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Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  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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JESSE BANNISTER, a well known citizen of Randolph County, is descended from good old Revolutionary stock, his paternal grandfather, Jesse Bannister, having aided in the struggle for independence. After the war was over he received a pension in recognition of his services. He was born in 1754, and much of his life was passed in Vermont. He was a son of Thomas Bannister, and his grandfather was Joseph Bannister, one of three brothers, who came from England to America in 1660 and settled in Massachusetts.

The father of our subject, Oliver Bannister, was born in Worcester, Mass., in July, 1794, and when a young man of twenty-one went to New York. There he engaged in the manufacture of cloth until 1829, when he came west to Illinois, settling in Randolph County, where he also operated a carding machine and manufactured cloth. Later he removed to Eden, where his death occurred. By occupation he was a weaver and dyer, and after coming west he followed farming in addition to other enterprises. At one time he owned fourteen hundred acres of land, but lost much of this in an unfortunate investment. He was a man of good habits and lived an upright, honorable life. In politics he was first a Whig and afterward a Republican. He belonged to the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and served as one of its Trustees. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Eliza Paulhemns, was a native of New Jersey, and her father was a native of Holland. Mr. and Mrs. Bannister had a large family, but only four grew to mature years: Charlotte, who is deceased; Lydia, who died leaving one son; Lucretia, wife of John Baird; and Jesse.

The subject of this sketch was born in the Empire State, and when two years of age was brought by his parents to Illinois, where, amid the wild scenes of frontier life, he was reared to manhood. He remained under the parental roof until twenty-six years of age, when, in 1853, he was married, the lady of his choice being Margaret, daughter of Joshua and Margaret Smith. Her parents were natives of Ireland, and from that country emigrated to Canada and thence to Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. Bannister became the parents of eleven children: Ormsby, who is now living in Eden; Laura, wife of C. Young, of this township; Olive, at home; Mary, the wife of Alfred Miller, of Kansas; Elizabeth and William T., both of Kansas; Irene, who died at the age of ten; Joshua R., who died at the age of twenty-two; U. S. Grant, at home; Charlotte, who died at the age of one year; and Waldo, who completes the family.

Mr. Bannister began farming in his own interest upon his marriage, purchasing sixty acres of land at $10 per acre. From time to time he has extended the boundaries of his farm until it now comprises four hundred acres of good land, all of which is under a high state of cultivation and well improved. The place is neat and thrifty in appearance and gives evidence of the careful supervision of the owner. His time is largely taken up by his business, but he devotes some attention to public interests. For twenty years he was a member of the School Board and did effective service for the cause of education. He is now serving as Township Trustee. In politics he is a Republican. His wife is a member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church.

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This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

View additional Randolph County, Illinois family biographies here: Randolph County, Illinois Biographies

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