An American Family History

Elizabeth Dwinnell Banks


Various spellings of Dwinnell
Doenell, Donell, Donnall, Donnell, Duenell, Dunnel, Dunnell, Dwaniel, Dwaniell, Dwainel, Dwennel, Dwinel, Dwinell, Dwinnel, Dwinnill, Dwonill, Dwynel


Boxford, Essex County, Massachusetts is approximately 25 miles north of  Boston. Boxford was set apart from Rowley Village and incorporated in 1685.

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) was between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the 13 colonies which became the newly formed United States.

Elizabeth (Betsey) Dwinnell Banks was born in 1756 in Boxford, Essex County, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Benjamin Dwinnell and Mary Estey.

She married William Banks in September, 1781. William was the son of William and Tamar Banks and born in Oakham, Massachusetts on February 29, 1760.

Elizabeth's widow's pension application said they had had a baby girl who died at birth. They had no children who lived. William and Elizabeth informally adopted their nephew who was also named William Banks (1802). He was the son of William's brother, Israel Banks.

According to Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War, William Banks was a private in Captain John Crawford's Company in Rhode Island. William served from July 23 to 26 in 1777. He also served as a private in Captain John Crawford's Company, which marched to Bennington on the alarm of August 20, 1777. He was discharged on August 23, 1777. He was again a private in Captain Estil's Company. He enlisted in that company July 2, 1777 for one month. He was discharged from this company on January 4, 1778. His family members testified that he spoke about his time in the war especially the time when his right hand man and his left hand man and file leader were all shot down.

Elizabeth's widow's pension application stated that he served six months in Rhode Island and an undetermined time in New York.

In 1785 William Banks, Jr. bought land in Keene from William Banks.

At the time of the 1790 census, the William Banks Jr. household was in Keene and consisted of a man over 16, two women, and a boy under 16.

By 1794 they had moved to Marlborough when William Banks was listed as living in the northeast district of Marlborough.
In 1795 he was listed as a member. of the Marlborough Social Library. Each share in the library cost two dollars. (History of Town of Marlborough, Cheshire County, N. H., Charles A. Bemis, 1881, p 147)

When the 1800 census was taken they were still in Marlborough. The household consisted to of a man and a woman between 26 and 45, a man between 16 and 26, an a girl between 10 and 16.

In 1802 and 1803 he was a selectman in Marlborough.

In 1810 the household consisted of a man and a woman over 45 and a boy less than 10. The boy would be their nephew, William who probably joined the household in 1807 when his family moved to Vermont.

Around 1815, they lived in Sullivan.

They were living in 1815, and for a short time before and after that date in the north part of S[ullivan] in the old house at 207, where there was then a house only occupied by Silas Atwood, an unmarried man.  They moved from S[ullivan] to Gilsum. (History of the Town of Sullivan, p. 830).

According to the History of the Town of Sullivan, William Banks was a moderator of the Baptist Church in Sullivan in 1815.

In 1820 they were in Gilsum. The household consisted of a man and a woman over 45 and a man between 18 and 26. According to Gazetteer of Cheshire County, N. H., 1736-1885:

William Banks was born in the part of Marlboro now Roxbury, May 13, 1802, and came to Gilsum in 1820. He is a shoemaker by trade. He has served the town as selectman and lives with his son, Elmer D. [Banks], on road 2.

William died in Gilsum on April 29, 1830.

On March 7, 1849, Elizabeth (Betsy), age 92, appeared before Judge Larkin Baker at her home in Gilsum to give an affidavit that she was qualified to receive a widow's pension based on the service of her deceased husband William Banks in the Revolutionary War. She signed with a mark. Witnesses were William Banks and James F. Isham (pension application #W23529). In spite of numerous declarations of William's service and their marriage, the pension was not approved.

The 1850 census of Gilsum, Cheshire County, New Hampshire lists Elizabeth Banks age 93 living with her foster son, William Banks.

Elizabeth died on March 4, 1853 at the age of 96 in Gilsum. 

Children of Benjamin Dwinnell
and Mary Estey

  • Jonathan Dwinnell
  • Thomas Dwinnell
  • Mary Dwinnell Pomeroy
  • Elizabeth Dwinnell Banks
  • Abigail Dwinnell Francis
  • Hannah Dwinnell Wheeler
  • Benjamin Dwinnell
  • Israel Dwinnell
  • Sarah Dwinnell Colony
  • Esther Dwinnell Metcalf
  • Three daughters of William Towne and Joanna Blessing were wrongly accused of practicing witchcraft in Salem. Rebecca Towne Nurse, Mary Towne Estey, and Sarah Towne Bridges Cloyes were persecuted in 1692. The children of people in the line below are all descendants of Mary Estey.

    William Towne,
    Mary Towne Estey,
    Isaac Estey,
    Aaron Estey
    Mary Estey Dwinnell
    Israel Dwinnell,
    Isaac Davis Dwinnell, Sr.,
    Isaac Davis Dwinnell, Jr.
    Victoria Zellena Dwinnell
    Robert Wilson Miller, Sr
    Robert Wilson Miller, Jr.

