Friday, May 29, 2009

Spirit in the South in PRINT!

All five volumes of the Rambo Family Tree, Descendants of Peter Gunnarson Rambo are in print. The Rambo Family Tree was accepted by Swedish Ambassador Jonas Hafstrom to the Swedish Embassy Library on 2 April 2012. See the website for the book titles. Volume III (the first in print by our cousin Ronald S. Beatty) contains the descendants of Gertrude Rambo who married Anders Bengtsson (Bankson). Volume I (the second volume just in print) contains the first five generations of the descendants of Peter and his wife Britta Mattsdotter.

The book, The Spirit in the South by The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Vold Forde, Anne Curtis Terry, J.D., and Cousins, is finally in print and available online through or online through:

Barnes and Noble:

The Spirit in the South contains fictional history essays of ten generations of grandmothers explaining their indomitable spirit that took them through the life stressors of war, poverty, grief and loss and westward migrations from Colonial days into the 20th century. It contains documentation for membership in the DAR, War Between the States, War of 1812 and numerous heraldic societies.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Books in Print

Be sure to check out the Bankston Blog (do a google search) and the new Bankston Family Tree website:

AOL dropped all of their free websites including the Rambo Genealogy (Rambo Family Tree) website created by our cousin Ron Beatty. The website is now moved to Google's free space. Here are the links: (Ron Beatty Home: and the Rambo Book (Rambo Family Tree Genealogy) website to Google's:

Ron was given permission to re-write The Rambo Family Tree Genealogy. All five volumes of the Rambo Family Tree are in print at AuthorHOUSE and Barnes and Noble and Thanks and deepest gratitude to Jane Bauer of Kensett, Iowa for days, weeks and months proofing, and to the rest of the authors for their patience as we continue to move towards printing.

Special thanks to cousin Anne Terry for traveling with me to Scotland, to Alabama, GA and Florida to research! You are a fun cousin.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Nancy Henderson (Lawrence Bankston )1758-1849

Nancy, daughter of Capt. Joseph I. Henderson, Sr. and Adelphia Lea (daughter of James Lea and Anne ?) was born either in Virginia or North Carolina about 1758. She married Lawrence Bankston about 1777 in North Carolina. Joseph Henderson, James Lea and Lawrence Bankston served as Patriots in the Revolutionary War. About 1785, Nancy and Lawrence Bankston moved from North Carolina to Wilkes County, Georgia where they settled near the banks of Kettle Creek. Her Henderson grandparents lived close by on Clark Creek. Her parents were charter members of Sardis Baptist Church near Centerville, now Rayle, in Wilkes County. Nancy became a member of that congregation as well as her daughters, Isabella and Sallie. Lawrence Bankston died in 1844. Nancy died on 26 September 1849 and was buried next to her father and mother.

Nancy Anne Henderson Bankston
By The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Forde

25 September 1849 – Wilkes County, Georgia
"Grandmama, Grandmama, will you tell us another story about what it was like in the olden days? Please!"
Nancy Henderson Bankston gazes fondly at her great granddaughters gathered around her bed begging for more stories. Is there a greater gift for a grandmother in her old age than to have so many adoring granddaughters?
And they are all so pretty with soft pink, dewy complexions; their bright eyes shades of blue to brown and green. Nancy takes note of her ninety-one year old skin draping in cascades from her arms. One of the little girls lifts the sagging skin under her upper arm asking, "What's this Grandmama? And another one whispers loudly, "Shh. It's 'cause she's old."

Miriam, Ibby, and Mary Ann Brooks are seated on the left side of the four poster bed; Martha, the oldest of Rebecca and Jacob Brooks’ daughters, rocks two year old Rebecca; and three month old Arabella coos on the pillow beside her. The Brooks girls will soon end their summer visit and return home to Alabama.

The Greer girls, daughters of Nancy Hester and Jesse Greer are at the foot of the bed, wrapped up in the big coverlet. Isabella and Isaiah Irvin's granddaughters are about the same age - rejoicing in the camaraderie of visiting cousins. Two Mozley granddaughters pull back the heavy floral side curtains at the foot of the bed to chime in with their cousins clamoring for more stories.

"What more can I tell you? Let's see. I have already told you about your Henderson grandparents, how my Pa Joseph was tall, slim and looked so elegant in his powdered wig and three-cornered hat; he wore ruffled shirts and silver buckles on his shoes being one of Virginia's gentry class. I have told you the stories about the Revolutionary War – when Pa and my Grandpapa James Lea, helped the Patriot cause. And, of course, you know your Grandpapa Lawrence was a Patriot, too. You have heard all of those stories already."

"Now that I am so old, I am so very forgetful. Let's see. I have told you the stories of moving to this country of Georgia about 1784 from North Carolina where I grew up. And you know the stories about my growing up years. Of course, I know that I have told you about my wedding. Hmmm. All of my sisters and brothers are gone. Of my children, only Elizabeth, Isabella, and Priscilla remain. I must be the oldest person hereabouts. And I am in my ninety-first year.”

“If only my eyesight wasn’t failing and I could write down some of the stories for you to tell your granddaughters one day. Why, if I had written a book with my stories, I would have titled it, “Stories of our Grandmother’s Spirit.” But now my memory fades. Who will tell the stories when I am gone? Do you know, girls, what this means?"
"No, Grandmama – what does it mean?"
"It means that I have entrusted the stories to you – and now you must tell your children and your children's children about the most important things in life."
"But, Grandmama. Will you tell us again? What are the most important things in life – we are not sure what you mean by important. We know the stories, but how do we know what is really important about the stories?"
Nancy lifts her head off the pile of soft lace-edged pillows and re-arranges them so that her head is higher and she can see them all equally. She looks into their bright, inquisitive eyes wide with anticipation. And she speaks ever so softly at first – her voice growing stronger and stronger, “There are three important things to remember."

"The first thing is the most important of all. Remember what I tell you now. No matter what happens to you in life, you can choose to place your trust in a loving God. That is the most important thing. Always look beyond the day's troubles having faith that tomorrow will be a better day because God loves you beyond your wildest imagination. That is the first and most important thing."

"The second thing is the most important of all. It is by far the most important. And that is to listen to your heart, as well as your mind, as you make life decisions. Sometimes your journey will call you to venture into uncharted waters or on paths that are not brightly lit. You may face strong opposition from friend and foe alike. Listen to them, but trust your own inner spirit to guide you, always mindful of strangers in need of soul care along the way. And that is the second important thing to remember. It is the second and most important of all."

"The third thing is the most important of all. It is without doubt the most important to remember. If first - you have faith and trust in God, and second – if you are willing to travel unknown paths prepared to care for souls you encounter with a warm smile and gentleness – then surely the third and most important thing is to be prepared for the journey by sharpening the scissors of your minds with a good education. And this is surely the most important of all."

"But, Grandmama," the girls echoed, "how can three things be equally the most important?"
Nancy Henderson Bankston smiled at her granddaughters knowingly, "Because all three things are of equal importance; and once you have experienced the three most important things, you will understand, my precious granddaughters, that the responsibility of telling the stories to your granddaughters becomes your legacy. Now, I am so very tired and must rest for this is important, too."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Priscilla Bankston (wife of Peter Bankston)

By The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Vold Forde

Priscilla’s last name, birth date, and her lineage are unknown. We know about her through deeds, membership in Mars Hill Baptist Church in 1803, and the intestate settlement of her husband Peter Bankston from 1804 through 1815. She married about 1750-1754, by estimation based on birth dates of children, to Peter, son of Lawrence and Rebecca Hendricks Bankston, probably in North Carolina. Priscilla proved her headright in the estate settlement in January 1804. We can find no death or burial record for Priscilla. Tax records in North Carolina indicate Peter spent his last years as an invalid. He died in Clark County, Georgia either late 1803 or early 1804. Despite having little information available to shed light on her background, with the estate inventory we can imagine his widow in April 1804 on the day of the estate auction:

“Mama!" Wake up Mama!”

