Banister, Samuel Newell – Obituary

Aged pioneer of valley loses his life in the river;
Samuel Newell Bannister, resident of valley for many years, drowns; Body is recovered;
Falls from Lower River Bridge at noon yesterday; No witnesses

Samuel Newell Banister, 92, a pioneer of this state and the Kittitas valley, lost his life yesterday when he fell from the lower Yakima River bridge into the river. Physicians stated death was probably cased by striking his head on a pier in the fall. The accident occurred about noon, and his body was recovered about two hours later nearly a mile down the stream [died February 29, 1924].

Ed Russell, who was riding a horse to the city, noticed the form of a man a short distance from the bridge as he reached the span, and immediately rode to the home of John Van Alstyne, near by, where a phone message was sent to the sheriff’s office. While Sheriff George Gray and Deputy Frank Taylor were on the way to the scene, Mr. Van Alstyne, Chalmer Cobaine, his nephew, Ed Russell and James King hastened down the river to locate the supposedly drowning man. Mr. Bannister had passed the Van Alstyne home a few minutes before and it was guessed that he was the man who was in the stream.

The body was found with the clothing attached to a snag about 30 feet from the shore on the west side of the river. A long meat hook was obtained from a slaughter house near the bridge, and Sheriff Gray brought it to shore by wading, assisted by Deputy Sheriff Taylor, who also waded out. The men were steadied by a rope round their waists with Cobaine as ‘anchor man’ on the shore.

Mr. Banister left home about 10:30 a.m. for the home of his granddaughter, Mrs. W. F. Erickson, but as he had not been out before during the winter, it is thought he lost his way; then finding himself near the river he decided to go on, as he always had been interested in high water in the spring. He was subject to dizzy spells, and probably such a spell was brought on by the long walk and he fell from the bridge.

Funeral serviced will be held at 11 a.m. Monday from the home of his daughter, Mrs. Sarah McEwen, at 302 South Sampson street. Mr. Banister was born in New York November 5, 1831. He crossed the plains by mule team in 1848, going to California during the gold rush. He came to the Kittitas valley in 1876, but moved to Walla Walla the following year. He returned here in 1885, making his home here since then.

May 5, 1868, he was married to Miss Martha Elizabeth Dixon, who died October 8, 1918. Five children were born to them, four of whom survive-Mrs. Sarah McEwen and Mrs. E. J. Dixon of Ellensburg, Mrs. S. S. Lewis of Cowiche, Wash., and L. N. Banister of Tieton. There are eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.


The article spelled Samuel’s last name with double ‘n’. Samuel’s child who was not mentioned was Mayme who married Clay Smith. She died in Idaho in 1901. Mrs. E. J. Dixon was Melinda; Mrs. S. S. Lewis was Martha; L. N. Banister was Lyndon.

Contributed by: Shelli Steedman



MLA Source Citation:

White, Judy Wallis. Kittitas County, Washington Obituaries. Published by AccessGenealogy.com. Copyright 1999-2013, all rights reserved. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 15 September 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/california/banister-samuel-newell-obituary.htm - Last updated on Oct 29th, 2011


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