Isaac Banister was born on September 10, 1803 in Durpark, New York. He was the son of Elijah Banister and Mary King. In 1845, Isaac Banister began business, and founded the firm which subsequently, under the title of Banister & Tichenor, has done so much to lace Newark in the forefront of those places which produce the very finest grades of workmanship. The firm was awarded the only medal of merit given by the Vienna Exhibition Universelle (1873) for their class of goods. He was married to Cynthia Baird. As of 1886, they lived at 33 Chestnut Street, Muiark, New Jersey. Together, Cynthia and Isaac had four children: 1. Mary A. Hill, 2. George H. Banister, 3. Robert B. Banister, and 4. James A. Banister, who joined him in the shoe-crafting business. Together with his son and grandsons, Isaac II established the finest shoemaking business in the world. The name "Banister" will always be associated with the highest possible quality of men's shoes. Isaac Banister described his entry into shoe-making in these words:
"My ambition grew wonderfully until I took occasion, in the absence of my father, to borrow his tools without his consent or my mother's knowledge (for if she had known I was using my father's tools, she would have stopped the enterprise in the beginning). My father was absent on a deer hunt.
I sawed off the end of a whitewood rail on the fence when I found one longer than was necessary for the fence, because I wanted seasoned timber, which was easy to work and file. Of this I made a small last. Having the last finished and pronounced as very good, I procured some light calfskin for the upper and some sole leather for the bottoms. I cut out my upper, for I only calculated for one. I fitted my upper to the last, then I fitted up my soles, and proceeded to put this and that together and finished my shoe the third day. I looked at it and pronounced it good, and very good. I was a proud boy that day!
My triumph overcame my fear; I ventured to show it to my mother, expecting to get a thrashing from my father when he came home, and a sound scolding from my mother on the spot. But to my surprise, my mother was so pleased with my success she even made me still prouder. I fairly shouted for joy and my mother laughed and only smiled when she told me she would show it to my father when he came home.
When my father saw what I had done, he called me to him, and laying his hand on my head, said, "Now I know what to do with you. You can earn your bread at fitting boots and shoes, for you can beat me. I could not make as good a boot as that. Now here is leather and tools. Make a mate to it." I made a mate, but it was not equal to the first, but it passed muster (as the military phrase would be)."
- From transcription by Isaac Banister, from Banister family archives
The House of Banister
James Albert Banister was born in Middletown, New York on March 25, 1831. With his parents, Isaac and Cynthia, he moved to Newark, New Jersey. In 1851, he laid the foundation of the Banister shoe manufacturing establishment. A small shop was openend at 252 Market Street. Father and son soon acquired a reputation as expert cutters.
In 1857, his father, Isaac, died. James pushed the business forward and in 1856, it reached such proportions that he formed a partnership with Lyman S. Tichenor. When the latter died in 1881, Mr. Banister continued the business alone without drawback until 1884, when the entire plant was destroyed by fire. Within three months time, Mr. Banister had a new factory erected on the same site.
The product of the factory took the grand prizes at the Vienna, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Chicago, Paris, Buffalo, St. Lous and Portland expositions.
Mr. Banister was much beloved by his employees and was very democratic among them. He was a director of the National Newark Banking Company, The Howard Savings Institution and The American Insurance Co. He was a director in the Fairmont Cemetery Association and a member of the Board of Trade. He was largely interested in the building of the present edifice of the Roseville (sic) Methodist Episcopal Church (built in 1889 and located at 525 Orange Street in Newark, New Jersey, Essex County).
On Sunday, February 4th, James Albert Banister died at his home of a complication of disorders with nervous prostration (a vague 1800s emotional disorder that leaves a person exhausted and unable to work) as a foundation. Mr. Banister had been in poor health for over a year. He was 75 years old and had been 50 years in the shoe business.