How long had I slept? It was hard to stay awake through the auctioneer’s droning and intoning. It gets harder and harder to stay awake these days. Lary's voice forces me to wake up; he hands me yet another piece of paper to sign. What does it say, I wanted to know. How silly that they ask me to sign papers I cannot read.

“It is an inventory of the estate sale” … Lawrence explains gently, laying the paper down on the old pine table Peter made for me so many years ago. Of course, I sign the paper with my customary “Y” mark and hand it to him for consideration.

Lifting the paper he reads it aloud to me with gentleness and patience. The sale is now finished and the legal fees will be paid. Money will be disbursed according to law because Peter did not write a will. Our children receive two-thirds of the sale proceeds and I receive one-third.

Glancing around the room I see the others looking my way anxiously. It is as though I have become the child and they have become the parents watching me closely, assuring and comforting me.

Lary stands at the head of the table nearest me with an inventory I must approve; William, Andrew and John sit on chairs on the opposite side of the table working on lists the auctioneer handed to them. Nimrod and Judith pour fresh coffee while Jacob and Jemima pass plates of freshly baked peach pie. Abner entertains the younger children with battle stories of the Revolutionary War while Hiram listens intently from a nearby stool. Nancy bustles about the room with trays of sandwiches making certain that no one is left hungry.

Peter’s chair is conspicuously empty at the other end of the table. No one sits in Pa’s empty chair. His chair is the most worn and used looking of all of the pine chairs. He spent the last years of his life as an invalid, sitting many long hours from daylight to dusk watching the hands out the window if the weather was bad; or if weather permitted the chair was moved to the porch where he could observe the work in progress. The chair seems far more empty today on this day when our possessions are sold – a lifetime of gathering and collecting – now gone.

And how should I feel on this day with the empty chair across the table – and most of my possessions and household sold to the highest bidder? Of course, that is why I sleep. It is better to let sleep dull my mind and darkness dull the ache in my heart. The ache is ever with me. Life is too soon over. What is that passage from Ecclesiastes? I cannot remember it.

It seems like only a moment ago I was a young maiden, fair and comely, catching Peter Bankston’s twinkling eye. Was it 1750? I think so, but my mind plays tricks. And the years rush past in my thoughts as I remember the births of nine babies: the daughters, the sons, the pain, the joys they brought into our lives through the turbulence with the British ruling the colonies. It was a the worst of times and the best of times - leading to the war that bought our freedom from tyranny.

We were there in North Carolina when it was first settled about the year 1744; from that time until 1754 or thereabouts, there were very few families in that part of the county, we Bankstons were among the first settlers. Our goal was to possess fertile land, and good pasture: the cane was so plentiful, at that time, that cattle were fat all through winter without feeding. Life was good until the British rule became unbearable.

We lost our son, Andrew, to that war; many of our relatives and friends lost loved ones too. Even with heartaches over losses, after the war we became giddy with optimism about the future of this new country. Georgia had land opportunities, too. We joined the throng of wagons moving west taking advantage of new head-right grants to increase our lands.

I think it was about 1784, we settled in northeast Georgia, first Wilkes County, and then Jackson County about 1799; Jackson later became Clarke County, Georgia. Here among the trees so gloriously flowered in springtime and breathtaking in fall, this is where we have stayed, our families increased and prospered. This is where Pa died and so shall I.

What shall I do now with my household sold – the Negroes – my beloved possessions? And then I wonder, do I need them now? For what purpose must I have them? Soon – all too soon - I shall follow Peter into the earth and to heaven beyond.

It is hard to think of the horses and cattle, the cows and calves sold to the highest bidder. It is too much to bear. I must have fallen asleep when they were selling the furniture, the beds and dishes. I could not stay awake when they sold the Negroes: Leanor, her three children, David and his wife, Patience. It is too much for my tired mind to comprehend - to think of a life without Tinah and Isham, too.

It is simply too hard to stay awake and I slip back into the gray mist of sleep. But Lary and Nancy nudge me once again, “Listen, Mama. You will keep Isham and Tinah; and we bought Leanor and her three children for you too. Wake up, Mama. This is the list of furniture and dishes that we purchased to give back to you. The old pine table Pa built for you – and the chairs – are yours for the rest of your life Mama.”

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Peter Bankston 1729-1803 and Priscilla

Peter Bankston's Estate Settlement - 1804 Clarke County, Georgia

The transcription of the settlement is located:

Scanned images of the estate settlement are located:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Peter Bankston 1729-1803 and Priscilla

Lawrence Bankston and Rebecca Hendricks had six known children:

A daughter married James Lea
Andrew born by estimation 1727, married Ann Adear, died about 1783 in NC
Peter born by estimation 1729, married Priscilla LNU, died about 1803 in GA
Laurence Jr. born by estimation 1731, and died probably bef. 1787
Daniel born by estimation 1733, married Rachel LNU, and died 1811 in GA
Jacob born by estimation 1738-1740, married Jemima LNU and died about 1817 probably in GA

We are going to follow Peter Bankston and his wife Priscilla, whose last name is unknown, by first posting Peter’s timeline before we tell Priscilla’s story.


1729: Birth Peter Bankston probably in York County, Pennsylvania (Dr. Peter Craig, Swedish Colonial Society, Wash., D.C.).

1740-1744: Migration to North Carolina assumedly following the death of Rebecca Hendricks. The death has not been proven.

1747: Peter Bankson signed a petition against construction of a new road in Old Granville County (Granville County, NC Roads 1747).

1750-1754: Marriage date by approximation to Priscilla LNU: Estate Papers of Peter BANKSTON January, 1804, Priscilla BANKSTON proved her head right.

1752-1754: Migration: Edgecombe County, Granville County, North Carolina created out of Edgecombe, Orange County, North Carolina.created out of Granville County (Records of Edgecombe and Orange Counties, North Carolina.

1776 - ?: Possible Book Source: "Land Records: Caswell County, North Carolina Deed Books

Revolutionary War Service in the North Carolina Militia (not proven)

1778: Peter signed a petition for the formation of Montgomery County, North Carolina, along with "James BANKSON (sic), Lawrence BANKSON ( sic), William BANKSON (sic), and Jacob BANKSON (sic)."

1 January 1779: Peter BANKSTON of Anson County, North Carolina land sale; Peter sold to Isaac Reeves 150 acres on the north side of north Hico; the land was purchased originally from his father, Lawrence BANKSTON (Deed Book A, p. 195). In addition, Peter was listed as eligible to vote in Montgomery County, NC in 1779 (Thanks to Joan Bankston).

27 November 1787: Land Sale in Pennsylvania - Peter BANKSTON, Daniel BANKSTON, And Jacob BANKSTON of Wilkes County, Georgia sell 440 acres in Pennsylvania to Mathew Wood of Green County, Georgia.

1787: Tax Returns - Wilkes County, Georgia - Captain Gilmore's District: Peter BANKSTON has 350 acres

1792: Head right Grant: 416 acres in Wilkes County, Georgia. (Source:Mona Herrin and Pat Stevens website)

1796: Land purchased on Clark Creek in Wilkes County: William Adear adjoining Peter BANKSTON.

