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Banner Shields (1772 - abt. 1845)

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Banner Shields
Born in Hampton Valley, Frederick, Marylandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 5 Feb 1800 in Blount County, Tennessee, USAmap
Descendants descendants
Died about in Polk, Tennessee, United Statesmap
Profile manager: John Weir private message [send private message]
Profile last modified 12 Oct 2019 | Created 31 Aug 2013
This page has been accessed 625 times.



Banner Shields was born at Hampton Valley in Frederick County, Maryland. His birth is recorded in the family Bible of William Shields.

After 1800, references to him are found here and there in east Tennessee sources. A resident of Washington Co., William Henry, placed the following notice in the Newspaper and Washington Advertiser: “I forewarn all persons from taking assignments on a note of hand for $40, that was given to Barney Shields sometime in May, 1803. The note is payable on the 25th of December next. I have paid said note and given this public notice on October 22, 1803.” During his lifetime Banner acquired land in Blount and McMinn Counties; he sold 274 acres on Pistol Creek in Blount County to Michal Goodlink for $1000 on 13 Oct 1820; this was part of an occupant claim (Grant #720) surveyed for him by Josiah Patty [1]. It is unknown if this was the same land as that which he acquired in Cades Cove, as is stated in Harmon, p. 20. [2]

"Barnes Shields" was a signer of the 1813 petition of "Citizens South of the French Broad and Holston" complaining to the Tennessee General Assembly that the depredations of their inveterate enemy had prevented them from engaging in commerce and indebted them.

The Slave Fraud Case

At the time that William Shields died (1797), he bequeathed his property to his surviving children. This property included at least one slave, whom Banner inherited. The will of William Shields indicates that he owned slaves, but does not name them or bequeath them individually. Neither does it say anything about their eventual emancipation. Apparently Banner and his older brothers chose slaves from their father's estate.

The slave's name was Charles, and he was aged about 10 to 14 when Banner inherited him.

When the slave Charles was nearly thirty years of age he was stolen by a man named James Brice. [3] James Brice was eventually hanged for his crime. [4]

One Reuben Charles, a man whom all the parties agreed was of bad character, apparently offered to get the slave back for Banner Shields. It was alleged that Banner and his brothers had agreed that their slaves should be emancipated when they reached the age of 31 or 32. Banner disputed this allegation.

In this situation, when Reuben Charles offered to apprehend the slave Charles, Banner Shields paid him $250, about half the slave’s value, and Reuben Charles was to have given Banner security for that sum, with the two men agreeing to meet at the courthouse in Maryville, Blount County, for the transaction. As surety, Reuben Charles asked Miles Cunningham to join him. Accordingly, on 6 March 1813, Reuben Charles executed to Banner Shields, with Miles Cunningham and Samuel [or William] Harris as sureties, a bond for the payment of $250 for the negro on the 12th of August, 1813. Shields gave a bill of sale for the negro as a slave for life—no provision for emancipation. At the time he entered into this bond, Reuben Charles was possessed of considerable property, but by the time appointed for its fulfillment, he could not pay, and suit was brought. At that time Reuben Charles also absconded. This left Cunningham liable and he petitioned to be relieved. Cunningham also charged that Harris and Shields had entered into a private agreement in which Harris was not to be held liable, and that Shields had fraudulently combined with Charles and Cunningham to collect the whole of the bond.

Banner Shields then produced a copy of his father’s will, showing that it made no provision for emancipating his father’s slaves, and thereafter that aspect of the case was dropped. It makes one wonder who would benefit from the story that the Shields family intended to emancipate the slaves.

Shortly after Cunningham brought his charge, Banner Shields responded that when he had been in difficult circumstances of his own, Reuben Charles had stood as surety to him, and Shields could not refuse him.

And yet, the judge in the case came to the conclusion that Cunningham intended to dispute the bond from the outset, for on the very day that Shields, Reuben Charles, Cunningham and Harris got together, one of his own witnesses deposed that he [i.e. Cunningham?] said to Shields that he had fixed himself by selling a free negro. Who was defrauding whom? It was just as likely, the judge observed, that Charles and Cunningham had got together to defraud Shields, as it was that Shields and Harris were conspiring to defraud Cunningham.

