I thought it would be fun to write about a woman, for once. Most of my posts have been about men but I find this woman to be remarkable, and worthy of a much better post than I can write, yet.
Anna Smith was born about 1782, possibly in Virginia. One source indicates she was born in Ohio, but that would have been a very early time to have been born there, and her marriage record shows that she was married on August 24, 1801 in Montgomery County, Va to William Bean or Bane. The first nineteen or so years of her life have very little documentation. Her marriage record indicates that her father was Jacob Smith, but no mother's name is given. William Bane's parents aren't noted, either, which would indicate he was over 21. He was probably born about 1769, in Virginia.
Jacob Smith is a mystery. There are several Jacob Smiths in that area but so far I have not been able to figure out which of the several is Anna's father. It is probably safe to speculate that she lived a frontier kind of life, in one of the valleys of the Appalachian mountains. Montgomery County became a county in 1777. Prior to that it was part of Fincastle County, which included several western counties of Virginia as well as the entire state of Kentucky. We don't know whether Anna had siblings or not, but the chances are that she had siblings or, if her unknown mother had died early, half-siblings.
From this basic framework we can see the makings of a pioneer woman. She had at least 9 children with William Bane, ending with William Jackson Bane born in 1829 in Giles County, Va. It is quite possible that she had never moved during her marriage, as Giles County formed out of Montgomery
County in 1806, and Mary Bane was noted as having been born in August of 1806 in Giles County.
The other children were James C, Mary, Henry, Jane, Nancy, Sarah, and Hannah. There is a gap of about 9 years between Jane born in 1812 and Nancy born in 1820, so the possibility of other children cannot be dismissed. In fact, there are 8 young children listed in the 1820 census for William Bane, and at least two children were born after that census, so there may be more children yet to be found.
At any rate, there was a large number of children living when the family was preparing to celebrate Christmas on December 25, 1829. The family, however, went from excitement to heartbreak when William Bane, the husband and father, drowned or froze to death in a nearby river that very day. I have often thought about Anna, and wondered what she was feeling at that time. They had likely been living a hard-scrabble life, and now there was no husband although son James was about 26 and Henry was about 19. What's a woman to do in this situation?
Well, it appears that Anna moved the family, or went with the family, to Washington Township, Preble County, Ohio, where James Bane is listed as the head of household, aged 20-29. He may have a wife in the same age bracket, but there is a male aged 15-19 and two white females 10-14 who would not have been his children. There is also a female aged 40-49, who would be Anna. Other children of Anna may have been "bound out", either in Virginia or Ohio.
Preble County, Ohio at this time was somewhat involved in the Underground Railroad from Kentucky to Ohio to Canada, but we have no indication of whether the Bane family was involved in this. They may have been pro-slavery, or they may have been anti-slavery but not abolitionist at this time.
We don't know whether it was for political, or for financial, or for family reasons, but by 1840 the family was starting to move to Liberty Township, Wabash County, Indiana. Henry Bane was there in 1840, but Anna is not shown. I haven't located a "likely suspect" for Anna in the 1840 census. Henry, however, was in Liberty Township, Wabash County, Indiana and Anna may have been with a daughter or other relative during this time period. In 1850 she was living with her son William Jackson Bane, in District 52, Huntington County, Indiana, and in 1860 she was living with Philip Martin and his wife (her daughter Hannah) in Liberty Township, Wabash County, Indiana. She would have been about 78 at this time, and there the trail ends.
Anna was born just as the Revolutionary War was ending, and died probably just as the Civil War was underway. We don't know how these wars and the War of 1812 affected her. We don't know what she thought about the new inventions that were developed during her lifetime. We don't know what health problems the family might have had. We don't know their religion, or their educational level. But we do know that Anna persevered, somehow raised her family, and probably helped some of her children raise theirs.
I have great admiration for Anna, a pioneer woman, a wife, mother, widow, and survivor. I'd love to know more about her.
The line of descent is:
Anna Smith-William Bane
Nancy Bane-Joel Martin
Matilda Martin-David Wise
Elizabeth Wise-John W Beeks
Wilbur Beeks-Cleo Aldridge
Beeks children, grand children, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren
Update 9/14/2015: Anna Smith and William Bane, along with Nancy Bane and Joel Martin, are not related to the Beeks line. The Matilda Martin who married David Wise is a different Matilda Martin. I apologize for the error, but I'm leaving this post up because I think this woman was remarkable. I hope someone who is from her family will find this post and appreciate their heritage.