Life Stories

Fondas with Remarkable Stories

(22 People)

General Family History
Voyage to America
Abraham A. Fonda (1803-1871)
Adam Douw Fonda (1736-1808)
Albert (Douw) Fonda (1844-1928)
Anthony Phillip Fonda (1878-1935)
Cornelius C. Fonda (1809-1897)
David Bartholomew Fonda (1834-1903)
Dee Virgil Fondy (1924-1999)
Douglas Cadwallader Fonda (1896-1977)
Douw Jellis Fonda (1700-1780)
George Farrell Fonda (1859-1943)
Henry Adam Fonda (1820-1896)
Fonda Name Origins
Surname Distribution
Hester Janse Fonda (1615-1690)
Jane Seymour Fonda (1937-)
Jellis Douwe Fonda (1727-1791)
Jellis Jacobse Fonda (1751-1839)
John Giles Fonda (1822-1910)
John Henry Fonda (1808-)
John Isaac Fonda (1761-1814)
John Peter Fonda (1735-1826)
Ten Eyck Hilton Fonda (1838-1923)
William Cornelius Fonda (1807-1885)
William Henry Fonda (1834-1910)

General Family History

Sources: New York State Museum, Wikipedia, New York Counties

Albany was the second settlement in the 13 original American colonies, after Jamestown, Virginia. The Dutch, who built a fort there in 1614, called the place "New Orange", after the Prince of Orange. When the land was taken by the British in 1664, the name was changed to "Albany", in honor of the Duke of York and Albany, who later became James VII of Scotland and II of England. The Duke of Albany is a Scottish title given since 1398, generally to a younger son of the Scottish King. The name is derived from Alba; the Gaelic name for Scotland.

"Beverwyck" is the popular and mythical name given to the community of fur traders that first emerged along the river to the north of Fort Orange during the 1640s. The name came into official use in 1652 when the Dutch West India Company established a judicial jurisdiction for the land north of the trading post/fort. That act began a legacy of home rule for Albany that was primarily responsible for its development into a pre-urban center. Immediately following, the first houselots were parceled out. By the end of the decade, a log palisade had enclosed the settlement.

The Fonda Family was one of eighty-two distinct family groups representing the settler population of Albany at the end of the so-called Dutch period (1624-1686). Already, these urban dwellers were beginning to distinguish themselves from the farmers and husbandmen of the surrounding countryside. These families represented the largest number of New Netherlands family names in the city during its first two centuries of life. From this core group, a number of families left the Albany community, establishing new settlements at Schenectady, Kinderhook, Catskill, Schaghticoke, Hoosick, Saratoga, and beyond. Some became tenants of the Rensselaerwyck Patroon (cooperative). Others left the region entirely. Still others literally "died out" in the Albany setting. Those who remained formed the core population of what became the city of Albany in 1686.

Beginning during the 1670s and 80s, the children of the New Netherlands Dutch found marriage partners and raised American-born families of their own. The Albany community continued to grow and to feed the growth of the entire Hudson-Mohawk region based on the natural increase of its New Netherlands-ancestry settler stock. Although many people came and went, Albany's New Netherlands Dutch roots remained strong for another 200 years.

Voyage from Holland - 1650
(see below)

Albany Court Street - 1686

The Colonial Albany Project (New York State Museum) considers the census of 1790 second only to the census taken in 1697 in importance in defining early Albany's population. The 573 historically visible Albanians and the 2,925 other city people living in their households have been under study for almost two decades now. Their individual and collective stories are basic to the history of the community. The census of Albany Heads of Families taken by Sheriff Simeon Young in June 1697 listed two Fonda families: Jan & Maritje (Lookermans) Fonda and Jellis & Rachel (Winne) Fonda. These were the first two grandsons of patriarch Jellis Douwse Fonda (1614-1659). Both Jan and Jellis were Gunstockers by trade.

Albany City Hall - 1750

The first comprehensive census in America was conducted by the United States government beginning in August 1790. The census was taken by Federal Marshals reporting to the U. S. District Courts. Returns were due nine months later and were transmitted to Congress in October 1791. New York ranked fifth among the states with a population of 340,120 inhabitants - as in colonial times, Albany was by far the most populous New York county. Census data for Albany County included returns for nineteen districts, the town of Schenectady, an "Island in the river," and for the city of Albany. The total of 75,921 inhabitants marked a high point for the county as Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Greene Counties soon would be split off from Albany.

Rensselaerwyck was the most populated district with 8,318 total inhabitants. Watervliet (surrounding Albany city on the west side of the Hudson) was next with 7,419 total inhabitants. Although the center of activity in a booming region, the city of Albany itself, with 3,498 people, ranked no higher than sixth among Albany County jurisdictions.

The city of Albany was credited with 573 heads of families - or an average household size of 6.1 people. By ward, the city population was distributed 1,612 people in the first ward; 878 in the second ward; and 1,004 in the third ward. There were 8 Fonda households listed in this survey; Nicholas, Jacobus, David, Hendrick, Isaac, John, Jacob and Abrahm.


Before the American Revolution, a Dutch village named Fonda had succeeded the Indian hamlet of Caughnawaga, along the Mohawk River, about 30 miles west of Albany. It extended from the rambling hills which comprise the Mohawk Valley, at the foot of which stood the church and parsonage, down to the river. Douw Jellis Fonda (1700-1780), father of the branch of the Fonda family so prominent in this neighborhood from the mid-1700's to the present, is considered the founder of this village, which now bears his name.

Johnson Hall, Caughnawaga - 1770

The present fairground of the Montgomery County Agricultural Society covers part of the site of old Caughnawaga, and when the ground was fenced and a race course was laid out and graded in 1927, some interesting relics of the old village were discovered. Among them were the remains of persons buried in the ancient graveyard, which were removed to the modern cemetery on the neighboring hills. Some, not interfered with by the necessary excavation and building, were left undisturbed. Several wells, partly filled up, were found on the premises, and traces of the cellars of a number of the old Dutch houses, including that of Douw Fonda. This house is spoken of as "a large stone dwelling with wings," and served as an inn for some time after Douw's death.

Douw Fonda came from Schenectady, New York and settled at this location in 1751. The tombstone of his wife (which was one that had been removed from the old graveyard on the fairground) bears the date 1756, and an epitaph in Dutch, believed to have been made in Holland: "As you pass by and see me lie, so once was I. Here lies the body of Mary Fonda, wife of Douw Fonda, born the 24th of March 1698. Departed this life in hopes of a better, 30th day of January 1756, age 58 years and 10 months."

Douw lived a long and prosperous life as a farmer and merchant. He was killed during a raid by the British Army, aided by the Mohawk Indians, on May 22, 1780; he was 79 yrs. old. His house was plundered and burned; and his sons, John and Adam, were taken as prisoners. Douw had been a close personal friend of the British constable, Sir William Johnson, and had always been on good terms with the Indians, but his life was taken as "heartlessly" as though he were an active enemy. His legacy remained through his abundant offspring, which included 6 children and 30 grandchildren.

Dutch Reformed Church, Fonda, NY

Village Will Lower Flag in Honor of Henry Fonda

August 13, 1982 - The Leader-Herald, Gloversville, New York

The village of Fonda will fly a flag at the Municipal Building at half-mast for 30 days in honor of the actor Henry Fonda whose ancestors founded the village. The actor's death yesterday once again has focused attention on the village of Fonda's legacy and its connection with members of the famous Fonda acting family. Though Jane Fonda visited the community in 1980, Henry Fonda never made a similar journey.

A local man who shares the Fonda name said he "was saddened by the actor's death." Edgar Fonda Jr. of Switzer Hill said "It kind of gave us a thrill every time we saw his name in an article." The Fonda couple said they had read the actor's autobiography. Of his films, Fonda said "On Golden Pond" was his favorite. Fonda said he believed he was a distant relative of the actor but had never figured out the relationship.

The late actor was interested in his ties to the village - his grandfather, Ten Eyck Hilton Fonda, resided in the original Fonda farm on the Fonda-Johnstown Road until 1873 - but he never visited the Mohawk Valley, according to Montgomery County historian Mrs. Anita Smith. Mrs. Smith said the actor's only known correspondence with the village came years ago in the form of a donation of a Fonda family Bible, found in an antique shop, to the village's Frothingham Free Library.

Fonda Courthouse and Hotel

The actor was interested in his genealogy, enough so that he had his Dutch "roots" traced so he could qualify for membership in the Holland Society of New York City, Mrs. Smith said. She recalled that Fonda had a chance to visit upstate New York in 1977 when he was invited to speak at a Bicentennial celebration staged in Oriskany.

After Miss Fonda made a surprise visit to the village in July 1980, to trace her family tree, there was noticeable upsurge in interest in the village's history, the historian recalled. The actor had been invited to the event, in part, because of his famous starring role in the film, "Drums Along the Mohawk," she said. Mrs. Smith told The Leader-Herald that the Montgomery County Department of History and Archives has no plans to commemorate the late actor, though a letter of sympathy will be sent to Jane Fonda.

Miss Fonda's 1980 visit coincided with the 200th anniversary of the killing and scalping of Douw Fonda, her seventh great-grandfather and founder of the village. Accompanied by her two children and several cousins, she visited the Department of History and Archives displays and viewed a facsimile rubbing of the tombstone of Henry C. Fonda, a distant descendant.


Abraham A. Fonda (1803-1871) Sources: Western Historical Manuscript Collection

Born in Wynantskill, Rensselaer County, NY; 1850, 1860 & 1870 Census, Louisville, Jefferson Co., KY; participated in a 1838 Jackson County, MO land sale (Prudhomme Tract) which eventually became Kansas City. Engaged in the family grocery business in the City of Louisville and owned two lots of land therein, also owned one tract of 320 acres of land in Orange County, MO per his will dated 1867. Married Fannie Stumbaugh 1844 in Van Buren (now Cass) County Missouri, remained a short time until returning to Kentucky. Had six children from 1847 to 1858.

Mississippi Riverboat

On February 1, 1831, French-Canadian fur trader Gabriel Prudhomme patented 271 acres of land in Jackson County, Missouri for $340. The land, originally part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, contained a natural rock ledge on the south bank of the Missouri River that would later be known as "the levee" that proved to be an excellent steamboat landing site. After an altercation in 1831, Prudhomme died leaving a complex legal battle among his heirs. The courts finally declared that the land should be auctioned-off and the proceeds equitably distributed among his children.

On July 7, 1838, James H. McGee as a guardian for the Prudhomme heirs auctioned the land. He received $1,800 for the land from Abraham Fonda but the courts ordered a new sale due to charges of a lack of adequate advertising and a suspicion of collusion between the two men. The land, including the landing for the loading and Mississippi River Steamboat unloading of materials on the Missouri River, had begun to be used regularly by businesses as early as 1836. The second auction of the estate was advertised as far away as St. Louis and cried-off on November 14, 1838. A group of men, led by William M. Sublett made a bid of $4,220 and successfully purchased the tract of land. Next, the group formed a corporation with the intent of using the landing and its nearby surroundings as a business settlement, complete with warehouses.

The corporation originally consisted of 14 members and shortly after the sale allowed an additional three members. Members included John C. McCoy (the city's first surveyor), Fry P. McGee (the group's first financial officer), and William M. Chick (Kansas City's first Postmaster). Other members of the group were: Oliver Caldwell, William Collins, Abraham Fonda, William Gillis, Russell Hicks, Samuel C. Owens, Jacob Ragan, James Smart, George W. Tate, and Moses G. Wilson. The additions were Robert Campbell, William B. Evans, and Henry Jobe.

Missouri Wilderness - 1840's

The initial order of business for the group was what to name the proposed town. The 14 committee members retired to the log house on the riverbank at the foot of Main Street occupied by "One-Eyed Ellis" to select a name for the new town. No doubt there was much laughter as those roughly dressed men sat in front of the blazing fire and suggested one name after another.

Old Squire Bowers, a spectator who lived on the river, facetiously suggested "Rabbitville or Possumtrot" but was treated with silent contempt. Another suggested, "Kawsmouth" and "Port Fonda" in honor of Abraham Fonda, then a prominent member of the committee. Unfortunately Fonda became involved in a quarrel with another part-owner, Henry Jobe, who threatened all sorts of legal, fistic, and even shotgun remedies, and the results were that "Port Fonda" was not accepted. Finally "Town of Kansas" was agreed upon, because of the Kansas River and the Kansas Indians, and was the name under which the new town site was surveyed and by which it was called until 1853. At that time it became known as the "City of Kansas" and in 1880, as "Kansas City."


Adam Douw Fonda (1736-1808) Sources: History of Schoharie County, Hager / McClanahan Family

Adam, younger brother of Jellis, was born in Schenectady and was a career military man, attaining the rank of Lt. Col. in Tryon County Militia, 3rd Battalion (Mohawk). He later became a Tryon County Judge, State Assemblyman, and Safety Committee Member.

In May of 1780, Sir John Johnson, at the head of about 500 troops (British, Indians and Tories) began raids in the Mohawk Valley. Among much plundering, they burned the homes of John and Adam Fonda, brothers, and made them both captive. John was released after a few days but Adam was taken to and imprisoned in Montreal along with about 100 others captured during the raids. According to the Haldimand Papers (see The Hager / McClanahan Family link above), Adam was taken from Montreal on about Aug. 13, 1781 (where he had been imprisoned for about 10 months) to St. Johns, Quebec (now Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, on the far end of Lake Champlain) along with about 20 other prisoners. They were to be exchanged for British POWs held by the Americans. After the exchange was effected, the freed prisoners were delivered by boat to Skeensborough, NY, at the head of Lake Champlain (now Whitehall, NY), arriving on Aug. 25th, 1781. From there they each made their way to respective homes. Adam`s first cousin, Ephraim Vrooman, was among his fellow released prisoners.

