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."


Anne said...

what a truly wonderful story!!!!!!!!!

Anne said...

C is a genealogist par excellance!! Bravo.!!