John Banister – Continental Congressman – Virginia


John Banister (December 26, 1734 – September 30, 1788) was an American lawyer and an American Revolutionary War patriot from Petersburg, Virginia. 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). During the Revolutionary War, he 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. 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). His urban 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. In 1782 he was listed in Dinwiddie County records with 3 free males, 46 Negros adults, 42 Negros under age, 28 horses, 126 cattle and one chairiott; Francis and Abram Ford were listed as ‘overseer’. He is buried in the family plot at Hatcher’s Run, the family estate in Dinwiddie County, Virginia.