Howard County Indiana USGenWeb
Biography of William H. BANTA
Source: Pictorial and Biographical Record of La
Porte, Porter, Lake and Starke Counties, Indiana: Containing
Biographical and Genealogical Records of Leading Men, Women and
Prominent Families of the Counties Named, and Other Portions of the
State Published by Goodspeed Brothers, Chicago 1894. Pages 90-91
The rapid advancement made of late years in matters pertaining to
popular education is due in no small part to the brilliant leaders who
have risen here and there, and who have dedicated their energies and
labors to the upbuilding of theschool interests of their respective
states. Among these is Prof. William H. BANTA, the most efficient and
capable superintendent of public schools of Valparaiso. He was born in
Ohio, September 18, 1846, to the marriage of James D. BANTA and Emily
CRISLER, both natives of the Buckeye state, the father born in Lebanon,
and the mother in Preble County.
On the paternal side the ancestors came from Holland, crossing the
waters to this country as early as 1659, and settling in the Empire
state. They came over in the ship "DeTroye," and the paternal great
grandfather was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. Through his records
in Washington, D. C., Prof. W. H. BANTA is a member of the Indiana Sons
of the Revolution, and the only member of this organization in
Valparaiso. His ancestors moved from New York to New Jersey, and thence
to Ohio, settling in Miami Valley. Henry BANTA, the grandfather of our
subject, was born in Miami Valley, Ohio, and after reaching mature
years followed the occupation of a farmer. He was a pioneer and passed
his entire life in his native state.
The maternal grandfather, William CRISLER, was a native of Virginia
and an early settler in Southwest Ohio. He was a slave owner while
residing in his native state. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and
often boasted that the only victory he attained in the war was to throw
down the strongest man in the army. He was also a farmer and died in
The father of our subject, James D. BANTA, followed the occupation
of a farmer, but afterwards became a merchant. He removed from Ohio to
Indiana and settled in Kokomo, where his death occurred in August,
1873. The mother is still living and resides in Kokomo. Five children
were born to this worthy couple: Prof. William H. ; Sarah, wife of
William CONWELL, of Kokomo; Mabel, wife of E. S. HACKETT, a prominent
business man of Kokomo; A. C., contractor of Kokomo, and Lyda, wife of
L. C. SELLERS, furniture dealer of Kokomo.
The youthful days of our subject were spent for the most part in
Indiana on a farm, and his early education was received in the district
school of his neighborhood. Later he attended the Normal school at
Kokomo, and still later took his college studies under a private
instructor. He became a member of the faculty of the Male and Female
College of Valparaiso, but resigned this position in 1871 and was
elected superintendent of Valparaiso schools, a position he has now
held for twenty-two years. During that time he has never made a formal
application for re-election. He is one of the best known educators in
northern Indiana, and his career has been characterized by an untiring
energy and devotion to the work he has had in hand.
When starting out he taught school in the rural districts for some
time, and was then engaged as first assistant teacher in the Rochester
public schools, being elected principal of the same without having made
an application. This office he filled until 1870, March 28th, when he
came to Valparaiso and began his duties as a teacher of mathemathics
and natural science in the Valparaiso M. & F. college. On the 1st
of September, 1871, he was elected to his present position.
Prof. BANTA is a member of the Masonic and Odd Fellows orders, and
in politics is a Republican. He is also a member of the M. E. church.
On the 20th of December, 1870, he was married to Miss Rhoda BATES of
Valparaiso, who was born March 4, 1846, and who was noted for her
scholarly attainments. She died December 11, 1885. Three children were
given them but only one, Mabel, is now living. She is a graduate of the
high school, has a diploma from Normal school, and has been a student
of De Pauw University. She was born January 20, 1874, and is a very
bright, intelligent young lady. Alice, born February 25, 1880, died
April 8, 1892; and William H., born November 28, 1882, died May 5, 1891.
Prof. BANTA selected his second wife in the person of Mrs. Mary A.
LEAS, of Chicago, and their nuptials were celebrated December 27, 1887.
They have one child, Catherine, whose birth occurred December 28, 1893.
Prof. BANTA is a member of the Holland Society of New York, for he is
the descendant of a Dutchman who resided in New Amsterdam.
NOTE: The following listing for James D. BANTA was found in the Cemeteries of Howard County website:
Crown Point Cemetery: BANTA James D.: born 15 Jun 1827 - died 14 Aug 1875, age 48. Section 2 Lot 178. Image of tombstone