Saturday, August 30, 2008


I've been noticing over the years, discrepancies in the wife and children of my great great great grandfather, Francis Montfort Jr [1784-1867]. Since I can prove the errors are wrong, here is my blog entry to answer it. Way too many sites are giving Francis as the husband of Margaret Banta, daughter of Cornelius Banta and his children as John, Henry, and Leah. I am not sure where these folks are getting this information., but it is incorrect. These are the children of Margaret/Peggy Banta who married Jacob Montfort in 1805 Henry County, KY, younger brother of Francis Jr. I have corresponded with Elsa Banta who wrote the Banta Pioneers and Allied Families with my proof of an error in the book and she has been very kind to consider and accept my proof and sources. In her book, on page 145, she has Francis married to Polly Banta which is correct but listed as their children are Anna, Leah, Rachel and Rebecca. These are the younger sisters of Polly Banta Montfort. This is proven by the will of their father, John Banta and the Shaker records. Francis and Polly had three children, John [1803], Charity [1805] and David W. [1806]. The last was born 8 1/2 months after Francis and Polly joined the Shakers. She sent me a list of all the libraries where her book was donated and I spent a month getting the new information sent...a few came back and one of these days I'll find the time to get new corrected addresses and they'll go out again. Since there are many descendants from both Jacob and Francis, it's not a good idea to perpetuate the error any longer. This is one way to make the correction, another is to put the information in various sites online that accept information..i.e. Genforum. So bear with me kin and friends. If anyone is confused or wants more information....just give me an email...glad to answer, set straight...even a stubborn Dutchman...when I'm right, I'm have only to check with Indiana Dept of Revenue....they were wrong and I proved it. I can really dig in my heels when I KNOW I'm right.

Jacob Montfort 1787-1864/1870

I am not sure where the information is coming from that lists his date of death as 1824, but I can track him to 1864 and his date of death between that year and the 1870 census of Indiana where he is no longer listed.

Jacob was born in Mercer County, Kentucky on February 8, 1787 after his parents and older siblings had moved there from York County, Pennsylvania. His parents were Francis Sr and Geertje/Charity Banta Montfort and his maternal grandfather was the man called Father Hendrick, Hendrick Banta 3rd, leader of the Low Dutch Colony. There were seven siblings older than him, Rachel, Catherine, Marya, Charity, Henry, John Calvin and Francis Jr. All were born in York County, PA. A younger sister, Sarah, would be born in Mercer County, Kentucky in 1789, completing the family of nine children.

On the fourth of February 1805, a license for marriage was filed in Henry County, Kentucky for Jacob Montfort to Margaret/Peggy Banta, daughter of Cornelius Banta and Mary Magdalene Durie Schuck Banta. Many online sites give his wife as Polly Banta but this is incorrect. His elder brother, Francis Jr was married to Polly Banta with their license filed in Shelby County, Kentucky in May of 1802. Polly was the daughter of John and Polly Riker Banta. Francis Jr is also listed as father of John, Henry and Leah Montfort, known children of Jacob and Margaret/Peggy Banta Montfort, from records of the Shakers of Pleasant Hill, KY.
In a typical case of family's intermarrying within the Low Dutch Colony, John and Cornelius Banta were half brothers of Charity Banta Montfort. Charity was the youngest of six children born to Hendrick Banta 3rd and his first wife, Rachel Brower. John and Cornelius were from the second marriage of Hendrick Banta 3rd and Antie Demarest Banta. Antie and Rachel were cousins through the Demarest lineage.

Jacob and his wife, Margaret, would have three children, sons John born December 13, 1805 and Henry born November 24, 1807, both in Henry County, Kentucky. John was named for his paternal grandfather, Jan Monfoort and Henry was named after his maternal grandfather, Hendrick Banta 3rd. A third child would be born November 25, 1809 at Shakertown at Pleasant Hill in Mercer County, Kentucky. She would be named Leah after her great grandmother, Leah Demarest Demarest, who had been killed at the Long Run Massacre in September 1781. And yes, her maiden name was Demarest.

Jacob and Margaret had joined the Shaker religious society in June of 1809 with the two sons and the expected baby that would be called Love by the Shakers. In joining they would be one of many of the Low Dutch Colony that would “go to the Shakers” in the early 1800's and most of those who joined were related to them in those early years. Charity Banta Montfort and her youngest daughter, Sarah, had joined in August of 1805. Francis Montfort Jr and his wife, Polly Banta Montfort joined with two children, John [1803] and Charity [1805] and a third born after they joined in March of 1806. This last child would be called David W. Montfort. An older sister, Rachel who had married John Voris, had joined with her large family in 1810.
Serving as elder at several of the family houses at Shakertown, Jacob was a trusted member of the society. His expulsion in October of 1836 thus came as a surprise when found written in a Shaker journal. Along with him, a young lady, Nancy Lineback/Lyneback was also sent out of the village at the same time. She was born November 8, 1805 and was the age of his two sons by Margaret. Her pregnancy could no longer be concealed and the father of the expected baby was revealed. Of all the rules one can break as a Shaker this was the worst. The Shakers as a rule were very forgiving of transgressions but this was against the backbone of the society's beliefs......celibacy.