1797: Land Sale - Peter BANKSTON sells 416 acres to William Adair. Signed by Peter and Presilla (sic) BANKSTON.

1797: Wilkes County Tax Returns - Hamilton BANKSTON has 100 acres on Clark's Creek adjoining John Calaway that was originally granted to Peter BANKSTON.

1779: Land Sale - 1 January, "Peter BANKSTON of Anson County, North Carolina, sold to Isaac Reeves, 150 acres on the North side of North Hico which Peter BANKSTON purchased from his father, Lawrence BANKSTON" (1. Deed Book A, p. 195.; 2. Haigler, op. cit.)

1779: Voters List - Montgomery County, North Carolina. (Haigler, op. cit.)

1797: Wilkes County, Georgia Deeds Books, his wife is listed as "Presilla" (Thanks to Gail Bunch)

1800 August: Priscilla is listed in the deed books of Wilkes County, Georgia .

1800 June 13: Peter and Priscilla LNU are received by letter into Mars Hill Baptist Church of Oconee County, Georgia, formerly Clarke County, Georgia.

Abt. 1803: Death - Peter BANKSTON's death in Clark County, Georgia.

Transcription of the estate papers of Peter BANKSTON of Clarke County, Georgia dated 1804 by Ron S. Beatty.

In the estate of Peter BANKSTON, administration was granted to John Banckston and the undated $10,000 bond was signed by John Banckston (J his mark) and Jacob BANKSTON. Is this the appearance bond of 16 Nov 1809 signed by John BANKSTON [J his mark] and Jacob BANKSTON?(Book H:55) On 30 Jan 1804, administration was granted to Priscillah and John BANKSTON and the $15,000 bond was signed by John BANKSTON (J his mark), Priscillah BANKSTON (Y her mark), Abner BANKSTON (X his mark) and William Watkins.(Book A:170-171)

The appraisers were authorized on 30 Jan 1804 (including Jacob BANKSTON and Abner BANKSTON).On 24 Mar 1804, the appraisement of the inventory totaling $2982.31 was filed by Wm Dyron, David Shay, and Josha Browning. The inventory showed a cash debt of $125 owed by Joshua Browning; $55 owed by Isaac Autry; Jas Stringer $30; Jno Hunton $103 (bad debt); Crocker and A BANKSTON $375; Joseph Clarkson $13 (a bad debt, written off after going to court); Edward Hagans $3; Peter Conner $2; George Earnest $7; and Marcus Robey undeclared (& recorded Book B:128).On 21 April 1804, the vandue bills seem to record the estate sale.

Purchasers include Laurence BANKSTON, William BANKSTON, Andrew BANKSTON, Widow BANKSTON, John BANKSTON, Prissilla BANKSTON, Moses H. Cogburn, James Johnson, Elijah Runnells, Nimrod Taylor, William Smith, Shadrack Carpenter, Isaac Autry (one pail), John Colbert (one bed for the Widow @ $48), James Downs, Henry Shaw, John Jones, Thomas Davis, James Terry, Edward Hagen, Preston Runnells, William Crocke, Frederick Glass, Daniel Craft, Daniel Conner, Benjamin Rudy, William Duke, Nathan Smith, Allen Spurlock, William Binge. Andrew BANKSTON bought land for $500.

On 15 Feb 1805, the statement of accounts showed the estate valued at $3520 after expenses (as of 1 Jan 1805). The expenses included a write-off of $102 note due from John Hunton. On 29 Jr 1806, the statement of accounts showed "Lost at Law on Joseph Clarkson $13" and payments to legatees: Prissilla BANKSTON, Laurence BANKSTON, Thomas Davis, William BANKSTON, and Shadrack Carpenter. On

5 Aug 1808, the 1807 statement of accounts showed an expense "For 12 days attendance on the Sup Court in the case of Ed. Moore vs son of BANKSTON $12" and payments to legatees: Andrew BANKSTON, Nimrod Taylor. 9 Nov 1808 an appearance bond for $2000 was signed by John Banckston [J his mark] and Henry BANKSTON. The receipts in the file and statements of accounts record the following legatees and disbursements:

Prissilla BANKSTON $1284.51 received 21 Apr 1805 (in accounts dated 29 Jr

Laurence Banckston $347 received 31 MAY 1815 (in statement of accounts 29 Jr

Thomas Davis $347 received 31 MAY 1805 by Hiram BANKSTON (in accounts 1806)

William BANKSTON $318.58½ received by Joshua Browning no date (in accounts

Andrew BANKSTON $340 receipt dated 15 Nov 1809 (in accounts dated 5 Aug 1808)

Morris Davis $190 received 13 MAY 1811 by Hiram BANKSTON

Hiram BANKSTON $190 received 14 MAY 1811 by attorney B. Brown

Shadrick Carpenter $318.75 (received by Wm Crocker per accounts dated 29 Jr

Nimrod Taylor $170 (in statement of accounts for 1807 dated 5 Aug 1808)
totalling $3480, (2221.13 vs 2569.02=2x1284.51 =>347 missing; no
receipt for John).

"April 21st 1805 Received of John BANKSTON twelve Hundred Eighty four dollars and fifty one cents which is my Dower of the Estate of Peter BANKSTON Deceased agree to the gross amount Prissella BANKSTON (x her mark)""

MAY 31st 1815 [Ed: should be 1805] Received of John BANKSTON Administrator of the Estate of Peter BANKSTON deceased three hundred and forty seven Dollars in part of my Legacy in the Estate aforesaid Laurence Banckston [Ed: looks more like Susssina]"

"Received of John BANKSTON three hundred and forty seven Dollars It being part of the Legatee falling to Thomas Davis from the Estate of Peter Bangston Deceased this 31th Day of MAY 1805 Hiram BANKSTON [Ed: signature looks like Banksson]"

"Received of John BANKSON Administrator of the Estate of Peter BANKSON Deceased $318.58½ in part of William Banksons Legacy of said Estate Joshua Browning [Son?]"

"15th November 1809, [Received?] of Jno BANKSTON, administrator, of the Estate of Peter BANKSTON Deceased full satisfaction as one of the Legatees of [said] estate also for Prissella BANKSTON Widow of the said Deceased. [Issued?] by me Andrew BANKSTON [Ed: most legible signature]"This receipt is noteworthy:

" MAY the 13th 1811, Received of Bryton [?] Brown for John BANKSTON one hundred & ninety Dollars in full of the legacy due Morris Davis from the Estate Peter BANKSTON, deceased, agreeable to an order given me by Andrew BANKSTON for his mother Pricella BANKSTON. [signed] H Bakston" [obverse says Hiram BANKSTON]

"MAY 14th 1811 By a Power in me Seated [?] from Hiram BANKSTON one of the Legatees of Peter BANKSTON Deceased I acknowledge to have received one hundred and ninety dollars in full of the last Division of the Estate of said Deceased B. Brown Atory for Hiram BANKSTON"

Love from cousin Ron Beatty

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lawrence Bankston b. 1704, Cont.

Editor's Note: The spelling "Bankson" was used in Pennsylvania; when Lawrence moved south to North Carolina and to Georgia the spelling was changed to "Bankston" over time.

1704: Birth by estimation, Lawrence BANKSON, son of Andrew BANKSON Jr. and Gertrude ( Lars Boore ) , in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1725: Marriage - Rebecca Hendricks b. ca., 1705, daughter of John Hendricks and Rebecca Groesbeck Wells.

1726-1735: Birth of a daughter married to James LEA about 1747.

1727: Birth by estimation: Andrew BANKSTON, died intestate in Montgomery County, North Carolina, in 1782 or 1783. His widow Ann BANKSTON became administratrix of his estate.(The Journal of North Carolina Genealogy, 8:1042.

