Dear America Wiki
Dear America Wiki

Minnie pictured on the cover

All of the characters that appear in A City Tossed and Broken.

Main characters[]

Minnie Bonner[]

Main article: Minette Bonner

Minette "Minnie" Bonner (1891[1] – c. 1982)[2] was the only daughter of Hazel and Jacques Bonner. She was of Irish and French descent. In 1906, Minnie's family lost the Blue Spruce Tavern, which had been in the family for generations. Her mother arranged for Minnie to become a lady's maid to Olive Sump's daughter, Lily. She subsequently traveled to San Francisco with Olive and Lily. There she discovered the real reasons her family lost their tavern on the eve of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. In the turmoil that followed, Minnie posed as Lily to the Sumps' lawyer Mr. Crandall.

Supporting characters[]

Andrew Jewell[]

Andrew Jewell (c. 1880 – 1922),[2] also known by the moniker Slippery Andy, was a conman and gambler. He worked for Chester Sump, helping him buy up several properties in Philadelphia. One of his victims was Jacques Bonner. Andrew later travelled to San Francisco and convinced Lily Sump to run away with him while they were on the train. After Lily died during the earthquake, Andrew discovered that Minnie Bonner was posing as her. He came up with a new scheme until Minnie's father approached him with a deal to split the money in Mr. Sump's strongbox. The money went up in flames. Andrew later moved to Los Angeles, where he worked in vaudeville. At forty-two, he was shot during a poker game.

Chester and Olive Sump[]

Chester[3] and Olive Sump[4] (died April 18, 1906)[5] were a wealthy husband and wife. They had one daughter, Lily, whom Olive was extremely controlling over. Chester made money through real estate and investing in railroads. Olive came from a humble background and especially wanted to be accepted into high society. In Philadelphia, Chester spent two years buying up Spruce Street. He was able to obtain the Blue Spruce Tavern with Andrew Jewell's help. The Sumps relocated to San Francisco, where their home was built on Nob Hill. Chester and Olive both died in the earthquake. He possibly died of a heart attack while his wife was killed when the fireplace fell on her.

Hazel Bonner[]

Hazel Bonner ("Mama;" née Moore) was the mother of Minette Bonner. Her family were owners of the Blue Spruce Tavern for generations. She married Jacques "Jock" Bonner. After her father's death, Hazel and Jock took over the tavern. Around this time, Jock began gambling and would often disappear for days at a time, being too afraid to face Hazel. After Jock lost the tavern, she kicked him out of the house. She then arranged for Minnie to become a maid to the Sumps. Hazel planned to send for Minnie. Jock found Hazel and asked about Minnie, leading to them being reunited in San Francisco. They sent for Hazel, who came and together they all opened a restaurant. Following Jock's death, she was remarried to a professor of geology.

Hugh and Mrs. Crandall[]

Hugh[6] and Mrs. Crandall were Mr. Sump's lawyer and his wife. After the earthquake, Hugh found Minnie in the rubble of the Sumps' home and mistook her to be Lily. He gave her instructions to go to his mother's home in Oakland, but subsequently found her back at the Sumps home. Mr. Crandall then brought her to his home, where his wife was waiting. She insisted that they travel to her sister's for refuge, despite having a falling out years before. After they returned home, Minnie came clean about her deception to the Crandalls and her father calmed them down. He made a deal with Mr. Crandall who compenstated the Bonners for their tavern. Mr. Crandall later established the Sump Trust and had two daughters with his wife.

Jacques Bonner[]

Jacques "Jock" Bonner ("Papa") was the father of Minnie and husband of Hazel Bonner. Jock grew up in Lille, France and immigrated to America with his parents, whom later died in a streetcar accident. He married Hazel and they took over her family's tavern, which he lost in a bet with Andrew Jewell. Mr. Sump gave Jock a loan to cover the debt, but the tavern was still lost when Mr. Sump moved cross country. When he discovered that Minnie was in San Francisco, he went there to find her. Jock helped Minnie deal with Andrew and then Mr. Crandall, the latter of whom compensated him for the tavern. They called for Hazel to join them in San Francisco, where they opened a restaurant. He died of a heart attack at fifty-five.

Jake Jennardi[]

Jake Jennardi was a son of the Jennardi family whom operated a grocery. He met Minnie the day before the earthquake while making a delivery to the Sumps' home. The Jennardis helped fight back the fire, during which time he ran into Minnie again. He was taken aback when Mr. Crandall referred to her as "Lily" but did not give away her secret. After the earthquake, the Jennardis opened a new grocery in North Beach. Jake met Minnie again at the Panama–Pacific International Exposition in 1915. They married within a year and Jake became a partner in her family's restaurant, Lily's. Their eldest son Dante took over when they decided to retire. Jake died in his sleep at eighty-three.

Lily Sump[]

Lily E.[7] Sump (c. 1890[8] – April 18, 1906)[9] was the only daughter of Chester and Olive Sump. She felt suffocated by her parents, especially her mother whose chief interest was marrying Lily into a rich family. At some point, Lily became infatuated with Richard Jewell. He later boarded the same train to San Francisco as her and her mother. Lily visited him once a day on the train. She planned to elope with him and woke up early on the morning of April 18. Lily was caught by Minnie, whom she then begged for help. The earthquake happened shortly, causing the stove to strike Lily and kill her. In the aftermath, Minnie posed as Lily due to a misunderstanding.

