A little more about Jesse Thomas Banister

The following was taken from the archives at the Kansas State Historical Society at Manhattan, Kansas.

Jesse Thomas Banister

Jesse Thomas Banister, an early resident of Ogden in Riley County, KS was born near Hardin in Ray County, Missouri, on October 17, 1844. His father was Collins Jefferson Banister (1820-1907) who was born in Nicholas County, Kentucky and his grandfather was Thomas Jefferson Banister (1798-1863) who was born near Alexandria, Virginia.

In 1843, both Thomas and Collins moved their families from Kentucky to Missouri, and settled in Ray County. Thomas Jefferson Banister was the grandson of Col. John Banister, a neighbor and friend of Thomas Jefferson (hence all the Jeffersons and Jeffs throughout the Banister generations) who commanded a regiment in the Virginia Revolutionary Army during the years 1778-1781.  Col. Banister (17341788) was born in Bristol Parish, Virginia, the son of John and Wilmette Banister and the grandson of John Banister, an eminent botanist in Jamestown, Virginia, in the late 17th century. Col. Banister went to England to study law and was admitted to the Middle Temple in 1753. In 1776 he was a member of the Virginia Convention and was in the House of Burgess in 1777. In 1778-79 he was a delegate to the Continental Congress, and was one of the framers and signers of the Articles of Confederation.

Jesse Thomas Banister grew to manhood in Ray County, Missouri. In 1863, at age 19, he moved westward into Kansas and settled for a time on a farm near Ogden. Shortly afterward he went to work as a teamster for a freighting company, hauling supplies for the Army. For approximately the next seven years he made many trips across the plains of Kansas. These trips were made in wagons pulled by oxen and mule teams. His route was along the Santa Fe Trail from Ft. Leavenworth to Ft. Lyons. He also traveled to Fts. Riley, Hays, Harker and Larned during this period. In 1866, he became wagon master for C. M. Dyche, of Ogden. For six months he was governmental wagon master in Indian Territory. With the completion of the transcontinental railroad, the era of the wagon trail was over and Jesse returned to farming near Ogden in 1871.

Shortly after he returned to Ogden in 1871, he was married to Miss Sarah Rowe, daughter of William Rowe, of Massachusetts. They had three children: John (1872-1948) Angeline (1874-1932) and Arthur (1877-1961). In later years John was a rural mail carrier for the Ogden vicinity (1902-1915).

In 1873 Jesse again left the farm, this time to work for the Union Pacific Railroad as a section hand. After six months he became section boss and he continued in this capacity until he left the employ of the railroad in 1882. In December, 1878, both Sarah Banister and her sister Anna-Meyers became ill and died from Diphtheria. With the aid of Mrs. Tailer, Jesse cared for the young children until he remarried in 1880.

His second wife was Miss Mary Ellen Mason, foster daughter of William and Eliza Powell, of Ogden. Jesse and Mary Ellen were the parents of eight children: Nellie (1881-1881) Lida (1882-1955) (Mrs. Charles Schermerhorn) Claude (1884-1970) Myrtle (1885-1886) Ethel (1887-1981) (Mrs. Wm. J. Wilkerson) Ren (1888-1897) Dick (1891-1968) and Willis (1893-1989).

Lida was a schoolteacher in the Ogden district for about five years before her marriage in 1907, and her husband Charles Schermerhorn was the Sheriff of Riley County from 1914 to 1918.

The following, too, was taken from the Kansas State Historical Society archives.  It is part of the “Statement of Theodore Weichselbaum” of Ogden, KS, who owned the freight company for which Jesse Thomas Banister drove.  This quote is from page 565.

“In July, 1965, Maj. Gen. S. R. Curtis was sent out to Fort Riley by the War Department to raise all the militia he could to go to the relief of trains which were corralled at Cow creek on the Santa Fe road because of the hostile Indians.”

The KSHS notes that manuscripts found among the Society’s papers evidently pertain to this expedition.  It lists a roster of Company F, 14th Regiment of the Kansas State Militia, commanded by 2nd Lieutenant C. M. Dyche.  One of the names on the roster is J. T. Banister, my great grandfather.  Dyche later became a freighter for whom Jesse Thomas also was a wagon master.


One Comment on “A little more about Jesse Thomas Banister

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