Peggy (Fonda) Wemple Grist Mill
(drawing is not of subject)

Foremost among the heroines of the Revolution in this region was the widow Peggy Wemple, sister of Adam, Jellis and John. She was a Fonda, and the patriots of that name had no reason to be ashamed of her. Deprived of her husband, Barney Wemple, in 1771, she was left with unusual cares and responsibilities, which she met with remarkable energy and perseverance. She kept an inn beside the creek on the old road to Johnstown, and opposite the site of Geo. F. Miller's house in Fonda, and also managed a grist-mill, with the help of her boy Mina.

Having occasion to go to the mill one winter evening during the Revolution, she was a little startled at finding herself confronted by an Indian, but was soon relieved by discovering that it was a dead one, cold and stiff, placed in her way by some mischievous person to test her nerves.

Like all the patriots of the neighborhood, she suffered by the foray of Sir John Johnson in May, 1780. The Indians captured her boy, and shutting her up in her tavern, set fire to it. Her cries brought help and she was rescued. Her voice arrested the attention of her brother John, who sent one of his slaves round the knoll which formerly stood west of the Fonda Hotel, to learn the cause of alarm; but hardly had the slave returned, before the enemy's advance from both parties was there also, making Fonda a prisoner, and burning his dwelling.

The boy Mina was released at Johnstown, and allowed to find his way back to Caughnawaga. Mrs. Wemple's house was destroyed, and probably her mill, but undismayed she built again, and in the winter of 1780, she ground and bolted 2,700 skipples (2,025 bushels) of wheat at the order of the Tryon County Committee, for the use of the colonial soldiers at Forts Ticonderoga, Hunter, Plank, and Stanwix.

Adam & John Fonda
Prisoners in Raids - 1780

At the commencement of hostilities, John Fonda had some difficulty with Alexander White, sheriff of Tryon county, about their hogs and cattle breaking in upon each others premises, which resulted in a quarrel, in which White called Fonda "a damned rebel"; and the latter, provoked to anger, did not scruple to give his majesty's peace officer a severe caning: the result was, White took Fonda to the Johnstown Jail. The Citizens in a mob soon after proceeded to the jail and liberated Fonda, and attempted to secure the person of the sheriff, then at the village inn kept by Mattice.

Armed with a double-barreled gun, White fired several times on the assailants from an upper window, and then secreted himself in a chimney, where he remained while the patriot party, who had forced an entrance, were in the house. Soon after, sheriff White, whose official authority was now at an end, was smuggled from Johnstown in a large chest by his political friends; and his wife shortly after followed his fortunes to Canada. The dwelling, vacated by White, was occupied by John Fonda afterwards. The property, owned at his death by Sir Wm. Johnson, stood on the present site of the Montgomery County Courthouse in Fonda.

Two sons of Adam were twins, Douw Henry and Henry Douw; prior to Henry Douw's death in 1891 at age 81, they had the distinction of being the oldest male twins in the country. Douw Henry Fonda (1809-95) owned 233 acres; he married Ann Veeder, (1810-90) daughter of Albert Veeder, son of Col. Abraham Veeder. Soon after their marriage, they took up residence in the small stone house then standing on the farm willed to him by his father, becoming the third successive owner since his patentee great grandfather, Douw "The Patriot" Fonda, to whom it had been granted in 1748. His family grew rapidly, the stone house became the foundation of the second home, a frame structure which Douw and Ann began to replace by a still larger one in 1848, completed in 1856.

On September 13, 1833, Douw Henry Fonda was appointed a Sergeant, under the command of Daniel Moore, in the 34th Regiment, 11th Brigade, 14th Division of the New York State Militia. As such he served seven years. He was exempted from military duty on November 10, 1840; his certification was signed by his older brother, Brigadier-General Peter Henry Fonda (1802-).

Rebuilding the Homestead

When, in 1848, the present farm home was begun, the first frame house was moved to a site, south, and became "The Tenant House;" it was burned during the summer of 1898, and replaced before the fall. In 1852, when the Fonda-Johnston Road became a two-lane highway (one lane plank, and the other dirt) Douw Henry lost the sight of his left eye by the same dynamite blast which killed his brother Adam, and which widened the roadbed through the slate outcrop between his home and the lands south of it. The present road was built on the former during 1910 and 1911 (Family Bible Records).

All the timbers used in the building on this farm except those used in the four-story laying-house, built in 1935, and in the remodeling of the homestead, in 1936, came from trees grown there; all the foundation stones were gathered in the fields except those cut from the limestone outcrop at nearby Stone Arabia. These were hauled to the Fonda Farm on home-made wagons drawn by teams of oxen and were loaded and unloaded manually. The huge stones forming the front porch and the smaller ones in the wall along the highway were secured in the same area. All the first fences were of stone gathered in the fields and carefully piled, one upon another to a height of about three feet. Trees were cut and stumps were destroyed by hand; seed was planted; crops were harvested by hand and stored without the aid of machines. It was during the earliest years of Douw Henry's grandchildren that machines began to replace the endless back breaking hours of labor on farms in the Mohawk Valley.


Albert (Douw) Fonda (1844-1928) Sources: Century Farms of New York State

Albert Fonda was born and raised on the Fonda Farm, in Mohawk Township, just outside of the Village of Fonda. After his twelfth birthday, he attended the district school near his home only during the winter and early spring of the three following years. He was needed as his father's helper on the Fonda Farm. Nevertheless his active brain spurred him to avail himself of the information contained in the newspapers and periodicals of his era. He never lost interest in current events whether at local, state, national or international level.

Fonda Farm, Mohawk, NY - 1859

Deeply interested in government, he did not choose to hold office but preferred to sponsor and participate in most projects designed to benefit the farmers of his community and county. Gifted mechanically, he was the first person in his area to own and operate a steam engine which moved under its own power and motivated such labor-saving devices as the threshing machine, rye-rubber, corn husker, or sawmill. It moved its own water-tank, often also, one of the machines. Frequently a strong team of horses, widely known as "Dick", a bay and "Charlie", almost white, hauled a machine from farm to farm, not only in the immediate vicinity of the Fonda Farm, but in adjacent and rather distant ones.

A staunch Republican, Albert was disqualified from military service during the Civil War because he had lost the sight of his left eye during an attack of diphtheria during the epidemic of 1860. Later in 1889, while using his equipment to husk a neighbor's corn, he lost his left hand and nearly died of septicemia. A second amputation removed the lower arm just below the elbow. Despite such handicaps, his was a useful life until early in his 83rd year. He and his wife made every effort to educate their children, assisting them through high school and college and as much as possible when each embarked upon his or her career. Both he and his wife died at Fonda Farm. They are buried, as were their parents, brothers and certain sisters in the Evergreen Cemetery, near Fonda, New York.

His son, Albert Dow Fonda (1893-1962), also became a farmer, but he first attended Cornell University Agriculture College, graduating in 1917. Then, with WWI in progress, he enlisted in the U.S. Marines right after college graduation. He was assigned to the Key West, Florida, flight training school; however the war ended prior to completion. Albert then worked in a New Jersey Creamery until a logging accident partially disabled his father, thereupon he returned home to help on the farm. He continued with a successful farming career, taking after his father who had a farm machinery dealership. He also believed strongly in education, sending his children to (better) neighboring Johnstown schools and supporting them all in college educations; later helped foster the Fonda-Fultonville Centralized School, crusading against local rivalries.

Crops and Dairy Cattle

State of New York; Executive Chamber

CITATION - In 1642 Jellis Douwse Fonda emigrated from Holland and settled in America near Rensselaer. In the course of the centuries his descendants migrated westward into the Mohawk Valley giving their name to the Village of Fonda, which is now the County Seat of Montgomery, County, One of them, Douw Fonda was killed on his farm during an Indian raid in the Revolution and he now lives in history as "Douw, the Patriot".

Not far from Old Johnson Hall, country seat of the great explorer and proconsul, Sir William Johnson, is a charming old farmhouse dignified and serene, mellowed by the passing of more than one hundred years. It is the home of Albert Douw Fonda, direct lineal descendant of Jellis Douwse Fonda, as well as of Douw, the Patriot. With his wife, Helen Clark Fonda, and his sister Miss Cornelia D. Fonda, Albert Douw Fonda operates a farm which is rightly one of the prides of the County, indeed of the Mohawk Valley.

On one hundred and thirty-five acres of crop land the Fondas own an enviable herd of registered Ayrshire cattle, with two thousand laying hens. It is in every sense a modern farm operated according to the best modern canons of scientific agricultural efficiency. Their son, Albert Granville Fonda, is an undergraduate of Cornell University. Two daughters have gone out into the world. The entire family - father, mother and children, as well as the sister, Cornelia Fonda - hold university degrees.

It is my pleasure and privilege as Governor of New York to welcome the Fonda family to the Honorable Order of Century Farmers.

(signature) Thomas E. Dewey (embossed state seal)

Fonda Farm, Town of Mohawk, New York, 1962

Century Farms (1847-1947) Booklet

The New World story of the Fondas begins in 1642 in the days of the Dutch occupancy of New Netherlands when Jellis Douwse Fonda came from Holland and settled near Rensselaer. He was succeeded by a son, Douw Jellis and a grandson born near Schenectady in 1700. This baby was baptized "Douw" according to the ritual of the Dutch Reformed Church to which his descendants still belong. When he was more than 50 years old Douw Fonda trekked westward up the Mohawk Valley into new country and here on land now encircled by the track of the Fonda Fairgrounds he built his home. With the outbreak of the Revolution thousands of colonists, loyal to the Crown, fled to Canada.

Revolutionary Battles

Among these Tories were the Johnson's, who had a manorial home at Johnstown, not far away. In the Mohawk Valley, there were some who allied themselves with the Johnson's, but the majority were true to the American cause. Among these were Douw Fonda and his three sons, John, Jellis and Adam, staunch patriots all, Jellis a Captain while Adam served as a Lieutenant Colonel under General Nicholas Herkimer at the bloody Battle of Oriskany near Utica in 1777. This battle prevented the British General St. Leger from giving expected relief to Burgoyne at Saratoga.

On May 27, 1780, occurred the raid which rendered Sir John Johnson infamous when he led a raiding party of Indians and Tories against his former neighbors. The 80-year old Douw Fonda was one of the victims, tomahawked by a Mohawk whom he had once befriended but who wanted the $8 bounty the British paid for a scalp. Adam Fonda was also seized and taken to Canada with 5 Fonda slaves and his house was burned. After the war Adam returned and built a house which is still standing in the village of Fonda. Jellis became a judge in Tryon County and was serving in the Legislature when he died. Adam's son Henry who served as a captain in the War of 1812 had twin sons called Henry Douw and Douw Henry. Douw Henry, the father of Albert Fonda whose son is the present owner, built the farm home between 1842-50. Now on this farm is the ninth generation of the family in America; the seventh on these historic acres. (Issued January 22, 1947)


Anthony Phillip Fonda (1878-1935) Sources: Centennial History of Missouri

Anthony Fonda made a most creditable record as a farmer, as a lawyer and particularly as a citizen whose devotion to the welfare of the great majority is a recognized fact. A resident of Independence, he was born in Leavenworth, Kansas, his parents being Anthony Phillip and Laura D. (Wier) Fonda, the former a native of the state of New York and the latter of New Jersey. His parents became acquainted and were married in Leavenworth, Kansas. The father conducted the first wholesale grocery in Kansas City, which place was then known as Port Fonda. He was a veteran of the Civil war, having served in the Union Army, enlisting in Michigan as a member of a regiment of that state. In the course of the war, he (the father) was captured by his own brother, Cornelius Jesse Fonda, who was with the Confederate forces, and who later died in the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky.

Avondale Farm, Clay County, Missouri - 1900
(drawing is not of subject)

A. P. Fonda (the son) acquired his early education in the public schools of Kansas City, Missouri, following the removal of the family from Leavenworth, and later attended the Marmaduke Military Academy at Sweet Springs, Missouri. He next became a student in the Case School of Applied Sciences at Cleveland, Ohio, and afterward attended Union College at Schenectady, New York. About this time the Spanish-American war began and he attempted to join the army but because of some physical defects was refused. He therefore represented the Jacob Dold Packing Company of Buffalo, New York, and Kansas City, Missouri, in Cuba, and following the close of hostilities Mr. Fonda purchased a farm called Avondale, in Clay county, a tract of eighty acres, for which he paid ten hundred and sixty dollars. He cultivated and improved this farm for a period of three years, largely raising lima beans and sweet potatoes. When thus engaged he studied law in the offices of Leo Bock and Judge J. V. C. Carnes and in 1903 was admitted to the bar. About this time he sold his eighty acre farm for three hundred dollars per acre. In the year of his admission to the bar he was appointed claim agent of the P. & K. C. Railway Company, which position he filled for about eighteen months and then concentrated his efforts and attention upon the land and real estate business, specializing in taxes.

In 1916, Mr. Fonda joined the National Security League, a pro-war political activism group, and had the credit of capturing the first German spy that was secured in this country. This was Antone Havercamp, who was caught in the rear of the criminal court building of Kansas City and who had in his possession about three and a half bushels of bomb parts. Through the efforts of Mr. Fonda he was incarcerated at Fort Riley. (see Clippings for more details) Mr. Fonda was the chairman of the United States labor board of Jackson county, Missouri, and was also United States food commissioner for the county. He was a most active worker in support of the government throughout the war period. He had charge of the Liberty loan drive for Independence and raised four hundred and ten thousand dollars, this being twenty thousand dollars above the quota. The entire expense of the drive, including the raising of this amount, was only seventy dollars and thirty-five cents.

