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Banister, John (d.1692?) (DNB00)


BANISTER, JOHN (d. 1692?), naturalist, travelled first in the East Indies and later in Virginia, apparently as a Church of England missionary, as well as with the purpose of investigating the natural history of those regions. His stay in Virginia extended over at least fourteen years, during which time he corresponded with John Ray, Compton (bishop of London), and Martin Lister. To Ray he sent in 1680 a lengthy catalogue of Virginia plants, which is published in the ‘Historia Plantarum’ (ii. 1928), where Ray styles him ‘eruditissimus vir et consummatissimus botanicus.’ In the previous year he had sent a similar catalogue, with drawings, to Compton. He was an entomologist as well as a botanist, and published papers on the insects, mollusks, and plants of Virginia in the ‘Philo- sophical Transactions.’ In one of his expeditions in Virginia he fell from the rocks and was killed (about 1692). His notes and papers were sent to Compton; his dried plants were acquired by Sir Hans Sloane, and are now in the British Museum.

[Phil. Trans. xvi. 667–72; Pulteney's Sketches, 55–7.]

J. B.