Isaac Banister

September 10, 1803 - January 31, 1885


Forefather of The Original Banister Shoes

President of Banister & Son Company from 1845 to 1857 ~ Father of James A. Banister

"Now I come to speak of myself in the first person,

dedicating my remarks to my son,

James Albert (Banister).

'My Dear Son James:

As you have often expressed a desire that I would write out a history of my commencement in life,

and what I know of my ancestry, I have agreed to your wishes, and endeavored to comply with wishes

in stating what I know of my ancestors in the foregoing. It is not much I know, and not flattering what

I do know. But when I now come to speak of myself, if I speak in a manner that seems to you, bragging too

much, rub it out, and couch it in language more modest and becoming for a humble mechanic, without

culture of refinement and education. (I was always called a brag).'"

-Isaac Banister, Founding Father of Banister Shoes


By Isaac Banister

Born: September 10,1803; Died: January 31, 1885

(I) Isaac Banister was born September 10, 1803 in the town of Durpark, Orange County, and State of New York. His (My) father was Elijah Banister, who married Mary King, daughter of Martin King, of German extraction. I know nothing further of him than that he was a carpenter by trade, a lover of dogs and guns and a great deer hunter. He died in Pennsylvania at the advanced age of 107 years.

My grandfather (George), the father of my father, went to Ohio soon after I was born, and there died at the age of 90 or more years of age. His wife (my grandmother) was a small woman of the Puritan stock of Connecticut. Her name was Lucy or Lucinda Barlow. She died in Orange County, New York State, at the age of 83. A strictly religious woman, she did not go with her husband, but remained with her children, of whom she had four sons and two daughters, (the latter being) the eldest and youngest. The eldest (daughter) was her first child. She married at an early age to a James Brice, a "scoth" school master, schoolteachers were then called. Brice held a commission in the British army before he left home for America. He had a large family of children, nine or ten, mostly males. He migrated to Canada with his whole family about the year 1805, and I understood he received 90 acres of land, a piece for his boys and 200 for himself and wife, as bounty for settling in that country. Since that time I have not even heard from them. The youngest sister never married.

My grandfather, George, was called an Englishman, or the son of an Englishman. There was an English family came over to the New England states about the time, one settled in Rhode Island, one in Massachusetts, and another in Connecticut. My father has told me that he never knew where his father was born. George Banister was about 40 years of age when (my father) Eljiah was born in 1779. He fought through the Revolution in the army as a scout on the frontier line and was counted a formidable foe to Britain and the Tories. The leading trait of his character was independence and self-reliance. He was kind and generous to a fault. He was, in my opinion (from what I can learn, for I never saw him as I remember of) an English aristocrat, without any estate or great learning. He was physically a full and complete man, though not fat or corpulent. His weight was about 200 pounds avoirdupois1, nearly six feet in his moccasins (they did not wear boots at that time) and was called a handsome man. He was a musician, a fiddler by profession, and woodchopper by trade. A working man in general, he never would work by the day or month, only occasionally a day for the accommodation of a neighbor. When he worked, he took a job and would do two or three days' wages in a day, or he did not want the job.

Scuffing or fighting was the principal part-time recreation. In those days it was an amusement; he never engaged in it, though he liked to see it or was on hand to see fair play. If any unfair advantage were taken by one party over the other, he would step in and part them. He loved to fight the Indians, but he would not let white men fight unless they fought fair, and when one was whipped, or owned to being whipped, the battle must stop where it was. "For," he said, "some folk don't know when they are licked and some think they're licked while they have the best of the battle. But when a man thinks he is whipped, he is, in his opinion, licked. The victor has no right to an opinion to the contrary, for the vanquished owns it." He was once present when two stout, rugged fellows were quarreling, and began to clinch in for a fight. He took one in either hand and held them apart till they settled the dispute amicably, without a blow; and they thanked him most cordially for his kindness in showing them it was a misunderstanding. Continue reading Isaac's Reminisces...

WILL: Isaac Banister;  Potsdam, St Lawrence co., NY

Surname: Banister, Banister, Wilcox, Carpenter, Wells

Submitted by: Susan Davis (


Copyright.  All rights reserved.

Submitted Date: January 13, 2005

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St. Lawrence co NY Will Book Vol. 4 page 122

Written: January 6 1853

Recorded: March 28 1853


At a Surrogate's Court held at the Surrogates Office in the Village of Potsdam

in & for the County of St. Lawrence, on the twenty eighth day of March A.D.

