Museum the New Llano Colony



Rufus W. Banta

Birth: Born in Indiana around 1854 in Indiana  

Description:  

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 returned home as planned. 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.  

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 grandson of Rufus and Elizabeth Banta -- in December 1935 an article in the "Llano Colonist" reports that Bondell had brought her children from Sykes, Louisiana to the elder Banta's home in the colony which was referred to as "Grandma's".   

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. 

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.

 

Other Info:  

Post-Colony History:  

Death: Died in 1955 in Louisiana.  

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

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

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

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