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Virginia John Banisters

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John Banisters of Virginia

England to Alabama

John, born England, 1595, died Virginia, 1661 -> John, b c1650 -> John, b aft. 1687 -> John, b 1734 -> John, b 1784 -> John, b 1818, died Alabama, 1907

"The first Virginia naturalist was Rev. John Banister (c.1650-1692), a close friend of William Byrd I of Westover. Banister was accidently killed while exploring the lower Roanoke River with some men in Byrd's entourage. After Rev. Banister's death, . . . William Byrd became the guardian of Banister’s namesake son".[1]

Martha Batte was the mother of John Banister (born after 1687), the Reverend's "namesake son". That John and his wife "Willmuth" had a son named John born 26 December 1734.[2]

"Col. Banister (1734-1788) built Battersea in Petersburg, Virginia, and was a member of the first five Virginia Revolutionary Conventions, fought under General von Steuben, and was elected to (and served in) the Continental Congress in 1778. Banister’s widow married Thomas Lee Shippen and, evidently, moved the Battersea library with her to Philadelphia."[1]

Several generations of John Banisters lived in colonial Virginia (see their profiles for sources):
Stray (duplicate?) John Banisters in Virginia:
Double down on source: Marriage bond dated 4 February 1755 issued in Amelia County, Virginia for John Banister and Elizabeth Munford.[4]

From Batte-77: Martha (Batte) Cocke (1667-aft.1717), as of 29 April 2021

Marriages of Martha Batte
  • 1685 to Abraham Wood Jones: from duplicate WikiTree profile, no source given. At least two Jones children from union (Stephen Cocke court document providing for Jones orphans), and she was widowed/married to John Banister by April 1687, so date of marriage to Abraham Wood Jones is probably before 1685
  • by April 1687 to Rev. John Banister: from William Byrd letter of April 1687 saying that Banister had married a young widow (and more - see Banister-59)
  • May 26, 1694 in Henrico County to Stephen Cocke: from text in Cocke-180 (source not given, but appears to be formatted similarly to Find a Grave entries); Batte-106 source for same date/place (no name): #S-409156100

The following is from Chapter 3, "Early Dinwiddians" (John Banister), Dinwiddie County, by Richard L. Jones (pp 22-23):

Martha Batte married (1) Abraham Jones I (Lieutenant Abraham Jones Jr.); (2) Reverend John Banister; and (3) Stephen Cooke [sic]. Reverend John Banister II died about 1692.[5]
Reverend John Banister II married Martha Batte, widow of Abraham Jones. Their son was John Banister III....The Battersea tract in Petersburg appears to be a dower partition allotted to Martha Jones (Banister) from the Estate of Abraham Jones, Jr., her first husband. After the death of Martha Jones Banister (Cocke), it was inherited by John Banister III, her son. Cox, or Cocke's Road, running through Dinwiddie County derives its name from the Cocke family (third marriage of Martha Batte). ...
[Son of John Banister III] Colonel John Banister, Revolutionary War hero and first mayor of Petersburg...built the Battersea mansion around 1762. The Battersea tract fronted on the south side of the Appomattox River located between Wood's Rohoic lands and his Fort Henry lands, and was bounded on the east by Wood's lands (William Pride after 1722), on the south by Brick House Run, and on the west by the remainder of Abraham Jones Jr.'s lands extending to Rohoic and Indian Town Creek.
  • Dinwiddie County: Carrefour of the Commonwealth. A History by Richard L. Jones Published in connection with the celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the American Revolution by the Board of Supervisors of Dinwiddie County, under the direction of Dinwiddie County Historical Book Commission (1976). Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 76-47218.

From Wilmuth (Munford) Banister (bef.1710-bef.1740), as of 30 April 2021

Wilmuth died on or before 14 May 1740, based on a passage from Byrd's diary, as noted in the profile of Banister-60 (accessed 30 April 2021, edited since).

Byrd mentioned John's wife when he stopped at the Banister home on his way back from the Journey to Eden.[6] In his diary, on 14 May 1740, Byrd recorded "I wrote a letter to my friend Banister on the death of his wife."[7]

John's profile (Banister-60) also says

Banister married second Elizabeth Bolling. She was the daughter of Robert Bolling and had been previously married to Maj. James Munford [W.3.3.1]. Elizabeth Bolling was living in Amelia County 4 February (bond) 1755 when they married.[8]

"W.3.3.1." is not explained. However, one of the possibly duplicate WikiTree profiles had mentioned the R. Bolling Batte Papers as a source. The Library of Virginia has them available online. The RBB cards for John Banisters show