Catching a German Spy - 1916

In Independence, in 1910, Mr. Fonda was married to Miss Corm Homan (Cora Hanington), a representative of a farming family of Carroll county, Missouri, and they had one daughter, Nadine. Their religious faith was that of the Baptist church and Mr. Fonda's Christianity was a part of his daily life, being manifest in all of his relations with his fellowmen. He was interested in the welfare of the youth of the country and was the president of the Boy Scouts organization of Independence. He greatly enjoys being with the boys, frequently had them at his home and goes with them on all the trips which they take. His political allegiance was given to the democratic party. He was a man of unquestioned loyalty to any cause which he believes to be right. He had made a remarkable record as food commissioner, in which his activities have shown that he had labored untiringly for the interests of the people. He had fought hard against measures that have been put over in Washington and a few more such men as Mr. Fonda would have been able to save millions to the people of the United States. He wrote in the plainest terms to the food administration at the capital that they were allowing the people to be robbed of millions by the sugar trust and they sent a man on from Washington to see him about the matter. He refused to take back what he wrote and dared them to remove him from office as food commissioner. The righteousness and justice of his course are indicated in the fact that he was retained in the position.


David Bartholomew Fonda (1834-1903) Sources: Early Chicago and The Northwest, History of Early Chicago

Civil War Surgeon
89th Illinois Infantry

Proprietor of Dr. Fonda's Medicines, and a gifted speaker and writer; D. B. Fonda, M.D., physician and surgeon, took a full classical course at the Lisha's Kill Academy, and after graduating removed to central New York, where he engaged in teaching some four years, at the same time pursuing advanced studies in mental and moral philosophy under Professor F. D. Pierce.

In 1885, he removed to Cook County, Ill., where he engaged in railroading for a time, his health necessitating outdoor employment. He subsequently took the agency in Chicago of the West Elgin Flour Company, a position he retained until the stoppage of the mills in the spring of 1858. He then engaged in teaching at Rose Hill until 1862, when he enlisted in Company C, 89th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry. After the battle of Perryville he was placed in charge of an ambulance train and shortly afterward appointed to one of the hospitals at Bardstown, Kentucky.

In July, 1863, he was honorably discharged and, returning to Rose Hill, shortly afterward entered Rush Medical College, attending lectures in 1863-64-65 and 1866. The breaking out of the cholera epidemic and consequent death of Dr. Brainard and other members of the faculty caused him to quit the college. In 1867 he engaged in practice, at the same time being appointed county physician, a position he retained until 1871. During this time he attended one course of lectures at the Bennett Medical College, from which he graduated. He was elected a member of the Board of Trustees for Jefferson Township in 1874 a position he retained until 1877, being president of the board during the entire period. He then graduated from the Eclectic College of Medicine & Surgery, Chicago, 1878. He was elected health officer when tire ordinance passed in 1880, and elected a member of the school board in the spring of 1883, still filling both of these latter offices.

"A Mysterious Impulse", Chicago Tribune, Aug 3, 1887

Lawyer M. H. Reynolds, of Jefferson, went to his friend Dr. D. B. Fonda's house, in that town, early Sunday afternoon, to help in making out some business papers. And together they worked for several hours. Suddenly Dr. Fonda looked up and exclaimed: "Mark, I've got an idea somebody's about the store - something's wrong with the safe. Just put on your hat and come along. I'm going to see about this." They started together, Dr. Fonda leading the way until his drug store, in the centre of the village, was reached. They unlocked the door, and on the moment of their entrance they heard a rustle. The druggist walked around the prescription counter, and there caught a six-foot thief bent down so that the top of his head just showed over some vases. Fonda ran to grapple him, but the thief dashed around the prescription counter again and into the front of the store with his hands fall of five-dollar and ten-dollar bills. Here the lawyer clinched him, the two rolling with the money on the floor. Their cries brought help, and the thief was overpowered and $200 in bills taken from him. Before Justice Heustis the prisoner told how be had climbed in through a side window in the afternoon, almost under the noses of the people on the street, and opened the safe, and how he had the money in the store all in his possession and was ready to go when the key rattled in the door and his captors entered.

Safecracker Nabbed


Dee Virgil Fondy (1924-1999) Sources: Baseball Reference, Baseball Historian

Former Dodger Dee Fondy Dies

Redlands, Calif. (AP) - Dee Fondy, who played for the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds and was the last player to bat in Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, died Thursday of cancer. He was 74. Fondy, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year, died at Plymouth Village retirement center, said his youngest son, Joe Fondy. "Dee Fondy was one of my favorite people,'' baseball commissioner Bud Selig said. "He had a great sense of humor. He and I used to kid each other a lot.''

Chicago Cubs - 1951-57

Fondy grounded out for the last out at Ebbets Field in Pittsburgh's 2-0 loss to the Dodgers on Sept. 24, 1957. The Dodgers moved to Los Angeles the following year. He hit .286 with 1,000 hits in eight seasons in the majors. Following his playing career, Fondy worked as a scout and front office official for the New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers. "I ran into Willie Mays once and he said, 'I've still got the bruises from the tags your dad used to give me. He was a hard-nosed player,'" recalled his son, Joe Fondy, a freelance cameraman who has covered major league games.

Signed originally by the Brooklyn Dodgers, Fondy came to spring training in 1949 and competed with Gil Hodges and Chuck Connors for the starting job at first base. The position was won by Hodges, and Connors eventually became a TV star in the Western series, "The Rifleman.''

Fondy played in the Dodgers' farm system until being traded to the Cubs. He won a spot on their roster and his first major-league hit was a bases-loaded triple off St. Louis pitcher Ken Raffsenberger on April 17, 1951, in Wrigley Field. Fondy was traded to Pittsburgh in 1957, where midway through the season he led the National League with a .365 average. The next year he was traded to Cincinnati for Ted Kluszewski, a transaction mentioned by Tom Cruise's character in the 1988 movie "Rainman.''

After his playing career, Fondy worked as a scout for the Mets and the Brewers, where he signed Paul Molitor, who went on to more than 3,000 hits. He retired from baseball in 1995 after serving as a special assistant to the Milwaukee general manager." He was as good a judge of talent as I've ever known,'' Selig said. "He played a great role in the development of the Brewers. I had as much faith in his baseball knowledge as anyone I know.''

Fondy, a native of Slaton, Texas, served in the Army during World War II and was part of the forces that landed on Utah Beach in Normandy in 1944, three months after D-Day. He received the Purple Heart. Fondy's other survivors are twins Jon Fondy and Jan Cornell of Las Vegas. His wife, Jacquelyn, died last year. The funeral is Saturday in San Bernardino.

Cubs Sunk 15-5 by Pirates, 2nd Game 5-5 Tie

June 27, 1957 - Chicago Sun-Times by Jerry Holtzman

It was nice day for a picnic, so Pittsburgh's Pirates had one Wednesday. They camped out with the Cubs for 6 1/2 hours on the Wrigley Gum Field lawn and when the frolicking ended the Chicagoans were back in the National League cellar. Pittsburgh gorged itself in the doubleheader opener and had a 19-hit feast for a 15-5 victory. Ten of these hits were for extra bases, including two triples and three homers.

The Pirates were still stuffing themselves in the second game. They clubbed four more homers and a doubleheader sweep seemed imminent, but the Cubs and shortstop Ernie Banks stepped up to the table and came from behind to tie the game It was a full afternoon of baseball and the fellow who enjoyed himself the most of all was Dee Fondy, the ex-Cub first baseman. Fondy rapped out seven hits in 11 trips, hiking his average 14 points to .365, good enough for the National League lead.

Cincinnati Redlegs - 1958

The first game was no contest. After five innings, the Pirates were ahead 11-0. Pittsburgh's first game homers, all good for two runs, were delivered by left-fielder Frank Thomas off Cubs' starter Tom Poholsky, by second baseman Bill Mazeroski off Dick Littlefield, and Rookie Ramon Meijas, off Littlefield. The Prates had eight extra base hits before the Cubs got more than a single off Pirate starter Vernon Law, who went the route. Chuck Tanner's double and a triple by Ernie Banks featured the Cubs' two-run sixth. Tanner clubbed a bases-empty homer in the eight and the Cubs added their final two runs in the ninth. Catcher Cal Neeman opened with a single and came across on Bob Speake's pinch triple. Speake then scored on an infield out by pinch-hitter Jim Bolger.

Joe Trimble, Pirate rookie making his first major league start, held the Cubs scoreless for the first five innings of the second game. His teammates had given him a 2-0 lead, center-fielder Bill Virdon accounting for one of these runs with a first-inning homer off Myron 'Moe' Drabowsky. The Cubs knocked Trimble out in the sixth. Tanner singled and Banks followed with his season's 14th homer. Pittsburgh tied the score in the sixth on Mazeroski's second homer and routed starter Moe Drabowsky in the ninth when catcher Hank Foiles and pinch-hitter Bob Skinner slugged back-to-back homers.

The Cubs tied the score in their half of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Lee Walls walked, was sacrificed to second, and came home when second baseman Bobby Morgan unloaded his triple high off the left-field wall. Jim Bolger's single followed, but the rally ended when Banks hit into a double play. Don Elston worked the final two innings for the Cubs, and turned in another excellent relief job. The 5-5 tie ended after the 11th inning when the game was called because of darkness. The game will be replayed in its entirety. Dee Fondy was 4-for-5 in the first game and 3-for-6 in the nightcap. Rookie Ramon Meijas went 4-for-6 with 3 RBIs in the opener and did not play in the second game. Mazeroski was 2-for-6 in game one and 2-for-6 in game 2.


Douglas Cadwallader Fonda (1896-1977) Sources: New York Times, Bridgeport Telegram, Washington Post

New York Athletic Club

Douglas Fonda - Banker, Sportsman, Manufacturing Executive; born in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York; moved to Orange, Essex County, New Jersey before 1910. In 1923, while driving his car in Brooklyn, Douglas was nearly killed by a two-car elevated train which fell on the hood of his car, just after he slammed on the brakes and jumped out. He helped pull a dozen people out of the train compartment to safety before police arrived.

He was a Polo Player with the New York Athletic Club, one of three horsemen who represented New York and Brooklyn at the first Intercity Indoor Polo Tournament in Chicago in 1924, having the maximum individual handicap of six points. He was winner of numerous amateur outboard Motor Boat Regattas in the 1930's on the Potomac River and Lake Geneva, attaining National Champion status in 1937.

A notable member of high society, his second marriage to Verna Hoover ended in a highly-publicized divorce in 1951. Douglas founded the Fonda Gage Company, manufacturer of oil well equipment and was President of the Whaling and Marine Manuscripts Archive in Nantucket, Massachusetts in 1971.

Banker & Executive

"New Jersey Banker Scores Double Win" by Dan Craig; Washington Post, Saturday, Sept. 25, 1937

Under sunny skies, America's outboard stars from East and West met yesterday in a brilliant contest of nerve and skill that saw Douglas Fonda, of Orange, N.J., and pretty Mrs. Mary Daller, of Chester, Pa., score spectacular victories to headline the first power events of the President's Cup Regatta.

Speedboat National Champion - 1937

Thrills and spills were the order of the day for 10,000 who lined the flag-bedecked Hains Point seawall and perched atop half a hundred yachts that flanked the course. Fonda, 42-year-old industrial banker, who for the last two years had spent his weekends on the water relaxing, while rolling up the greatest number of points in the history of the outboard racing game, paced the field in classes A and C. Piloting Miss Ricochet, Fonda made a runaway of the Class A amateur event, first start of the day, and later was tied up with Bob Watkins, of Hoquiam, Wash., each holding 700 points when the noise subsided in the Class C division. Fonda and Bob Watkins were tied in the Class C amateur, and Dick Neal, of Kansas City, cleaned up in the professional ranks, amassing 800 points to Harrison's 525. More than 100,000 persons are expected to jam Hains Point today and Sunday to see the big inboard boats take to the course off Hains Point in the President's Cup race, feature of the regatta, the American speedboat championships, the 225-cubic inch hydroplane free-for-all, the All-American Sweepstakes, and the mile trials.


Douw Jellis Fonda (1700-1780) Sources: Frontiersmen of New York, History of Schoharie County

Douw was a dairy farmer, born in Schenectady, New York, a great-grandson of Dutch-born Jellis and Hester Fonda. Douw married, October 21, 1725, Maritje, daughter of the heroic Adam Vrooman, survivor of the Schenectady Indian Massacre in 1690. In 1751, Douw and family moved from Schenectady and settled in Caughnawaga, about 20 miles west. Standing on the flats between the present Mohawk Turnpike (now Route 5) and the Mohawk River, he resided in a large stone dwelling with a wing on each side. It had been the intention of the citizens to fortify the dwelling, and it was partially surrounded by strong pickets. Fonda's three sons, John, Jellis, and Adam, also good Whigs, were living in the neighborhood.

This picture was taken from a miniature on ivory
which was among the Fonda family possessions.
It is claimed to be the likeness of the senior
Douw Fonda from whom the village derives its name.
(scanned from Centennial Souvenir - 1850-1950
- Historical Sketch of the Village of Fonda N.Y.)

In May of 1780, British living in Canada heard that American authorities were organizing all Loyalists into a ranger corps and any refusing to join where imprisoned in irons. Sir John Johnson, whose late father, Sir William Johnson, had been Superintendent of Indian Affairs, settling his family in the Mohawk Valley decades earlier, decided to go to their rescue. The first houses were not burned as Johnson tried to keep their presence a secret but soon homes of the patriots were set on fire and inhabitants were killed. Attacks on Oneida Castle, Fort Plain and Johnstown devastated the south side of the Mohawk Valley. There were still habitations outside the forts to the west of Schoharie Creek but they certainly were now frightened. Johnson and his men got to Johnson Hall (in Caughnawaga) where he recovered two barrels of his family silver and other valuables. These had been buried prior to his hasty retreat from the area to Canada in 1776.

