3311 Littlestown Pike Westminster, MD 21158 410-848-2288
The Banckert (Bankert) family
and the acquisition of the Union Mills property
[I had always heard that the purchase of the Bankert mill by David and Andrew Shriver had not gone entirely smoothly. Here is the story from the Bankert side. For more on the early history of the land in "Digges Choice," see the essay "The Shriver Family of Little Conewago," by Kenneth K. Kroh, June, 1950. For information the building of the new house and mill at Union Mills, see excerpts from "Union Mills: The Shriver Homestead since 1797" by Frederic Shriver Klein, 1956. -- JDK]
John Jacob BANKERT Sr --Six sons and six daughters *
 John Jacob Banckert was the only son of Christophel and Anna Eva Banckert. Records indicate that he made a land purchase in Digges' Choice around 1736 which would have been shortly after he became of age. It was probably near the Kitzmillers, and Jacob, as he was known, would have lived there with his parents and youngest sister. In 1742 he is on record again as having purchased land. The location of this new property was likely in the general area where Littlestown is now located.
For several years Jacob and Ester Knoff Bankert lived in Digges' Choice. But the fact that his sister and husband, Margaret Elenora and John Yingling, now lived in comparative quiet near Silver Run MD and the fact that his own area of Digges' Choice suffered constant irritations over boundaries and taxes apparently helped him to decide to move. This he did, likely sometime in late 1749 locating on a tract of land where Union Mills in MD is now situated today, and just a few miles south of Silver Run. The year of 1749 is given as the date of his relocation because with that year his children ceased to be recorded locally, and his name does not appear on a tax list of the Digges' Choice area from 1749-50. Although his wife's family does appear there.
The new location proved beneficial to him, as he eventually became a wealthy and influential man. Gradually Jacob acquired land, which came to total more than five hundred and fifty acres. He also operated a gristmill for the area. As was often customary with other millers, it is likely that much of the land he had was given to raising crops, which could be utilized by his mill.
As he had been an immigrant, it was eventually necessary for Jacob to be naturalized. Thus in 1760 his name is recorded in the “Colonial MD Naturalizations” as having participated in a communion service held Sept 4, 1760 by Rev. Jacob Lischy, a Reformed pastor in Frederick Co., on Sept 10,1760. The witnesses involved were Peter Erb and Jost Runckel. The communion service would have had to be held in some large home or building near Silver Run, of perhaps ever out in the open, because at that time there was as yet no church building in the area.
The lack of a local church was soon remedied by the leaders of the community and in the spring of 1762 a small log church was erected in Silver Run on part of a tract known as Dyer's Mill Forest and given the name of St Mary's Union Church. On May 31, 1762 the two local congregation were organized - the Reformed congregation by “Jacob Lischy, Minister of the Word of God, Calvinist Minister in York Co PA” and the Lutheran congregation by “George Bager, Lutheran Minister in York Co PA.” Both ministers served as witnesses to the signing of a Covenant of articles regarding the union church, and among the signers of this agreement are three names which have great interest to us--Jacob Bankert (our great uncle and in some cases our great grandfather), Johannes Jungling (our great grandfather who was still spelling his name in the German was), and Hans (John) Leman (the man who sold his plantation in Digges' Choice to our great Uncle and Aunt, Martin and Julianna Kitzmiller. St Mary's became our home church, with the Stonesifers and Bankerts usually members of the German Reformed congregation, and our Yingling relatives usually member of the German Lutheran side.
Jacob Bankert died around May of 1789, but his wife survived him by some years. He wrote his will Jan 20, 1783, and it was probated in Frederick on June 3, 1789 and recorded in Will book GM 2 page 310. From some of its items we can get an idea of how successful he had been in life. To his wife Ester he left “a good feather bed with bedstead and curtains with complete furniture thereunto belonging” as well as 300 pounds specie. His oldest son, Jacob inherited 125 acres on or near Great Pipe Creek in a tract called Carolina and partly in a tract called Ohio. His second son, John was left 125 acres in the same two tracts and partly in a tract called Hill Spring and partly in a tract called Christopher's Lott. The third son Peter, was left 125 acres in tracts called Caroling, Ohio and Christopher's Lott. The fourth son Christophel, was left 125 areas in tracts called Ohio, Jacob's Lott, Hill Spring, and Christopher's Lott. To his two youngest sons, Abraham and Henry, both not year of age when the will was written, he left 50 pounds specie each. To his oldest daughter, Margretha he left a 50 acre tract of land and which was in part the tracts called Ohio and Carolina. He then specified that his mill and remaining land was to be sold and the proceeds distributed to his six daughter and two youngest sons. The bequests of land, he also specified, were to be laid off in tracts by a Christian Bowars (also Bauers) who was a local surveyor. As his executors, he named David Shriver and Jacob Calzel. The last named person was Jacob Cassel, whose last name was misspelled, and who was the son of Jacob Banker's sister, Anna Margretha who had married Henry Cassel.
One part of the estate settlement did not go smoothly. On Feb 7, 1797 two daughters of Jacob, Mary Sochr and Catharine Kepler, sold their father’s mill property to Andrew Shriver for 260 pounds, and the transaction was recorded Feb 27, 1797 in Frederick. On June 26, 1797 this Andrew Shriver, a grandson of Andrew Shiver who settled in Digges’ Choice in 1734, took up residence at the gristmill formerly owned by Jacob Bankert. He soon took into partnership with his brother David Shriver, who had been on of the executors of the former owner’s will. However, it was nearly 30 years until they had a clear title because some of the Bankert heirs contested the sale and refused to sign off. However, the Shrivers held the property from 1797 on, and the partnership is said to be the origin of the name “Union Mills.” Today this old property is a museum and noted landmark. Further details can be read in Scharf's History of Western Maryland in Vol. 2 p 864-865.
On August 28, 1728, Johann Jacob Bankert, age 11, arrived in Philadelphia with his father, Christofel, and his mother and sisters. He married Esther Sell in 1742. They had 14 children, 7 sons and 7 daughters; 6 of each survived to adulthood. Many of his children and their descendants remained in the Frederick/Carroll County and Baltimore, Maryland and York/Adams County, Pennsylvania region. Except for his middle son, Christopher, who sold his inheritance in 1803/1804 and moved out to Ohio with his children, primarily to Butler, Warren, and Montgomery Counties, along with many of the same families they had intermarried with in the East. Connected families include, but are not limited to: Butt, Barkelow, Bachman, Cassel, Catrow, Deardoff, Dotterer, Erb, Gebhart, Keister, Kercher, Kemp, Kitzmiller, Koontz, Lohr, Long, Lucas, Mittelkauff, Morningstar, Nail, Rohrer, Sell, Selby, Shriver, Shuey, Stull, and Yingling.
Over the last 200+ years, our family continued to travel west, intermarry with other pioneer families, and generally participate in the great American story. The study of family history is the study of American history -- who we are and where we came from. Our story is the American story!
I have taken the liberty of correcting a small number of typos. – J. D. Klein, February, 2006.
Note that the Stonesifer name, from whose genealogy site the above is reproduced, appears in the 1889 diary of Mary Winifred Shriver, beginning on the first page: http://www.unionmills.org/diary/diary.htm. The Emma Stonesifer who is to be the recipient of a new doll is likely to be Emma C. Stonesifer, b. 1888 (http://www.rstonesifer.com/genealogy/paf_data/d0005/g0000325.htm#I136)
Emma’s father’s name was Austin, which is the same name as Mary Winifred’s brother. I have no idea whether the naming connection is anything more than coincidental.
posted by J. Douglass Klein. Last updated 02/21/06 09:10 PM.