YMCA Secretary, Henry A. Cozzens, announced the death (by saying), "A message has just been received stating that our worthy president, James A. Banister, has just been called to his reward. There is much that I would like to say, were it possible for me to speak, but my heart is too full. In the death of our president, not only the Association but its Secretary loses a dear friend. We meet in the beautiful building this afternoon because of Mr. Banister's untiring energy and masterful leadership. Much of the success which has crowned our efforts is due to his keen business sagacity and remarkably sound judgement. His sterling integrity and devotion to duty, as well as his generous sympathy, are so well known that they need hardly be mentioned here. Mr. Banister was survived by a widow, five sons, William J., James B., Arthur C., Albert and Louis Banister, and two daughters, Mrs. William H. Talbot and Miss Mollie Banister.
- From "The Shoe Retailer," February 10, 1906.
Lyman Smith Tichenor, b. Jan 10, 1824 in Newark, NJ; d. Nov 24, 1881; m. Harriett A Camp, dau. of Noah Camp, Oct 15, 1845. They were married “according to the constitution of the Reformed Dutch Church.” They lived in Newark. Lyman Smith Tichenor was listed in the Newark Directories as a sash and blind maker in the early 1850’s and living on William St. In the 60s he lived on Milton and S. Orange Ave. and in the 70s lived at 448 High St. Beginning in 1869 he was with Banister and Tichenor shoe manufactures for the remainder of his life. The inventory of his estate totaled $47,651.25, $3,400 of this being his interest in Banister & Tichenor. He was described by relatives as very fussy. Harriet continued to live at 448 High St. after his death. Their children were: Antoinette, Fred W., Frank Camp, Harriet Lyman and Ella.
Lyman Smith Tichenor, son of Zadoc and Elizabeth (Wilson) Tichenor. Lyman’s paternal ancestral line is: Stephen Tichenor, Joseph Tichenor, John Tichenor, John Tichenor, Daniel Tichenor and Martin Tichenor.
From "Tichenor Families in America," Harold Tichenor, 1998, Self-published. In appreciation for assistance from W. B. "Bart" Tichenor, January 2018.
James Bryan Banister was born on November 13,1860. On June 9, 1889, he married Jennie (Jenett) M. Ford.
His '82 classmates paid loving tribute to the memory of James Bryan Banister, who died at East Orange, N.H. on December 1, 1943, after a lingering illness of many months, in his eighty-fourth year. He was born in Newark, N.J., and lived his whole life there and in the adjacent Eat Orange. He retired twenty years ago from the presidency of the Banister Shoe Co., which was founded by his grandfather in 1845 and with which James B. Banister had been connected since his graduation from Princeton.
The “Banister Shoe” maintained a reputation as among the finest footwear for men and was awarded first prize in the International Expositions in Vienna, 1873, Philadelphia, 1876, Chicago, 1893, and Paris, 1900. Throughout his half century of residence in the Oranges, he was a citizen ready to render public service and a devoted churchman. He served as president of the board of trustees of the Roseville Ave. Methodist Church, was active in the YMCA and the Newark Home for Crippled Children.
Arthur Chadwick Banister was born on September 28, 1869. The day of his death was: March 13, 1933. He was married to Mabel Ross throughout his lifetime. Arthur C. and Mabel had two children: a son, James Henry, and a daughter, Ruth (Ross). Arthur C. was the final President of James A. Banister Company. He was the grandson of Isaac Banister and the son of James Albert Banister, both of whom were responsible for the creation of the Original Banister Shoes. Arthur C. took over the reins of the Newark operation from his older brother, James Bryan Banister. The Great Depression forced high quality shoe manufacturers to shutter, as well as many other fine companies across America. This, combined with the contraction of Spinal Meningitis by Arthur C. spelled the demise of the Banister Shoe Company, a.k.a. the James A. Banister Company, (as it was named when operations ceased). Arthur Chadwick was the beloved grandfather of Your Host's beloved father. Arthur C. was the critical link in bringing this website to the world.