Joseph Newton Banks, Jr. (1839-1919)

& Nancy Missouri Mitchell (1843-1940)

many current dates removed from web site article

Submitted by Sara Jane Overstreet, direct descendent

Drury Banks: First in Fayette County

Drury Banks and his family came to Georgia following the Revolutionary War. Drury himself lived in Fayette County for a time on land that he had drawn in 1826. After several years he deeded the land to his son and moved on the Coweta County where he is buried in the old Smyrna Methodist Church cemetery. That church no longer exists at the cemetery site, and the cemetery has been taken on by the White Oak Presbyterian Church at the location on Gordon Road in Coweta County. That church provided a granite marker for his grave (Storey, 1984).

Drury was born to David and Elizabeth Banks in 1754 in Brunswick County, VA. David Banks had moved his family from Virginia to North Carolina. According to his pension application, Drury served in the Revotutionary War in 1780 from Chatham County, NC. Some of David Banks’ children--including Drury--moved on the old 96th District in South Carolina. Drury Banks was living in Warren County, GA when he drew land in a lottery for the Henry/Fayette County area in 1826. The land lottery certificate from page 208 of the Henry County grant book reads:

STATE OF GEORGIA, by His Excellency Geo. M. Troup Governor and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of this State and of the Militia thereof.

To all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting:

Know ye, that in pursuance of an act of the General Assembly, passed the 15th of May, 1821, for making distribution of the land lately acquired of the Creek Nation of Indians, and forming the counties of Dooly, Houseton, Monroe, Fayette, and Henry, in this state, I have given and granted, and by these presents, in the name and behalf of this State, Do Give and Grant, unto Drury Banks of Wilder’s District Warren County his heirs and assigns forever, all that Tract or Lot of Land, containing two hundred two and a half acres, situate, lying, and being in the Fifth district of Henry county, int he said State, which said Tract or Lot of Land is known and distinguished in the plan of said district by the Number twnety one having such shape, form, and marks, as appear by a plat of the same hereunto annexed: To have and to hold the said Tract or Lot of Land, together with all and singular the rights, members and appurtenances thereof, whatsoever, unto the said Drury Banks his heirs and assigns; to his and their proper use, benefit and behood forever in fee simple.

Given under my hand and the Great Seal of the State, this twenty ninth day of June in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and twenty six and of the fiftieth year of American Independence.

Signed by His Excellency the Governor, the 29th day of June 1826. Geo. M. Troup

E. H. Pierce S.E.D.

Registered the 29th day of June 1826

Drury moved here for a time, then he apparently moved to what is now Coweta County, GA. Some of his children stayed in Fayette, including his son Joseph Newton Banks, Sr. (White Oak Cemetery, 1980; Storey, 1984).

Drury Banks deeded his land to his son Joseph Newton Banks, Sr. In Deed Book B, page 37, he deeded half of his land lot to Joseph Banks which was by now in listed as being in Fayette County. The deed was make on August 29, 1826. Witnesses to the dead were Samuel Hillman and Robert Walton. He deeded the land to Joseph again on February 20, 1832, specifying the North half of the lot that he had been granted by Gov. Troup. The witnesses to that deed were Rowland Stubbs and Jonathan Mitchell. Rowland Stubbs was a known trustee at Liberty Chapel who donated land for the 1849 church. Jonathan Mitchell was the father of Joseph Newton Banks, Jr.’s wife Nancy Mitchell Banks (see Mitchell article). These witnesses from 1832 suggest that Drury was involved at Libetry Chapel along with his trusted neighbors.

Joseph Newton Banks, Sr. and his wife Nancy Draper Banks were married on December 20. 1818. Their children are listed (Storey, 1984) as:

Milanda/Melinda Banks (1823-1903/8) m. Moses Turner (see Turner article)

Bradford Thomas Banks (1827-1898) m. Mary Ann Giles

Kinain A. Banks (1829-1863) m. Nettie Ann Mitchell (see Mitchell article)

Warren Lockett Banks (1832-1911) m. Mary Ellen Hubbard

Francis Marion Banks (1833-1910) m. 1)Martha Mahalia Giles, 2)Malissa Stanley

Emily Banks (1836-1913) m. William M. Stubbs

Joseph Newton Banks, Jr. (1839-1919) m. Nancy Mitchell (see Mitchell article)

Permelia Banks (1841-1920) m. Drewery Farrar/er

Mary E. Banks (1844-?)

