Born in Washington, North Carolina, on May 16, 1891, Herbert Covington Bonner as the son of Macon and Hannah Bonner. Herbert attended the Graham School in Warrenton from 1906 until 1909. After he graduated, Bonner became a snuff salesman, and in World War I, he became a sergeant in the 81st Division.
From 1924 until 1940, Bonner served as Representative Lindsay C. Warren’s secretary. In 1940, Warren became the comptroller-general of the United States, and Bonner decided to run for Warren’s vacant seat. Bonner, a Democrat, was elected to represent the First District in North Carolina.
Bonner served in the U.S. Congress from November 5, 1940 until November 7, 1965. For nearly 25 years, Bonner represented 14 northeastern counties in North Carolina, and he constantly sought federal funding for jobs in his district. Only twice in his career did Bonner undergo any significant electoral challenges; Robert L. Humber challenged Bonner’s seat in 1946 and Walter Jones nearly took Bonner’s seat in 1960.
During his time in Congress, Representative Bonner chaired the Committee on Election of President, Vice President, and Representatives in Congress and the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. Bonner supported the Cape Hatteras National Seashore program as well as Roosevelt and Kennedy’s federal programs.
Bonner married Eva Hackney who was also from Washington, North Carolina. On November 7, 1965, Herbert Bonner died in Washington, D.C., after his fight with cancer. Bonner was interred at Oakdale Cemetery in Washington.
“Bonner, Herbert Covington.” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=B000621, (accessed April 23, 2012).
“Herbert Covington Bonner Papers, 1940 – 1965.” The Southern Historical Collection. UNC University Libraries Online. http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/b/Bonner,Herbert_Covington.html, (accessed April 23, 2012).