John Banister (lawyer)

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John Banister
Born(1734-12-26)December 26, 1734
DiedSeptember 30, 1788(1788-09-30) (aged 53)
OccupationLawyer, Colonial Militia Officer
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Munford (married 1755-70; her death),

Elizabeth Bland (married 1770-75; her death),

Agan Blair (married 1779-88; his death)

John Banister (December 26, 1734 – September 30, 1788) was an American lawyer and an American Revolutionary War patriot from Petersburg, Virginia.

Early life[edit]

The son of John Banister and grandson of John Banister, the naturalist, he was educated at Middle Temple in London, England, admitted on September 27, 1753. He was a member of the Virginia Convention in 1776. He also served in the House of Burgesses (1765–1775, 1777), the Continental Congress (1778 – 1779) as a delegate, where he was a framer of and signed the Articles of Confederation, and the Virginia House of Delegates (1776–1777, 1781–1783).

Revolutionary War[edit]

During the Revolutionary War, Banister was a Major and Lt. Colonel of cavalry in the Virginia line militia (1778–1781). General and Commander-in-Chief, George Washington regarded him highly, as witnessed by a letter he wrote to him from Valley Forge.[1] In 1781 he aided in supplying his militia and in repelling the British from his state. Much of his personal property was lost. British forces under General Phillips would commonly stop at his home in Battersea, in Petersburg, Virginia. He was well informed on current affairs and an established writer. Banister was married three times. His first was to Elizabeth Munford in 1755, and his marriage was to Elizabeth "Patsy" Bland, the daughter of Theodorick Bland of Cawsons and the sister of Colonel Theodorick Bland (see also the Richard Bland topic).[2][3] Banister's suburban villa in Petersburg, Battersea, was built in 1768 in a five-part Palladian style. A notable feature of the interior is a Chinese style staircase.[4]

In 1782 Banister was listed in Dinwiddie County records with three free males, 46 Negros adults, 42 Negros under age, 28 horses, 126 cattle and one chairiott; Francis and Abram Ford were listed as 'overseer'.[5]

Banister was married to Agan (Scottish for Anna) Blair of Williamsburg, daughter of John Blair Sr.[6]

Banister is buried in the family plot at Hatcher's Run, the family estate in Dinwiddie County, Virginia.[7]


  1. ^ "The Papers of George Washington – George Washington to John Banister – 21 April 1778". Alderman Library, University of Virginia. 2005. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
  2. ^ "Stray Leaves, a James Family in America since 1650". Eric James. January 20, 2004.
  3. ^ "Colonel John Banister". Colonel John Banister Chapter, NSDAR.
  4. ^ "Battersea, 793 Appomattox Street, Petersburg, VA". US Dept of Interior, Historic American Buildings Survey. VA-136. 1933.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "A List of Tithes & Taxable Property taken by Dun [Duncan] Rose Gent the 10th day of April, 1782 for Dinwiddie County". The William and Mary Quarterly. 26 (3): 196–201. January 1918. JSTOR 191801.
  6. ^ Horner, Frederick (1897). The history of the Blair, Banister, and Braxton families before and after the revolution: With a brief sketch of their descendants. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company.
  7. ^
  • Johnson, Allen, ed. Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1936.

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