Bonami is on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway sixty miles north of Beaumont in east central Jasper County. It was established in 1901 when the Lee-Irvine Lumber Company built a sawmill on the rail line, then named the Gulf, Beaumont and Kansas City. The site was first called Leeton for one of the partners, D. J. Lee, but was renamed Bonami in 1902 by the first postmaster, R. J. Cooper, for a Louisiana town of the same name. The sawmill, which had a daily capacity of 25,000 board feet, was sold to the Bleakwood Lumber Company the following year. L. S. Bean managed the Bonami mill. The Bonami post office closed in 1914, and the following year Bean sold an edger, saw, and engine in storage at Bonami to J. J. and V. S. Bean. Presumably using this equipment, the Bonami mill resumed operations that lasted until 1929, when the installations were removed. A rural community remained, and in 1948 the population was 200. In 1986 Bonami had no apparent community center but was marked by an abandoned sawmill and the Freewill Baptist Church. Logging, a sand and gravel operation, and chicken and stock raising were the chief economic activities.
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- [Bon Ami]
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Bonami by the Numbers
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