BANKS FAMILY LITTLE REUNION 2008
September 26 & 27th
Avery special Little Reunion was held on the weekend of September 26 & 27th, 2008. For the first time as a family, we got to experience our colonial Virginia roots, touring Mantapike purchased by our immigrant ancestor William Banks in the late 1600s, visiting the early 18th century church named Mattaponi where the first three generations of our family in Virginia worshipped and where our earliest Banks ancestors in Virginia are no doubt buried, and enjoying delightful food and accommodations in the cottages and rustic dining lodge at Stratford Hall, Robert E. Lee’s magnificent ancestral home on the Potomac River in Virginia’s Northern Neck.
Headquarters: Stratford Hall. Our headquarters were at Stratford Hall, where attendees stayed Friday and Saturday nights. We had rooms reserved in the Cheek and Astor Guest Houses on the grounds of Stratford Hall, one of the great houses of American history which was home to many generations of the Lee family and is open to the public as a magnificent house museum. The great house at Stratford as well as the lovely grounds around it were toured on your own during your stay.
We gathered Friday evening at the Plantation Dining Room at Stratford for a Southern supper and fellowship, as well as an orientation to the Banks family history in tidewater Virginia and the sites we were to visit on Saturday.
Saturday. On Saturday, we had a continental breakfast at Stratford, then caravaned east and south to King and Queen County (about 40 miles from Stratford), driving through the charming village of King and Queen Courthouse where our ancestors transacted their legal business before proceeding to Mantapike on the Mattaponi River, purchased by William Banks in the late 1600s and home to his descendants for almost 100 years. We toured the Mantapike area, guided by a long-time local resident, and then we drove to the ancient Mattaponi Church, which has stood since the early 1700s on a high hill about two miles north of Mantapike. This was the Anglican parish church where our earliest Banks ancestors were baptized, married, and buried. It was abandoned after the Revolution and since the 1830s has been preserved and used by a Baptist congregation. The ladies of the Mattaponi congregation proudly toured us through this historic site.
The ladies of Mattaponi Baptist Church prepared an excellent lunch buffet along with a special treat - Banks Reunion Cookies. Unfortunately, the only receipt that we could get was for those fine cookies, below printed
Banks Reunion Cookies
2 c Margarine 5 c oatmeal
2 c white sugar 1 tsp salt
2 c brown sugar 2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs 2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla 20 oz chocolate and caramel baking chips
4 c flour 1 c coconut
Blend the 5 cups of oatmeal in blender until fine. Be sure to measure first, before you put in blender.
Cream butter and both sugars, add eggs and vanilla. Mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
Add chips and coconut.
Roll into big balls and flatten with hand onto greased baking sheets.
Bake at 375 degrees about 8 to 10 minutes.
After lunch, we gathered on the steps of Mattaponi Baptist Church for a gathering group photo. We then returned to Stratford for free time (watching football and socializing in our cottages) before our Saturday evening dinner, again at Stratford’s Plantation Dining Room.
SUNDAY. We had a breakfast buffet Sunday morning at the Stratford Dining Hall before departing for other activities or returning home.