Surry County Family Genealogies

Banner Family

Source:  Book - 'The Heritage of Surry County, NC'

Source Information:
Volume 1 - Published 1983 by the Surry County
Genealogical Association, Dobson, North Carolina;
Hester Bartlett Jackson, Editor

Books may be ordered from
The Heritage of Surry County, NC
Post Office Box 707
Dobson, North Carolina 27107

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Two brothers, John and Elisha Banner, moved their families from Germanton, North Carolina into the Mount Airy area of Surry County in 1859. Their family had lived in what had been Surry County, later Stokes County, for three generations before them.  Each of their forefathers had been planters and businessmen.
 
They held large tracts of land and provided work for a large number of people.  Additionally, each of them, in turn, had taken an active part in the life of their community and of their state.
 
Charles Banner, father of John and Elisha, was a representative to the General Assembly.  Charles' father, Joseph (designated as "Senior" to distinguish him from a son whose line we are not following) was a private in the Revolutionary War.
 
Some years later, Joseph, Sr., was serving as a juror in the Surry County court when Andrew Jackson applied for and was granted a license to practice law.
 
The father of Joseph was Henry Banner, who came to America from England in 1740 (Although it has not been established at fact, it is assumed from certain indications, that the Banners moved to England from their farmlands near the Rhine and Elbe Rivers in Germany during the Wars of Succession.)
 
Henry lived in Pannsylvania for a few years after coming to this country.  He married there; he then moved his wife and their first child to the area near Germanton, North Carolina where the family became established.
 
John and Elisha Banner were both active members of the community making contributions of their time, energy and property.  Of John Banner, one of his descendants, Alma Banner Bivens, has written:
 
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John Banner, Sr. was born 21 March 1801 near old Germanton in the county of Stokes.  He received a good education at the Germanton Academy.  After leaving school he entered the mercantile business, adding to this farming. In both these vocations he was remarkably successful.  On 22 December 1825 he married Virginia, daughter of William and Mary (Polly) Martin Moore of Stokes County.
 
Soon after, he was appointed deputy sheriff of the county.  Before completing his term as deputy sheriff, he superior business qualifications and honesty had gained for him such popularity that he was elected to the General Assembly in 1829 and served his people so faithfully and well that he was returned to the next session by an increasing majority.  This political experience satisified his political ambitions, and he could never be induced to enter the arena again.
 
In 1859 he moved to Surry County, bought a farm on the Ararat River near Mount Airy and here spent the remainder of his life.  He was known as the largest land and slave owner in the county.  He was a gentleman born; a leader in the community; the first Worshipful Master of the Masonic Lodge in Mount Airy; and a faithful member of the Presbyterian Church.  He adhered to this faith with tenacity until his death.  For many years he was a ruling elder in the church at Mount Airy.  At his home of the Banner Plantation, now know as "Bannertown," on the morning of 29 August 1888, after three years of invalidism from a stroke, John Banner, Sr. "rested from his labors."
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John and Virginia Moore Banner had twelve children.  In order of their birth, they were:
 
Mary Letitia, who married Dr. Joseph Hollingsworth;
William Martin, who married Catherine Whitlock;
Dr. Constantine (Conse), who married Charity Prather, then after her death, Marietta Tatum;
Matthew Redd, a dentist, whose descendants are now living in Greensboro and are in the Banner-Trulove wholesale grocery business;
John Elisha, who married Louisa Ellen Prather;
Sarah, who married Dr. Ed Hollingsworth;
Ann, who married Jesse Moore;
Wilcher C., who married Cordelia (Delia) Hines;
Margaret Eliza, who married William Foy; and
Robert Henry (Bob) who married Eliza Mitchell and moved to Texas.
 
Now to go back into the nineteenth century to recount the story of Elisha Banner and his family.  The following description is from the writings of Alma B. Bivins:
 
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Elisha Banner, brother of John Banner, Sr., was born in 1811, married Mary Eliza Moore (sister of Mrs. John Banner, Sr.).  After she died, he married Mrs. Susan Bitting, a widow.  He built a large frame house on South Main Street in what was the main part of the village of Mount Airy.  It was his home, also used as a tavern where travelers from the stagecoach stopped overnight on the way to Wytheville. Virginia.  The house, later to be known as the Webster house, was torn down in 1963.
 
The land on which the old Methodist Church was built and the land adjacent to it, was given by him.  The church was built of wide boards, with a belfry and a recessed porch with an enclosed stairway on each side leading up to the gallery where slaves sat.  It stood away back from the street with an avenue of trees leading to it.  There were esplanades with hitching posts for the horses.

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----Virginia Smith Crowell

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This page was last updated October 27, 2010.

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for the NCGenWeb Project