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FAMILY TRADITIONS

 

The following family tradition, or something very similar, has been passed around Bandy family members and researchers for many years.  Its wording implies that it is fact.

"The original Bandys were French Huguenots who left France to avoid religious persecution.  The name may have been `Baudoin' or `Bandoin' but was eventually changed to Bandy.  Some of them stopped in England.  It was there in Liverpool that Richard Bandy was born and in 1740 married Jane Cummins, a native of Dublin, Ireland.  Richard and Jane came to Virginia about 1745 and were the ancestors of Bandys in North America.  They had four known sons, twins, Richard Solomon and Solomon Richard, Thomas and George.  Richard Solomon died in Virginia and Solomon Richard went to Tennessee where he dropped the Solomon part of his name."

 

After considerable research of our own, we have to say that we can find no data which substantiates most of the above "family tradition".  Further, there is very little data which seems to fit the tradition story.

HOW DID THE TRADITION ARISE?

 

As mentioned earlier, we had the opportunity to look at all of the known existing letters received by Mac Ballard in the early 1900's.  Dr. Allen Bandy also lent us his own correspondence files for review.  From these and the similarity of wording of the tradition in various places, we believe that the tradition arose in something like the following steps.

1. Mac Ballard concluded that the  above tradition was the closest explanation that fit what the writers said in the letters he received.

2. Mac knew that his conclusions were tenuous and knew he had no proof - perhaps attempts to substantiate his conclusions consumed so much time he did not get to publish his book.

3. His tentative conclusions were written down and passed on to others - letters he wrote bear this out.

4. Somewhere along the line, the clear identification of this as tradition, not proven fact, was lost.

5. Since then, the story has been repeated so often, that many accept it as fact rather than hypothesis.

 

Of the Mac Ballard letters we reviewed, the only ones that suggest any part of the tradition are:

1. July 28, 1905: Mrs. Fannie H. Bandy Lancaster, of Lobelville, TN, wrote:

"My father, Joe W. Bandy, ... [was] son of Jimmison Bandy, born in Virginia, died in Tenn. Dec 16, 1873.  Jimmison, George, Joe, Thomas and Dick were brothers ...  The five boys were sons of Richard Bandy and Jane Cummins ... The Bandys first came from Liverpool, England.  ... Great grand father was English and his wife, Jane Cummins was an Irish girl born in Dublin, Ireland."

2. May 11, 1910: Joseph W. Bandy, of Lobelville, TN, (Mrs. Lancaster's father) wrote:

"... my father ... Jamison Bandy ... was born in Va. in the year 1789. [He] was a son of Richard Bandy who married Jane Cummins."

3. February 2, 1911: The above Joseph W. Bandy (this time signing as Joseph Woodford) writes again:

"You are correct about my grandfather Richard Solomon Bandy and wife Jane Cummins coming from Dublin, Ireland.  My grandfather was a twin brother to Solomon Richard Bandy, who died as did my grandfather in Va. ... Richard Solomon Bandy my grandfather's family and wife Jane Cummins six boys and one girl were brought to Tenn. by Major Maston after my grandfather's death in Va.  The names of the six boys and girls are as follows, Richard, Joseph W., Eperson, Wellsher, George, Jimison and Sallie."

4. September 2, 1947: Catherine (Mrs. J. C.) Garrett of Goodlettsville, TN, wrote that the Thomas Bandy who was born in 1746 in Fincastle, VA, and died 1832 in Laguardo, TN, was the son of Richard and Jane Cummins; that Richard was born about 1720 in Chester, England, and died in Botetourt County, VA.; and that Jane Cummins was born in Limerick, Ireland and married Richard in 1740 in Botetourt County, VA.

 

We share Mr. Ballard's problem in deciding which parts of his correspondents' information were fact and which were garbled remembrances.  With respect to the three letters from Lobelville, examination of Tennessee wills, tax rolls, marriage records and census  reports assure us that Joseph Woodford Bandy's father was Jameson Bandy - as Joseph Woodford wrote.  However, there are the following disturbing points in these letters:

Letter 3 says Joseph Woodford Bandy's grandfather died in Virginia, whereas from tax rolls, census reports and probate records, we know that Joseph Woodford's grandfather (Jameson's father) was the Richard Bandy who wrote the 1815 will in Wilson County, TN, and died there.

Letters 1 and 3, together, name Wilcher, Joseph, Sallie, Jameson, Richard, Epperson, Thomas and George as children of British born Richard and Jane. With the exception of Thomas and George, these are the among the children named in the will of 1815 Richard[1].  There is no record of 1815 Richard having sons Thomas and George.  According to 1795 Richard's will, he had sons named Thomas, George and Richard, but no Wilcher, Joseph, Sallie, Jameson or Epperson.