Minor characters[]

  • Beatrice and Joseph Jennardi were Jake's sister and brother. Minnie met them along with their mother, aunt, uncle Angelo, and cousin Robert while fighting back the fire.
  • Bridget was the Sumps' parlor maid in Philadelphia. She left two days early for her new job working for Mrs. Thomas Whitford, whom Mrs. Sump was afraid of.
  • Enrico Caruso was a famous opera singer who performed in San Francisco the day before the earthquake.
  • Mrs. Flynn was Mrs. Crandall's sister who lived in Eureka Valley. She and her sister had a falling out due to Mrs. Flynn marrying an Irishman. Nevertheless, she took in her sister and her husband after the earthquake. She was particularly kind to Minnie, seeing through her ruse.
  • General Funston was the commander of the Presidio. He ordered the army to use explosives to create firebreaks, hoping to stop the spread of the fire.
  • Mrs. Greenlee was the Sumps' former housekeeper who stayed in Philadelphia.
  • Mr. Langley was a rival of Mr. Sump who hired all of Mr. Sump's servants out from under him.
  • The Livermores and Putnams were two families who lived on Russian Hill. They stayed behind to save the neighborhood.
  • Mike was a friend of Will. He asked Will for his help in pushing the fire trucks up a hill to continue fighting back the fire.
  • Mr. Moore (died c. 1903)[10] was the grandfather of Minette Bonner whom called him "Grandad." He ran the Blue Spruce Tavern for forty years until his death. Mr. Moore had one daughter, Hazel Bonner. He never approved of his daughter's husband Jacques.
  • Sadie Millman was Minnie's best friend. Minnie decided against saying goodbye to her, instead planning to write.
  • Patrick was a fireman whom Minnie met on Nob Hill while hiding Mr. Sump's strongbox.
  • Mrs. Pyle was Mr. Sump's cook until she accepted Mr. Langley's offer.
  • Will was a driver who was bringing supplies to the firemen. Mr. Crandall paid him for a ride until his friend Mike came for his help in pushing the fire trucks up a hill.

Epilogue characters[]

  • Alessandra Jennardi was the great-great granddaughter of Minnie and Jake Jennardi. She was the most recent proprietor of the family restaurant, Lily's.
  • Dante Jennardi was the eldest son of Minnie and Jake. He took over his parents' restaurant when the two decided to retire.
  • Delia Flynn was the daughter of Mrs. Flynn. She became a partner in the Sump Trust with her cousin and best friend Lavinia Crandall. They worked on mostly not-for-profit projects.
  • Lavinia Crandall was one of Hugh and Mrs. Crandall's daughters. She took over the Sump Trust after her father died with her cousin Delia Flynn. Lavinia never got along with her mother.


See also[]

Dear America characters
Main characters

Remember "Mem" Whipple | Deliverance Trembley | Lozette Moreau | Catharine Logan | Prudence Emerson
Abigail Stewart | Lucinda Lawrence | María Rosalia de Milagros | Hattie Campbell | Mary Driscoll
Florence "Florrie" Mack Ryder | Susanna Fairchild | Clotee Henley | Amelia Martin | Emma Simpson
Sarah Nita | Phillis "Patsy" Frederick | Libby West | Priscilla "Pringle" Rose | Mary "Polly" Rodgers
Nannie Little Rose | Angeline Reddy | Sarah Jane Price | Teresa Viscardi | Anetka Kaminska
Zipporah Feldman | Minette "Minnie" Bonner | Angela Denoto | Margaret Ann Brady | Kathleen Bowen
Simone Spencer | Lydia Pierce | Nell "Nellie Lee" Love | Bess Brennan | Minerva "Minnie" Swift | Grace Edwards
Julie Weiss | Madeline Beck | Amber Billows | Piper Davis | Dawn "Dawnie Rae" Johnson | Molly Flaherty

Supporting characters

Antoinetta Viscardi | Leon Nasevich | Daniel Pierce | Erma Jean Love | Patrick Flaherty

Lists of characters by book

A Journey to the New World | I Walk in Dread | Look to the Hills | Standing in the Light
Love Thy Neighbor | The Winter of Red Snow | Cannons at Dawn | A Line in the Sand
Valley of the Moon | Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie | So Far from Home | All the Stars in the Sky
Seeds of Hope | A Picture of Freedom | A Light in the Storm | When Will This Cruel War Be Over?
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow | I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly | The Great Railroad Race
Down the Rabbit Hole | Land of the Buffalo Bones | My Heart Is on the Ground | Behind the Masks
My Face to the Wind | West to a Land of Plenty | A Coal Miner's Bride | Dreams in the Golden Country
A City Tossed and Broken | Hear My Sorrow | Voyage on the Great Titanic | A Time for Courage
When Christmas Comes Again | Like the Willow Tree | Color Me Dark | Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Christmas After All | Survival in the Storm | One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping
My Secret War | Early Sunday Morning | The Fences Between Us | With the Might of Angels
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?