$10,500 donated for Bonnifield cabin preservation
The Bonnifield Preservation Committee recently received $10,500 from members of the Bonnifield families during their family reunion July 27 at the Bonnifield Log House in Old Settlers Park.
A large portion of the donation resulted when a donor asked his company to match his donation to the Bonnifield Preservation Fund through the Carnegie Museum Foundation, a 401(c)(3) foundation.
Forty-six family descendants and their families gathered to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the building of the cabin. They were able to see the work of Birmingham resident Roger Kubik, who is currently rechinking the cabin with new material to extend the life of the historic log house.
Recently, Kubik replaced two logs with new white oak logs donated by Nelson Smith of Brighton. Smith’s great-great-grandfather Dr. Winfield Fordyce had donated the cabin to the Old Settlers Association in 1907.
A descendant of Anzaletta Bonnifield, Michael Cluney of Des Moines, shared his model of the cabin, and it is now on display at the Carnegie Historical Museum. During the reunion, “Fiddlin’ Granny” Joann Ancell of Fairfield entertained the families with her fiddling, and the families explored the cabin and exchanged family stories and histories.
Attending the reunion were descendants of William Bonnifield, Elizabeth Bonnifield Chandler, Anzaletta Bonnifield Nicholson and West Benson Bonnifield. They came from California, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and many parts of Iowa.
Special guests included 91-year- old Gladys Kauffman Porter of Ankeny from the Anzaletta Bonnifield Nicholson family, and Allan Bonnifield of New Ulm, Minn., from William Bonnifield’s family, the only attending descendant with the Bonnifield name.
Special recognition was given to Keith Shafer and Mark Shafer, both Bonnifield Preservation Committee members, and Elizabeth Long who lives on the original site of the cabin. The family historians thanked Verda Baird of Fairfield for her many hours of Bonnifield research, and Richard Thompson collected oral histories from the Bonnifield family.
The family also appreciated the special work of Fairfield park superintendent Pam Craff and her crew during the weekend.
The Bonnifield family concluded the celebration with a visit to the Bonnifield Cemetery east of Fairfield where the parents Rhodham and Nancy Bonnifield, son Arnold, daughters Sarah and Elizabeth and grandson Sulifand are buried. Judy Chandler Bowers of Missouri visited her great-great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Bonnifield Chandler’s grave for the first time.
Tax-deductible donations for the cabin’s preservation can be made to the Bonnifield Preservation Fund of the Carnegie Museum Foundation, PO Box 502, Fairfield 52556. The foundation is a 501(3)(c) organization.