1729: Birth by estimation, BANKSTON, died intestate in Clarke County, Georgia, in 1803. Administration of his estate was granted to his widow Priscilla. Probate records show that he was survived by four sons (John, Lawrence (also called Lary, which some have misread as Levy), William and Andrew) and four daughters, Judith, married to Nimrod Taylor; Rhoda, married to Shadrack Carpenter; another daughter married to Thomas Davis, and another married to William Browning.

5 August 1729: The Lawrence Bankson family had moved to Lancaster Co., PA by 5 Aug 1729 when Lawrence Bankson served as a juror during the first session of the Lancaster County court. (Ron S. Beatty in written communication with Cynthia Forde)

1730: Birth of a son, Lawrence, Jr. who was probably deceased by 1787 when his brothers filed claim on their mother's property in PA (Source: Depostion of James LEA, see full deposition below).

1731: Birth by estimation, Daniel BANKSTON, died in Morgan County, Georgia, in 1811: His will named his wife Rachel, sons Thomas, Abner, Isaac and Spencer BANKSTON and daughter Edith and Patty.

1738-1740: Birth by estimation, Jacob BANKSTON, died after 1804, probably in Clarke County, Georgia. His sons included Elijah and possibly, Jacob, Jr., John and Henry.

1736-37: Lawrence BANKSON was jailed with John Hendricks in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; John Hendricks was required to provide bail for his and Lawrence BANKSTON'S good behavior at Lancaster County Court in early 1737 (they participated in the riot of Marylanders, including the sack of Henry Hendricks' (of Tobias, Sr. house in the Fall of 1736. Lawrence BANKSON's land claims in York County was by Maryland warrant; it was worthless after 1769 and had no Pennsylvania status before. The 1785 Georgia deed of this land claim by BANKSTON's heirs for 10,000 (Continental) dollars was an exchange of worthlessness for worthlessness. These Hendricks were Quaker converts , but became Baptists, Dunkers, etc. John, Sr.'s first wife was Frances Bezer; second wife was Rebecca, widow of Wells(from the Hendricks Family Website).

1739-1744: Migration - Lawrence BANKSON moved to Edgecombe County, North Carolina. He is listed in the Colonial Census, November 24, 1744.

24 November 1844: Lawrence was admitted to the Council to prove his rights in Edgecombe County, North Carolina; He received a fifty acre grant for every two members of his family; the grant record could not be located to learn the total amount of land he received. This land became a part of Granville County, North Carolina in 1746. There are several records showing Lawrence in the area. 1.) Colonial Census, 2.) St. Matthew's Parish Church appointed Lawrence as a vestryman.

Rebecca's death has not been proved, but it was thought that Lawrence BANKSON went to Edgecombe e)Co., North Carolina after her death in 1740. In a colonial "census" of 24 Nov 1744, Laurence was granted 50 acres of free land for each of the two members listed as his family citing Council Journal File #G.O.115 page 94 at the Archives in Raleigh) The area he settled (near Marlow's Creek) became part of Granville County when it was formed from Edgecombe County in 1746, and Lawrence BANKSON enumerated the inhabitants in his area for a tax list in 1750. He was listed as 3 polls. Lawrence BANKSON served as a Justice of the the Granville County Court from 1747 to 1752.

Soon after Orange County was created from Granville, on 12 Jun 1752, Lawrence BANKSON was one of sixteen men appointed justices of the peace in the new county, p. 166) and he presided as chief justice at the first session held on 9 Sep 1752. Orange Co., North Carolina Court of Pleas and Quarter Session Minutes, 1:1-2) Lawrence BANKSON, Sr. probably died before 1771 in Orange Co.[now Caswell Co.], North Carolina or before the Revolutionary War in Anson Co. according to James LEA deposition of 1793.(Ron S. Beatty)

1752-1760: Lawrence received an appointment to Justice of the Peace - Orange County, North Carolina. Information from Michael S. Parks states that Lawrence was one of six original Justices of the Peace when Orange County was first organized in 1752 and that he served successive terms throughout the decades of 1750 and 1760. He owned property in Orange, Edgecombe, and Craven County, as well as the land he inherited in Philadelphia.

1755 Tax List:- Orange County, North Carolina - Lawrence BANKSON, Esq. and sons - 5 white polls. To be counted in the poll, each son had to be over 16 years of age which gives us 4 sons born before 1739.

April 1757: Named Road Commissioner Orange County, North Carolina.
23 January 1761: Land Grant: 595 acres in Orange County, North Carolina by Lord Granville. Patent Book 14, p. 343 which was surveyed July 12, 1754.

August 1765: Court Records - Orange County, North Carolina court records list Andrew BANKSTON, Lawrence BANKSTON Sr. and Lawrence BANKSTON, Jr. (Haigler, op.cit.)
4 January 1787: Land Sale - Wilkes County deed book AA -
Peter BANKSTON, Jacob BANKSTON and Daniel BANKSTON all of Wilkes County sell to Matthew Wood of Greene County, Georgia, 440 acres which came to them from their father, Lawrence BANKSTON. The same three men sold to Wood 371/2 acres located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which was willed 'to our mother, "Rebecca Hendricks and is recorded in the State of Pennsylvania, November 27, 1786. Rebecca Hendricks could not inherit land in 1786 if she died in 1740 unless it was willed to her or to heirs of her body; otherwise, for Lawrence to have married in 1747 and had four more children, he would have had to divorce Rebecca. Unfortunately, the Archives in Philadelphia could not locate the land deed, nor have I found any record of a divorce. ( Haigler, op.cit. p.5) (Editor's Note: It is myopinion that Lawrence was widowed as tradition suggests.

1 January 1788: Estate Records - Deed Book J. {p. 239-240) in Caswell County, North Carolina, James BANKSTON, son of Andrew BANKSON, is proved to be heir-at-law as the grandson of Capt. Lawrence BANKSON, deceased.

1783: Estate Records - Montgomery County North Carolina, Andrew BANKSON is deceased. To be the heir at law, James BANKSTON would have to be the oldest son of the oldest son.
Dr. Peter S. Craig F.A.S.G., Historian for The Swedish Colonial Society, Washington, D.C., writes, "Despite claims in various BANKSTON genealogies, there were no additional sons. Andrew BANKSTON, the eldest son, had died before 27 November, 1786 when the remaining three BANKSTON brothers sold their parents' lands in two deeds recorded in Wilkes County, Georgia. "January 4, 1787, in Wilkes County, deed book AA:127, Peter BANKSTON, Jacob BANKSTON and Daniel BANKSTON all of Wilkes Co, sell to Matthew Wood of Greene Co, Georgia 440 acres which came to them from their father, Lawrence BANKSTON. The same three men sold to Wood 37 1/2 acres located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania which was "willed to our mother, Rebecca Hendricks and is recorded in the State of Pennsylvania, November 27, 1786." This land was three miles above York on the Great Road leading to Comewago, being the same tract run from (surveyed for) our father Lawrence BANKSTON by one Thomas Cresap when the (temporary) dividing line was run between Pennsylvania and Maryland. (Wilkes County deeds, BB: 114.

These deeds contradict the claims in several BANKSTON genealogies that Lawrence BANKSTON had a second wife (Ann Major) and more sons. Had there been other sons by a second wife, it would have been necessary for them to join in the second deed.
Andrew BANKSTON, the eldest son, and his brother Peter BANKSTON both served as chain carriers for a land survey in July of 1751 (Hofman, Granville District Land Grants). Daniel BANKSTON and Jacob BANKSTON do not appear until later records, both being appointed to a road commission in Anson County on 12 October 1771 (Anson County Minutes).