Joseph Newton Banks, Sr. was listed as living on his farm in the 1863 Joe Brown Census. He reported that he was a 46 year old farmer, born in South Carolina. He was listed in district 538 of Fayette County. There is only one Joseph N. Banks listed--the father--because the son Joseph was already off at The War.

Joseph N. Banks, Sr. and his wife were buried in the Prospect cemetery located north of Inman in what is now Clayton County. Their grave markers indicate that Joseph Newton Banks, Sr. was born in 1798 in South Carolina, and that Nancy Draper Banks was born in 1800 in Virginia. These birth dates are slightly different from some other resources, suggesting that Joseph was born closer to 1792.

Prospect was a Methodist church located in what was first Henry, then Fayette, and then Clayton Counties. It was located in Land Lot 77 of District 5 (All known cemeteries..., 1986). Rev. Isaac Boring makes reference in his 1832 journal to preaching at Prospect about the same time that he preaches at Liberty Chapel on his circuit. Prospect Church does not exist at this time, and the building no longer stands. It is possible that Prospect became a Methodist church not connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. A rather large cemetery with many, many unmarked graves is in poor repair in the Rivers Edge subdivision of Clayton County north of Inman along the Flint River near North’s Bridge--so named for a local family. The cemetery is in a wooded area near the 18th hole of a golf course clubhouse on Southern Golf Court. There are some original grave stones in this cemetery for people who are recorded to have been involved at Liberty Chapel. We cannot at the time be certain of Joseph N. Banks, Sr.’s church membership. (Land near Prospect Methodist was owned by Manson Glass, who reportedly had a disagreement with the government of Fayette County so he had his land annexed to Clayton County.)

There are better records for their son Joseph, Jr.’s involvement at Liberty Chapel based on the membership rolls and previous historical accounts. The Joseph N. Banks listed on the 1883 membership roll at Liberty Chapel is thought to be the son. Joseph Newton Banks, Jr.--known as Joe--and Nancy Missouri Mitchell were married in Fayette Co., GA on 4-15-1860. Joe (b. 6-22-1839 in Fayette; d. 12-9-1919 possibly in Hampton, Henry Co.) was the son of Joseph Newton Banks, Sr. (b. 1792/8 in SC; d. 6-5-1871, Fayette Co., GA) and Nancy Draper (b. c. 1800 in VA; d. Aug. 1877 in Fayette). In his will (dated May 24, 1871) Joseph Newton Banks, Sr. listed his land as being in Lot 21, Dist. 5 of Fayette County--which put him in the Inman vicinity. He listed "my trustworthy friend Daniel McLucas Executor of this my last will and testament." Note that his grandson Alexander G. Banks was married to Daniel McLucas' granddaughter Lula McLucas. (see McLucas article)

../sjover/PHOTO016.JPG--click here for photo of Joseph Newton Banks, Jr. at CSA veterans reunion.  He is the one on front row with hat on, medals on coat, and hands folded in front of himself over one knee.

"Uncle Joe" (Jr.) was married for a couple of years and had twin sons born and a daughter on the way when he enlisted in the CSA in 1862 to go with a group from Fayette County in Co. G, 44th GA Infantry as one of the last volunteer groups. This group fought in major battles at the Seven Days Battle, Seven Pines, Ellerson's Mill, Gaines Mill VA, Malvern Hill VA, Sharpsburg MD, Fredericksburg VA, Chancellorsville VA, Spotsylvania VA, Cedar Creek VA, Wilderness VA, Gettysburg PA, Petersburg VA. About half of the company died in battle. Joe was captured on 4-2-1865 at Petersburg, VA, and was paroled at Harts Island Harbor, NY. It is said that when he returned home he recognized his growing children by the sight of the twins were playing outside when he walked up to his farm. He had not seen his daughter up to that time.

Joe was a Methodist Local Preacher at Liberty Chapel and Prospect, as well as a farmer. He invested his own funds in a railroad that did not come until much later, so he lost a great deal of money and raised his 17 children on modest means. He lived to be elderly and in a wheelchair with years of heart trouble. His grandchildren recount that he was a kind man who took time to tell stories to the children. He and his children and later descendants are represented in the Liberty Chapel/Inman Methodist church records.

