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Dear America Wiki

"I discovered something at that moment, diary. If you see enough destruction, if you feel helpless in the face of it, if you've been terrified enough times, there does come a moment when you cannot bear one more thing to be lost. I was tired of being afraid. Tire of moving away from the fire. I wanted to fight."
—Minnie Bonner[5]

Minette "Minnie" Jennardi (née Bonner; 1891 – c. 1983) was the only daughter of Hazel and Jacques Bonner. In 1906, Minnie became a servant of the wealthy Sump family. She traveled with the family to San Francisco. Shortly after her arrival, Minnie survived the 1906 earthquake and its aftermath that devastated the city.


Early life[]

Minnie was born in 1891[1] to her parents, Hazel and Jacques "Jock" Bonner. Her mother's family, named Moore, had owned Blue Spruce Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for over one hundred years.[1] Minnie's grandfather ran the tavern until his death when she was eleven. Her father was from France, while her mother's family was from Ireland.

1906 earthquake[]

After Minnie's father lost the tavern, her mother arranged for Minnie to become a lady maid's for Olive Sump's daughter Lily. Her mother planned to send for her in two years once she had saved enough money. Minnie began working for the Sumps on April 3, 1906, helping them pack for their move to San Francisco, California. The following day, Minnie answered the door to an Andrew Jewell whom said he knew her father. A few days later, Minnie came to say goodbye to her mother and asked her about him. She revealed that they lost their tavern because Minnie's father made a bet with Andrew Jewell. Minnie left without saying goodbye, feeling upset about the revelations and having to leave her mother.

Minnie accompanied Mrs. Sump and Lily on the train to San Francisco. She noticed Lily leave their compartment discreetly several times. They arrived at the Sumps home on Nob Hill on April 17. That night, Minnie overheard Chester Sump and his wife speaking about Andrew Jewell and then accessing a strongbox. In the morning, she met Jake Jennardi when he stopped by with a delivery. He left a strong impression on her. Shortly, Lily came into the kitchen and asked Minnie to help her run away. The earthquake then struck, killing Lily and her parents. Minnie was found by the Sumps lawyer Hugh Crandall who mistook her for Lily. He brought her to a ferry but she could not bring herself to board.

Back on Nob Hill, Minnie found Mr. Sump's strongbox which she later returned to bury. Mr. Crandall found her there and brought her to his home. A couple days later, Minnie went off on her own to help fight back the fire, running into Jake again. The Crandalls found her and brought her to Mrs. Crandall's sister's home. There Andrew Jewell made a surprise visit and announced himself as Lily's fiancé, forcing Minnie to agree to his scheme. After returning to the Crandalls' home, Minnie ran into her father whom was looking for her. She told him about Andrew Jewell. Jock made a new deal with him about the strongbox. When they opened it, the money went up in flames but Jock saved the ledger.

Later life[]

After opening the strongbox, Minnie immediately admitted her deception to the Crandalls. Jock calmed him down by presenting the ledger. Mr. Crandall compensated the Bonners for the sale of their tavern. Minnie and her father then sent for her mother, who came but was still considerably mad at her husband. The Bonners subsequently opened a restaurant, called Lily's. In 1915, Minnie met Jake again at the Panama–Pacific International Exposition after thinking about him for many years. They married within a year and moved to Telegraph Hill. Minnie and Jake had three children together.

Jake became a partner in the restaurant with the Bonners. His and Minnie's son, Dante, took it over when they decided to retire. The couple divided their time between San Francisco and Napa Valley. Jake died at the age of eighty-three. For the final ten years of her life, Minnie was a guest at the annual ceremony of re-painting the golden fire hydrant, which played an important role in the earthquake's aftermath. Minnie passed away at ninety-one. Her great-great granddaughter, Alessandra continues running the family's restaurant.

Personality and traits[]

Minnie was characterized as strong and resourceful as well as having a good moral compass. She described her family as "talkers," a trait she also had. Minnie normally expressed her feelings out loud until her family lost their tavern. She then began writing down her feelings instead. While posing as Lily, Minnie often felt guilty over it and decided many times to confess the truth. However, something always managed to go wrong. Minnie felt immensely relieved when the actual time to tell the truth finally came.

Family tree[]

The Bonner-Jennardi Family Tree
Mr. Moore
(d. 1903)
Mr. and Mrs. Bonner
Hazel Bonner
Jacques Bonner
Mr. and Mrs. Jennardi
Minette Bonner
Jake Jennardi
Beatrice Jennardi
Joseph Jennardi
Dante Jennardi
Two others
Alessandra Jennardi

Behind the scenes[]



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?