Dr. Craig continues, " The 1782 tax list for Montgomery County North Carolina lists Lawrence BANKSTON; it also lists Ann BANKSTON on that same list. She was the widow of Andrew BANKSTON and not the wife of Lawrence BANKSTON. I am 100% certain of the above and find absolutely no evidence that Lawrence BANKSTON married an Ann Major or any other Ann. Indeed, he died well before Vacher's claim. Her "conclusions" seem to be created out of thin air." (February 16, 2003 letter to Ron S. Beatty)

NOTE: Carl Strickland, New Braunfels, Texas, a descendant - writes, "Lawrence BANKSON was a Captain in the King's Military who moved to Edgecombe County, North Carolina between 1740 and 1744 - followed by a move to New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina."

Rebecca Henderson and Lawrence Bankston (b. 1704)

Rebecca Hendricks Bankston
1705-c. 1744

By The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Forde

Anno Domino 1705
· William Penn and the Quaker movement had created a Quaker culture in Pennsylvania.
· Gloria Dei congregants are in the fifth year of celebration of their new red brick building.
· Rebecca Hendricks is born to a Quaker mother and Norwegian father. Her maternal ancestors were Dutch Reformed.

Rebecca’s story could be called “A Clash of Cultures.” She first saw the bright light of day around 1705 when she was born to Quaker converts, Johannes Hendricks and Rebeckah Groesbeck (widow of Arthur Wells). Johannes was the son of Albertus Hendrickson Sr. and Aeltje of the Netherlands (Dutch descent). Johannes’ first wife was Frances Bezar.
Taking artistic license, we can intuit more about traditions of Rebecca’s mother, Rebekah (sic) and her baptism, and all of our Dutch ancestors in this well-written article about the customs at a new baby’s birth.



By Donna Ristenbatt

The arrival of a new baby was an event of great happiness in the Dutch household. There were varying customs following the birth of the child, particularly the customs involving the baptism of the child and the celebration that ensued. Before the baby was born, however, there were great preparations, just as there are today.

In rich homes, presents poured in. Many of these presents were silver, such as the cup, the pap-bowl (a bowl with a nipple), the cinnamon bowl, spoons, etc. The husband’s mother or aunt frequently gave a handsome basket lined with silk, preferably yellow, draped with lace, and filled with toilet articles. Another and larger basket contained the linen. The cradle was also tastefully and comfortably draped, and stood near the fire, from which it was protected by a screen. Special drinks and sweet cakes, or biscuits, were offered to visitors. In 1662, a case came into the New Amsterdam Court regarding these special breads:

Pursuant to the order of this, W. court, the defendant produces a declaration of Hieletje Jans, wife of Yde Cornelis, passed before the Notary Salomon La Chair, 23 August 1662, to the effect that she had agree with defendant in the presence of her husband’s sister and Tryntje Walings, to bake a quantity of biscuit for her lying-in. Burgomasters and Schepens, having read and considered the declaration, find that defendant has not baked the rolls with a design to sell them; but for biscuit; therefore dismiss the Officer’s entered demand and deduced conclusion.

Richer people tended to do things a little differently from the poorer classes. The usual custom was for the mother not to attend church until six weeks had passed after the birth of the child. According to the resolutions of the church, the child had to be baptized as soon as possible after birth, but it became customary among the richer classes to put off the baptism until after the mother had made her first visit to the church. It would have been considered bad manners if the mother had gone out of doors or appeared in society or in the street before this ceremony, and it would have been against all customs if at her return, no “churchtrip meal” (kerkgangsmaal) had been served. According to the old Dutch custom , there was hearty fare and plenty of good cheer at these dinners. Since this began to be carried to excess, an ordinance from the church was published that at a christening dinner, no more than a specified number of neighbors were allowed to be present. This number differed in the various towns.

The baptism took place in the church, sometimes before and sometimes after the sermon, but generally during the afternoon service. The compulsory baptism, performed in case of illness by the nurse, was not considered legal. Sick children were sometimes baptized before the service. (In other localities, sick children were sometimes baptized at home.) Natural children, the birth of whom had to be sworn to by the nurse before the church council, were christened in some places in the forenoon. The father had to be present at the baptism, and it was left to him to bring brothers or sisters as witnesses, provided these were members of the Reformed Church and did not stand under “censure” or excommunication. On such occasion, prominent burghers wore a special suit of clothes, called the “Lord’s Supper Suit” (avondmaalpak), or they appeared in a solemn black suit and white collar. Many, however, wore their wedding suit or had one made for the occasion.

The laws of New Amsterdam were very strict regarding any irregular baptisms. In 1674, Schout De Mill alleged that Jannettie de Kleuse baptized a child of Reformed parents on 18 April:

When the father was from home, which is a thing which can never be tolerated by those of the Reformed religion; he concludes therefore that the defendant shall be imprisoned and moreover be condemned in a fine of one hundred guilders zeawant, with cost. Defendant admits she baptized the child through ignorance; and requests forgiveness if she did wrong. The New Amsterdam Court having considered the matter and likewise weighed the evil consequences and other inconveniences, which might result and arise therefrom, condemn the defendant for her profanation and disrespect of the Holy Sacrament of Baptism that she shall be imprisoned and remain there until further order by the Court.

The christening robe was as costly as the parents’ means would allow. Rich families wrapped the baby in a handsome lace shawl. The little bonnet showed whether the child was a boy or a girl—six plaits for a boy and three for a girl. The bows of ribbon by their color and the way they were tied also indicated whether the baby was a boy or girl. If the mother had died, or the parents happened to be in mourning, the baby was dressed in white with black bows. Once the baby was dressed, neighbors and friends were invited to come and visit, and light refreshments were offered. Then the christening-party started for the church. The baby was laid on a pillow and wrapped in a “christening-cloth” of white silk, satin, or Marseilles embroidery, and the long skirt of the child’s robe was arranged in folds over the nurse’s shoulder to be held by one of the witnesses. If there was no font in the church, an urn of gold or silver gilt was used, and this was filled with lukewarm water. In some places the elder children of seven, eight, or nine would carry the baby.

Once the christening-party returned from church, the child was blessed by the father and dressed in another outfit, called a presentation robe, to be presented to the friends and relatives who were invited to the christening dinner. In the meantime, the berkemeyer or large glass goblet with a cover, filled with sugared Rhine wine, or the silver brandy bowl, was passed around.

The christening dinner was a very costly and elaborate affair and differed little from the wedding feast. During the dinner, the child was again presented to the guests and songs were sung and speeches and toasts were made. The family silver and porcelain were set upon the table, which was also decorated with fruits and flowers, fine pastries, and cakes. Among these delicacies were the suikerdelbol gaan, or sugared roll, and kraamvetjes, cakes made hollow and filled with sugar. Anise seeds covered with a coating of white sugar, rough for boys and smooth for girls, were also served. The kandeel pot (caudle cup or cinnamon cup) was never missing. This was a tall drinking cup filled with Rhine wine sweetened with sugar. In it was placed a stick of cinnamon—a long one if the child was a boy and a short one if a girl. The sugar was stirred in the cup with the cinnamon stick by the person who presented it.

Being at a christening was long remembered, and in later years people often remarked to a young man or woman, “Old friend, I had a sugar piece with you.” (“Oude Kennis, ik heb bij je nog een stik met suiker gehad.”)