Nancy Missouri Mitchell was born in Fayette Co. on 11-5-1843 to Jonathan Mitchell (b. about 1799 in SC; d. Oct. 1887; m. 3-29-1827 in Fayette) and Sarah Hightower (b. about 1810 in Clark Co. GA; d. after 1880). Both of her parents were members of the founding families of this area, who had come to Henry/Fayette just after the Treaty of Indian Springs that opened this area to U. S. citizens. Nancy lived to be 97 and died from complications related to a bed sore. Before her death she too was confined to Joe's wheelchair. On her death she had 81 grandchildren, 157 great-grandchildren, and 47 great-great-grandchildren.

Like so many local women, Nancy Mitchell Banks had been left alone on a farm with young children when her husband went off to war. There is a family story (relayed by Sara B. Overstreet and Lennie B. Proux) that when Sherman's troops came through this area, she had been at home alone with her three young ones. The daughter was in the baby bed, and she put their only side of bacon under the blankets and sat down on the bed with the baby. There was a chicken boiling on the fire. Nancy smoked a pipe (as was a custom at the time), and she had tobacco and the little pipe above the fireplace. The soldiers came in and with their own hunger they immediately pulled the boiling chicken out of the pot. An officer arrived and inquired about the food supply. When Nancy told him the chicken was their only food, the officer made the soldiers put the chicken back in the pot. They took the pipe and tobacco. The side of bacon was not found. The soldiers did no further harm under the direction of their commanding officer.

It is relayed that Joe said for years he had counted on having 20 children but the War reduced his efforts to 17. They are:

George William Banks b. 3-26-1861; d. 10-22-1931; m. Ellen Beulah Banks

Daniel Jefferson Banks b. 3-26-1861; d. 3-14-1945; m. Nancy Bethune

Sarah Jane Banks b. 12-21-1862; d. 12-31-1900; m. William Henry Chappell

Permelia Wilmouth Banks b. 3-21-1866; d. 12-4-1949; m. Jesse James Hubbard, Jr.

Maxie Million Banks b. 11-19-1867; d. 3-14-1947; m. Yancey Alexander Morgan

Ruthy Etta Banks b. 10-28-1870; m. 1) Joe Nations, 2) ? Brown, 3) ? Canup

David Lewis Banks b. 2-8-1872; d. 11-28-1887

Missouri Babel Banks b. 1-8-1874; m. Will H. Morris

Cumi Tabitha Banks b. 4-8-1876; d. 9-24-1934; m. John Wallace Jackson

John Marvin Banks b. 1-4-1878; d. 3-21-1959; m. Leona Arthula Betsill

Britton Joseph Banks b. 8-4-1879; d. 4-15-1961; m. 1) Margaret Florence Jackson, 2) Grace Neely, 3) Ethel Clinton

James Raleigh Banks 1-19-1881; d. 12-31-1935; m. Ada Mae Betsill

Alexander Gardner Banks b. 11-26-1883; 6-10-1970; m. Lula Effie McLucas

Abraham Carroll Banks b. 3-24-1885; b. 2-15-1952; m. 1) Leila Clyde McCollum, 2) Willie Lorene Davis Hayes

Isaac Zifflin Banks 1-4-1887; 1-7-1927

Emory Wadsworth Banks b. 7-16-1888; d. 9-5-1950; m. Rena Ethel Waldrop

Nancy Panola Banks b. 11-24-1892; d. 7-26-1963; m. Earnest Calvin Adams

Apparently the elderly couple moved to Hampton with adult children for a time prior to Joe’s death. Nancy lived on for several more years with some of her other children. They are buried in the Banks family cemetery on Hilo Road in Fayette County north of Inman.


All known cemeteries of Clayton County Georgia . 1986. R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation. p. 76 Hill Family Cemetery.

Fayette County Historical Society. (1977). History of Fayette County 1821-1971.

First tax digests Fayette County, Georgia--1823-1834. (1988). Jonesboro, GA: Ancestors Unlimited.

Marked, unmarked graves depict rich history at White Oak Cemetery. (1980, September). Armchair Researcher, 3, pp. 140-141.

Storey, M. F. B. (1984). Grandpap's Family: A Banks family genealogy, descendants of James Banks of the Northern Neck of Virginia. Anundsen Publishing Co.

