained his interest in educational matters and is active in all efforts to promote and advance the cause of education. He is presently one of the county school examiners and resides in Cambridge, where he practices his profession, and he has built up a very large and rapidly growing clientele. As an attorney, he is painstaking, accurate, cautious, deeply versed in jurisprudence, and he is an earnest, logical, and forceful speaker before a jury. His uniform courtesy to the court and his opponents wins the respect and admiration of all concerned.

Politically, Mr. Bonnell is a Republican and he takes an abiding interest in public matters, especially such as will promote the best interests of the people of Guernsey County. In May 1910, he was nominated by his party as their candidate for representative in the Ohio Legislature, being successful at the election held in November 1910, and his candidacy was regarded as a most fortunate one not only by his constituents but by supporters of other parties, his peculiar fitness in every respect for this important public trust being universally recognized.

Mr. Bonnell was married on September 6, 1899, to Aurelia Wirick, daughter of Jacob C. and Elizabeth (Shipley) Wirick, of Madison Township, Guernsey County. These parents are both natives of this county and are both living, being regarded as among the well-established and highly honored pioneer people of this locality. Mr. Wirick was one of the brave and of “forty-niners” who crossed the great western plains in 1849 for the gold fields of California, and he was successful in that venture. He is now one of the prosperous and progressive farmers of Madison Township. He was one of the men of the Buckeye State who offered their services to the Union during the Civil War. Politically, he is a Republican. Mrs. Bonnell is a lady of refinement and many estimable traits of character. She is the mother of one son, Bollo W.

Mr. Bonnell is popular with the masses, being a man of unquestioned character and ability. He is well-versed in the law, a close student, and is fast coming to the front not only in his profession but in all things that make for high-grade citizenship.


Sarchet, Cyrus P. B. (Cyrus Parkinson Beatty). History of Guernsey County, Ohio. Vol. 2, B.F. Bowen & Company, 1911.

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