  • Rev. John Banister, born 1650 at "Twigsworth", Gloucester, England, was in Virginia by 1678. He was educated in England ("Magdalene College, Oxford, A.B. 1671. A.M. 1674; Prof. Botany, Oxford 1674; Episcopal Orders 1674"). He became a priest in 1675 and was the Rector of Bristol Parish. He was an "Orig. Trustee, W&M". Died 1692. He married Martha Batte; he died 1692. ~ this RBB card.[9]
  • John, son of Rev. Banister, was born c 1692 & married (1) Wilmette Munford, (2) 4 Feb. 1755 Elizabeth Bolling, widow of James Munford. Notes on the card include "In service of William Byrd as a secretary 1709-12; Probably attained majority 1813 [sic]." ~ this RBB card.[9]
  • John, son of John & Wilmette, married (1) Elizabeth Munford in 1755, (2) Elizabeth Bland, (3) Anne Blair. ~ this RBB card.[9]

This article connects the John Banister who became a Reverend to the Lt. John Banister who died in Virginia by 1661, saying "The writer is convinced that Lt. John Bannister had a son who was sent to England for a formal education and returned to Virginia in 1678 as the first Rector of Bristol Parish."[10]

From Elizabeth (Munford) Banister (abt.1733-abt.1770), as of 29 April 2021

"After his return to Virginia, Banister married Elizabeth Munford in 1755. They had one son, John Banister Jr. born in 1767 (d. 1790). Following her death soon thereafter, he married Elizabeth "Patsy" Bland around 1771."[11] Note: This is the only source found that says Elizabeth Munford had a son with John Banister.

Banister was married three times. His first marriage was to Elizabeth Munford in 1755, and his second was to Elizabeth "Patsy" Bland, the daughter of Theodorick Bland of Cawsons[12] and the sister of Colonel Theodorick Bland.[13] (The online DAR database of Patriot Ancestors incorrectly shows her as "Mary Bland".[14])

Banister next married Ann Blair.[14]

Descendants are by this third wife. Although the Battersea Foundation says that Elizabeth Munford was the mother of John Banister, Jr., it also says that his sons by his third wife, Anne Blair, "progressed the Banister line still in existence today."[11] Tyler's Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography names only Ann Blair as wife of this John Banister (but he is only tracking direct line to Blair Banister). Tyler identifies their son as Blair's father: "John Monro Banister, D. D., of Huntsville, Alabama, father of Blair Banister".[15]

Children: The Colonel John Banister Chapter of the DAR does not mention any children by Elizabeth Munford and notes that he and his second wife's three sons - Robert, John and Nathaniel - all died without issue.[12] The Battersea Foundation says he and his second wife, Elizabeth "Patsy" Bland, had three children: Elizabeth (1772-), Robert (1777-1794), and Maria Anne (1777-1788), adding that "Elizabeth’s death date is unknown, but we have reason to think that she lived beyond adolescence."[11]

John's third wife was "Anne (Nancy) Blair of Williamsburg,... born in May 1746, the seventh child of John and Mary Monro Blair". John and Anne married 26 February 1779[16] and had two sons: Theodorick Blair Banister and John Monro Banister.[12] John Monro Banister, youngest son of Colonel John Banister, was born in 1784. His wife Mary was "Mary Barton Augusta Bolling" according to one source,[16] another names her "Mary Burton Bowling" and notes that their son John later migrated to Alabama.[12]


  • Dinwiddie County: Carrefour of the Commonwealth. A History by Richard L. Jones Published in connection with the celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the American Revolution by the Board of Supervisors of Dinwiddie County, under the direction of Dinwiddie County Historical Book Commission (1976). Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 76-47218.
    • Note: Dinwiddie County book uses I, II, III, IV to identify the four generations of John Banisters. The book refers to the John Banister born 1734 as "IV" - son of John Banister III, who was the son of "Reverend John Banister II married Martha Batte, widow of Abraham Jones."
  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress: John Banister (1734-1788)
  • Find A Grave: Memorial #11630543 for John Banister
  • "Virginia, Historical Society Papers, 1607-2007," database with images, FamilySearch [1] : Bible records, 1700-1900 > Card Index, Aylor - Baptist > image 749 of 826; citing Virginia Historical Society, Richmond.
  • See footnote 1, page 53, Byrd Diary.
  • RBB card for Elizabeth Bolling, "see MUNFORD, Elizabeth (Bolling)" / Robert and Anne (Cocke) Bolling[9]

