WILLIAM SICKLES BANTA
William Sickles Banta, is a lineal descendant of Epke Jacob Banta who emigrated to this country in 1659, coming from Amsterdam in the ship De Trow. This emigrant was born at Harlengen, West Friesland, Holland. Upon his arrival in America he settled at English Neighborhood, now Fairview, and in 1679 was a Judge of the Court of Oyer and Terminer. The Banta family remained in this part of Bergen County until about 1750, when Yan Banta, the great-grandfather of William S. removed to Pascack, Washington Township, where he died. His large landed estate was divided among his children. Hendrick his eldest son who was born May 27, 1749, succeeding his father in the old homestead. In 1803 Hendrick died leaving 500 acres of land to be divided among his five sons, one of whom was Henry H., the father of William S. In those early days it was a custom, born of necessity, for young men to learn some useful trade. Of the five sons of Hendrick Banta, but one left home to engage in mercantile pursuits. Henry H., the father of Judge Banta, learned the trade of shoemaker, but the real business of his life was merchandise and farming. In 1833, he removed to Hackensack and formed a partnership with his brother Teunis, under the firm name of H. H. & T. Banta, in which he continued until his death in 1849. Mr. Banta was for some years postmaster of Hackensack, receiving his appointment from General Francis Granger, and was a member of the New Jersey State Militia, with the rank of Adjutant.
He was appointed Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, serving three terms, from 1829 to 1834, from 1838 to 1843, and 1843 to 1848. Public spirited, active and alive to the best interests of both church and state, he wielded an influence for good, commanding the confidence and respect of his fellow men.
The maternal ancestry of Judge Banta are of good stock, his mother being Jane, daughter of William Sickles of Rockland County, N. Y., born January 19, 1792, and died September 2, 1870. She was a descendant of Zacharias Sickles, who was born in Vienna, Austria, going to Holland and from there to Curacoa, one of the Dutch West Indies, serving in the military rank of cadet. It was here he met Governor Peter Stuyvesant, and came to New York with him in 1655, soon after becoming attached to the garrison at Fort Orange (Albany), returning to New York in 1693.
Judge William S. Banta was born at Pascack, December 12, 1824, and was educated in the public schools, finishing his preparatory course for college, in the private classical school of Rev. John S. Mabon at Hackensack. After being graduated from Rutgers College in 1844, he began the study of law in the office of Abram O. Zabriskie, of Hackensack, afterward Chancellor of the State of New Jersey. Mr. Banta was admitted to the Bar of New Jersey as an attorney in 1847, and as a counsellor in 1851. Soon after his admission to the Bar, Judge Banta was appointed Master and Examiner in Chancery, later being made special Master in Chancery and Supreme Court Commissioner.
After acting as Superintendent of Schools in the Township of New Barbadoes (under the old law), he was appointed by the Board of Freeholders to act with Rev. Albert Amerman on the Board of Examiners, a place which he filled with efficiency for several years. In 1860 he was appointed Prosecutor of the Pleas for the County, and reappointed in 1865. A Republican in politics, he held the office of Deputy Internal Collector from 1862 to 1865. The Judge was President and Treasurer of the Hackensack Gas Light Company for many years, and also Secretary and Treasurer of the Bergen County Mutual Fire Assurance Association, and was one of the first members of the Hackensack Improvement Commission. In 1872 he was appointed to fill out the unexpired term of Judge Ashbel Green, Presiding Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and in 1873 was reappointed to the same place for five years. In 1879 Judge Banta was appointed Associate Judge of the same court. He was for several years one of the managers of the Morris Plains Asylum.
In 1850 Judge Banta was married to Sarah, daughter of John and Katy Ann (Hopper) Zabriskie, of Hohokus, who died in 1853, leaving a son, who died in infancy. His second wife was Adelia, a sister of his first wife, who died in 1869. His present wife is Jane Anne, daughter of Abram H. and Maria (Anderson) Berry, a lineal descendant of John Berry, one of the original patentees of Bergen County.
James Van Valen, History of Bergen County, 1900.