Joseph Newton Banks, Jr. (1839-1919)

& Nancy Missouri Mitchell (1843-1940)

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 Revolutionary 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, Houston, 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, in the said State, which said Tract or Lot of Land is known and distinguished in the plan of said district by the Number twenty 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 Liberty 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)


Click on thumbnail to view full size photo.

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


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Compilation Copyright 2008 - Present by Linda Blum-Barton