1853.  Present B.G. Batavia, Surrogate

In the matter of the proof of the last will & testament of Isaac Banister,


This being the return day of the citation heretofore foundin this matter proof

is made by affadavits ____ to the satisfaction of the Court of s______ by

publication in the state paper six weeks upon Isaac I? Banister and Mary, wife

of Lewis Wilcox heirs residing out of the State of New York, and personally

more than eight days heretofore upon Byron Carpenter and Arvilla his wife, and

Simeon Wells Special Guardian for Mary Wells, Jasper Wells, Lucinda Banister &

Ira Banister _____  heirs residing in said County of St. Lawrence, and on

application of Melinda Banister the widow of said deceased, and no one

apposing the Will of said deceased is admitted to probate and is proved by the

testimony of James Noble and James Banister the two subscribing witnesses

thereto, which said will & the proofs & examinations taken thereon are in the

words & figures following that is to say:

Copy of Will

The lastWill and Testament of Isaac Banister of the town of Edwards, County of

St. Lawrence and State of New York

I, Isaac Banister considering the uncertainty of this mortal life and being of

sound mind and memory (blessed be Almighty God for the same) do make and

publish this my last Will and Testament in the manner and form following

(which is to say)

First, I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Milinda Banister and my two

youngest children, Lousinda Banister and Ira Banister my Homestead, containing

forty one acres of land be the same inv__dless as described in a deed dated

the sixteenth day of April one thousand eight hundred and twenty eight (deeded

from Daniel Melvimick to Isaac Banister) together with all singular ___

___vitaments and appertenances thereunto belonging to his and her heirs and

assigns forever, accompanied with a deed from said Isaac Banister bearing ___

date with this last will and testament to said Melinda Banister.

I further give and bequeath unto my four eldest children--Isaac J. Banister,

Betsey E. Wells, Arvilla Carpenter and Mary Wilcox, their heirs and assigns

all that certain piece or parcel of land situate in the town of Edwards,

County of St. Lawrence and State of New York described in a deed given from

Joseph Pitcairn to Isaac Banister dated the twenty sixth day of April in the

year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty six containing fifty

four acres three hundredths of an acre of land ______ ___ _____ Beloved wife

Melinda Banister.

And lastly as to all the rest residue and remainder of my personal estate,

goods and chattels, of what kind and nature soever I give and bequeath the

same to my said beloved wife Melinda Banister whom I hereby appoint Executrix

of this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all former wills by me


In witness whereof I have hereunto put my hand and seal the sixth day of

January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty

three.                 Isaac Banister,

The above instrument contained in one sheet was now here subscribed by Isaac

Banister the testator in the presence of each of us, and was at the same time

declared by him to be his last will and testament and __ at his request sign

our names hereto as attesting witnesses.

           James Noble, residing in Edwards, St. Lawrence County

           James Banister, residing in Edwards, St. Lawrence County

Isaac Bannister, 1858


Isaac Banister

BIRTH 10 sep 1803 * Thompsonville, Sullivan County, New York, USA

DEATH 31 Jan 1885 * Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, USA

BURIAL Fairmount Cemetery * Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, USA

MEMORIAL ID 181244185


s/o Elijah Banister (1779-1886)* & Mary (nee King) Banister.

Family Members


Cynthia Braid (should be “Baird”) Banister


* Isaac's father, Elijah, lived to the advanced age 107 years old. He died in Pennsylvania.

Above: "In 1845, Isaac Bannister (sic) began business, and founded the firm which subsequently, under the title of Bannister* & 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."

~ History of Essex County


For Sale.

IN EAST NEWARK – A School-house on the     

      M.E. Church lot.

  One lot 56 feet front by 150 deep in South Orange, adjoining the M.E. Church lot.

  One house 78 Warren street, corner of Soaring.

  Also one house and lot 281 (?) Railroad avenue, suitable for store and large boarding-house. Possession given December 1st.

                    Enquire of I. Banister,

                               170 Market st.

For sale of property. This morning the suit of Isaac Bannister, appellant, and James Stansborough, appellee, was tried. Mr. Stansborough sues Mr. Banister to recover $100, which he alleges the latter agreed to pay him for services rendered in furnishing a substitute. The appellant denies the allegation and claims that it was a business transaction involving the sale of real estate. Several witnesses were called and either dismissed or non-suits entered.

At a meeting of the voters of the 7 Ward on Tuesday evening, the following persons were elected as delegates to the City Convention: Silas S. Williams, Isaac Banister, John M. Jacobus, Fredrick Miller, Thomas Gay, William Shove, August Greenwald, J.G. Harrison. The following is the Committee to nominate a Ward ticket: T. Grey, S.S. Williams, A. Greenwald. The Committee to confer with 11 Ward to nominate candidate for the Assembly is composed of N.F. Blanchard, S. S. Williams, T. Frey.

First Will of Isaac Banister - March 28, 1853

Second Will of Isaac Banister

Name                         Probate Date          Probate County

Isaac Banister          18 Jan 1884               Essex  

Isaac Banister          13 Nov 1885             Essex            

Isaac Banister          12 Feb 1885              Essex            

"He told me one day at evening, (when he came home, after leaving me at picking stones and building a stone fence), that I had made but a poor show of a day's work for a boy 16 years old. He said to me, "You must earn your own living." I said then in my inmost, "It shan't cost you much more, hereafter, to bring me up; I will bring myself up, or I'll go down alone.”

- Isaac Banister speaking of his father, Elijah

Gravesite for Isaac Banister

Fairmount Cemetery

Section D

Lot 27

Row 2


Gravesite for Cynthia Banister

Fairmount Cemetery

Section D

Lot 27

Row 3


Cynthia Banister, 1887

Isaac Banister, 1885

Elijah Banister, 1861

George Banister, 1888

Above: U.S. Census showing Isaac Banister, Jr.: age 24

Below: U.S. Census showing Isaac Banister, Sr.: age 77