Stith Valley Information

Stith Valley has a lot of good information about the Stiths. I don't know how accurate it may be for other families, but it has the following information that fits the pieces together plausibly.
Son of Col Robert and Anne (Stith) Bolling:
  • + 10 i Robert "Robin"3 Bolling [#396/], born 25 Jan 1681 in , , Prince George, Va. He married (1) Anne (Meriwether) Bolling [#2093/PHND-Q8].; married (2) Ann (Cocke) Bolling [#116/KBX7-19]. Children of Robert "Robin"3 Bolling and Ann Cocke:
    • + 44 ii Elizabeth4 Bolling [#118/], born 17 Dec 1709 in , , Prince George, Va. She married James Munford [#225/].
    • + 47 v Jane4 Bolling [#121/], born 1 Apr 1722. She married Hugh Miller [#231/].
    • + 48 vi Martha Cocke4 Bolling [#122/], born 17 Nov 1726 in , , Prince George, Va. She married Richard Eppes [#232/].
    • 49 vii Susanna4 Bolling [#123/L9Z4-9B], born 16 Jun 1728 in , , Prince George, Va. She married on 23 Dec 1745 in , , Prince George, Va, Alexander Bolling [#128/L9Z4-85] (see 56), born 12 Mar 1720 in , , Prince George, Va; died 11 Jun 1767 in , , Prince George, Va, son of Stith Bolling [#69/L9Z4-85] and Elizabeth Rogers [#11773/L9Z4-85].
    • 50 viii Mason4 Bolling [#124/], born 22 Sep 1729.
    • + 51 ix Robert4 Bolling [#125/], born 12 Jun 1730 in , , Prince George, Va. He married (1) Martha (Banister) Bolling [#951/].; married (2) Mary Marshall (Tabb) Bolling [#401/].
Daughter of Robert "Robin"3 Bolling and Ann Cocke:
  • 44. Elizabeth4 Bolling [#118/] (Robert "Robin"3, Anne2 Stith, John1), born 17 Dec 1709 in , , Prince George, Va. She married on 27 Jan 1727, James Munford [#225/]. "Notes for James Munford: his will was proved Apr. 25, 1754" Children of "Elizabeth4 Bolling and James Munford"
    • 172 i Martha5 Munford [#4513/], born 28 Sep 1728. She married William Wilson [#5790/].
    • 173 ii James5 Munford [#4514/], born 16 Sep 1732 in , , Prince George, Va. He married Anne (Brodnax) Munford [#4520/].
    • 174 iii Susanna5 Munford [#4515/], born 29 Mar 1734; died Oct 1810. She married in Oct 1751 in , , Amelia, Va, Buckner Stith (Sr) [#94/] (see 106), born 1722 in , Brunswick Cnty, Brunswick, Va; died 1791, son of Drury Stith (Jr.) [#143/] and Elizabeth Buckner [#144/] . Will Written 4 Oct. 1791 Proven 26 Nov. 1810 Brunswick Co. Va.
    • 175 iv William5 Munford [#4516/] married Prudence (Ward) Munford [#4521/].
    • + 176 v Robert5 Munford [#4517/] married Anne (Brodnax) Munford [#4522/].
    • + 177 vi Thomas Bolling5 Munford [#4518/] married Jane (Watson) Munford [#4523/].
    • 178 vii Edward5 Munford [#4519/], born abt. 1725. He married Elizabeth (Hall) Munford [#4526/].
Son of Elizabeth4 Bolling and James Munford:
  • 176. Robert5 Munford [#4517/] (Elizabeth4 Bolling, Robert "Robin"3, Anne2 Stith, John1) married on 11 Feb 1755, Anne (Brodnax) Munford [#4522/]. Children of Robert5 Munford and Anne Brodnax
    • 537 i Elizabeth6 Munford [#7694/], born 22 Sep 1733 in , , Prince George, Va.
    • 538 ii William6 Munford [#7025/], born 23 Nov 1734.
    • 539 iii Theodorick6 Munford [#7041/], born 21 Feb 1741 in , , Prince George, Va.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "The Banister Family of Virginia," Rare Book Collection, Stratford Hall
  2. Bristol Parish Register (page 287):
    "John, Son of John and Willmuth Banister, Born 26th December 1734"
  3. Comment posted 12 June 2018 to Banister-38: "I have removed John & Mary (Welles) as parents, as a generation was skipped and they would have been his grandparents"
  4. Ancestral Trackers: Virginia County Records, page 121 (249 of 518 in the pdf accessed 29 April 2021).
  5. Note: The Dinwiddie County book uses I, II, III, IV to identify the four generations of John Banister. I don't know whether or not Rev. Banister used "II" himself, but I doubt it.
  6. William Byrd, The Westover manuscripts, containing the History of the dividing line betwixt Virginia and North Carolina; A journey to the land of Eden, A.D. 1733; and A progress to the mines. (See pages 119-120, accessed 30 April 2021.)
  7. William Byrd, Another Secret diary of William Byrd of Westover, 1739-1741 (page 66; page 477, accessed 30 April 2021).
  8. Citations for the John Banister profile that had this paragraph, which had birth as 1689, Charles City County; death 1755, Prince George County, Virginia:
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 R. Bolling Batte Papers - Biographical Card File (accessed 30 April 2021).
  10. The Progress-Index (Petersburg, Virginia) · Sun, Nov 17, 1968, "Banister and Battersea".
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Battersea Foundation (accessed 29 April 2021).
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Colonel John Banister Chapter, DAR: Col John Banister biography (accessed 29 April 2021).
  13. Wikipedia: John Banister (lawyer), accessed 29 April 2021.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Daughters of the American Revolution, DAR Genealogical Research Databases, database online, "Record of Colonel John Banister", Patriot Ancestor #A005765 (accessed 29 April 2021).
  16. 16.0 16.1 DAR record for a descendant John Banister, son of DAR Patriot Ancestor #A005765, Col John Banister (accessed 29 April 2021).


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