- San Francisco Examiner
- WEALTH GONE, MRS. BANTA IS SUED
- Woman Once Phone Operator, Then Millionaire's
Wife, Is Victim of Fate's Pendulum
- BOY HEIR TO BRITISH ESTATE
- Uncle of Child by First Husband Demands Custody;
Charges Fraud in Adoption Proceeding
- The pendulum of fate has swung back for Mrs. Marie Eleanor
Mansfield Hanbury Banta.
- A few years ago, in it's upward movement the pendulum carried
her from a telephone switchboard in a tannery town to the head
of a millionaires household, and married relationship to England's
proudest aristocracy. Now in it's downward sweep, it has pulled
her back to a humble station in society; and on the way have
left fortune, husband and child.
- The secret divorce filed against her in Martinez last week
by W.H.Banta, which became a matter of public knowledge yesterday,
may not be the last chapter in the story of her losses before
the bar of justice, for there is pending before the Superior
Judge James M. Troutt a petition to vacate the order for adoption
by William H. Banta in the case other son by her first marriage.
- WOULD BE TAKEN AWAY
- The action was brought by John MacKenzie Hanbury, brother
- first husband, who was named guardian of David MacKenzie
Hanbury Jr. the child, by the High court of Justice in England,
Chancery Division. If he is successful, it will mean that the
boy will go to England to be reared, where most of his large
estate is now held in trust.
- Banta's divorce suit raises a novel question in law, which
attorneys say is without guiding precedent. It is the question
of whether granting of the divorce will sever all legal relationship
between Mrs. Banta and her son by her first husband David Theophilius
- NO LONGER PARENT IN LAW
- Judge Troutt issued an order February 10, 1915, by which
William H. Banta adopted the Hanbury boy. Mrs. Banta gave her
consent. On the subject of adoption, Section 229 of the civil
- The parents of an adopted child are from the time of the
adoption relieved of all parental duties towards and responsibilities
for, the child so adopted, and have no right over it.
- By this order, say legal authorities, Mrs. Banta is no longer
a parent of her son in the eyes of the law, and Banta would be
his heir, should young Hanbury die.
- But if the Uncle in England should be successful in his attempt
to set aside the order of adoption, Mrs. Banta would be restored
thereby to her full rights as sole surviving parent to the boy.
- PROPERTY SOLD TO PAY DEBTS
- At present the boy's only property in this country is a fourth
interest in island no. 2, in Napa county. His mother once owned
the remainder of the island,
- January 8, 1917
- which she obtained by deed and will from Hanbury, but since
he died, October 25, 1910, she fell so deeply into debt that
her entire estate was sold out less than a year ago to satisfy
- So now Mrs. Banta stands on the threshold of divorce court,
stripped of her son by her first husband and the wealth he left
her, debating of whether to fight for custody of her son by the
second marriage. And over in Marin county the courts are trying
to determine whether a certain little girl, Maria Mansfield,
of an age between those of the two boys, is the daughter of Mrs.
- John MacKenzie Hanbury is represented in this action in the
San Francisco court by T.E.K. Cormac, counselor for the British
Consul, and District attorney C.M. Fickert. The attorney for
the Bantas in this action is Frank J. Golden.
- FRAUD CHARGED IN ADOPTION
- The petition on file cites that David T. Hanbury was a British
subject, temporarily residing in California; that the British
courts adjudged Mrs. Banta an unfit person to be the guardian
of the heir and appointed the uncle in her stead.
- It alleges "that the order of adoption was obtained
by imposition and fraud practiced on said Superior Court."
Other allegations attack the moral character of Banta and his
wife, recite that she has "wasted and dissipated" all
her property, and charge that the adoption proceedings "were
instituted in an endeavor to get control of the property and
estate of said minor and to use the same for the benefit and
pleasures of dissipation" of Banta and his wife.
- A general Denial of the allegations by attorney is on file.
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