On May 22nd, the rumors became a reality when Sir John Johnson with about 500 Indians, Loyalists and British regulars entered the Mohawk District of Tryon County and burned Caughnawaga (present day Fonda area), Tribes Hill and Johnstown. Besides burning over one hundred buildings, Johnson took over fifty prisoners and many of them were local militia officers and men of influence such as the Fonda's and Sammons's. Johnson's forces of incendiaries also killed ten men and only one woman was known to have been tomahawked. This woman was the mother of Colonel Fisher but she soon recovered from the incident.

British Troops Raid Mohawk Valley - 1780

Some of those killed were Douw Fonda (a man of nearly eighty), Captain John and Harmon Fisher (brothers of the colonel), Lieutenant Hendrick Hanson, Corporal Amasa Stephens, Aaron and Lodowick Putman, William Gault and James Plateau (these last two men were loyalists). Colonel Fisher was tomahawked, scalped and left for dead but he not only survived his wounds like his mother but he lived a very active life afterwards serving as General of the Montgomery County Militia after the war and he died in 1809.

Major Jellis Fonda resided a short distance below the Caughnawaga Church, owning a large dwelling and store. At the time of this invasion, he was absent on public business. About a week previous, he sent part of his family and effects in a bateau to Schenectady, to which place they were accompanied by the wife and children of John Fonda. The wife of Major Fonda and her son Douw, were at home, however, on that morning. Hearing the firing at Visscher's and discovering the light of the burning buildings below, Mrs. Fonda and her son fled to the river, where there was a ferry. Remaining in the ferry-boat, she sent Douw to get two horses, and being gone some time, fears were excited lest he had been captured. As her apprehensions for her son's safety increased, she called him repeatedly by name. He returned with the horses and they began to cross the river, but had hardly reached its center when several of the enemy, attracted to the spot by her voice, arrived on the bank they had left. A volley of balls passed over the boat without injuring its passengers, and leaving it upon the south shore, they mounted their horses and directed their course towards Schenectady, where they arrived in due time.

Lt. Colonel Adam Fonda, at the time of Johnson's invasion, resided near the Cayadutta Creek. Arriving at Adam Fonda's, the enemy made him a prisoner, and fired his dwelling. Margaret, the widow of Barney Wemple, lived near Fonda, on a knoll not far from the creek, at which place she then kept a public house (inn). The enemy, making her son, Mina (short for Myndert), a prisoner, locked her up in her own dwelling

Plundering of Villages Along the Mohawk

and set it on fire. From an upper window she made the valley echo to her cries of "murder" and "help," which brought some one to her relief. Her voice arrested the attention of Captain John Fonda, who sent one of his slaves round the knoll which formerly stood west of the Fonda Hotel, to learn the cause of alarm; but hardly had the slave returned, before the enemy's advance from both parties was there also, making Fonda a prisoner, and burning his dwelling.

The raiding party, on arriving at the dwelling of Major Fonda, plundered and set it on fire. There were then few goods in his store; but his dwelling contained some rare furniture for that period, among which was a musical clock, that; at certain hours. performed three several tunes. The Indians would have saved this house for the great respect they had for its owner, whom they had known as the warm personal friend of Sir William Johnson but their more than savage allies, the Tories insisted on its destruction. As the devouring element was consuming the dwelling, the clock began to perform, and the Indians, in numbers, gathered round in mute astonishment, to listen to its melody. They supposed it the voice of a spirit, which they may have thought was pleased with the manner in which they were serving tyranny. Of the plunder made at this dwelling, was a large circular mirror, which a citizen in concealment sew, first in the hands of a squaw, but it being a source of envy it soon passed into the hands of a stout Indian - not, however, without a severe struggle on her part. The Indians were extravagantly fond of mirrors, and it is not unlikely this costly one was broken in pieces and divided between them. Among the furniture destroyed in the house, was a marble table on which stood the statue of an Indian, whose head rested on a pivot, which, from the slightest motion was continually - "Niding, nodding, and nid, nid, nodding."

When the alarm first reached the family of Douw Fonda, Penelope Grant, a Scotch girl living with him, to whom the old gentleman was much attached, urged him to accompany her to the hill whither the Romeyn family were fleeing; but the old patriot had become childish, and seizing his gun, he exclaimed - "Penelope, do you stay here with me - I will fight for you to the last drop of blood!"

Murder of Douw "The Patriot" Fonda
(drawing is not of subject)

Finding persuasion of no avail, she left him to his fate, which was indeed a lamentable one; for soon the enemy arrived, and he was led out by a Mohawk Indian, known as "One armed Peter" (he having lost an arm), toward the bank of the river, where he was tomahawked and scalped. As he was led from the house, he was observed by John I. Hansen, a prisoner, to have some kind of a book and a cane in his hand. His murderer had often partaken of his hospitality, having lived for many years in his neighborhood. When afterwards reproved for his murder, he replied that as it was the intention of the enemy to kill him, "he thought he might as well get the bounty for his scalp as any one else!" Mr. Fonda had long been a warm personal friend of Sir William Johnson, and it is said that Sir John much regretted his death and censured the murderer. This Indian, Peter, was the murderer of Capt. Hansen, on the same morning. With the plunder made at Douw Fonda's were four male slaves and one female, who were all taken to Canada. Several other slaves were of the plunder made in the neighborhood, and doubtless became incorporated with the Canada Indians.


George Farrell Fonda (1859-1943) Sources: Biographies of Denver and Vicinity

George Fonda - Pioneer of Boulder County, Colorado; born in Augusta, Illinois, son of Henry Dockstader Fonda, a Hollander; mother, Catharine Farrell of Pennsylvania Dutch. He moved to Solomon City, Kansas in 1874, then at the age of 15 on to Denver on the Kansas Pacific Railway as a peanut boy.

Giles H. Fonda Drug Store
Boulder, Colorado, 1880's

Having purchased a suit of clothes, he had four 5 cent shinplasters as his only capital; one of which he managed to hold on to. At the depot his mother handed him three $5.00 bills. He arrived in Denver too late to go on to Boulder, leaving the next afternoon at 4 p.m. via The Boulder Valley, and arriving at the depot on 24th Street about 6 p.m. on may 6, 1874. The fare was $2.40. He walked to town, carrying his belongings in a square wooden tobacco box. He went to the store of his brother Giles, whom he had not seen for eight years; his brother recognized him immediately. He was conducting a drug and stationery store which later was the Fonda Building, at 1216-18 Pearl Street. Worked for his brother at $10.00 per month and board; slept on the floor with the dog for company. Later, the brother moved the drug stock to Leadville, and George continued in business with the stationery stock, and gradually worked into the drug business at the age of 18. The brother later returned to Boulder and they were again in business together. He acquired the building and remained in business at that place until 1919.

He married Mary E. Jones November 26, 1879 at Nederland. Took the Rev. Thomas V. Wilson with him in a two-horse rig, starting at 6 a.m. through six inches of fresh snow. At Boulder Falls they met a messenger from Caribou who wished the Rev. Wilson to conduct a funeral in Boulder that same day. They hurried on to Nederland and the ceremony was advanced to 11 a.m.

Center of Town, Boulder, Colorado - 1880's
(Fonda's Drug Store on left)

No marriage license was required. The funeral party from Caribou waited in Nederland until the marriage ceremony was performed. He returned to Boulder the same evening with his wife. Started housekeeping at his own home at 17th and Spruce streets, which he had acquired with money presented him by backers in foot races which he had won. A sister had prepared a supper mainly of oyster stew, and that had been the anniversary supper menu for fifty-two years.

Although he never had a music lesson, he played in the Boulder Band, a E Flat Base Tuba about 1876. He played in all the events of Boulder and surrounding towns, and took parts in amateur theatricals and comic operas: Poobah in Mikado; Major General in Pirates of Penzance; Bob Acress in The Rivals; was also in Pinafore.

Boulder Sports

He sung "The Vacant Chair" at Lodge of Sorrow and funerals for the Elks for thirty-five years. Joined Macky Hose Team in 1875 and was the first foreman. For many years took part in Firemen's Tournaments, locally and in various places in Colorado. Was famous as an expert plug man, and was instrumental in winning numerous championships for Boulder, at one time holding a world's record. Chiefly responsible for the justification of the slogan "Boulder in the West Test."

In 1878, went to Chicago with Bates Hose Team of Denver. Won many long-distance races, 200 to 400 yards. Never bet on himself, but was liberally compensated by admiring backers. Was Fire Chief of Boulder for many years, under volunteer and paid departments. Largely instrumental in having a paid fire department installed. Always went to fires at any and all times of night and day. Played baseball on the Boulder team from the time of his arrival in Boulder for many years and in various of the surrounding towns; played first base. Played lawn tennis with various of Boulder's expert players. Played football on a town team organized to give practice to the Varsity. Hunted big game in various parts of Colorado; fished all over the State, and made trips East to fish on the Illinois, Mississippi, and Kentucky Rivers.

George Fonda was always a Democrat. He became acquainted with Gov. Elect James H. Peabody on a quail hunting trip to Texas, and shortly after the inauguration was appointed a Colonel on the Governor's staff. He served as a member of the Court in the famous General Chase Court-Martial proceedings; served as alderman of the City of Boulder, and was a candidate for County Treasurer on the Democratic ticket; served as Director and vice-president of the First National Bank for a number of years. George built his residence at 2135 8th Street, Boulder Colorado, in 1901; joined Columbia Lodge No. 14 in 1883; worshipful Master in 1888; shortly thereafter made a Royal Arch Mason and received the Order of the Temple in 1885; treasurer of Mt. Sinai Commandery in 1913.


Henry Adam Fonda (1820-1896) Sources: History of Montgomery Co., Biographical Encyclopedia of Schuylkill Co.

Born in Fonda, Montgomery Co., NY; bp. Reformed Dutch Church of Caughnawaga, NY; 1860 Census, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA; 1870 Census Milton, Northumberland Co., PA; 1880 Census, Chillisquaque, Northumberland Co., PA; d. Milton, PA; o. Railroad Superintendent/Engineer, Civil War Colonel, Farmer, Banker

Fonda, Henry A., of Milton, Pa., president of the First National Bank of that place and an enterprising and public spirited citizen, was born in the town of Fonda, Montgomery County, NY, which town derived its name from one of his ancestors. After graduating from the district schools of his native place, he entered the Homer, N. Y., Academy, where he devoted two years to the study of the higher branches of English. The science of engineering possessed an attraction for him and at the age of seventeen he adopted it as his life work, entering upon his labors as an assistant in an engineering corps on the Utica and Syracuse railroad. From this road he passed in a short time to the Erie, on which he held at first the position of rod-man, but later on that of superintendent of construction on the section between Corning and Hornellsville. In different capacities, some of them involving great responsibilities, he remained with the Erie road about six years.

Railroad Superintendent & Engineer

Upon leaving it he engaged with the Canandaigua and Niagara Falls road, as superintendent of construction and repairs. After filling this post two years he removed to Pennsylvania and accepted the position of superintendent of construction on the Catawissa railroad, then thirty-five miles in extent. After being promoted to the position of assistant superintendent, and being advanced from that office to the responsible post of general superintendent of the road, he closed his connection with it (then of five years' duration), to accept the office of general superintendent of the Elmira and Williamsport railroad, to the duties of which he devoted the ensuing three years. In 1864 he became general superintendent of the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg railroad, then under control of the Delaware and Western Railroad Company.

After serving this corporation five years he took a contract to build a railroad from Carbondale to Susquehanna. This contract being completed he took service with the Delaware and Hudson railroad, as general superintendent, and was placed in charge of all the lines of this large corporation from Carbondale, Pa., to Whitehall and Rutland, Vt. At the expiration of four years' steady service under this company, he retired from active duty and took up his residence in Philadelphia, where he spent several years. In 1887 he removed to Milton, where he established a permanent residence. Having definitely relinquished engineering pursuits, he turned his attention to farming and stock-raising. He is now the owner of a large stock farm and residence on Cayuga lake, near Aurora, and also of five extensive stock farms in the vicinity of Milton. His barn on the largest farm on Cayuga Lake is the finest in the state.

Henry Adam Fonda

Mr. Fonda has paid particular attention to the breeding of Hambletonian stock and has raised many notable specimens of this strain. His success in this later departure in farming and stock-raising is extremely gratifying to him. In them he finds agreeable and interesting relaxation, which is both welcome and beneficial after so many years of active and absorbing railroad life. Since 1885 Mr. Fonda has been president of the First National Bank of Milton, and he divides his time between his duties as a financier and the agreeable occupation of a "gentleman farmer." His habits are those of a thorough business man, everything confided to his charge being attended to thoroughly and with the strictest regard for the interest of others, as well as respect for their rights.

At a time when real estate in Chicago was low in value and on the rise, he invested largely in property in that city, and has reaped a rich reward as a result of his enterprise and sagacity in this field. After the disastrous conflagration which in 1880 destroyed so large an amount of property in Milton, Mr. Fonda promptly loaned quite an amount of money to rebuild the place, and through this wise and timely action on his part it has rapidly recovered from the damaging blow it sustained, and is making rapid strides to a more prosperous and advanced condition. His public spirited action in this and other matters has had a weighty influence upon the business interests of Milton, and has earned for him a reward in the general prosperity which gratifies him far more than any pecuniary advantage he may eventually reap in consequence. Mr. Fonda started in life without means and has reached his present financial independence and leading position as a citizen, solely through his own unaided enterprise and ability. So far from this fact operating to close his heart to the claims of his less fortunate fellowmen, it seems to exert just the contrary effect, for it is well known that many who were struggling have been helped by his generosity, extended willingly and from a sense of duty as a steward of wealth,

Gentleman Farmer & Banker

rather than through any desire for notoriety or subsequent reward. Men gifted with such admirable qualities raise the standard of life and living, both for themselves and all who dwell within reach of their influence, and may justly be styled the pillars of the community - the strong supports of the higher ideas of duty and citizenship prevailing in a free and enlightened country. Every dollar of Mr. Fonda's wealth has been amassed by straightforward business operations. Disdaining sharp practices and resolutely declining them, he nevertheless acquired means far in excess of many who descended to petty if not more culpable methods.

