Miriam Voisey was born in Sidmouth and baptised soon after in Salcombe Regis,), Devon, England, to John and Hester Voisey. She married contractor John Bodman Bannister in London in 1850, at the age of 33. She moved to the United States in 1854. Her daughters Rose and Bertha were born in the United States in 1855 and 1858. She also had two sons, Ferd and Edward. She was widowed in 1878. In St. Louis, she was a member of the Church of St. Philip the Apostle. She had impaired vision from cataracts in old age, and was unable to read.
In her latest years, she was consulted for commentary and advice. "The present generation isn't bad, it's just different," she declared in 1925. "And so is everything else in the world." She attributed her longevity and good health to "simple foods, avoidance of overeating and abstinence from worry". When she died at her home in St. Louis, Missouri, she was 111 years 21 days old. She was never the oldest living person due to the longevity of American woman Delina Filkins. She was congratulated by George V as "the oldest living British subject" shortly before her death.
- "Woman to Celebrate Hundredth Birthday | Mrs. Miriam Sparks Banister Attributes Longevity to Having Been Cheerful". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 13 March 1917. Retrieved 7 August 2019 – via Newspapers.com. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Death of a Centenarian; Saw Five Sovereigns Ascend the Throne" The Advertiser (23 May 1928): 17.
- "Relative of Heflin Folk 110 Years Old" Anniston Star (23 March 1927): 9. via Newspapers.com
- "A Communicant 105 Years Old" The Churchman 126(July 8, 1922): 25.
- "Defender Found for Present Generation" Bakersfield Californian (18 March 1925): 8. via Newspapers.com
- "Woman Hundred Ten Celebrated" Sedalia Democrat (20 March 1927): 5. via Newspapers.com
- "St. Louis woman, 111, dies". New York Times. 11 April 1928.
- "'Grandma Bannister' Dies Peacefully at St. Louis" Journal Gazette (10 April 1928): 4. via Newspapers.com