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(See "Richman" biography) The record of Mr. Banker is that of a man who started in life under the embarrassing circumstances which poverty entails, and who, by his unaided efforts, has worked himself from a lowly position up to a place of high standing in the business world. From the beginning his life has been one of industry and perseverance and the systematic course he has pursued and the honorable methods adopted have won him the support and confidence of many. It is to such strong-minded men that the country is largely indebted for the industrial prosperity which has made it what it is and in the building of communities and the laying of broad and deep foundations for future progress they are potential factors and must be considered as true benefactors of the race.
Francis G. Banker is the son of Amos and Frances N. (Eubanks) Banker and was born in Brazil, Clay county, Indiana, November 15, 1862. His parents were natives of Darke county, Ohio, where for a number of years the father followed merchandising for a livelihood, and where they were married. For a limited period he followed agricultural pursuits in Clay county, subsequently moving to Winchester, Indiana, where his death took place in 1864. By a previous marriage with a Mr. Shelly, of New Castle, Indiana, Mrs. Banker had one child, Eugene A. Shelly, at this time a barber in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her marriage to Mr. Banker was blessed with two children, Kansas, formerly a photographer of Greenfield, but at present a conductor on the Greenfield electric railroad, and Francis G., whose name forms the heading of this article. Some time after Amos Banker’s death his widow entered into the marriage relation with Stephen W. Deibert, of Shelby county, by whom she had five children, namely: Erie, of Butte City, Montana; Richard, deceased; Stella, deceased; Bertie, deceased; and Wallace, an employee of the Greenfield electric railway. The mother of these children departed this life at Morristown, Shelby county, in the year 1901, aged sixty-seven.
Francis G Banker enjoyed but limited educational advantages in his boyhood and when old enough to do manual labor worked in the neighborhood at any honorable employment to which he could turn his hand. After being variously employed for several years, he went to Morristown, where his mother and step-father lived, and under the latter’s direction began learning the trade of brickmaking, and in 1882 formed a partnership with him, operating a plant at Morristown, and one year, that of 1884, at Greenfield, Mr. Banker becoming the sole owner in 1885. Securing a site at the intersection of Cemetery and State streets, they began the manufacture of brick on a limited scale, doing all of the work by hand and employing only a small number of assistants. The business continued to increase, however, until greater facilities became necessary; accordingly, in 1890 Mr. Banker abandoned his original location and moved the plant to West Tague street, where he operated a much more extensive business, the force of workmen being greatly augmented. During the succeeding five years the business continued to grow in magnitude and importance until the proprietor again found it necessary to enlarge his facilities in order to meet the constantly increasing demand for his product. Accordingly in 1895 he moved to his present place in West Greenfield, where he now owns fifty acres, on which is the largest and most complete plant in the county and one of the largest and most successfully conducted establishments of the kind in the central part of the state.
For a number of years all of the output of Mr. Banker’s plant went to supply the local demand, but since moving to his present location he has manufactured a superior quality of brick which, in addition to being purchased at home, is shipped to all parts of Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. The business demands an investment of fifteen thousand dollars and manufactures four million bricks annually, which brings in an income of about twenty-four thousand dollars. Thirty men are employed, with a weekly pay roll of about three hundred dollars. He has installed the latest and most improved brick-making machinery, which, with the skilled workmen and his personal supervision, makes this one of the best equipped plants in this part of the state. The business has grown beyond Mr. Banker’s most sanguine expectations and the plant is today one of the largest and most successful manufacturing concerns of Greenfield. The superior quality of the product has created such an extensive demand that the enterprise is taxed to its utmost capacity and from the present outlook the indications point to still greater facilities in the no distant future.
In addition to the manufacture of brick, Mr. Banker is interested in other business enterprises and he has always taken an active part in encouraging all movements having for their object the industrial prosperity of the city and county. He owns and operates a gas plant which not only supplies his own fuel, but also part of that consumed in the city. He is also treasurer of the Manufacturers’ Gas Company which supplies many of Greenfield’s manufactories with nature’s ideal fuel. He is a stockholder in the Indianapolis & Eastern railway Company, the successor to the Indianapolis & Greenfield Rapid Transit Company, of which he was one of the five original owners and builders, and its president in 1890-1891, during the actual building. The first franchise had been granted to him and W. C. Dudding, who were the original promoters and who, in company with Elmer J. Binford, Nathan C. Binford, L. E. McDonald and C. M. Kirkpatrick, Construction Company, which financed and built the road.
Mr. Banker has an honorable record as a business man and deserves great credit for the rapid strides he has made from his former condition to a position of influence and affluence in the community. His career has been marked by fidelity to duty and all of his dealings have been conducted in a honorable and straightforward manner, which bespeaks the broad-minded, progressive man of affairs whose object has been to benefit his fellowmen while advancing hid own interests. His methods have ever been upright and straightforward and his close application, perseverance and unabating energy have enabled him not only to work his ay steadily forward along business lines, but also to win for himself an honorable name among the representative self-made men of the city and county, both long noted for the intelligence and high moral standing of their citizens.
Mr. Banker was married September 22, 1882, in the city of Shelbyville Indiana, to Miss Laura Griffey, a native of that place, and to their union five children have been born, namely: Harry, Ethel, Orville, Rubie and Russell, of whom Ethel, Orville and Russell are deceased.
The Banker home is situated at No. 132 South State Street. It is an attractive place, comfortable and luxurious in its appointments and within its hospitable walls none of the cares and perplexities of the world are permitted to enter The place is well known and in refinement few Greenfield homes surpass it. Mr. Banker is a member of Winona Tribe No. 82, I. O. R. M., also belonging to the Pocahontas degree, Oronoco Council No. 59. Both he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and their fidelity to its teachings have gained them the confidence and goodwill of their fellow parishioners and of the community at large.
source: Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 280-282.