San Francisco Examiner
December 10, 1916



Conspiracy to Prove Woman is Mother of Little Girl Laid to wealth Folk in England


Meantime Marie Mansfield Worries Not and Clings to Mrs. Porteous as Her Mother


Whoever the courts may decide is the mother of little Maria Mansfield, the whole matter is settled positively under Maria's abundant golden curls.

The district attorney of Marin county says the mother is Mrs. W.H. banta of Martinez, mother of the little boy also; Mrs. Banta denies the statement, but Maria just buries her curls in the arms of Mrs. Anna Porteous of Fairfax, snuggles down close and say, "this is my momma."

The boy in the case that involves the distribution of three quarters of a million is David H. Hanbury Jr.: he has a little brother in Martinez named Banta, and he does not know or care whether he may have a half sister named Maria in Fairfax.

Mrs. Banta is rich; Mrs. Porteous is not; but Mrs. Porteous has a snug bungalow with flowers around it and a creek running behind it, witch with a dolly constitutes riches enough for Maria present ideas.


Maria was only 14 months old when she went to live at the Porteous home.

Mrs. Porteous say that Mrs. Banta, then Mrs. Hanbury, widow of the Napa Capitalist, brought Maria to her a promised to pay for her keep, but that she did not pay. She says Mrs. Banta offered her $100 if she would keep Maria and terminate the agreement between them. Mrs Banta Denied the debt; there was a suit; then the District Attorney asked the juvenile court to determine who the mother was.

Maria has become the center of a legal tangle that threatens to become more and more involved, until it enmeshes the boy, and all his money, and everybody and everything connected with him.

The English relative of little David wish to have the care and rearing of him, according to Frank J. Golden, attorney for Mrs. Banta, and that is why the question has been raised of Maria's parentage. He says it is preliminary to an attempt to prove Mrs. Banta an unfit guardian for her first child

 MARIA MANSFIELD, whose heritage is in dispute in awarding of English estate of $335,000

Golden recalled yesterday that John Mackenzie Hanbury, brother of the boy's late father, had become a factor in the domestic difficulties of the Hanbury family of Napa several years ago, and he said that attempts were made then by members of the English branch of the family to discredit Mrs. Hanbury.


The attorney also said he was convinced that Mrs. banta was not the mother of Maria Mansfield, and suggest she merely had found the child a home in the capacity of " A Good Samaritan,". Mrs. Banta acting under his advice, would not discuss the child's parentage, or why she had placed her with Mrs. Porteous. 

But on the other hand Edward I. Butler, district attorney of Marin County, declared there was no doubt in his mind as to the parentage of the little girl. He said:

There are twenty witnesses to corroborate the testimony given by Dr., Edward Topham Friday that Mrs. Banta is the Child's mother. While the doctor's testimony is direct that he attended Mrs. Banta, then Mrs. Hanbury, in San Francisco in April, 1912, when a girl was born to her, there is an abundance of other testimony that can produce support of it.

Butler added that he was considering whether or not he would ask the Grand Jury to indict Mrs. Banta for perjury because she had denied the motherhood of the child. He said he expected to make up his mind on that question to-morrow.

 Golden called up Butler yesterday and asked him if he wanted Banta and his wife in San Rafel, and the district attorney replied that he wished them to be there Monday. Mr. and Mrs. Banta conferred with Banta later in the day, but decided not to discuss their affairs at the present time.

Mrs Banta was Marie Eleanor Mansfield, a telephone operator, when she first met the aged millionaire, Hanbury.

In addition to the expense of feeding and clothing the child, Mrs. Porteous owes Dr, A.H. Mays of Sausalito and Dr. Charles B. Marston of San Rafel for medical attention to little Maria.

Mrs. Banta is legal guardian of David Hanbury Jr., but seven-eighths of his estate, consisting principally of British securities, is in the hands of a board of trustees appointed by the English Court of Chancery.

The boy's only California property is a quarter interest in island no. 2 in Napa County. Mrs Banta owns the three-forths interest. One-half she got from deed from her husband when their divorce proceedings were dropped, and the other fourth she inherited at his death. Originally the whole island was deeded to her, but she returned one -half to her husband as a compromise after an attempt had been made to invalidate the deed. The island is valued at $100,000.

Attorney Golden said yesterday that it had been arranged to send David Jr. to school at Elton when he became old enough, but that he thought in inadvisable now to allow the child to come within the jurisdiction of the English courts. He said that the boy's living expenses do not consume all of the income from his share in island no. 2 and that his California estate is growing annually.

You be the Judge.....

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