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.

1 comment:

Rachelle said...

Well written article.