Mrs. Bland-O’Banyoun – mezzo soprano, married to Josephus
Ernest O’Banyoun son of leader, Baritone
With 3 singers to research I had a lot of fun with this biography. As I searched census records and vital statistics, I discovered quite a bit of fascinating information about Josephus.
|Simon Peter O'Banyon|
It is interesting to note that in the 1891 census, Sophia O'Banyon is recorded as being born in Ontario, with a father born in Ireland and a mother born in Canada.
Early marriage records show that Simon O'Banyon married Sophia Wright in July 1832 in Brantford, Ontario. I have been unable to discover her parents. The following anecdote about the O'Banyons is found in Samuel Ringgold Ward's 1855 book Autobiography of a Fugitive Negro. The anecdote concerns Peter O'Banyoun, at a time when the O'Banyons were living in Brant County.
"A gentleman of my acquaintance (Peter O'Banyoun), driving a good pair of horses, and traveling at leisure, with his ladylike wife, was one night, in the winter of 1851-52, denied admittance at some dozen public taverns. His lady, being of lighter complexion than himself, on one or two occasions was admitted, and was comfortably seated by the fire, and politely treated - until her darker-skinned husband came in, and then, there was no room for either. It was a bitterly cold night; and being treated - maltreated - after this manner until nearly midnight, they were at length obliged to accept of a room in which they could sit up all night."
So far I have found 5 marriages for Josephus, four of them to very young women. Here is the list of his marriages:
1. Nancy Butler before 1864. They had 2 sons, one being Ernest (baritone in the Canadian Jubilee Singers) who died at the age of 29 in 1893. Nothing further is known of Nancy.
2. Mary Elizabeth Goosely, age 19 in 1871 in Nova Scotia. She died in 1884 in Essex Co. Ontario. Josephus was 33 years old.
3. Cassimar Elizabeth Johnson, age 21 in 1884 a few months after Mary's death. She died in 1890. He was 46 years old.
4. In 1891 he married Charlotte E. Bland (also a singer in the Canadian Jubilee Singers). I have not found a death record for Charlotte.
5. In 1898 he married Maud Garrison, age 18, in Indiana. Josephus was now 61 years old.
As a minister, Josephus moved around frequently and can be found ministering in various churches in different countries.
A very intriguing man! And I must admit I am curious about the deaths of 4 of his wives. Such bad luck for him.