2000 Wesley Banse (1919-2010)
Lt. Col. Banse was born in Camden, New Jersey, in 1919 and his intermittent residence in Monmouth County began in 1927. He served in World War II and continued in military service for 33 years. At the time of his retirement, he was Commandant, New Jersey Military Academy, Sea Girt. After he left the military, he obtained a journalism degree and worked for fourteen years as a newspaper journalist and photographer in Manasquan, to which he moved in 1964. Curiosity about previous owners of-old residence led to efforts to collect the history of the town and he became known as Manasquan’s unofficial historian. In 1979, when state legislation created the position of Borough Historian, his title became official and he served in that capacity until 1997. Initiator, charter member, and a Life member of the Squan Village Historical Society, for which he served in several offices and on a number of committees, Banse gave 155 slide presentations on the history of Manasquan and other shore towns for numerous different types of audiences. After a fire destroyed the Society’s headquarters in 1996, Banse’s leadership in the salvaging of files and a few remaining artifacts was a factor in encouraging society members to continue as an organization. Founder of, and writer for, the history newsletter, The Squan Village Chronicle,Banse wrote two history books,The First Baptist Church of Manasquan (1979) and Manasquan, 1887-1987 (1988), the latter a 300-page volume that provides a detailed history of the community.