He lives in a manner commensurate with his ample fortune and social position, and not the least of his satisfaction is the consciousness that his success with all that it brings, is the outcome of an upright business life. His farms adjoining the town of Milton, containing in all 700 acres, are models, and upon them is to be found some of the finest stock in the state. In addition to his connection with the First National Bank, he is a director in several other banks, and also of the Elmira and Williamsport railroad company. He has never accepted any political office nor had any aspirations in that direction, but held a commission as colonel on Governor Pollock's staff during his term as governor of the state of Pennsylvania. Modest and retiring in disposition, he avoids rather than courts notoriety, although never withholding his name or influence from any enterprise having for its object the benefit of mankind. His charities are bestowed quietly, and to many he has been a true friend in times of panic and distress.

Mr. Fonda married, on January 1, 1862, Miss Caroline Louisa Brown, daughter of Isaac Brown, a prominent merchant of Milton. His only child, a son, Lawrence B. Fonda, who was educated at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, has recently joined the Sons of the Revolution through that patriotic record which has been so faithfully won by his ancestors. Mr. Fonda's grandfather (Henry Fonda) served as a captain in the War of 1812, and his great-grandfather (Adam Fonda) was lieutenant-colonel under General Herkimer at the Oriskany battle. Adam Fonda was a son of Douw Fonda, who was slain by the Tories during Sir John Johnson's raid in 1780. What a debt our country owes to this ancient patriotism!


Hester Janse Fonda (1615-1690) Sources: Early American Families, New York State Museum

Much of the story of the Fonda beginnings in the New World centers around Hester Janse, who today would be called feisty and tenacious. Hester was born in Leiden, Holland, Netherlands in 1615. Rev. W. A. Williams in his book, "Early American Families" states that she and her husband, Jellis, were probably cousins and related to the Dutch painter Gerrit Dou (1613-75) who was a student of Rembrandt and painted in the early Rembrandt style in his hometown of Leiden. Williams goes as far as to say that Hester and Gerrit were siblings. Dou, unlike most painters who were borderline paupers, became quite wealthy, having many of his works purchased by Europe's royalty. Captain Volkert Jansen Douw, who emigrated to New Netherlands in 1641 and was Albany's first magistrate, was also probably a relative.

Jellis Douwse Fonda was born in 1614, the son of Douw Evertse Fonda (1580-1669) of Agum, Friesland, Netherlands. (Note: The father of Jellis is actually unknown, see Fonda DNA and History.) Jellis and Hester married on February 10, 1641 in Diemen, near Amsterdam, and had four children, Douw, Greetien, Sara and Abraham. Jellis worked as an innkeeper and blacksmith in Diemen.

Dutch Settlers in New Netherlands

Early Albany Settlement - 1640's

It is not certain exactly when or why the family emigrated to New Netherlands (America), other than the obvious desire for freedom and opportunity. There is no known record of the family on ship passenger lists of the time. The first record is after they arrived in Beverwyck (Albany) in 1651, at which time the children were aged eleven, nine and seven. It could be assumed that they were aboard one of the many ships out of Amsterdam during the initial settlement of the New Netherlands Colony led by Dutch explorer Henry Hudson's discovery in 1609 and the Dutch West India Company trading post operations, starting in 1624. Since the colony was intended strictly as a profit-making enterprise, and not as a means to transplant Dutch culture, the mouth of the Hudson River soon paled in comparison with the beaver-rich unexploited forests farther inland, where the company's traders could be in close contact with the Native American hunters who supplied them with pelts in exchange for cheap European-made trade goods and wampum.

Court Capers

On October 19, 1651 Jellis was granted permission by the court to distill liquor in Greenbush, a small village across the Hudson River from Albany, in the region called Rensselaerwyck. The young family took the ferry across the river to Greenbush to establish their distillery next to the house belonging to Evert Pels, who himself operated one of the many breweries in Rensselaerwyck.

Another record indicates that on June 16, 1653, Jellis brought suit against his neighbor, Jan Van Bremen, for failing to deliver a hog for which Jellis paid ½ anker of brandy, about 5 gallons. Jellis won judgment for 1.30 florins.

Jellis and Hester and their children remained in Greenbush at least through 1654. By 1658 they had crossed the river again to return to Beverwyck, the settlement outside Fort Orange. Around this time Jellis had fallen ill and had become incapacitated. He died the following year at the age of 45. While Jellis was still alive, Hester started up her own business as early as 1658, engaging in the lucrative beaver trade. Her commercial ventures continued for many years and she survived three husbands and an Indian Massacre and supported herself up to the time she died at age 75.

In 1658, while she was living in Beverwyck, she sued Hans Vos demanding payment of three beaver for a gun she sold him. The court ordered him to settle his account with Mrs. Fonda. In the same year she was sued by Ludovicus Corbus who charged that she had removed his wife's petticoat (from the fence). Hester answered that she had not taken the petticoat but that the plaintiff had pawned it for beaver. The case was continued for lack of evidence. Corbus again charged Hester with taking an apron without his consent. Hester explained that the plaintiff's wife had given her the apron as a pledge for 5½ beaver and she not being satisfied with the apron as a pledge, the plaintiff's wife also gave her an undershirt. If all this petty litigation sounds contemporary, Kiliaen van Rensselaer, the first Patroon, shrewdly noted in his records that, "they stir one another up, suing one another more as a diversion than for the redress of wrongs."

Beverwyck Fur Traders

In 1660 Hester married Barent Gerritsen, a widower several years her junior. He arrived in Fort Orange as a youngster in 1646. Early in 1662, Barent, Hester and Sara, then about 16, moved to the newly settled community of Wiltwyck (Kingston). The settlers lived behind a stockade due to the threatening nature of the Esopus Indians. Barent, also a distiller, became famous for the superior type of brandy he produced and became modestly wealthy. Hester still continued her trading. It was truly a two career family, almost unheard of for another 300 years.

At noon on June 7, 1663, the Esopus Indians beat back the guard at the gate and burned most of the settlement to the ground. Barent was one of the first to be bludgeoned to death. Hester and Sara and most of the remaining settlers were taken prisoner and forced to trek through 22 miles of unbroken wilderness. It was not until three months later on September 7th that Hester was released from captivity, but not without the loss of Sara. Hester never recovered from the shock and exposure and remained deaf for the rest of her life.

That same year Hester returned to Beverwyck where her daughter Greetien and her son-in-law Jan Juriansen Becker, a teacher, and their children Jan and Martina, and her son Douw Fonda were living. She had become guilderless and beaverless due to the tragedy in Wiltwyck. She set about regaining her financial security. She sold her first husband's distillery equipment and she went back to court, the scene of many of her former triumphs. She was successful in collecting debts owed her deceased husband's estate. Then in 1670 she married again, Theunius van Vechten, a man several years her senior. Theunius died in 1685 leaving Hester his modest estate. Even at this time she was conducting business as usual. Her last recorded act before her death in 1690 (no, it was not standing before a judge) was standing before the altar of the Reformed Church of Jesus Christ of Albany at the christening of her grandchild Anna Fonda on February 2, 1690.


Jane Seymour Fonda (1937-) Sources: Internet Movie Database, Wikipedia

Actress, Writer, Model, Producer, Activist, Fitness Guru; born in New York City, daughter of legendary screen star Henry Fonda and New York socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw; sister of Peter Fonda, aunt of Bridget Fonda.

Henry, Jane & Peter Fonda

Jane was named after one of Henry VIII's wives, Lady Jane Seymour; since coincidently, her father's middle name was Jaynes and her mother's maiden name was Seymour. She graduated from the Emma Willard School, Troy, NY in 1955 and Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY in 1960. Tragically, her mother committed suicide in 1950, when Jane was 12; that same year, her father married Susan Blanchard (step-daughter of Oscar Hammerstein II, and eventually wife of Richard Widmark), who became a second mother to her until 1956.

Jane has been married three times; her first husband (1965-73) was French film director Roger Vadim (b.1928-d.2000) with whom she had a daughter, Vanessa, named for Vanessa Redgrave, the well-known actor and activist member of the Workers' Revolutionary Party. Her second husband (1973-1990) was author and politician Tom Hayden, by whom she has a son, Troy Garity, and an adopted daughter. Her third husband (1991-2001) was American cable-television tycoon, sportsman and philanthropist, Ted Turner.

Jane Fonda &
Tom Hayden

She was destined early to an uncommon and influential life in the limelight. Although she initially showed little inclination to follow her father's trade, she was prompted by Joshua Logan to appear with her father in the 1954 Omaha Community Theatre production of 'The Country Girl'. Her interest in acting grew after meeting Lee Strasberg in 1958 and joining the Actors Studio. Her screen debut in Tall Story (1960) marked the beginning of a highly successful and respected acting career highlighted by 2 Academy Awards for her performance in Klute (1971) and Coming Home (1978) and 5 Oscar nominations for Best Actress in: They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969), Julia (1977), Morning After, The (1986) and On Golden Pond (1981) which was the only film she made with her father.

Jane Fonda &
Ted Turner

Jane Fonda's professional success contrasted with her personal life, often laden with scandal and controversy. Her appearance in several risque movies (including Barbarella, 1968) by then husband Roger Vadim was followed by what was to become Jane Fonda's most debated and controversial period: her espousal of anti-Establishment causes and especially her anti-War activities during the Vietnam War.

She became the target of hatred from many Americans for her visit to Hanoi where she advocated opposition to the war; during this visit she acquired the nickname Hanoi Jane. Her political involvement continued with fellow activist and husband Tom Hayden in the 70s and early 80s. In 1988, Fonda apologized for her actions to the American POWs and their families. Jane continues to participate in peace activism, in particular regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the 80's Fonda started the aerobic exercise craze with the publication of "Jane Fonda's Workout Book", through which she reinvented herself in a series of workout videos. She retired from acting in 1991 after her marriage to Ted Turner. She has since divorced and has become a born-again Christian. In 2004, her name has been used as a disparaging epithet against Democratic Party presidential candidate John Kerry by Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, who called Kerry a "Jane Fonda Democrat". Her out-of-retirement movie, Monster-in-Law (2004), will come out the same time as her autobiography, "My Life So Far" and her Workouts are re-released to DVD.


Jellis Douw Fonda (1727-1791) Sources: History of Schoharie County, History of Oneida County

Battle of Oriskany - 1777
(see SAR Oriskany)

Jellis was born in Schenectady, first son of Douw Jellis Fonda; first merchant in the Mohawk Valley west of Schenectady, and was a very prosperous trader and landowner. He was a Major of militia and served under Sir William Johnson against the French and Indians in the Battle of Lake George. He then commanded a company in the Battle of Oriskany against the British. Later, probably because of his being physically incapacitated by an injured leg, he became associated with the home guards.

Jellis was also appointed a county judge and a state senator. As one of the "principal freeholders and inhabitants of the Mohawk River and settlements adjacent" he signed a petition to form Tryon County in 1771. In May 1780, his house, mill, and ashery were destroyed during Sir John Johnson's raid, causing $60,000 worth of property damage; he was away in Poughkeepsie, attending the Legislature.

Trading with Indians

For many years he carried on an extensive business for the times, trading with the white citizens of the valley, and the natives of western New York; the latter trade being carried on at old Fort Schuyler, now Utica; Fort Stanwix, now Rome, and Forts Oswego, Niagara and Schlosser. An abstract from his ledger shows an indebtedness of his customers at one time just before the revolution, amounting to over ten thousand dollars. Many of his goods he imported directly from London. To his Indian customers he sold blankets, trinkets, ammunition and rum; and received in return, peltries and ginseng root. The latter was at that time an important export item of what was then, Western New York; and the two named along with potash, almost the only commodities sold in a foreign market.

This early trade was carried on from the large stone store which stood near his residence. Jellis built a home and an "ashery" six miles west of Caughnawaga on the north side of the river along Canagara Creek. It was part of a great tract of 6,000 acres of land given by the Mohawks; about 1/16 to Captain Harmanus Van Slyke, whose grandmother was half French, half Mohawk. The deed of gift was confirmed to Captain Harmanus by King Charles I in 1723. The land runs along the Mohawk for six miles.

The eastern half Van Slyke sold to Colonel DePeyster, treasurer of the Province of New York, who owned it at his death. The trustees of his estate sold it to Jellis Fonda in 1768. It included what is known as "The Nose," a conspicuous landmark near this spot. Major Fonda, soon after acquiring the property, began the erection of his mills and "ashery," wood ashes being the source of potash. This complete set of buildings was destroyed in the first raid of Sir John Johnson, along with nearly every other building on the north side of the river from "The Nose," just east of Canajoharie down to Tribes Hill. Fortunately Major Jellis was not at home at the time. His wife and their son Douw were warned of the coming of the raiders and escaped across the river. The house was completely demolished and, it is said, while burning, a music box began to play. The Indians ascribed its music to "spirits."

Settling the Wilderness

Fonda's Patent - This was the first patent in Oneida county granted in New York after the Revolution. It was granted Jan. 31, 1786 to Jelles (or Giles) Fonda. The 40,000-acre patent was issued on condition that within three years a settler for each 500 acres should be located on the land. The land of this patent is mostly in Rome and Floyd, with some in the town of Western, and there was quite a rush to settlers to those towns as the three year period came to a close.