    In early New England towns policy was set by a board of 3 to 5 selectmen. They oversaw public responsibilities such as the policing, roads, and fences.

    New Hampshire was first settled by Europeans in 1623. It was separated from Massachusetts in 1679.

    The American Flag was adopted in 1777.




    In the 1830s settlers began arriving in Iowa from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia. Iowa became a state in 1846.

    History of the Town of Marlborough: Cheshire County, New Hampshire by Charles Austin Bemis

    William Banks, a half-brother of Israel, m. Elizabeth Dwinell, a native of Topsfield, Mass. He resided for some time on the farm with his brother, afterwards removed to Gilsum, where he d. Apr. 27, 1830. He was for several years one of the selectmen of this town. His wife d. in Gilsum, March 3, 1853.

    Israel Banks, son of William, who came from Oakham, Mass., and settled in that part of Keene which was set off to make the town of Roxbury, b. May 30,1780; m. Patty, dau. of James and Martha (Collins) Lewis, and settled about 1802 on the farm known as the "Banks place," on the Daken road, so called. About 1807, he removed to Wheelock, Vt., and thence to Shefford, Canada, about 1812. He d. in Oxford, Canada, 1835. The three eldest children were b. in Marl.

    i. William [Banks], b. May 30, 1802; m. Rebecca Isham; resides in Gilsum.
    ii. Israel, b. Apr. 8, 1804; settled in Nevada, Iowa,
    iii. Eliza, m. Neal Raney; d. in Oswego, N.Y.
    iv. Alvin, m. and resides in Iowa.
    v. Patty, m. Heinan Clothier; d. in New Milford, Ill.
    vi. Lucinda, m. Samuel Beach of Oxford, Canada,
    vii. Amanda, m. Washington Burr; resides in Sycamore, Mich.
    viii. Samuel, resides in Iowa,
    ix. Sullivan, resides in New Milford, Ill.

    Europeans first settled New Hampshire in the 1620s.
    New London County, Connecticut was one of four original Connecticut counties and was established on May 10, 1666, by an act of the Connecticut General Court.

    From History of the Town of Sullivan
    William Banks and his wife, Tamar, came from Oakham, Mass., and settled in that part of Keene which is now Roxbury. Among their ch. was

    William [Banks], b. in Oakham, Mass., Feb. 29, 1760 (ac. to Hayward's Gilsum.)

    Israel Banks, another son of William b. in Keene (now Roxbury), May 20, 1781 (sic, Keene records, correcting several authorities); lived in Roxbury, Wheelock, Vt., and Oxford, P. Q., where he d. in 1835 m - Martha, dau. of James and Martha (Collins) Lewis of Marlborough. Among their ch. was William 3 ,

    William Banks, son of William 1 , L, died in Gilsum, Apr. 29, 1830; m. Elizabeth Dwinnell, b., (ac. to Hayward's Gilsum) in Danvers, Mass., (then a district of Salem), in 1756 ; d. in Gilsum, March 4, 1853, at the age of 97 ; dau. of Benjamin and (Esty) Dwinell. They had no ch.

    They informally adopted their nephew, William Banks, 2. They were living in 1815, and for a short time before and after that date, in the north part of S., in the old house at 207, where there was then a house only occupied by Silas Atwood, an unmarried man. They moved from S. to Gilsum.

    William Banks son of Israel, and nephew as well as informally adopted son of William, b. in Marlborough (now Roxbury), May 30, 1802; m. in Surry, by Rev. Perley Howe, Nov. 23, 1826, Rebecca Isham; b. in Gilsum, May 22, 1803; d. there, Dec. 2, 1871 ; dau. of Samuel and Polly (Carpenter) Isham.

    Eight ch., all b. in Gilsum :
    1. Fanny Rebecca, b. May 5, 1827; d. in Gilsum, Feb. 22, 1832;
    2. Samuel Isham, b., Nov. 12, 1828; d. in Gilsum, Feb. 10, 1832 ;
    3. Eliza Vilas, b., Aug. 12, 1830; m. Grenville Clinton Slader, who d. in the army, at Columbus, Ky., in 1863;
    4. Dimmis Salome, b., July 2, 1833; m - Peterborough;
    5. William Wallace, b., Jan. 21, 1835; d. by a sunstroke, in Newark, N. J., July 6, 1873; m. Mary Clark;
    6. Helen Marian, b., Dec. 28, 1837; d. in Gilsum, unm., Dec. 20, 1855;
    7. Samuel Osman, b., Dec. 14, 1839 ; m. Anna E. Learoyd; r. in New London, Conn ; two ch., Gladys Learoyd and George Elmer;
    8. Elmer David [Banks], b., Sept. 23, 1843; m - Ellen A. Chapin; one son, Elmer Clifford 5 , b. in Gilsum, Sept. 29, 1866.

    As William Banks never lived in S. after his marriage, we do not trace his family further. He d. in Gilsum, Feb. 19, 1887.

    The Civil War had more casualties than any other American war. Disease and infection were the biggest killers.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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