Unpublished geneological research by John McLucas, Sr., Banks descendants, and S. J. Overstreet

Alexander Gardner Banks (1882-1970) &

Lula Effie McLucas (1881-1946)

To see photo of Alex Banks family 1913, click on ../AckertGA/PHOTO012.JPG

Alex Banks was born to Joe and Nancy Banks on 11-26-1882 in Fayette County, GA. He attended Liberty Chapel church and particularly enjoyed participating in the Singing Schools that were a frequent week-long social event in the community. He had various jobs ranging from traveling the country with the Gulf Oil company to being a guard at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. His main love was farming. As a young man he had been hired by Sarah Jane Luncford McLucas to plow on her farm in Inman. "Sally" McLucas had been widowed with a houseful of daughters, and Alex dated several before asking Lula to marry him. The couple had attended church together all of their lives, and both of them had grandfathers who were Local Preachers. After their marriage in 1903 they continued their association with Liberty Chapel church until their deaths. A Bible given to Alex Banks by his father records the family information as follows:

The Holy Bible containing the

Old and New Testaments

New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons


handwritten: A gift from J. N. Banks to A. G. Banks

Inman GA


A. G. Banks & Lula E. McLucas

A. G. Banks

Lula Effie Banks

Walter Ralph Banks

Mary Lennie Banks

Martha Lounelle Banks

Sarah Nancy Banks

Joseph Weldol Banks

Joseph Weldol Banks

Lula Effie McLucas Banks

There were periods of time when Alex took jobs out of the county. He was working in Dallas, GA with the state Department of Transportation when his second child was born. When his children were teenagers he moved to Atlanta for a few years to find employment during the 1920s when farming could not longer support the family. Alex and Lula had the following children:

1--Walter Ralph Banks--b. in Fayette; d. in Monroe Co., GA; married Mary Harper. Ralph was a carpenter by trade, and had employment in several other areas. He and Mary established a home in Juliette, GA and were active in the Baptist church there. That is where they are buried. They had two infants buried in the Inman cemetery. Their living daughter Betty Ann Banks first joined Inman Methodist in 1940, then moved her membership with her parents to Juliette. She married E. Cecil Copeland and they had two children. Their son Mike Edgar Copeland (married and had a son Adam Christopher Copeland ). Their daughter Lisa Ann Copeland married Mark Jenkins and they had two daughters--Rebecca Ann Jenkins and Rachel Lauren Jenkins and Mary Elizabeth.

2--Mary Lennie Banks--b. in Dallas, GA; m. Marvin Proux. Lennie and Proux lived most of their lives with Alex and Lula Banks. Proux worked at the Army Depot in Atlanta until retirement, and was an Atlanta cab driver and then worked at a golf course on the side. He was a 32nd Degree Mason. Lennie was a homemaker and helped in the care of her younger relatives while their parents were employed outside the home. In retirement Lennie and Proux moved from Fayetteville to Inman and continued their involvement with Inman United Methodist Church. Both held positions of responsibility for years. Proux died 9-15-1995 and is buried in Inman Cemetery.

3--Martha Lunell Banks--b. in Fayette; d in Fayette; m. Edgar Moss. The couple married when Lunell was 16, and did not regret their early decision. They were active in the church until their respective deaths. Edgar worked with American Seating Company and the couple lived sometimes in Fayette County and sometimes in the metro Atlanta area. Edgar was very active in the Masons. The couple retired to Fayetteville. They had one son, James Walter Moss who married Glenna Thompson. James and Glenna live in south Fayette. Edgar died in 1968, and Lunell died in 1996. They are buried in Clayton County, GA.

4--Sara Nancy Banks--b. in Fayette; see biographical sketch below

5--Joseph Wendell Banks--b. 12-1-1914 in Fayette; d. 1-4-1915 buried Inman

At middle age Alex and Lula established a home on Lee Street on the south side of Fayetteville. They continued to be active in Inman Methodist church. Various of their children would live with them from time to time, in an extended family setting. In 1946, Lula died suddenly of a heart attack. Alex lived on until 1970, when he died suddenly at age 86. Both are buried in the Inman cemetery.

