Prompt: Unusual Name
Untangling gnarled branches of family treesBy Myra Vanderpool Gormley © 2019
While the name of Araminta is somewhat unusual, or so I thought, it was a fairly popular name in my family for several generations, including my maternal great-grandmother Araminta Awtrey (1851-1927) who was named for her grandmother, Araminta Bankston (1782-1861).
It turns out that a search for this given name shows hundreds so named in the 1850 U.S. census in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, as well as in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Missouri, which means it was widespread in American families by the middle of the 19th century.
“Araminta is one of the many literary coinages of the Restoration period, [1660-1714] in this case possibly a conflation of Arabell and Aminta,” according to The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names (Withcombe, 1977).
The first of this name I’ve found in my family was Araminta Bankston and it was her 1800 Marriage Bible that put me on the quest to find her father — a Jacob Bankston. See earlier blog: https://shakingfamilytrees.blogspot.com/2019/01/pass-sorting-hat.html
Having eliminated a childless couple — Jacob Bankston (1720-1757) and Elinor Cock, of Philadelphia, listed in an old genealogy — as the parents of Araminta’s father, Jacob, I turned back to sorting through Georgia records looking for clues and evidence. Three records proved to be most helpful. Two appear in The Early Records of Georgia, Volume I, Wilkes County. (Abstracted and compiled by Grace Gillam Davidson, published 1933 in Macon, Georgia) and now available online at: http://www.giddeon.com/wilkes/books/early-records-of-ga-vol 1/index.shtml
1. There is a 1786 deed in Wilkes County, Georgia, which mentioned that Peter, Daniel and Jacob Bankston sold 400 acres in Pennsylvania, which was “and from our father, Laurence Bankston.” (Wilkes County, GA, Deed Book AA — 1785-1787 p. 127.)
2. This same trio also sold 37.5 acres in Philadelphia, mentioning that it was “willed to our mother, Rebecca Hendricks.” (Wilkes County, GA, Deed Book AA — 1785-1787 p. 125)
3. On 9 June 1811 in Clarke County, Georgia, the following record was recorded regarding a Creek Indian Depredation Claim of 1782 [emphasis mine]: “Whereas I Jacob Banckston is about to remove to the Missippi state [sic] this to sertyfy [certify] that I have bargind and sold unto Elijah Banckston, my son all my right[s] and title to the claim that I did againstt the Creek Nations of Indians for property taken at McNabs Fort Wilk[es] County 1782 which property was valued to five hundred and fifty five dollars and I do hereby give over all my right[s] and title to the above mentioned claim unto to above Elijah Banckston or sum written and hereby in power him to Recept for the same in my name and this my order shall recept to whom may be impowerd to pay of [off] the claim. Signed Jacob Banckston.
So, there is a Jacob Bankston who was the son of Lawrence Bankston and Rebecca Hendricks and he had a son, Elijah Bankston, and he planned to leave Georgia for the “Missippi state” [sic] which would have been the Mississippi Territory in 1811 as Mississippi was not yet a state. Is this Jacob the father of my Araminta, and was he also the Jacob Bankston who married Nancy Brewer on 5 October 1808 in Clarke County, Georgia and whose maiden name has been misread as Moore and Brown by various researchers? If so, then that was his second marriage. Is this why my Araminta Bankston or at least her husband, Isaac Awtrey, went to Mississippi about 1810 but only stayed a short time before returning to northeast Georgia?
Some genealogical problems are not resolved easily and some seemingly are never solved completely. Figuring out where Jacob Bankston fit into the household of Lawrence Bankston (1704-1771) and Rebecca Hendricks (1710 -before 1786) required additional and in-depth research and a number of cousins working together.
How we figured out when this Jacob was born:
1. His parents, Lawrence Bankston and Rebecca Hendricks were married about 1726 in Pennsylvania and lived there first, but by 1744 Lawrence was listed as a taxpayer in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. Land and court records pertaining to Lawrence’s estate reveal that he had five sons, and at least one daughter — who married James Lea.
2. In a 1793 a deposition of James Lea pertaining to land owned by Lawrence Bankston in Caswell County, North Carolina, he said that Andrew was his (Lawrence’s) eldest son, Peter was the second son, Lawrence (Jr.) was the third, Daniel was the fourth and Jacob was the fifth son, and the youngest son.
3. Children in this time and locality were frequently born about two years apart, so based on the eldest child, probably a daughter, being born within a year after the couple was married, say 1727, this couple could have had six children born from ca 1727 to about 1739, using an estimated time frame of about two years between each child (six children x 2 years apart = 12 years). There also is possibly another daughter that researchers believe is part of this family, but evidence is lacking. If Jacob is the youngest child (we only know he is the youngest son) of Lawrence and Rebecca, his date of birth could range from about 1739 to 1743. Of especial interest in figuring out the ages of the sons of Lawrence is the 1755 tax list of Orange County, North Carolina, where is listed Lawrence Bankson [sic], Esq. and sons — 5 white polls. To be counted in the poll, each son had to be 16 years of age or older, which verified that Lawrence had four sons in 1755 — all born before 1739, but his fifth and youngest son, Jacob, evidently was born after 1739.
4. We also know the birthdate of this Jacob’s son, Elijah (probably his eldest child). It was 1765 (thanks to his Revolutionary War pension application). Men seldom married before age 21 in this time and locality, so it can be estimated that Jacob probably married about 1764, and that he was born about 1740, give or take a couple of years.
So far my two Aramintas have given me enough genealogical puzzles to entertain me for years — one to untangle this Bankston line and the other to sort out the gnarled branches of the Awtrey/Autry family. Bless their hearts.