The Oneida county records show that in 1786 Mr. Fonda sold portions of his patent as follows: an undivided one eighth to John Lansing, Jr., who was afterwards chief justice and chancellor of New York; an undivided one eighth in 1788 was sold to each of the following: Gov. George Clinton, William Floyd (one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence), Stephen Lush, and John Taylor. In 1787 the patent was surveyed into 100 lots by James Cockburn. The owners gave perpetual leases, reserving an annual wheat rent, so much per acre, payable in Albany. That was then the easiest way for the settlers in a new country to pay the rent and for their lands. Each year loaded teams with wheat for rent wended their way down the valley, stopping over night at the country tavern, the teamsters generally taking with them their own provisions and oats for their horses. The usual wheat rent was "18 bushels good merchantable winter wheat for each 100 acres". Fort Bull is in lot 98, very near the line of the Oriskany Patent. That lot fell to the share of George Clinton and later to Mr. L'Hommedieu.

House of Major Jellis Douw Fonda
Fonda, NY - built in 1790

Following the war, in 1790, the Major built the present house on Montgomery Terrace in Fonda, overlooking the Valley from its sightly location, but unfortunately he never lived to occupy it. His slaves brought his body down the river from the home in which he was then living, doubtless a more or less temporary one on the site of the house destroyed by Sir John in 1780, and he was buried from the all but completed building. Following the funeral, his family occupied the new home.

There was much speculation in new lands in the interior of New York, between the French and American wars with England, and thousands upon thousands of acres changed owners for a mere song - land now valued at millions of dollars. Among the speculators were Sir William Johnson, Governor Tryon, Major Jellis Fonda, and Colonel John Butler. Lands on the Sacandaga River were brought into market at this period. Mr. Fonda had for many years been extensively engaged in merchandising, and was much of that period in the militia commissary department. He was a man of wealth, influence and respectability, and at the beginning of colonial difficulties, had the most flattering inducements offered him to side with the loyalists, which he promptly rejected.

Dutch and Irish Rivalries

The following anecdote is believed to be true. In the employ of Sir William Johnson a few years before his death, was an Irishman named McCarthy, by reputation the most noted pugilist in Western New York. The baronet offered to pit his fellow countryman against any man who could be produced for a fist fight.

Major Fonda, tired of hearing the challenge, and learning that a very muscular Dutchman named John Van Loan, was living near Brakabeen, in the Schoharie Valley, made a journey of some forty or fifty miles, to secure his professional services, for he, too, was reputed a bully. Van Loan readily agreed to flog the son of Erin, for a ten pound note. At a time appointed, numbers were assembled at Caughnawaga to witness the contest between the pugilists. After McCarthy had been swaggering about in the crowed for a while, and greatly excited public expectation by his boasting, inducing numbers to bet on his head, his competitor appeared ready for the contest - clad for the occasion in a shirt and breeches of dressed deer skin fitted tight to his person. A ring was formed and the battle commenced. The bully did his best, but it was soon evident that he was not a match for his Dutch adversary, who slipped through his fingers like an eel, and parried his blows with the greatest ease. Completely exhausted and almost bruised to a jelly, Sir William's gamester was removed, looking if not expressing bewilderment. (Abraham A. Van Horne, who obtained the facts from a son of Van Loan).

Fort Plank Military Trial - 1779

In a letter to Maj. Taylor, then commanding the Johnstown Fort, dated November 27 (1779), Col. Fisher states that he is under the necessity of convening a court martial on the following day, and that he, the Major, should attend, bringing with him another officer, also to act as a member.

The same letter states that an accident happened at that fort the same morning, by which two men were wounded-one mortally. The nature of the accident is perhaps explained in a letter from Col. Fisher to Gen. Ten Broeck, dated the 28th instant.

In it he states, that during his absence to visit Fort Plank, a detachment of men from Col. Stephen J. Schuyler's regiment mutinied, and expressing a determination to leave the fort, charged their pieces with ball, in presence of the officers. They were at first persuaded to unsling their packs and remain until Col. Fisher returned, but seeing Captain Jellis Fonda, (known afterwards as Major Fonda,) then in temporary command of the garrison, writing to Col. F., the mutineers again mounted packs, and knocking down the sentinels in their way, began to desert in earnest. Capt. Fonda ordered them to stand, but not heeding his command they continued their flight, when he ordered the troops of the Fort to fire upon them; the order was obeyed, and Jacob Valentine, one of the number, fell mortally wounded, and expired the next morning. The letter does not so state, but I have been advised that the deserters considered their term of enlistment at an end. The court martial, I suppose, convened to try Capt. Fonda, as I have been credibly informed that he was thus tried, and honorably acquitted.


Jellis Jacob Fonda (1751-1839) Sources: Schenectady History, Schenectady During the Revolution (1), (2)

Battle of Bemis Heights - 1777
(see Wikipedia)

Major Jellis J., only son of Jacob, a Gunstocker by trade, was one of the earliest, most stirring and unhesitating patriots of Schenectady. On the first report of a shot from Lexington, this young brave, who had already tasted military life, just married, and surrounded by the comforts of considerable wealth, immediately raised and commanded a company of Schenectady Minute Men numbering more than 100. He was appointed Captain of the 2d Albany County Militia company known as "The Greens" due to the color of their uniforms. He served with particular distinction in the Campaign against Burgoyne and at the Battle of Bemis Heights.

On September 2, 1775, agreeable to a request from the Committee of Safety, a meeting of all the militia of the town of Schenectady was held at the Dutch Church for the purpose of forming companies in accordance with the plans of the Continental and Provincial Congresses. At this meeting the three companies already formed were reorganized and two additional companies raised. Jellis J. Fonda and John Van Patten were retained as captains; John Mynderse, who had originally been selected as a lieutenant in Captain Van Dyke's company, was promoted to the rank of captain; and to the command of the new companies were elected Abraham Wemple and Thomas Wasson. The companies of Captains Fonda and Mynderse retain their classification as minute men and as such served until the spring of 1777, when they were incorporated with the regular militia. The motto of these companies, as noted on their flags, was "Liberty or Death", and because of the color of the uniform worn by their members Captain Mynderse's company was known as "The Blues" and Captain Fonda's company as "The Green's". Jellis was reappointed June 20, 1776, the commission being signed by Governor Dewitt Clinton. In the fall of the same year, he marched with his company to Stillwater where they were in camp for some time. From Stillwater they marched to Fort Ann, thence down Wood Creek to Skenesborough as guards for boats.

Albany Minute Men

Jellis Fonda served with particular distinction in the campaign against Burgoyne and at the battle of Bemis Heights. He served in many expeditions and on various garrison duties during the succeeding years of the war, being especially zealous in the discharge of his offices. While on guard duty at Schenectady he was spoken of as "attending roll call and giving orders every morning at daybreak, sometimes 2 hours before day." He was actively engaged in the battle of Johnstown (October, 1781) and in the pursuit of the enemy, and on this occasion he "so highly distinguished himself that Colonel Willett addressed him a letter of thanks for his services and praising him for his intrepidity." A pensioner under the Act of June 7, 1832.

In 1777, when Sir William Johnson, with his Scotch retainers, had fortified themselves in "Johnson Hall," Generals Schuyler, Ten Broeck and Herkimer, with a large body of militia, went there to reduce them. When, out of the whole number, General Schuyler selected Captain Fonda, from his known fearlessness of character, to command a forlorn hope of 200 men for the assault, of which his company of minute men formed one-half. The assailing forces were without cannon. But when this brave officer in the lead, under the eye and direction of the noble Schuyler, shouted on his column to the assault, with undaunted dash (for Fonda was in deadly earnest), Sir William immediately lowered his flag and surrendered without firing a gun. Fonda was ever afterwards called, wherever known, one of the most fearless of men.

West Point, New York - 1790

Jellis' cousin, Jellis Abraham Fonda, also a Revolutionary War Officer, born 1759 in Schenectady, was serving as an ensign in Captain Jesse Van Slyck's company, 2nd Albany County Militia in 1777. He performed service at Fort Ann, Fort George and Fort Edward, and was in the battle of Bemis Heights. In 1778 he was enrolled in Captain John Mynderse's company and attached to General Frederick Visscher's brigade. During the year 1780 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and served in Colonel Morris Graham's Levies at West Point and Harper's Ferry. At West Point he acted as brigade major for a few weeks in the absence of Major Lansing.

He was one of the 1200 men whom General Benedict Arnold (previous to his treachery) sent away to Fort Edward to weaken the garrison at West Point. During the years 1781 and 1782 he was attached to the Levies under Colonel Willet with the same rank as before. He saw service at Fort Plain, German Flats, Fort Stanwix and at the battles of Torlock and Johnstown. On November 1, 1782, he was promoted to the rank of captain. In February, 1783, he went with the expedition to Fort Oswego under Colonel Marinus Willett. Thereafter, he was for many years Clerk of Schenectady County.


John Giles Fonda (1822-1910) Sources: Illinois in the 19th Century, 118th Illinois Infantry Regiment, Civil War High Commands, My Dear Aunt Martha

Illinois Cavalry - Mexican & Civil War

Born along the Mohawk River in Sand Flats, Montgomery County, New York, John came to Hancock County, Illinois with his parents in 1835. The greater portion of his life was spent as a surveyor and civil engineer. Appointed by the County Court as one of three commissioners to lay off and divide Hancock County into townships in 1850, he was paid an additional $2.50 for making a plat of the county.

Surveyor and Engineer

In 1847 he enlisted as a private in Capt. Stapp's company of Illinois Mounted Volunteers and went to Mexico. At the close of the war, the following year, he was discharged as a Lieutenant. In 1849, he was married to Mary McConnell, and the same year was elected County Surveyor and settled in Carthage; lived there until 1854, when he moved to Warsaw and was appointed an assistant engineer on the Warsaw & Rockford Railroad.

In July 1861, he entered the United States Volunteer Service as a Lieutenant in Capt. B. F. Marsh's Company of 2d Illinois Cavalry. In January, 1862, he was appointed Major of the 12th Illinois Cavalry, and soon after placed in command of Camp Butler, near Springfield. In October he was made Colonel of the 118th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and in December went with his regiment to Louisiana, where he served most of the time in command of a brigade until the close of the war. With his regiment he participated in all the battles about Vicksburg. After the fall of Vicksburg he had command of a cavalry brigade, and was brevetted Brigadier-General.

After the close of the war, in 1866, General Fonda settled on a farm near Fountain Green in Hancock County, Illinois. In July, 1877, he was appointed a Commissioner of the Southern Illinois Penitentiary. In September 1879, he was appointed Chief Engineer to construct levees between Warsaw and Quincy, to protect the low lands from overflow. The early pages of Fonda's diary tell briefly how he was reassigned to various positions, until he finally became a Colonel of the 118th Regiment. In the rest of the diary he tells of his entire military experience in that capacity.


John Henry Fonda (1808- ) Sources: State Historical Society of Wisconsin; Chicago: Its History and Its Builders

Born in Watervliet, Albany Co., New York; trekked to Prairie Du Chien, Crawford Co., Wisconsin in 1825. He was an Explorer, Trader, Mail Carrier, Indian Agent and Civil War Officer (Colonel). Although he moved away from the family homestead at an early age, John had six brothers (some half-brothers) that also served in the Civil War, and both of his grandfathers served in the Revolutionary War. There is a life-size painting of Col. John H. Fonda hung in Wisconsin Capital Building. In 1827, during Red Bird's Winnebago rising, John H. Fonda ran the mail from Fort Dearborn (today's Chicago) to Fort Howard at Green Bay. In 1829, under the direction of Col. Z. Taylor, he served as pilot for an expedition to the pineries of the Menomonee River to cut logs for the construction of Fort Crawford in Prairie du Chien. He later served as Crawford County Coroner (1846), District Court Justice (1850), Indian Agent and Constable for the county at which time consisted of the entire western half of present-day Wisconsin.

John H. Fonda, trader and mail carrier of Prairie du Chien, passes through Chicago in 1825 and will later record his experience: [Lake Peoria] ... At length the councils were concluded, and our [Indian] guide signified his willingness to proceed. Under his direction we paddled along until we came to the Des Plaines river, from which we passed into a large slough or lake [Mud Lake] that must have led us into a branch of the Chicago river, for we followed a stream that brought us opposite Fort Dearborn. At this period, Chicago was merely an Indian Agency; it contained about 14 homes, and not more than 75 to 100 inhabitants at the most. An Agent of the American Fur Company, named Gurdon S. Hubbard, then occupied the Fort. The staple business seemed to be carried on by Indians and run-away soldiers, who hunted ducks and muskrats in the marshes. There was a great deal of low land, and mostly destitute of timber. The principal inhabitants were the agent, Mr. Hubbard, a Frenchman by the name of Ouilmette, and John B. Beaubien. It never occurred to me that a large city would be built up there. ... But to go on with my story, we departed from Fort Dearborn in a fishing boat and proceeded north along the Lake shore toward Green Bay.

Colonel John H. Fonda
6th Wisconsin Infantry

Exploring the Frontier
Trader & Scout

John H. Fonda returns again during the winter of 1827 and later shares: "... I was mail-carrier in the North-West before there was a white settlement between Prairie du Chien and Fort Snelling. ... It was the winter of 27, that the U.S. Quartermaster, having heard of me through some of the men with whom I was a favorite, came to me one day and asked me if I could find the way to Chicago. I told him it wasn't long since I made the trip by the Lake. He said he wanted a person who was not afraid to carry dispatches to the military post at Fort Dearborn. I said I had heard that the Indians were still unfriendly, but I was ready to make the attempt. ... [willing to] carry the mail between Fort Howard, at Green Bay, and Fort Dearborn, commanded by Capt. Morgan, that stood on a point now forming a part of the City of Chicago. ...