The date of the child's birth is not known but must have been sometime after the first of the year of 1837. It was a girl and her name is not known, but she is no longer listed after the 1840 census.

Jacob had filed for divorce from his first wife, Margaret/Peggy Banta Montfort and it was granted in February of 1837. Kentucky law at that time granted divorces if one party of the marriage was a Shaker and would not leave the society. The divorce can be found in records of the Kentucky General Assembly for the year 1837, as that body had the authority to grant divorces. Within the same month he was married to Nancy. They would have a son about 1841, named Jacob and no other children.

Margaret/Peggy Banta Montfort remained a Shaker till her death August 23, 1874 and is buried in the cemetery at Shakertown at Pleasant Hill, Kentucky. Their daughter, Leah/Love died November 25, 1882, her 73rd birthday and is also buried at the Shaker cemetery at Pleasant Hill.

Their sons, John and Henry, both left the society in 1827 and 1828. John disappears and nothing more is known of him. Henry left the society in 1828 and made his way north to Indiana where he marries Mrs. Susan Lewis Samples in Madison on October 25, 1828. They would have four children, Susannah [Davis], Louisa [Spink], Cornelius B. and Robert H. There are descendants of at least two of these children.

Jacob, his new wife, Nancy and family moved north to Indiana and lived near his son, Henry, for a time. They are listed in the 1840 census of Jefferson County, Indiana with a male between 50-60., a female between 30-40, and a female child under the age of five. By August of 1850, the family had moved west to Harrison County, Indiana where they are found living in Blue River Township. Jacob is a farmer, age 63, born in KY. Nancy is 44, born in North Carolina and no daughter is listed. A son, Jacob, age 9 is listed as having been born in Indiana. They are still living in this same area in the 1860 census.

March of 1864 is the last known date Jacob Sr is still living. He signs a paper for the girl his son is going to marry stating she is “of lawful age to marry, being acquainted with her since her birth.,” Jacob Montfort Jr marries Martha Edmonson in Washington County, IN March 14th , 1864. The entire letter he wrote to present to the court allowing his son to marry is as follows: “Jacob is 23 and could marry anyone he pleased, and he wishes to marry Martha Edmison, a girl with no mother or father living. I hereby certify Martha is of lawful age to marry, being acquainted with her since birth. She is 21 years of age and her relations are willing.” The letter was dated March 11, 1864 and signed by Jacob Montfort.. By 1870, Jacob Sr is no longer found listed in census records for Harrison County, IN and indications are he had deceased by this time. The marriage is found in Book G, page 349, Washington County, IN Marriages 1844-1877 found in the archives of the Indiana History Room of the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library, New Albany, Indiana.

Nancy is listed for the last time in the 1880 census for Harrison County, IN, living alone in Blue River Township.

Jacob Jr and his wife, Martha would have at least known 6 children, Elizabeth [1867]. Ulysses Grant [1870], Eliza [1872], Martin [1874], and John [1876] , and Nancy [1879-80] before they disappear from records. It is possible one or more of the girls married although no records appear in records at Harrison County, IN. Like their parents, they could have married in Washington County, IN as it was nearer to their farm but no records have yet been found.
Sources include the original Shaker journals found at the Filson Historical Society in Louisvlle, KY as well as the three rolls of microfilm by the Harrodsburg Historical Society of Harrodsburg, KY from originals they have in their archives. The University of Kentucky at Lexington, Kentucky has some journals from Pleasant Hill Shaker Society on microfilm in their archives, as does the Western Kentucky University Library archives that deal with the South Union Shaker Village near Bowling Green , Kentucky. Their journals at WKU include many references to the early days of the society at Pleasant Hill. Western Reserve Historical Society of Cleveland, Ohio and the archives at Shakertown at Pleasant Hill, Kentucky have also been used for sources.
The courthouses of Shelby, Henry, Mercer, Anderson, Jefferson Counties in Kentucky as well as those in Jefferson, Harrison and Switzerland Counties in Indiana for birth and marriage as well as divorce records.

Libraries utilized include the National SAR Library in Louisville, Kentucky; Louisville Free Public Library, Louisville, Kentucky; Lawrenceburg, KY Library; Shelby County, KY Library at Shelbyville, KY; New Albany-Floyd County Public Library in New Albany, IN; Jefferson County/Madison Public Library at Madison, IN; Filson Historical Society library in Louisville, KY; Harrodsburg Historical Society library at Harrodsburg,KY; my own personal collection of Shaker material in my library. Also the Henry County Historical Society in New Castle, Kentucky.

Barbara Whiteside