The Ellen G. White Letters and Manuscripts: Volume 1


BONFOEY, Clarissa M. (c. 1821-1856)

Domestic helper for Ellen and James White, 1848-1856. The few available sources suggest that Clarissa Bonfoey came from the Middletown, Connecticut, area. No mention has been found of a “Clarissa” or “Clara” Bonfoey in official records or genealogies from this period, but it is likely that she was of the line of Bonfoeys who settled in Haddam, Connecticut, near Middletown, during the eighteenth century. Clarissa's first assignment for the Whites was to look after their 10-month-old son, Henry, in Middletown during the summer of 1848 while they traveled to conferences in New York. From 1849 until her untimely death in 1856 at age 35, she seems to have been employed on a more or less permanent basis in the White household as they moved from place to place. She remained single. 1EGWLM 793.5

Ellen White had a high opinion of Clarissa Bonfoey. “She was a woman of remarkable faith,” with “a cheerful and happy disposition, never gloomy, yet not light and trifling.” In her letters and autobiographical accounts Ellen described several instances of Clarissa's participation in dramatic faith healings and other charismatic phenomena. 1EGWLM 793.6

See: Obituary: “Clarissa M. Bonfoey,” Review, June 12, 1856, p. 55; William Richard Cutter, Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut (New York: Lewis Publishing Co., 1911), vol. 4; search term “Bonfoey” in (July 28, 2009); Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts [vol. 2], pp. 96, 113, 138; Ms 147, 1907 (Nov. 12); Lt 14, 1850 (Sept. 1); Lt 123, 1893 (June 21). 1EGWLM 794.1