Mary Charlotte Bonine Roberts

Published 4:55 pm Monday, January 18, 2021

Mary Charlotte Bonine Roberts, 86, died on Jan. 15 in Valdosta, Georgia from complications of COVID-19.  She was the daughter of State Senator G. Elwood Bonine and Ruth Morse and grew up in the Bonine House, the Victorian home at Penn Road and M-60, built by her ancestors James E. and Sarah Bogue Bonine, stationmasters on the Underground Railroad.

Mary Charlotte was part of the first graduating class from Cassopolis High School and returned for her 50th reunion in 2002.  It was then she saw her beloved home almost in ruins, and hoped an organization could save it.  She was thrilled when the Underground Railroad Society of Cass County purchased the Bonine House and the Bonine Carriage House across the street in December 2010.

From 2012 to 2019, accompanied by family and friends, she visited her home during Underground Railroad Days the second weekend in July. She delighted in greeting visitors and telling them about growing up on Elk Park Farm. Over the years, she donated Bonine family photos, furniture and artifacts to the Bonine House.

Mary Charlotte was a classical pianist, an animal lover and a sports enthusiast.  A farmer at heart she always referred to the Bonine House as “home.”  A photo tribute to Mary Charlotte can be found on, as well as her memoir “Growing Up in the Bonine House.”

Memorials in her name can be made on the URSCC website or mailed to URSCC PO Box 124, Vandalia, MI  49095.