An overview of H.L. Bonham
Hezekiah Love Bonham was born on February 18th, 1866. He was raised in Chilhowie, Virginia for the majority of his life. In March of 1891, Hezekiah married Docia Virginia Copenhaver. Together they had seven children, two of which passed at infancy. The surviving five children were Everett Burnette, James Buchanan, Samuel Lee, Anna Candacy, and Edna Love. Mr. Bonham was a business man, someone who worked with good integrity and was well liked throughout the community. From 1916-1918, Mr. Bonham served in the Virginia 109th General Assembly as a member of the House of Delegates. Hezekiah Bonham was very passionate about his community, working on the forefront to secure good roads and schools within the county. The Bonham family was very dedicated to the Lutheran church with Mr. Bonham being a lifetime member of the Saint James Lutheran Church. He also served in various positions within the church as well as within the community. Among the other positions consisted: Board of Trustees of Marion Junior College, Board of Trustees Roanoke College, Board of Konnarock Training School, and a delegate to the United Synod of the South and Foreign Mission of the United Lutheran Church for thirty years. Mr. Bonham was a very successful businessman, his success lead to enough profits to purchase neglected orchards. For his outstanding achievements in agriculture, he was awarded the Certificate of Merit by the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. The Bonham’s orchard eventually grew to around 800 acres, producing around 200,000 bushels of apples a year and built the only cold storage facility between Roanoke to Bristol. When Hezekiah Bonham retired from the apple orchard industry, he left the businesses to his sons who eventually incorporated the business. On May 30th, 1934 Mr. Bonham passes away peacefully in his home. His life has left a lasting legacy on Smyth County still to this day. The Smyth County Chamber of Commerce now resides in the second house built by the Bonham Family located in the heart of Chilhowie, Virginia.