Upon returning from the baptismal font, gifts were presented or promised. These were usually of gold or silver, such as porringers, pap-bowls with spoons, a silver whistle, or a silver mounted bag, if the godfathers and godmothers were of the rich burgher class. But the farmers presented the child with silver shoe buckles or coat buttons or some trifle. It was also the custom to give a luyer korf (napkin basket) completely furnished, or a gold or silver rattle.

Sometimes the presents were made on the day of the birth, or a few days afterwards, on which occasion a dinner or kinderbier (baby beer) was given. These festivities sometimes lasted six weeks, one christening feast following another. In the meantime, the husband neglected his business or his work, and debts often resulted. The presents were kept in the “show cabinet” where the bride’s gifts and the bridegroom’s pipe were on exhibition. The silver was taken to the mint only in dire need, and then sometimes it was discovered that the “gold” presents were often of gilded brass.

Thanks to Donna Ristenbatt, we can visualize our Dutch grandmother’s baptismal celebrations. (Esther Singleton, Dutch New York. Dodd, Mead and Company (originally), 1909).

The story shifts to Rebecca, daughter of Rebeckah (widow of Wells) and John Hendricks. Rebecca did not have the baptism of a Dutch Reformed daughter; instead, her baptism was later when she was older, a spiritual baptism. Rebecca Hendricks married into one of the staunchest Lutheran families in Pennsylvania. About 1725, she wed Lawrence Bankson, son of Lawrence Bankson Jr. and Gertrude Lars Boore. Rebecca and Lawrence established their home in York County during a time of increasing sociopolitical upheaval and religious intensity.

Rebecca’s husband and her father, Johannes “John” Hendricks, were involved in a boundary dispute between Maryland and Pennsylvania. They were jailed in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and John was required to provide bail for their good behavior at Lancaster County Court in early 1737. They participated in the riot of Marylanders, including the sack of Henry Hendricks’ (of Tobias Sr.) house in the fall of 1736.

Rebecca Hendricks Bankston may have died between 1740-1744 in Pennsylvania, Maryland or in North Carolina.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Andrew Bankson, Jr. 1672-1750 m. Gertrude Lars Boore

Andrew Bankson, Jr. was born about 1673 in Philadelphia County, and married Gertrude (daughter of Lars Larsson and Elizabeth Boore) before 1697. The family lived at Potquessink, according to the Gloria Dei list of members by Rev. Rudman in 1697-98. Andrew was active in the political affairs of Philadelphia, serving as a justice of the peace among other court positions.

Andrew purchased101 acres in Byberry Township from John Hart on 9 December 1697. (Phila. Exemplification Book 7:197-198), 20 April 1999) On 19 July 1721 he deeded 147 1/2 acres of land in Moyamensing, along with his brothers, Bengt, Joseph, and Daniel, to brothers, John and Joacob(Philadelphia Deeds Book F-7, p. 86). He died in Chester county in 1750. Two of his sons moved to Talbot County, Maryland where they were married in St. Peter's Parish. Andrew and Gertrude lived at Potquessing Creek (Source: Ron Beatty).

Gertrude Lars Boore Bankston
1670-after 1706

Gertrude Lars Boore was born about 1670 to Lars Larsson and Elisabeth Boore in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As with most colonial women, few records are available to tell us about Gertrude. We gain insight about early colonial women by researching records of land dealings, church membership, and government documents recorded by the husband’s name.

Let's imagine that Gertrude, a Swedish girl, participated in the celebration of Luciadagen or Saint Lucia’s Day held annually on 13 December. It was the custom from medieval times of honoring a young girl who gave up marriage to care for the poor. The oldest daughter played the role of Santa Lucia, taking food to the poor. The daughters woke the family before dawn, bringing them Lucia buns and pastries. Knowing the Swedish tradition, it takes but one more candle to light our minds so we may visualize Gertrude as she prepared for her role as the Queen of Light.


It is 12 December, the night before Luciadagen. Thirteen-year-old Gertrude, in preparation for her role as Saint Lucia, bathes and washes her hair twice, wiping it dry after adding a fragrant oil, and braids thick plaits that she winds tightly around her head. After praying with her sisters, she climbs under the horsehair blanket and snuggles her feet on the warm bricks under the bedding. She tries to sleep, but her joy and excitement are too great.

The darkness gives way to dawn’s first light; awaking with a start Gertrude realizes she must have slept after all. Throwing off the covers, wiggling her toes into slippers, Gertrude bounces out of bed to light a candle and awaken her sisters. Returning to her room at long last she slips into the ankle length white dress and red sash worn only on this special day. It is the most beautiful dress she has ever seen except for her cousin’s wedding dress. Running her hands down its soft gathers, she twists and turns to watch the skirt flare around her.

Now she is ready with the exception of the wreath. Placing the lingonberry twig garland on her head she bends low so her sisters can light the white candles. With her head kept perfectly straight, Gertrude walks with her sisters across the narrow creaky floor toward the kitchen.
“I should have waited until I was in the kitchen to light the candles,” she scolds herself. “But this does give us light for the hallway.”

Gertrude and her sisters gather baked goods to carry to the neighbors. With the baskets in their arms they gather the torches stacked close to the fireplace, tilting them into the glowing coals and cautiously make their way toward the canoe to row to the neighbors’ homes.

The trip was filled with merriment and the girls are giddy upon returning home. They try hard to stifle their giggles as they carry the torches into the house to add to the coal to warm the kitchen. Fetching candles to light the fire, they place them in pewter night candleholders. Candles lifted high, they gather trays with saffron buns, cakes, and gløgg, and tiptoe to their parent’s bedside. Mother and Father awake with glee. The merriment continues as they enjoy the delicious breakfast and sing songs of thanksgiving for the Queen of Light who brings light home to the darkest time of the year.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Anders (Andrew) Bengtsson, 1640-1705

15 March 1656 - the Swedish ship, Mercurious, sailed up the Delaware River. The Dutch did not desire this ship to go up river - but the Indians were friends of the Swedes and permitted the ship to pass the Dutch port. The Rev. Mr. Rudman wrote, "Among the passengers on the vessel was Anders Bengtsson, who this day, April 1703, gave me this verbal account."

Our study follows the Bengtsson line with the emigrant ancestor who was born in Sweden and may have been the son of Peter Bengtsson of Gothenburg, Sweden who supplied cash and merchandise for Admiral Fleming's expedition to the new world.

Andrew was one of the founders of the Gloria Dei Church and was a trustee in 1689. According to memo written by Dr. Collin, it is stated "the parsonage on Passyunk was bought by, or from, Andrew Bengtson, containing eighty acres of land." Andrew Bankson was a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1683, 1686, and 1698. He held many positions of honor and importance in the Colony.

Andrew had many land holdings and left a long line of descendants who took part in the social, religious, and business life of Pennsylvania and other parts of the country in which they settled. His will was probated 2 September 1706 and he names his wife, Gertrude, sons: (Banct) Benjamin, Andreas Jr. (Andrew), Peter, John, Jacob, and Daniel. His daughers were Catherine and Briggetta. The will of Andrew Bankson, Sr. is recorded in Will Book 2, Page 238. city Hall, Philadelphia, PA.

Source: Anne M. Haigler, Bankston Cousins, Florissant, MO.

This is a link to a genealogy website with an article about Anders Bengtsson by Dr. Peter Craig:

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Gloria Dei Church - Philadelphia, PA

Thanks to Jon Forde for the photograph of Gloria Dei (Old Swedes Church) - located at Delaware and Christina Streets in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The first church was a log structure on Tinicum Island founded in 1677; later the congregation was moved and a new structure erected near Penn's Landing in Wicaco (now South Philadelphia). It was originally a log structure, too. This new building was built (with later additions) in 1700. The congregation was the first Lutheran Church in "New Sweden." Peter Gunnarson Rambo was the founder and his son-in-law, Anders Bengtsson, Sr., took on a significant role in building and financing the new structure. About the time of the Revolutionary War the congregation became Anglican (which it remains today).

