Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BANISTER, John, botanist, born in England; died in Virginia in 1692. He is said to have been an English clergyman, who, after spending some years in the West, Indies, immigrated to America, and settled near Jamestown, Virginia Here he devoted himself almost exclusively to botanical pursuits, and wrote a natural history of Virginia. He was killed by a fall while on a botanical expedition. To the second volume of Ray's "History of Plants" he contributed a catalogue of plants discovered by him in Virginia. Among his other publications are " Observations on the Natural Productions of Jamaica"; "The Insects of Virginia" (1700); "Curiosities in Virginia"; "Observations on the Musca lupus" ; "On Several Sorts of Snails" ; and "A Description of the Snakeroot, Pistolochia or Serpentaria Virginiania."*His son, John, soldier, born in Virginia; died near Hatchet's Run, Dinwiddie County, Virginia, in 1787, received a classical education in England, studying law at the Temple. After his return to America he was prominent in the pattieric movements just before the revolution, and during the war a colonel in the Virginia line. He was a member of the state assembly, and of the continental congress from 16 March 1778, to 24 September 1779. In 1781, as Lieutenant-Colonel of Virginia cavalry, he tool; an active part in repelling the British from his state. It is said that on one occasion he supplied a body of soldiers with blankets at his own expense. Several of his letters are preserved in the Bland papers (Petersburg, Virginia, 1840), and in Sparks's "Revolutionary Correspondence." See also Campbell's "History of Virginia" (Philadelphia, 1860).
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