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Biography: James Oliver Banks, Jr. born Dec. 26, 1866

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James Oliver Banks, Jr, of Eutaw, Alabama was a lineal descendant of Ralph Banks. This branch of the family left Virginia about the beginning of the nineteenth century and settled on the “Broad Settlement” in Elbert county, Georgia. About the year 1821, the second son, Willis Banks, removed to Tuscaloosa, Alabama., and later to Columbus, Mississippi, where he died.

Willis Banks married Mary Gray. Of the children born to them in Tuscaloosa, was James Oliver Banks, Sr., born in the old Banks residence near the college grounds, which was for long years a landmark in that historic town. He graduated from the University of Alabama, having the distinction of being the youngest member of the class of 1847. He received the degree of bachelor of arts and had the degree of master of arts conferred on him in 1850. During the great Civil War, he rose to be lieutenant colonel of the Forty-third Mississippi infantry and served with distinction.

He married Martha Coleman, daughter of John Coleman and Rhoda Coleman, who was born and reared in the old country residence known as “Grassdale,” in Greene county, Alabama. Within something more than two miles of Eutaw stands this most interesting country seat, which still remains in the family, being owned by J. O. Banks, Jr.

James O. Banks, Jr., was born in Columbus, Miss., Dec. 26, 1866. He was fortunate in the possession of a refined home, and passed the years of his adolescence and young manhood around Eutaw, Ala., in the pursuit of an education under the most favorable circumstances. He was especially fortunate in having as one of his early teachers Miss Sallie Collier, a woman whose refined character and superior scholastic training fitted her most admirably for the school room.

Later he became a matriculate of Dr. Henry Tutwiler’s school at Green Springs, Ala., where he was prepared for his course in the University of Alabama. His school life in the university was attended with many creditable incidents. At graduation, in 1887, he was given the rank of captain in the corps of cadets and represented his class in the commencement program, an honor accorded only those whose record showed superior scholastic excellence.

On the 6th of June, 1889, Mr. Banks was married, in Eutaw, Ala., to Julia Coleman, daughter of Judge Thomas Coleman and Frances Wilson Coleman, she being a cousin and a lineal descendant of John Coleman and Rhoda Coleman.

Mrs. Banks became the mother of six children, all of whom were boys, but one, named

Ellen Gray Banks.

The names of the boys are:

  1. Wilkes Banks,
  2. Willis Banks,
  3. Hampden Banks,
  4. Jack Banks
  5. Ralph Banks.

Like his people before him, Mr. Banks was a solid member of the community and was held in high regard. He was a vestryman in the Episcopal church at Eutaw and was interested in the church work of his diocese. He was State treasurer of funds for widows and orphans of deceased clergymen for the Episcopal church, diocese of Alabama.

James Oliver Banks passed away on April 29, 1941, and is buried in Grassdale Cemetery in Eutaw, Greene County, Alabama along with his wife Julia who died on January 19, 1903, and several of his children.



  1. Notable men of Alabama: personal and genealogical, Volume 1 By Joel Campbell DuBose 1904
  2. Find A Grave Memorial# 40273592# 40273559

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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