Tradition has it that it was Solomon Richard Bandy who moved to Tennessee, dropping the Solomon part of his name.  In letter 3, Joseph Woodford Bandy says that his grandfather (the one we know came to TN) was Richard Solomon.

In letter 3, Joseph Woodford Bandy starts out "You are correct...".  Since, in letters 1 and 2, Joseph Woodford's grandfather was called Richard, not Richard Solomon, we wonder if "Richard Solomon" was a name Joseph Woodford knew all along, or if it had been suggested to him by an intervening letter from Mr. Ballard.

Letter 4 states that Thomas was born in Fincastle, VA.  In his pension application Thomas says that he was born in Cumberland County, VA.  To our knowledge, the town of Fincastle, VA, was never in Cumberland County and Fincastle County, VA, only existed from 1772-1777[2].  The letter goes on to say that Richard and Jane were married in Botetourt County, VA, in 1740.  Botetourt County was not formed until 1769[3].

 

The question which comes to our mind is, "Are the few sources noted above sufficient to cause Mac Ballard to come to the conclusions which resulted in the `tradition'?"  We asked this of Dr. Allen Bandy who probably knew Mr. Ballard from a genealogy standpoint better than anyone else alive today.  Allen replied, "I am sure that Mac did not make it up and that he believed it.  I am also sure that Mac knew he did not have proof.  But, like you, I also wonder."

ORIGINAL-RICHARD / JANE

 

As reported above, tradition says a Richard Bandy of Liverpool, England, married a Jane Cummins of Dublin, Ireland, and that they were the ancestors of our Bandy family.  The data discussed in the later chapter on "Early British Bandys" suggest Richard may have been born in Cardington, Bedford, England - almost 200 miles from Liverpool.  We have been unable to find any recorded data which suggests Jane's birthplace or the location of a marriage of the "original-Richard" and Jane. 

 

The only reference we have found to a "Richard Bandy and Jane, his wife," is a July 14, 1801, Botetourt County, Virginia, land transfer[4].  As we shall develop later, this was almost certainly the Richard who wrote the 1815 Wilson County, Tennessee, will - it certainly was not the Richard who wrote the 1795 VA will!  The land transfer record is consistent with the above Lobelville letters which say that Jane Cummins was the wife of Joseph Woodford Bandy's grandfather - the 1815 Richard by our reckoning.  As we shall see later, 1815 Richard, however,  was almost certainly the son of the Richard of the 1795 Botetourt County, VA, will, and therefore not the "original" Richard. 

 

Is it possible that Joseph Woodford Bandy mixed his grandfather with his great-grandfather; that both married Janes; that the wife of one Richard was Jane Cummins from Dublin, and the surname of the other Richard's wife Jane unknown?

 

On April 23, 1983, Eilene Bandy Utsey wrote Dr. Allen Bandy,

"Several months ago I received a copy of Bandy family Bible records copied by Etta Frances Bandy Jent, born 1891.  Her copy began with Richard Bandy born 1720 Liverpool, England, married Jane Cummings born Dublin, Ireland - married July 10, 1740.  Etta Frances Bandy Jent was or is (she may now be deceased) a descendent of Richard Bandy through his son Thomas Bandy and his eldest son Cary Bandy b 1769."

 

Jackson Driver[5] sent us photocopies of 1) an undated handwritten paper entitled "Direct Line of Bandy Family" by Etta Bandy Jent, and 2) family records from the Lewis Bandy and Martha Short Bandy Bible.  We have not been able to determine for sure, but we believe these are the documents to which Mrs. Utsey refers.  The Jent document does list Richard as being born in Liverpool in 1720, but does not list Jane, or anything about the marriage, as Mrs. Utsey relays.  The Bible records begin with Lewis and Martha, three generations after the "original" Richard.  We do not believe this information is adequate to substantiate the tradition.

 

In a September 16, 1923, letter to R. W. Bandy of Gleason, TN, James A. Newman, a Nashville, TN, attorney, writes:

"Accept my thanks for your favor of the 14th.  I appreciate your kind interest and courtesies very much.  If you obtain any information of any kind as to George W. Bandy and Sophia Bandy Brown, of whom I wrote, please let me know and it will be appreciated.

"I note in your letter that Mr. Larkin Bandy does not know the name of his grandfather.  I find this in my files and am giving you a bit of his family history.  Larkin is a son of Marcus Bandy, who was a brother of Woodford.  They were children of Joseph Wilson Bandy, who was a son of Richard Bandy, who came to America from England and settled in Bedford County, Virginia.  This Richard Bandy married Jane Cummings, who was born in Dublin, Ireland.  He had several sond [sic], Jamison, George, Joseph, Richard and a daughter whose name is unknown..."