I chose a companion to go on the tramp with me. He was a Canadian, named Boiseley, a comrade with me for many years. It was in the company of this Boiseley that I presented myself before the Quarter-Master, and reported ourselves ready for the start. He intrusted me with the mail-bag, but a tin canister or box of a flat shape, covered with untanned deer-hide, that contained the dispatches and letters of the inhabitants. ... One noon we arrived at the southern terminus of our journey at Fort Dearborn after being on the way for more than a month. It was in January, ... and with the exception that the Fort was strengthened and garrisoned, there was no sign of improvement having gone on since my former visit [1825]. This time I was on business, and I advanced up to the sally-port with a sense of my importance, was challenged by the sentry, and an orderly conducted me to the Adjutant's office, where I reported myself as the bearer of dispatches for the commanding officer. Captain Morgan was in the office, and, advancing, intimated that he was that person and took the case of letters, directing me to await his further orders. Getting a pass, I went outside the palisades to a house built on the half-breed system partly of logs and partly of boards. This house was kept by a Mr. Miller, who lived in it with his family. Here Boisely and I put up during the time we were in the settlement. I received my orders from Morgan about the 23d of January, and prepared to return with other letters. We started up one branch of the Chicago river, and after leaving this we followed the Des Plaines, taking pretty much the same way we had come."

Winnebago Indian Skirmishes - 1830-1850

Concerning the removal of the Winnebago's, John H. Fonda says: "During the year 1848, just previous to the adoption of the State Constitution, the Winnebago Indians were scattered through the country along the Wisconsin and Fox rivers, through the Kickapoo timbers, and the Lemonweir Valley. Orders came from the sub-Indian agent, J E Fletcher, to collect and remove them to their Reservation, near Fort Atkinson, Iowa."

"In 1848, when orders were received at Fort Crawford to remove the Winnebago's, several attempts were made to do so, but with poor success. Early in the same year I received the following official letter:"

Office Sub-Indian Agent, Turkey River, Jan. 4, 1848

Sir: In answer to your inquiry respecting the disposition to be made of the Winnebago Indians, who may be found wandering about through the country, I have to say that I wish you to arrest them, cause them to be securely guarded, and report them to me as early as may be practicable. Very respectfully your obedient servant, J E Fletcher, Indian Agent."

"To Lieut. ---, Commanding Ft. Crawford, Wisconsin Territory

Upon receipt of the above, I made all necessary preparation, and started with fifty men to collect the Indians. This attempt was quite successful, and several hundred were arrested, and sent to Fort Atkinson, Iowa. It may appear strange to some persons that such a handful of men could take many hundred Indians prisoners, and guard them day and night as we traveled through a wild unsettled country; but it was done, and I have a list of names of those men who accompanied me on that expedition. My journal, kept during the time we were hunting the Indians, presents numerous interesting items, only one or two of which, I will relate..."


John Isaac Fonda (1761-1814) Sources: New York State Museum

Albany, New York - 1797

Son of Albany area residents Isaac D. and Susanna DeForest Fonda, John was also was known as "Fondey". While still in his teens, he joined the crusade for American liberties. He was an ensign in an Albany Ranger company and also a quartermaster and lieutenant in Colonel Marinus Willet's regiment of the New York troops. Surviving records refer to his militia unit as "Fondey's Party".

In 1779, his name first appeared on a city assessment roll. In 1780, he began to take his place in Albany society when he was appointed fire master in the second ward. With the end of the war, he entered business (selling imported glass and ceramics) and began to acquire real estate along Foxes Creek. His extensive real estate dealings in Albany and Watervliet are chronicled online.

He married Cornelia Hun in 1783 and settled into her father's home on North Market Street at the corner of Van Tromp. Their children were baptized in the Albany Dutch church where both parents were members. His growing family was counted within the household of his father-in-law in 1790. By 1800, he had taken over as the head of the third ward household that now included a dozen members. In 1803, his family was memorialized in a beautiful portrait by Albany artist Ezra Ames. Over the next decade, Fonda/Fondey brought his sons and son-in-law into his business and sought to develop his waterfront holdings. The landmark home and grounds were North End fixtures.

Ezra Ames was Albany's premier portraitist for more than 40 years, with over 700 recorded pictures. In addition, he painted occasional landscapes, still lifes, and history pictures, and was active as an engraver as well. AIHA has the largest holding of Ames's work, numbering 66 paintings and 27 miniatures. The Fondey Family remains one of the artist's most ambitious works. John Fondey Jr. is shown with his wife Cornelia and their four children. Ames recorded the identities and ages of the subjects of the painting in an amazing piece of trompe l'oeil work, the curling paper in the upper right, which appears to hang down in front of the picture. John Fondey sold looking glasses, fiddles, china, glass and earthenware from a firm on Court Street in Albany. The AIHA collection contains a number of other pieces originally belonging to the Fondey family.

John "Fondey" Family, Albany - 1803


John Peter Fonda (1735-1826) Sources: Landmarks of Rensselaer Co.; Schermerhorn Genealogy and Family Chronicles

Born in Albany, NY; one of the first settlers of the town of Brunswick in 1750; his wife was Dirkje Fonda Winne, his second cousin, and they had 9 children; Revolutionary War Officer (Captain, 6th Albany Co. Militia, 4th Rensselaerwyck Battalion, DAR Patriot Index Centennial Edition).

The mother of Maria Vanderheyden was Rachel Fonda, daughter of Capt. John P. Fonda and Dirkie Winne. The Fondas lived on what was called the "Flatts," a district along the Poestenkill Creek on the east border of Troy, near the bridge crossing the creek and leading to Albia. They owned a large estate in this vicinity, over 500 acres, it is said. Where the present pond is formed by a mill dam connecting with a collar shop, was an orchard, and the house was near the present bridge.

First Settlers of Brunswick, NY - 1750

There is an interesting anecdote relating to this old place. The story dates back to the Revolutionary days, and it was during this period that Derick Vanderheyden was courting Rachel Fonda, who was later to become his wife. It is best told in the words of Mrs. Catherine Schermerhorn Shipherd in a letter to her granddaughter in 1884.

"The house was located on a flat of meadow, bordering on the north side of the Poestenkill, and the south bank of the Poestenkill Creek was a range of abrupt rocks, where the Tories concealed themselves, watching and waiting until the family should leave the house, so they could rush down and rob the premises. There were two brothers and the father at home, and being the Sabbath day, they went out at early eventide to make some calls, and the father, to bring up the cows, leaving the women alone. The robbers seized this opportunity and went into the house, setting a guard at each door while the rest ransacked from dome to base, taking whatever they wanted. My grandfather (Derick I. Vanderheyden) unexpectedly arrived to call on his prospective bride. One of the men took the reins of the horse from his hands, bidding him go direct into the house, which he did, being only one against a party of seven thieves. After they had selected what they wanted, they went to the mother and two daughters and took all the jewelry on their persons, except from the daughter who later became my grandmother. As one of them took her hands to remove her rings, he looked into her face and said: 'You are such a pretty girl, you may keep your rings.'"

Poestenkill Creek and Meadow

Another descendant of John Fonda states that the old grandfather, Peter Fonda, was also in the house when the robbers entered, and that he rose from his chair exclaiming: "Must we give up without a fight?" But he was too old and feeble and powerless to do anything but submit. The Tories took all the silver, linen and guns, and the silver knee buckles belonging to the old gentleman. The guns were afterward found hidden under the old wooden bridge, crossing the Poestenkill, where a more modern bridge now stands. The linen was discovered on the high bank on the opposite side of the creek. Later some of the thieves were caught, tried and sentenced to be hung. One of them returned to John Fonda one of the stolen knee buckles and a spoon, which are now in the possession of one of his descendants.


Ten Eyck Hilton Fonda (1838-1923) Sources: Pearce Civil War Collection, Civil War Times Illustrated

Ten Eyck was born in Fonda, New York, and served as a United States Army telegrapher during the Civil War. He moved his family to Illinois and then Nebraska in 1878 for railroad work and he died in Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska.

Telegraphers served under the quartermaster and were mostly civilians. Although they were integral parts of the army and vitally important to the country, they were unfortunately not given the same status as soldiers. The job was perilous, and in the course of the war over three hundred telegraphers lost their lives in the line of duty. Ten Eyck Hilton Fonda, called "Nike" by family and friends, was one of the young men responsible for the Union's telegraphic lifeline. In the days just before the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as the Union and Confederate armies groped toward one another, Fonda was the telegrapher who received an urgent message from Washington; he recounted his experience to a local newspaper in Omaha, Nebraska, 50 years later (1913). The newspaper printed the text of the telegram:

Civil War Telegrapher
"the agent that began the conflict"

To Major General Meade, Commanding Army of the Potomac: On March: The advance guard of the confederate army under General Early have entirely evacuated Wrightsville and other points on the Susquehanna river, and are making a forced march to join General Lee's main army at a point between Hanover and Gettysburg - part of their forces now at Hanover - and they confidently expect to be able to form a junction with General Lee's main army not later than tomorrow evening. Circumstances and conditions permitting, I would urge you to assume the offensive is quickly as possible on Lee's divided forces. - E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War.

At midnight June 30, 1863, Fonda personally delivered the telegram transcription from Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to General George Meade of the Union Army warning him of the advancing Confederate Army under Robert E. Lee toward Gettysburg and commanding Meade to assume the offensive. Fonda is credited with delivering this important warning, which allowed the Union armies to prepare for the approaching Confederates. An Omaha, Nebraska newspaper, during the fifty-year reunion of the battle of Gettysburg, named Fonda "the agent that began the conflict."

Fonda described his "every effort" in this letter to his brother (Douw Henry Fonda), written on telegraph message blanks: My Dear Brother, I suppose you have had plenty of war news of late as I have sent many pages by telegraph within the last two days. The report of today's Herald from Carpenter (I suppose it's published I sent it to Washington to censor) was I think sublime. He wrote it here in office flanked on the right by a bottle of bourbon whiskey (to keep his ideas bright) and on the other side by seven or eight noisy operators. From some cause our line has not been built from here to the front. This being the nearest telegraph office to the army our business is immense. When the army moved forward from this place there were no troops left here not even an orderly to carry dispatches to the front.

Dispatch for General Meade
Battle of Gettysburg - 1863

On the 30th Washington War dept. received an important dispatch from Gen. Couch at Harrisburg [Pennsylvania] informing Secy. Stanton that the enemy were falling back from Harrisburg and were concentrating at Gettysburg and to inform Gen. Meade in any way possible. I was the individual selected to carry it to Gen. Meade. Having rode from Leesburg the day before I felt rather unlimbered but consented to go without any excuses - I left here at one o'clock a.m. - full moon making the night almost day. I had little or no thought of reaching Meade's Headquarters as the country was full of the Rebel scouting parties and we did not know exactly where Headquarters were but supposed somewhere in the neighborhood of Middleburg 25 miles from here.

I had orders to spare nothing, horseflesh and money was of no account if I would only deliver the message. I tell you I made the old horse get. To Woodburg 12 miles I made in less than an hour as I heard a clock strike 2 as I was watering my horse.

Thus far I had not met a single person. I saw one straggler asleep along the road, four miles from this place I heard some one coming towards me at last. I saw him coming on a walk one of our men I suppose he was dressed in our uniform - saber carbine & revolver. I was going 240 and halted within twenty feet of him and halted him, he said friend - I saw his heart was way up in his mouth and too scared to do much damage. I rode up to him and asked him the way to Headquarters, which he said was Middleburg. The horse was exhausting heavy now. His feet & mouth made noise enough for a whole cavalry regiment. I soon came into Middleburg but my spirits were soon dampened by finding the last of the army had passed through there that day at four o'clock some towards Tullytown, others to the left & right. I thought Headquarters would keep the centre and made for Tullytown, seven miles away. Three miles this side of that place I came to a train of wagons parked - many pickets had they out on this road. I learned Gen. Meade's Headquarters were one mile beyond Tarrytown - which place I reached delivering the message to him in person taking a receipt timed at 5.15. He gave me a fresh horse and an escort of fifty cavalry and I came back same day.

Secy. Stanton sent me a message thanking me kindly for energy &c. but I suppose he has forgot it by this time. When you read this destroy it for if you send it home every man Father comes across he will show it to. It is quite natural - but I don't want to become notorious. I shall probably be home in a month or two to remain for a short time, Love to all. Ever Your Bro., Nike. Frederick Md., July 4th 1863.

William Cornelius Fonda (1807-1885) Sources: History of Calhoun County

William was born in Kinderhook, Columbia County, New York; in 1835 he moved his young family to Michigan, casting in his lot with the earliest settlers of Calhoun County. He settled upon a farm in Pennfield Township, which constituted a part of the farm now owned by the heir of Henry Foss. From the government he entered about five hundred acres of land, which was entirely unimproved, and with characteristic energy he began to clear and develop his property.

Joining the state militia, he served for some years in its ranks and won the title of Colonel. He was pre-eminently a military man, tall and erect and without a knowledge of fear. He married Lauraa Avery, and when they came to the west there were three children in their family, while after their arrival, three more were added to the household. Colonel Fonda was a man of marked intelligence and enterprise in his day and was also a most progressive agriculturalist, becoming the owner of one of the finest farms in his part of the county. He took an active and helpful part in the early development of this section of the state and his name certainly deserves to be high on the roll of honored pioneers.

Developing Michigan Farmland - 1840's

Calhoun County, Michigan
(drawing is not of subject)

William's brother, Cornelius C. Fonda (1809-1897) father of William Henry Fonda (see next entry), spent the days of his boyhood and youth in the state of his nativity (New York) and then he too became a pioneer resident of Michigan, arriving in Calhoun County in the spring of 1838. He made the journey up the Hudson River by steamer, across the country by the Erie canal to Buffalo, thence by boat to Detroit and from there by wagon to his destination, twenty-three days being required to make the trip. He was accompanied by his wife and three sons and the journey across Michigan was made with a double ox team. In New York he had married Miss Esther Moe, who was born in Pleasant Valley, Dutchess County, NY, in 1814.