Sara Nancy Banks Overstreet

Sara Nancy Banks was born at her grandmother's home in Inman. Many of her cousins and three of her siblings were also born in Sarah Jane McLucas' house now abandoned at the corner of Highway 19 S. and Inman Road. She was on the Cradle Roll of Liberty Chapel, having been christened along with her two older sisters in 1913. She started school in Inman, and would have lunch with her grandmother and cousins every day. Sara was one year younger than her cousin Willard McBrayer, and because she and Willard played together and studied together, she was advanced to his grade level because she already knew the subjects!

Sara's father was a farmer. When World War I was declared, Alex Banks registered for the draft. The war was over before he was called. Sara's family moved to Atlanta in order for her father to maintain employment when she was a teenager. There she married Winton DeVan Overstreet (b. 2-6-1909, Sylvania GA; d. 7-2-1959, Birmingham AL) in 1931. The couple had one son--Winton DeVan "Dan" Overstreet, Jr. He was born 2 months early at a time when premature infants did not usually survive. When Dan was 7 the couple were divorced. Sara and Dan continued to live with her parents and Lennie and Proux. She secured a job with the State Department of Education, and went to business school at night. She retired after years with Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company and was the most advanced woman in a management position in the country at that time.

Dan graduated from Fayette County High School in 1951. He attended Young Harris College, then went into the Air Force and served in North Africa. He married Loreen Phillips in 1956, and continued his education at Andrew College. He entered full-time Methodist ministry in 1958, and his career is outlined in a separate biographical sketch. Over the next few years he continued his education while serving as a full-time minister. He was ordained a Deacon and then an Elder in the South Georgia Conference, from which he retired in 1995.

Loreen Phillips was born in Arkansas. She had come to Georgia to attend Georgia Baptist Hospital's nursing school. She was there caring for a member of Inman Methodist--the patient was Tish Welden (see separate biographical sketch)--when she met Tish's friend Sara B. Overstreet. Tish died in 1947, and Loreen "Phyl" continued her friendship with the people in Fayette County. This is how she eventually married Dan Overstreet. Phyl served many communities as a nurse. She earned her M.S. from Emory, and her Ph.D. in nursing education from the University of South Carolina in 1978.

The couple have children and grandchildren as follows:

1--Sara Jane Overstreet

2--Marcus Lloy Overstreet


Lennie Banks Proux and Sara Banks Overstreet

interview 1-19-1997 by Graceann Overstreet Rogers, Sara's great-granddaughter

The Old Church--In Granny Sara's childhood, the Old Church was located beside the cemetery on Hill's Bridge Road. At Christmas, there was a Christmas tree in the church. It had holly berries, popcorn on a string, and construction paper rings draped all around the tree. For Easter Egg Hunts, they would boil eggs and paint them.

To divide the church into Sunday School rooms, they had draped curtains from the ceiling. Ben Pearce was the Sunday School superintendent. Each Sunday they would have a group assembly. Every Sunday they would sing at the assembly. Mr. Pearce was not much for carrying a tune, but every Sunday they would sing "Bringing In the Sheaves."

There was a young McLucas boy who had broken his leg. Since wheelchairs were so big, they had to bring the boy in a wagon to the service.

Occasionally, there was a Children's Day. The Sunday School classes--children, adults, and all--would come and sing in the church.

They use to have all-day singings. They would put down picnic cloths on the ground, and spread out food that the people had brought. Everybody took a little of each dish.

The church did not usually keep a preacher more than a year. Sometimes a member of the congregation would disagree with the preacher's sermon. A particular member tended to stand up during the sermon and tell the preacher that he did not appreciate the preacher talking him down in the sermon. That person would get angry and stay away for a few weeks, but always came back.

They had funerals in the church, and a few weddings. Most people were married at the family's house or at the preacher's house.

Granny Sara and Lennie and Lunell joined the church together and were sprinkled. John Ambrose and Nell Burch's children were dunked because she had been Baptist before her marriage.

Genealogy--Sara Banks and Lennie Banks were children of Alexander Gardner Banks and Lula Effie McLucas. They grew up and went to school in Inman until the Inman school closed and they went to Fayetteville. The family moved to Atlanta for a time when the girls were teenagers, then moved back to Fayetteville. They had moved to the city so that Alex Banks could have steady work when farming would no longer support the family. Both ladies are life-long members of Inman Methodist. Graceann Overstreet Rogers is Sara Overstreet's great-granddaughter. At the time of this interview, Sara is 84, Lennie is 88, and Graceann is 12.

Also: McLucas, Hightower, Mitchell, Hill