The church was built on land given by Catherine Swanson, widow of Swan Swanson and their three daughters, one of who married Peter Bankson.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Editor's Note:

I moved the Norwegian photos to the Norwegian genealogy blogspot so that you don't get confused about who is Swedish and who is Norwegian! Have you heard the saying I used to hear from my Norwegian father: "Ten thousand Swedes run through the weeds chased by one Norwegian!"

This is the link to the Norwegian blogspot that has a lot of new photos and the history of Hallingdal:

Cynthia-Genealogy Journal blogspot is about my mother's Southern family beginning with the Swedes: Peter Gunnarson Rambo and Britta Mattsdotter - and following the line through their daughter, Gertrude Rambo, who married Anders Bengtsson.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Gertrude Rambo

The historical facts are well-documented; sources will be provided upon request. Yet, I take artistic license by “imagining” a story behind the historical facts. My children have no interest in “facts” but readily tune into the stories of their ancestors. For instance, as a pastor very familiar with Lutheran Catechesis, an image of a young Gertrude on the day of her confirmation comes quickly to mind. In addition, I know first-hand the fear and apprehension of a young girl as she approaches her First Communion. The story starts to take shape.

Gertrude Rambo, born 19 October 1650, was one of nine children born to Peter Gunnarson Rambo and his wife, Brita Mattsdotter in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Peter Rambo founded the first Lutheran congregation in the colonies. (See older posts for Peter and Brita’s story). A special thanks to Dr. Peter Craig, F.A.S.G., Swedish Colonial Society historian and to Ron Beatty for the historical facts.

By the Rev. Dr. Cynthia and the Hon. Church Mouse

Now is the hour. After three years of Catechesis, Gertrude, fair head bowed, brow damp with beads of perspiration, heart pounding wildly, solemnly confesses her sins. Upon receiving the absolution promised in the ancient Swedish liturgy, a soft sigh escapes her trembling lips. The long, white robe does not conceal the relief shown in the shrug of her shoulders. Gertrude's sweet soprano voice joins those gathered on this Festival Sunday intoning the responses to the Introitus, Kyrie, and Gloria. The warm glow of candlelight dances across a velvet - peach complexion revealing faint shadows under her eyes.

Gertrude had not slept well last night. Lack of proper rest, along with deep anxiety about this important day, makes it increasingly difficult to stay focused on the Collect, Epistle, and Graduale while her brother, Gunnar, one year older, is making faces at her. Gunnar, who cannot sit still a moment, delights in teasing his younger sister despite the solemnity of the occasion. Gertrude glares with disapproval at Gunnar who flashes his famous Gunnar Grin: a smile that simply does not stop. Gertrude returns the smile, helplessly, realizing that he is the only one who gets away with smiling in church.

She tries again to pay attention during the reading of the Gospel and the sermon that follows. For Gertrude, the sermon is too long - almost unbearable. She struggles to keep her thoughts on the message. “The pastor does ramble on!” The thought bursts into her silence so clearly she glances at her parents to see if they might have heard it, too. But her parents are completely absorbed in the booming voice coming down from the pulpit. Gertrude stares at the angel over the baptismal font. Will this ever end? As if in answer to prayer, the pastor says the Amen.

Gertrude's anticipation increases as she rises from her chair to affirm her faith in the words of the Apostles’ Creed. Kneeling at the altar, the pastor places his hands on her head and beseeches God with thanksgiving:

Pour your Holy Ghost upon Gertrude, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence. Gertrude, child of God, you have been sealed by the Holy Ghost and marked with the cross of Christ forever.

Children of the Heavenly Father, safely to His bosom gather,” sings the congregation with great gusto. Gertrude returns to her place, quite radiant and flushed with happiness as the Swedish Mass moves forward through the remainder of the liturgy: the Offertory, Prefatio, Sanctus, Prayer of Consecration, Verba Institutionis, Pater noster, Secreta, Pax, and Agnus Dei and on to the high liturgical point: the Eucharist.

And now the crescendo; now comes the moment of Gertrude's First Communion. Once again, with fear and trepidation, she rises, moves forward to the altar and kneels; the priest places the morsel of bread onto her tongue with the words, “The body of Christ, given for you!” Softly she whispers, “Amen.” The priest returns with the pewter chalice and tips it to her lips saying, “The blood of Christ shed for you!” “Amen” she replies as the wine spreads its warmth into her being. “Amen and Amen!,” she whispers under her breath. As she returns to her place, the congregation sings the Postcommunio. “The music is so joyful, It sings me!” She feels considerably taller rising to receive the blessing that concludes the Swedish Mass.

"When we get home, Gunnar," she threatens as they recess, "I am going to pinch you." He laughs, "You are going to have to catch me first." And joyfully, Gertrude and her family return home to a great feast: a smorgasbord with pepparkakor (gingersnaps) for dessert. The Hon. Church Mouse is not invited.+++

Eighteen-year-old Gertrude, child of God, was married in the “new church” at Wicaco (Gloria Dei), a low, square, log-timber structure with a short steeple. "She was given in marriage 22 November 1688 to Anders Bengtsson, known to the English as Andrew Bankson. The newlyweds embarked on their life together on their farm at Mayamensing along the Delaware River in present South Philadelphia. Anders served for many years as a justice on the court and as a church warden and lay reader for the Swedish church at Wicaco.

Pastor Andreas Sandel, a successor to Andreas Rudman, at Gloria Dei (Old Swedes Church)
relied heavily on the advice of Anders Bengtsson. On 14 September 1705, Sandel presented the
final word covering his friend’s life: “I buried Anders Bengtsson, born in Sweden near Gothenburg in the parish of Fåxarn (Fuxerna) and Hanstrom farm. He drowned in the Delaware, sixty-five years old”

Gertrude and Anders had nine children, generally known by the surname of Bengtson in church records, but usually as Bankson in English records. More about Anders Bentsson will be posted soon as we follow the lineage of their son, Andrew Bankson, Jr. and their role in the life of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.

Friday, July 6, 2007

The Kalmar Nyckel Ship

Photo used with permission of the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation:

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Peter Gunnarson RAMBO 1612-1698

Peter Gunnarson Rambo was born about 1612 in Hisingen, Sweden. He arrived in America on 17 April 1640 aboard the ship, Kalmar Nyckel, which reached port in "New Sweden" after a far from pleasant journey; the voyage is described in a letter he wrote to his sister in Sweden which has been preserved in Sweden. Peter brought apple seeds with him that were named for him: the Rambo Apple which was the apple distributed by Johnny Appleseed. Peter was well-known by William Penn and served in many official capacities. He was the founder of the first Swedish Lutheran Church in the colonies located originally on Tinicum Island and later moved to Wicaco where it is known as Gloria Dei (Old Swedes Church). Following the Revolutionary War, the congregation became Anglican. It is located near Penn's Landing in downtown Philadelphia.
On 7 April 1647, Peter married Brita Mattsdotter, who was born about 1630, a Swedish girl born in Swedish-occupied Vasa, Finland. Nothing is known of her family apart from the family name, Mattsdotter, meaning she was Brita, the daughter of Matt. She was most likely named for one of her grandmothers or aunts. First daughters were named for the mother’s mother; second daughters were named for the father’s mother.