Family Blacksmith Business
(drawing is not of subject)

Arriving in Calhoun county they settled upon the property where the Independent Congregational Church now stands and at the Verona Mills. Mr. Fonda secured slabs with which he erected a small slab shanty, this being the first home of the family. Soon afterward, however, he built a (traditional) house across the road. He was a blacksmith by trade and opened a smithy where the Trump block now stands.

It was entirely unroofed, save that there was a covering over the bellows. Cornelius Fonda made the iron work for the first thresher built by Nichols & Shepard Co. and in his later years he presented the firm with the hammer with which he did that work; today the implement is to be seen in their office. For many years he followed the blacksmith's trade and became the first foreman in the blacksmithing department in the Nichols & Shepard shops. He was an expert mechanic and proved a most capable and trusted employee of the house, but about 1850 he retired from active connection with blacksmithing and removed to his farm east of the city. He had there one hundred and five acres of land now comprised within what is now known as the Fonda addition to Battle Creek.

On that property Cornelius spent his remaining days, devoting his energies to the supervision of his agricultural interests. He was a great lover of horses and owned some of the finest running stock to be found in the county. He took great pleasure in testing their ability and he once trained a horse to run without a rider and it made such splendid records that it passed everything on the race track. Mr. Fonda died in 1897, having survived his wife by about three years and his remains were interred by her side in Oak Hill Cemetery. Mrs. Fonda was a member of the Methodist Church and a most estimable lady. Mr. Fonda cast his first presidential ballot in support of the Republican party. Through an active business career he gained an enviable reputation for reliability that made his name an honored one in trade circles.


Early Days on the Family Farm
(drawing is not of subject)

William Henry Fonda (1834-1910) Sources: History of Calhoun County

Civil War Soldier, Farmer, Innkeeper, Deputy Postmaster, Railroad Agent, Personal Secretary; born in Poughkeepsie, New York. William was reared to the occupation of farming and early became familiar with the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturalist. He was educated in the public schools and after putting aside his text books assumed the management of his father's farm which he operated while the father and brother worked in the shops of Nichols Shepard in the city.

Steam Railroad Ticket Agent - 1870's

He continued to occupy the homestead until 1861 when his father purchased what is now the Clifton Hotel and then Mr. Fonda, senior, in connection with his son William Henry, conducted the business for a year and a half. It was purchased at the price of twenty-seven hundred dollars.. and eighteen months later was sold for seventy-five hundred dollars.

After leaving the hotel business, William H. Fonda became deputy postmaster and filled that position in a most creditable manner for nine years under five different postmasters. In 1873 he became private secretary to President Dibble of the old Peninsular Railway Company, now the Grand Trunk, and continued with him for five years. Since that time Mr. Fonda had served as ticket agent for the Grand Trunk Railroad, and was also cashier of the freight department and ticket agent for the Michigan Central Railroad.

In 1865, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Fonda and Miss Mary E. Caldwell of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and unto them had been born one child, Helen M., who is now the wife of Edson D. Clarage, manager of the Crucible Steel Company of America at Cleveland, Ohio. They also have a daughter, Eleanor. Mr. Fonda gives his political support to the Republican party and his wife is identified with the Presbyterian Church. They are both people of sterling worth and the hospitality of many of the best homes of the county is graciously and freely accorded them.

Battle Creek, Michigan - 1890

Mr. Fonda served as city assessor of Battle Creek for three years, but had never been active in search for office, preferring to devote his time and energies to business affairs. He is now a stockholder of the Agricultural Company and gives considerable attention to the supervision of his realty interests. In 1892 he platted the Fonda addition, which is one of the most desirable additions to the city.

With the growth of Battle Creek there came a demand for further property within its border and the old family homestead was subdivided and is now upon the market. Already much of this had been sold, but Mr. Fonda still retained valuable property holdings, both in the city and country.

No history of the pioneer families of Calhoun county would be complete without mention of our subject who for sixty-five years had been a witness of the growth and development of this locality. He had seen the forests cut down and the wild lands transformed into beautiful homes and farms, while in their midst, cities and villages have sprung up, having all the advantages of the older east. In the work of progress and improvement he had taken a just pride in what had been accomplished and by reason of his success in Business and his unblemished character he may well be called one of the leading citizens of Battle Creek.

Jellis Douw Fonda and family made their voyage to America...

Although we do not know upon which ship Jellis Douw Fonda and family made their voyage to America, we can make an educated guess or at least narrow it down. The following two facts serve as a window for the timing:

1. The youngest child of Jellis and Hester, Abraham, was baptized on April 14, 1647 in Amsterdam, Netherlands ("Amsterdam Records of the Fonda Family", The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. 119, No. 1). He was buried on October 28, 1650 according to Amsterdam burial records. ("Famous Frisians in America", p. 108-109).

2. The first record of Jellis (Gillis) in America was in Fort Orange (now Albany, NY) on October 19, 1651 when he received permission from the court to distill liquor in Greenbush, a small village near Albany ("A Career Woman in 17th Century New York", The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, New York, Vol. 95, No. 5).



Typical Schooner of the time.

So we know that the migration took place between November 1650 and October 1651. According to "A Career Woman in 17th Century New York", when Jellis arrived in Fort Orange in 1651, "he was accompanied by his wife, Hester Jans, and three children, a son Douwe, aged about eleven years, and daughters Geertien and Sara, aged about nine and seven years, respectively".

No ship passenger lists have yet been found which show any names resembling Jellis/Gillis Fonda and his family. So, if you look at the ships that DO NOT have passengers lists, maybe we can narrow it down some.

We know that Jellis did not enter into a contract with the Rensselaerswijck Colony (typically three to six year terms of farm labor in return for the ship's passage). He must have been a free colonist, paying for his own ships fare, since he was not encumbered with any work contracts that we know of.


According to the Marine Museum (translated from the original Dutch by Willem Rabbelier and Cor Snabel of the Netherlands, published with their permission on The Olive Tree Genealogy pages):

"The book/thesis of Jaap Jacobs contains a list of about 500 ship crossings between Amsterdam, the Netherlands and New Amsterdam over the period 1609-1675. In only 56 cases the presence, but not the names, of colonists on board is mentioned." (De Scheepvaart En Handel Van De Nederlandse Republiek Op Nieuw-Nederland 1609-1675 by J.A. Jacobs 1989)


There were only 5 ships sailing from The Netherlands to America between November 1650 and October 1651.:

1. WATERHONT particulier Amsterdam 5 5 1651 Nieuw-A'dam 1651
2. BONTE KOE particulier Amsterdam 1651 Nieuw-A'dam voor 13 6 1651
3. HOFF VAN CLEEF Adriaen Blommaert particulier Amsterdam 1651 Nieuw-A'dam voor 15 6 1651
4. GELDERSE BLOM W. van Twiller Amsterdam na 20 3 1651 Nieuw-A'dam voor 31 7 1651
5. PRINS WILLEM Juryaen Andriessen WIC Amsterdam 1651 Nieuw-A'dam voor 19 9 1651

Three had passenger lists which do not list any names resembling this family. The ships in this list which DID NOT have passenger lists are:

1. BONTE KOE particulier Amsterdam 1651 Nieuw-A'dam voor 13 6 1651
2. PRINS WILLEM Juryaen Andriessen WIC Amsterdam 1651 Nieuw-A'dam voor 19 9 1651

Fort Orange - 1635


Explanation of Abbreviations Used:  
 * VOC=Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie
 * VTC=Van Tweenhuysen Compagnie
 * HCC=Hans Claesz. Compagnie
 * WIC=West Indies Compagnie
Translations of Dutch Words Used:  
 *reder = ship owner
 *bevrachter = loader
 *vertrekplaats = place of departure
 *aank. plaats = place of arrival
 *datum = date
 *na = after
 *voor = before
 *tussen = between
 *eind = end of
 *begin = beginning / early
 *kort na = shortly after
 *particulier = private owner


So unless there are more ships that we don't know about, you can conclude that Jellis Douw Fonda, his wife Hester Jans and his three young children, Douwe, Grietje and Sara sailed on one of these two ships... the BONTE KOE or the PRINS WILLEM. These are the only ships which fit in the correct time frame, from the correct location and do not have passenger lists.


Albert Mark Fonda
November 5, 2009


Fonda Name Origins


Fonda (Latin) - foundation, base, support (also Funda)
Fonda (Spanish) - 1). bottom, foundation, source or beginning;
2). cafe or small restaurant; or
3). boardinghouse
Fonda (French) - charitable organization (foundation)

Note: Some name variations appear as Fondy, Fondey, Funda, Fundy, Fonde, etc. It is not uncommon to have phonetic misspellings in earlier records... or in some cases, intentional changes to differentiate or localize the spelling. There are also some more recent Fonda immigrants from Germany, Italy, Ireland and Austria, whose lineage is not from Jellis Fonda.

Foyngha (Kollum), Friesland, Netherlands

Foyngha, Netherlands
The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, "Amsterdam Records of the Fonda Family" states: "In Frisian records van der Meer did not find any mention of the name Fonda, but in the vicinity of Kollum in northeast Friesland, where Benedictus Jacobse (Fonda) lived, he came across the names Banda, Ronda and Sinda. He also noted that in 1580 Benedictus was manager of an estate near Kollum called 'Foyngha,' and there was a chance that 'Fonda' was a corruption of that name." (Population: 15,983; 53º16'N, 6º9'E; Elev. 3 ft.)

Castello di Baronale - Fondi, Italy

Fondi, Italy
So called from the Latin fundus, the bottom. Fondi, a town of Campania, Italy, in the province of Caserta, 12 miles NW of Formia. It lies 25 ft. above sea-level, at the north end of a plain surrounded by mountains, which extend to the sea. It occupies the site of the ancient Fundi, a Voiscian town, belonging later to Latium adjectum, on the Via Appia, still represented by the modern high-road which passes through the centre of the town. (Population: 24,647; 41º21'N 13º25'E; Elev. 6 ft.)

Trieste, in northeast Italy

Trieste, Italy
The Fonda name may have originated from the town of Piran, Italy (first mentioned in year 1230 regarding Dominicus Fonda) on the NE coast of the Adriatic sea. Piran is now in Slovenia (former Yugoslavia). However, almost all Fonda's lived in Trieste, Italy, where today live more than 25% of the Fonda's in the world. According to legend, between about 1290-1360 AD lived tradesman "Latcho de Corgnale", from Trieste. He is mentioned in years 1328, 1335 and 1347 as a tradesman with corn on the so called "Karsten Road", one of the most important European trade routes in the 14th century. Corgnale is today a village (with name Lokev - 500 inhabitants) in Slovenia (18 km from Trieste, Italy). In the middle ages, this village was on the trade route from Venezia and Trieste through Ljubljana and Celje (Slovenia) to Buda/Pest (Hungary) and Wien (Austria). Today near Celje is also small village named "Latkova Vas" (Latchos Village) where also live a few Fonda families. (Population: 78,587; 45º38'N 13º46'E; Elev. 357 ft.)

Genoa, Italy to Amsterdam, Holland

Genoa, Italy extract from "Early American Families", Rev. W.A. Williams; Philadelphia, PA; 1916

"The Rensselaer-Bowier papers say that Douw Fonda was a Frisian, and Tacitus says that the Frisians dwelt along the coast of the North sea. They were converted to Christianity before A.D. 800. The family of Fonda was originally from the Republic of Genoa, Italy. The Marquis de Fonda was one of the leaders of a revolution in Genoa, having for its object the overturning of the aristocratic government, and putting the election of the Doge and Senate, into the hands of the people at large. The Doge (=duke) was the duke, or chief magistrate. Our ancestor was an early republican, and must have lived there, between 1339, when the first Doge was elected, and 1528 when the Dogate ceased. Baron de Fonda was unsuccessful in his attempt, and fled from the country, taking refuge in Amsterdam, Holland, whence his descendant, Jellis Douwese Fonda, emigrated to America in 1642, and had grants of land from the Dutch government, settling in or near the present city of Albany, N. Y.

There is a perhaps less credible tradition also, that the Fondas were Huguenots. and fled from France to Holland after the massacre of St. Bartholomew’s night, Aug. 25, 1572. There is another tradition that they fled from Spain on account of persecution or followed the Duke of Alva to Holland. It is also said that they belonged to the royal house of Spain, fled to Italy, because of religious persecution, and came later to Holland. Possibly they fled from Italy to France, and from France to Holland. The form of the family name is Latin and therefore similar in French, Italian, and Spanish, indicating the Latin origin of the family, probably In Italy. The Fondas were Dutch Reformed Protestants when they emigrated to America, and must have been among the first converts of the Reformation. Their descendants are widely scattered throughout the Union, though many are still living near the old home in Eastern N.Y.

The family name is taken from a deep valley in the Apennines, about 12 mi. from the city of Genoa, called Fonda, a name which means bottom, deep, foundation, etc. It is said that, in the early part of the last century, the estate was still in the possession of a branch of the family, the Count de Fonda, and there are many of the name, in the various parts of the Genoese territories.” Some of the family may have known Columbus in Genoa." see Ref. [R032]

Note: the above is disputed in "Old Dutch Families: Fonda Family" (De Halve Maen Quarterly, 1945): "The Fondas were important in up-state New York during the Colonial period and in the early development of the State. Presumably the family is of Frisian origin and one genealogist has outlined European background for the Fondas giving them a really illustrious descent. However, these stories apparently come from tradition rather than substance. The emigrant ancestor of this family was Jillis (Jellis, Gillis) Douwese Fonda whose name first appears in Albany records in 1651 and last in 1654. His only son, Douw Jellise, became the ancestor of all Fondas in this country." see Ref. [R048a]

Also see Landmarks for US towns named Fonda

and International for Fonda in the rest of the World

Fonda Surname - World Distribution (2004)

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