Harris as defendant charged that Banner Shields had indeed promised the slave his freedom and that Shields had indeed entered into a private agreement with him that he should not be liable. According to the testimony of his father-in-law, Jonathan Trippett, and other witnesses, Harris and Shields apparently had, at least until the suit was brought, an agreement that Harris should not be made to pay. Maybe Shields had favored Harris to some degree, but it was only after the suit was brought, and Harris did not confess judgment, and indeed “threatened him with the gallows,” that Shields pressed him. When the case was appealed to the higher court, Shields said that if he had confessed judgment at the first court he would not have been so tight on Harris. Harris responded that he had entered into the case only through confidence in Shields. And Shields apparently was confident that he would not have had to make Harris pay, if only Reuben Charles could have been made to.

In the end, the cases against Banner Shields were dismissed. It was more likely that Shields was being conspired against, the judge ruled, since he had more to lose.

Jonathan Trippett had also coincidentally stood as witness to Banner Shields’s marriage in Blount County in 1800. William Harris was his son-in-law. It is likely there was a friendship between the three men. The health of that friendship, after this court case was decided, was in need of mending. [5]

Move from Blount County to McMinn County

The sale of his property in Blount County to Michal Goodlink is evidence that Banner moved from Blount Co. to McMinn Co. ca. 1820-22, perhaps due to the death of Peggy (Weir) Shields around this time, and perhaps also due to the aftermath of this lawsuit. His parcel of 524 ¾ acres was one of those to be exposed to public sale (Sept. 3-4, 1821) in the town of Maryville to satisfy the interest due for Blount County [6]. A letter for Banner Shealds lay unclaimed in the Maryville post office Jan 1, 1821 [7]. Banner was the witness to the will of Abraham Heard in 1822 in McMinn Co., in which Heard directed his executors to “manage my estate with full power to dispose of all my lands in Georgia and elsewhere” [8]. Banner seems to have made his home in McMinn County (he became a resident of Polk Co. when that county was formed from McMinn in 1839) for the rest of his life. I assume that Peggy (Weir) Shields was dead by 1823, when Banner married again, to Nancy Bailey. No record has been found of any children by his second marriage.

He appears in an 1830 McMinn tax list; in the McMinn Co. Census for that year. Banner is shown as aged 40-50, as is another female presumably his wife, with a male (possibly a son) and two females (possibly daughters) aged 10-15. Next to his name is a George Shields aged 50-60, with a female aged 40-50, another female aged 15-20, a male and female aged 10-15, a female 5-10, and a male under age 5. In 1831 a tract was conveyed by Banner Shields to Thomas Brown, witnessed by Samuel McConnell and J. A. Brown (McMinn Co. Index to Deed Book A & B). Banner Shield appears in the 1836 tax list for District 17, McMinn County, with one town lot and 145 acres.

In the 1840 Polk Co. Census Banner Shields is aged 60-70 (the mark on the page is faint) with a female aged 50-60, a female aged 20-30, and a male aged 5-10. The George Shields, being older than Banner, and not one of his brothers, might be a relative, perhaps a cousin from another east Tennessee Shields family. A comparison of the 1840 and 1850 Polk Co. Censuses shows some Shields males, who are probably Banner’s sons, living in the area, including John B. Shields (the “B” probably stands for Banner).

Banner was aged 68 at the time of the 1840 Polk County U. S. Census. No primary source for his death has been found. His name appears fairly often in the Polk County court records; he sat on juries and in 1842 he took on as guardian an 11-year-old orphan named John Yancy to be trained as an apprentice. But after 1843 he drops out of sight; no more mention of him in the court records, and he is not found in any Tennessee county in the 1850 Census. Nor is there any record of any will or estate settlement in Tennessee. He is not found in the 1850 Census index for Murray Co., GA, or for those northwestern counties formed from the original Cherokee Co., GA. Nor is he to be found in the northern Alabama counties of Jackson, Madison, Limestone, and Lauderdale. He was not found in a partial listing of Polk Co. Cemeteries consulted at the Salt Lake LDS Library.


Name: Banner /Shields/[9]


Date: 28 OCT 1772
Place: Hampton Valley,Frederick,Maryland,USA[10]


Date: 23 JUL 1845
Place: Polk, , Tennessee, USA[11]


Place: Tennessee, USA[12]
Date: 01 JUN 1840
Place: Polk, Tennessee, USA[13]


Husband: Banner Shields
Wife: Margaret Weir
Date: 05 FEB 1800
Place: Blount County, Tennessee, USA[14]

Research Notes

The History of the Shields Family (1968) by John Edgar Shields of Rockville, MD, is useful for research on William Shields and his children. Among unpublished sources, see also the same author’s “Irish Origins of the Shields Family” (1975), Katherine Susong Harmon’s “Research on East Tennessee Shields Families” (1968) and “The William Shields Family at the End of the Oregon Trail,” by Lois Athel Devine Willis (1970).

