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Below is a family biography included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1898.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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PROF. J. EDWARD BANTA, A. B., M. A., instructor in Latin and Greek in the State Normal School at Cortland, N. Y., was born February 24, 1855. The history of the Banta family in this country dates as far back as 1665, when Peter Banta emigrated from Germany and settled on Manhattan Island. Professor Banta is a son of Jacob, a direct descendant of Peter Banta.

Jacob Banta was born July 19, 1822, at Newfoundland, New Jersey. Advantages in the way of schools were made use of by him and he acquired a fair business education by the great practical teacher, experience. His occupation during his business career was farming and lumbering, and the field of operation was located in Broome County, N. Y. He married Arminda Perry, and eight children were born to them, namely: Anna May, the wife of Charles Fuller, present assemblyman from Broome County, N. Y.; Sophia, who married J. Knapp; Prof. J. Edward; Christopher J.; Nettie, wife of Irwin Campbell; Minnie married J. J. Glann; Francis M.; and William E. During the time of the late war, Mr. Banta did not enlist in the army on account of poor health, but rendered efficient service to his country, by his active work at home. The family favors the Presbyterian Church, in which Mr. Banta was an active and zealous worker during his younger days. He is a man that is much interested in educational matters.

Prof. J. Edward Banta received his primary education in the district school and graduated from Binghamton High School in 1875, after which time he engaged in teaching for one year. He entered Amherst College and graduated from that institution with the class of 1880. He took high rank as a student, graduating as one of the first seven of his class. He is a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and also of Phi Beta Kappa. The next eight years he was principal of the High School at Rockville, Conn., serving at the same time as superintendent of the village schools. From there he went to Hiawatha, Kansas, and was principal of the Hiawatha Academy for four years; in 1892, he was called to the Cortland State Normal School to occupy the chair of Ancient Languages, which seat he still holds. He is also librarian of the institution. Prof. Banta is a Republican; he is an active worker in the party, but also uses his influence to place the best man in office. He is a member of the Congregational Church, and is ever ready to perform the duties of a Christian worker. He formed a matrimonial alliance, July 17, 1890, with Miss Clara Hide, a daughter of Rev. Henry F. Hide, pastor of the Second Congregational Church of Rockville, Conn. They are the happy parents of three children: Mildred H.; Kenneth W.; and Henry H.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published in 1898. 

View additional Cortland County, New York family biographies here: Cortland County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Cortland County, New York here: Cortland County, New York Map

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