"Virginia, Deaths and Burials, 1853-1912," index,FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X5TR-BF3 : accessed 21 February 2015), J. Bannister, 24 Sep 1857; citing Botetourt Co., Virginia, reference it 3 p 108 ln 33; FHL microfilm 2,056,974.
So far as we have been able to determine, James Bannister was a free man as the son of Oliver Bannister who is listed as a free colored head of household and mulatto in the 1809-1810 Virginia census, at which time James would have been 17 years of age and not listed as a head of household. No other information is known about Oliver Banister/Bannister excepting that a sizeable number of African-American men in Virginia tobacco industry, like Lott Carey, were able to buy their freedom and that of families from some owners but by law required to enter into indentured agreements with White enterprises or families.
James Bannister/Banister was the father of Nancy Lee Banister, born abt. 1825 via her mother Rose (Carter) Lee, born 1788). when Rose was about 37 years of age. It seems likely that Rose (Carter) Lee listed as a free head of household on the 1810 Virginia Census entered into a family relationship with James Bannister around year 1823-1824; and they lived in Chesterfield County likely on or near the Banister Family tobacco enterprises giving birth to three children.
Our conclusions are that father and son likely worked in the tobacco industry as skilled labor in the tobacco counties of Virginia including Chesterfield, Bedford and Botetourt where he apparently was born and died in Botetourt County Poor House as a free man of color in 1857.