 

We do not know the source of Mr. Newman's information, and therefore do not know whether he represents an independent source of the Richard/Jane story or whether he was repeating what could have been a strengthening tradition by 1923.  In any event, it is obvious that the Richard he is referring to is 1815 Richard, not 1795 Richard.

RICHARD SOLOMON / SOLOMON RICHARD

 

Again, we have not been able to find any recorded data which supports or even suggests this part of the family tradition.  We are inclined to discount this part of the tradition for the following reasons:

1. Having more than one given name was not common until the first half of the 19th century.  As a demonstration, less than 20 persons in the attached Family Group Records, who were born before 1800, have a second given name, or middle initial . 

2. We have found no recorded data with either name, Richard Solomon Bandy or Solomon Richard Bandy.

3. The only recorded data in the 18th century naming a Solomon Bandy which we have found are:

a. From the DAR Roster of Soldiers from North Carolina in the American Revolution:

p404: Solomon Bandy #430 Continental Army.

p509: State Records - Army accounts of Halifax and Warrrenton, 1781-1785: "Solomon Bandy #1535 Received by John Price (Warrenton)".

   We would like to know who this Solomon was.  Our search of Warren County, NC, records did not yield anything more.

b. From Botetourt County, VA, marriage records 1770-1853, p106, April 9, 1799, Solomon Bandy married Mary Barrett (Barnett?).  This was almost certainly the Solomon Bandy who was the son of Richard Bandy of the 1815 TN will.

c. Personal property tax rolls of Botetourt County, VA, for 1799-1801 show a Solomon Bandy.  Again, this is almost certainly 1815 Richard's son.

 

A different version of the "twins" part of the legend shows up in the April 23, 1983, letter from Eilene Bandy Utsey to Dr. Allen H. Bandy.  There, Mrs. Utsey says:

"Etta Frances' records give this information: Solomon Bandy and Thomas Bandy, twin brothers, sons of Richard Bandy, born June 22, 1748."

We agree that the Etta Bandy Jent document, referred to above, may be interpreted as saying that Solomon and Thomas were twins, but the wording is ambiguous and again, we are left unknowledgeable as to any sound confirmation.  However, if there were twins, this seems as believable an explanation to us as the Richard Solomon / Solomon Richard one.

 

If 1795 Richard had a son named Solomon, this Solomon could have been the one in Revolutionary War service in NC who perhaps was not named in his father's 1795 will because he had died previously. 

 

It is also conceivable that 1795 Richard had a twin, Solomon, and that they were the origin of the twins part of the tradition.  This Solomon could have been the husband of Avy - more on Avy Bandy in the chapter on "Which George is Which?"

SUMMARY

 

We cannot find anything which substantially confirms, or refutes, either the "original-Richard/Jane" or the twins part of the legend.  What mention there is of these in correspondence is suspect because of other discrepancies and the inability to trace the story to a proven source.

 

It is certain that 1815 Richard married a Jane - whether or not she was Jane Cummins is not known.  If she was Jane Cummins, it is highly unlikely that they were married, as the tradition says, in 1740. Because:

1. He would have to have been at least 90 years of age at death.

2. Jane would have been at least 47 and 67 when her oldest and youngest sons were born, respectively.

 

We are certain that the tradition in its entirety is not correct, yet we believe it probably had some counterparts in real life.  We suspect the tradition is a mixture of facts about two or more generations.  Thus, even though we are highly suspicious of these traditions, we show the "original- Richard/Jane" story in the Family Group Records which follow later.   With the same doubt, we show this Richard as having a possible son, Solomon, and comment that he may have been a twin to Richard or Thomas.

 

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[1]To save time and space, we shall use the following abbreviations:

 a. "1795 Richard": the Richard Bandy who wrote the July 21, 1795, Botetourt County, VA, will.

 b. "1815 Richard": the Richard Bandy who wrote the November 3, 1815, Wilson County, TN, will.

 c. "1748 Thomas": the Thomas Bandy who was born June 22, 1748, in Cumberland County, VA, and was the Revolutionary War soldier.

 d. "SE Thomas" (SE = son executor): the son of 1795 Richard and the co-executor of 1795 Richard's will.  We shall prove this Thomas was the same as 1748 Thomas, but the two separate designations are convenient in arriving at that proof.

 e. "SE Richard" (SE = son executor): the son of 1795 Richard and co-executor of 1795 Richard's will.  We shall prove that this Richard is the same as 1815 Richard, but these are handy designations in the proving.

[2] Kirkham, E. Kay, Simplified Genealogy for Americans

[3] Ibid

[4] Botetourt County, VA, Deed Book 7, p465

[5] Driver, Clarence Jackson, Miscellaneous Private Papers