Museum the New Llano Colony

Rufus W. Banta

Birth: He was born around 1854 at Indiana.  

Family Information: Husband of Elizabeth Banta.

In 1930, their granddaughter, Bonnie Mae Mayson, was living with them in the colony.

Bondell Banta's first husband, Roy Banta, must also have been a son or grandson of Rufus and Elizabeth Banta -- in December 1935 an article in the "Llano Colonist" reports that Bondell had brought her children -- Earl and Marie Banta -- from Sykes, Louisiana to the elder Banta's home in the colony which was referred to as "Grandma's".   


Pre-Colony History: He'd married Elizabeth Banta on July 4, 1874. In 1890, they had taken their six sons and two daughters to Louisiana where they'd prospered, growing first rice and later sugar. In 1932, they still owned 500 acres on Bayou Teche where they had once rubbed elbows with southern aristocracy whose prosperity rested on the backs of menials, though even then the Banta men personally worked their plantation while Mrs. Banta did her own housework.

He and his wife had first heard of the colony in 1915 while on a visit to San Francisco, but at that point they'd returned home after reading the literature. In 1928, they learned that not only did the colony still exist, but it had moved to their home state of Louisiana. They soon made plans to join them.  

Home in Colony:

The Banta home was nicer than most in the colony because it had been built by their sons -- while most colonists were forced to wait until colony workers had time to harvest materials that were needed to build a house from colony property.

Job in Colony: In 1928, he and Mrs. Banta went to live and work at the Rice Ranch, doing housework and cooking for the workers there. On the 1930 census he was listed as a farmer in the colony. He was sometimes pressed into service to help sort peanut seed for a large order.

In November 1931 he was part of Mrs. Killian's six-man crew who turned out about 3,000 potato crate sides, fully nailed. Normally it required nine to run the plant, but the six of them managed it that day. In addition to Mrs. Killian, the crew included: Iris Busick, Irene Wilkerson and Comrades Banta, Bickle and Dean

Other Info: In March 1933 he attended a good-bye party for the Sanford family, along with Cyrus Horney, Mrs. June Black, Sybil Black, Mr. and Mrs. DuProz, Mr. and Mrs. Hess, Mr. and Mrs. Brannon, Mr. and Mrs. B. Stevens, Mr. and Mrs. Marve Sanford, Lou Colt, and the Messrs. Githens, D. Sanford, Beanfellow, and Starkweather.

Post-Colony History:  

Death: He died in 1955 in Louisiana.  

Sources: US Census: 1900, 1930; "Llano Colonist": October 13, 1928, November 7, 1931, June 18, 1932, March 4, 1933, December 14, 1935, February 29, 1936; Louisiana Statewide Death Index  

Banta Home
Banta home -- this photo of the Banta home was used in many issues of the "Llano Colonist" to show that the colony had begun its building program and share their plans to build more like it -- it was touted as the "first permanent home in the colony".

Clipping from the Llano Colonist dated May 18, 1929.
Clipping from the "Llano Colonist" dated May 18, 1929 -- describing the efforts to get the photograph of the Banta house.

Banta home in the background.
Banta home in background -- Standing R to L is Rachel Valleau, Mrs. Mary Maki and Irene Maki; Sitting in front is Myrtle Maki.

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