The Banisters of Rhode Island in the American Revolution

Liberty and the Costs of Loyalties


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About the Book

When Thomas Banister fought for the British during the American Revolution, his farm and business were confiscated. He was exiled in far-off Nova Scotia, before he returned to a secluded life on Long Island. His older brother, John Banister married with a child, swore allegiance to the United Colonies, then witnessed the destruction of his Newport lands by the British Army.
Convinced British laws supported remuneration, John left for England, where he sought justice for four years. His wife, Christian Stelle Banister, managed the family property and raised their son while the state threatened confiscation and the French Army lived in Newport.
Tracing the lives of three young Americans during the Revolution, this study of the Banister family of Rhode Island contributes to an understanding of the war’s effects on the lives of ordinary people.

About the Author(s)

Marian Mathison Desrosiers, PhD, a two-time Fulbright scholar, taught history at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. Publications include historical biographies on Colonel Mary Agnes Brown of the Women’s Army Corps and Justice Florence Kerins Murray of the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

Bibliographic Details

Marian Mathison Desrosiers
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 313
Bibliographic Info: 21 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8154-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3965-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Introduction 7
1. The Revolution Begins 27
2. British Garrison at Newport and Stronghold on Long Island, 1776–1778 47
3. War Clouds Over Rhode Island, 1778 70
4. A Year of Decisions, 1779 88
5. Separations of 1780–1782 106
6. Unsettled and Everchanging, 1783–1784 129
7. Thomas Banister States His Case as a Loyalist 150
8. The Banisters of Newport, Last of the Name 167
Conclusion 191
Appendix A: Court Cases in Boston and the Banister Family 195
Appendix B: Banister and a North Carolina Plantation 203
Appendix C: Robert Feke Portraits and the Banister Family 206
Appendix D: Gilbert Stuart Paintings and the Banister Family 211
Chapter Notes 215
Bibliography 277
Index 295

Book Reviews & Awards

“Comprehensive and well-written…The rise and fall of the Banister family came to life…takes the reader on a journey of a family and ‘how momentous decisions about liberty and loyalty affected Americans during the War for Independence.”—Newport this Week