These books all deal with the family of the patriot William Shields. None of these sources, however, has much information on Banner Shields.

Mr. John Edgar Shields’s books give the most comprehensive overview of William Shields’s ancestors and descendants, made with the aid of correspondence and books. His Shields descendancy, however, emphasizes his own line of descent from William’s youngest son Ebenezer. What little information he has on Banner Shields seems to come only from Harmon’s manuscript.

Harmon’s compilation comes in part from a transcription of the Shields family Bible record which, in comparison with the original William Shields Bible record (a facsimile of which is provided in Mr. Shields’s book), contains substantial errors. This Bible record was transcribed by “Dr. G. W. Momillan at the home of Mrs. Hunter’s in Pennsylvania, near Emmitsburg, Maryland” (the Bible was passed down through the Hunter family, as noted in John Edgar Shields’s bibliography). Unfortunately, the facsimile pages provided by Mr. Shields make no reference to the children’s marriage information, where Harmon’s errors occur, and therefore, if these are all the genealogical pages found in the Bible, it isn’t clear whether Harmon took the children’s marriage information from the Bible at all.

For example: William Shields’s son William is said to be the husband of Jane Bentley (it was in fact his mother who was named Jane Bentley Williams) and that Samuel Shields married Jane Montgomery while Banner Shields married Margaret “Peggy” Wear. Yet Margaret Wear of Blount Co., TN was also said to have been Samuel’s second wife. Another of Harmon’s informants, a Mrs. Locke, compiled materials definitely separating Samuel Shields/Jane Montgomery and Banner Shields/Peggy Weir or Ware, but with no information on Banner’s descendants. Also contained in Harmon is a section titled “William Shields, of Armagh,” which cites no sources; it lists William’s children (Banner in this list is given the name Barnes) and sketches some of their descendants but omits the children of sons David and Banner entirely from the descendancy. Of Samuel we are told that he married Margaret Ware of Blount Co., TN, and that “they had several children, some of them going to Oregon to reside. One of the daughters married a Killingsworth” (Harmon, p. 23).


  • Source: S42 Author: Title: Public Member Trees Publication: Name: The Generations Network, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2006; Repository: #R1
  • Repository: R1 Name: Address: E-Mail Address: Phone Number:
  1. "Blount County, Tennessee Deeds 1819-1833," comp. Jane Kizer Thomas, pp. 48, 66
  2. Katherine Susong Harmon, “Research on East Tennessee Shields Families” (1968)
  3. 1817 State of Tennessee vs. James Brice: Blount County. Defendant is charged with conspiring to unlawfully appropriate a slave named Charles from Banner Shields. Tennessee Supreme Court Cases in Tennessee State Archives. Reference, May, 1814 "Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Tennessee," Volume 2, 271-274
  4. Maryville Enterprise (Blount County, TN) 26 Sep 1938: "Blount County Hangings---Some years ago I found in an old Henry Bible written on a fly-leaf, “James Brice hung in Maryville on July 30, 1814.” I believe this to be the one referred to in a publication in a Knoxville paper some years ago as “a man named Price was hung in Blount County near 1810 for stealing slaves.” W. E. Parham or "Tab." "Hangings in Blount County b W. E. Parham,"
  5. Report of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Supreme Court of Tennessee, "Miles Cunningham v. Banner Shields, and Samuel Hanes and Samuel Harris v. Banner Shields," Knoxville, May term, 1817, pp. 39-43,
  6. Knoxville Register, vol. 5, no. 261 24 July 1821
  7. Knoxville Register, 23 Jan 1821
  8. Will Book “A,” pp. 19-20, cited in Reba Bayless Boyer, Wills and Estate Records of McMinn Co., Tennessee, 1966
  9. Source: #S42 Page: Database online. Data: Text: Record for Margaret Weir
  10. Source: #S42 Page: Database online. Data: Text: Record for Margaret Weir
  11. Source: #S42 Page: Database online. Data: Text: Record for Margaret Weir
  12. Source: #S42 Page: Database online. Data: Text: Record for Margaret Weir
  13. Source: #S42 Page: Database online. Data: Text: Record for Margaret Weir
  14. Source: #S42 Page: Database online. Data: Text: Record for Margaret Weir


Thank you to John Weir for creating WikiTree profile Shields-1231 through the import of Weir John Ancestors.ged on Aug 30, 2013. Click to the Changes page for the details of edits by John and others.

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