Brita Mattsdotter would not stay in Vasa, unlike most Swedish daughters in the seventeenth century. She probably made the voyage to America before her eighteenth birthday, before the arrival of the ship Swan in January of 1648. She was not listed on the passenger lists after that date. According to historian, Dr. Peter Craig, she may have been an unnamed servant girl arriving in 1641 (see the Swedish Colonial Society Archives).

It is easy to imagine a Scandinavian girl: fair-skinned, rosy red cheeks kissed by winter’s icy breath, heaven spilling over into eyes of blue. Brita would have danced with delight in springtime as the snow melted--freeing her from winter’s heavy clothing. She would have rejoiced when the sun’s golden orb increased the days of summer seeming to say, “Brita Mattsdotter, I am sorry for my long winter’s absence, come, enjoy me to the fullest for I cannot stay with you long.” She inhaled summer to the dregs, knowing autumn would send her scurrying to prepare for snowfall.

During winter, the family likely dwelled in a home built into the earth for warmth. Without sunlight, Brita’s mother would have taught her handwork at a very early age, learning how to card wool, turn it into fabric, and create clothing embellished with fine embroidery.

In early June, the women's job was to move the animals to the seter (a portion of the farm higher in the mountains) for the greener pastures. Housing on the seter was primitive requiring strong women to manage such conditions. (Scandinavian men are good-looking and the women are strong!) Here the women made the richest cream and sweet butter from the lush grasses. Without doubt, Brita ate heartily when her mother served sockerkaka (sugar cake) with wild strawberries and heavy cream.

We may never know why Brita left Vasa for the New World. Had her parents died young leaving her an orphan? There are so many questions that remain my imagination takes flight seeking stories behind the historical facts.

Peter was eighteen years older than Brita at the time of their marriage in 1647. She was likely less than 18 and he was 35. How did they meet? Was he so ruggedly handsome she thought he hung the moon? Was he totally besotted by her eyes so blue? Did they take an earthy delight in each other - with love and laughter? Soon my mind is spinning another story!

Peter and Brita had eight children. Brita died on 12 October 1693 at the young age of 63 and Peter died 12 January 1698 at age 86.

Fortunately, a wonderful new book on the Rambo family is now available in print(authored by Ron S. Beatty); perhaps you will discover insights that can be informative for me. Information about the book and an accompanying CD can be found on this link:

If you think you might connect to this family, you might want to investigate the website of the Swedish Colonial Society and look in their archives; I would encourage membership in this fine organization:
Or you can join the rootsweb Rambo List:

Send an E-mail to the link and add Subscribe in the subject of the E-mail.

If you know any great stories about Peter and Brita, write to me!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Genealogy Research Trip

It is time to take a break from heavy thinking.

I am heading to the northlands on a genealogy research trip.
If you see me on the highways and by-ways, please wave or offer water.

Thanks to J.B. for this Kodak moment!

Back to blogging after the Fourth of July!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Blog Organization 101.b (b=bull)

Everywhere I looked today I found organizational systems.

Books have a beginning and an end; they are neatly organized into chapters following the table of contents with an index at the end. That is important to some of us who read only the table of contents and the last page of the last chapter to determine whether the book is worth reading in its entirety.

The theology books on my shelves are organized by Systematics, Church History, Greek and Hebrew studies, Lexicons, several translations of the Bible, reference works, counseling, etc.

My history books are usually organized by specific periods of time such as the Antebellum South, Civil War, etc. History itself has a beginning and is likely to have an end (of life as we know it); and it is organized by time. My time seems to be organized around arising and going to bed.

There are only a couple of books on mathematics, high on the shelf, left over from college days thirty trillion years ago. Mathematics is structurally organized in such a way that I cannot make a negative balance in my check book add up to a positive one unless I go to the bank and add a deposit. There is an end to the negative numbers as far as the bank is concerned. But mathematics really has no beginning or end. It goes on ad infinitum.

My computer is organized using Windows XP Professional as opposed to the newer Vista that I removed a few days ago because it was not well-organized. Google has a great organizational system for finding websites about most anything. Websites I find attractive are not cluttered with too much information.

If I were you I would be thinking about now, "This post is cluttered with too much information! What is the point? Where is the end? It seems like it is going no-where."

But that is the point I am making with this post. A blog is a lot like mathematics with a huge cache (1 GB) of space in time that needs structure and a system of classification for archival purposes. How can it be organized and simplified so that something is easily found when searching the archives? Perhaps the answer is to title posts in this blog by surname, first name, date, with the subject the label: Title: Bankston, Lawrence 1704; Label: RWS documentation???

Yesterday, I read through a lot of blogs; many are narcissistic ramblings of self-absorbed people. Like, who cares? Reading my own ramblings I find that they are often incoherent, disorganized and, like, who cares? Hopefully, the readers of this blog will see the blog become better organized into an easy format to follow on topic.

Like Mary of Nazareth I am pondering all of these things... how can this be?

But the Norwegian genealogy blogspot is moving along beautifully. Check out that blogspot and look at the new pictures:

Friday, June 15, 2007

Blog Organization 101

In the beginning I wanted to create a genealogy world on this blog because "this is Good." After spending six days at this computer attempting to get my entire world of genealogy organized in one blog it became necessary to start other blogs per subject matter. Three blogs are now operative necessitating three times the work.

Each blog needed documents and photos that could be added to the site. That meant creating a web album which now has a huge cache of 18 or 19 albums that are loaded with documents and photos; and there are so many more to upload. I have just begun to get them organized. Some photos have captions. Most of the documents are organized by the name of the album. More photos and documents will be added as time permits.

God created the world in six days and said "This is good" each step of the way. I created chaos in six days and said "This better get organized or it gets a Big Bang with the delete key." It is only good in that Google's search index will not pick up the blogs for 4-6 weeks allowing time to find ways to simplify the sites and the photos lest blogging becomes the God of my life.

And you know the rest of the story: "On the seventh day... " But, I need to rest seven days...!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

In the Beginning...

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Thanks to cousin Ron for creating a unique blogspot I discovered searching the main page of his website for names on plat maps. This gave me the impetus to strike out on my own with a genealogy blog. The blog was easy to create (thanks to Google).

And now I am ready to begin by posting the surnames that are in my family line that I would like to discuss. Southern ancestral names are: Rambo, Bankston, Sappington, Jarrett, Ivey, Hamlin, Brooks, Cobb, McDonald or McDaniel, Miller and King. The immigrant ancestors appeared as early as 1640 in Pennsylvania (New Sweden) and in Virgina (Jamestowne, Surry and Sussex Counties). This is a hyperlink to my website, The Spirit in the South, on

Norwegian surnames are Vold, Gandrud, Gulsvik, Sefre or Savre. Those names appear in Flaa, Nes of Buskerud County, Norway in the Hallingdal Valley about one and one half hour north of Oslo.

Additional Norwegian surnames are Holstad, Turvold and Forde. Those surnames came from the Sognefjord region of Norway near Vik and of course, Ferduh (phonetic pron.) of Forde. That community is north of the Sognefjord near the Jolster Glacier.

It is good to remember that in Norway the patriarchal naming system was in place until the 20th century when the Norwegian government decided there were too many Ole's in Norway and demanded that everyone adopt a surname. They often took their farm names or the name they were known by in Norway. For instance, Olesson (the son of Ole) became Olson.

This is the link to my website on, Hallingdal to Amerika

In the beginning... it is necessary to clarify that this blogspot is for discussion and information sharing. All of the documentation that I have is posted on the two websites listed above. I may have ideas about how to help you research your family, but I cannot do research for you. Now, let the party begin!