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Martha Banks King


Make your plans now!

Sunday, October 14 The 72nd Reunion of the

Thomas Marion Banks Family

Remembering John Allen Banks John Allen was the fifth child of Thomas Marion Banks and Georgia DeLura Acree. He was born in Stephens County, Georgia, November 13, 1891, in the log house built by his grandfather, in the shadow of Currahee Mountain. And little did anyone imagine that Currahee Mountain would earn a footnote in history. In the early days of World War II, its rugged terrain was used for training the famed 101 st Airborne Division before they departed for Europe. They adopted ―Currahee‖ as their motto. After completing the last year of public education—eighth grade— John Allen spent one year at a boarding school, located in the mountain town of Hiawassee, near the Tennessee line. At about the age of twenty he traveled to Atlanta and got a job as streetcar conductor, a job he kept for several years. But he achieved one of his childhood ambitions when he got a job as fireman for the Southern Railway. And being a fireman wasn‘t a cushy job, for a fireman‘s responsibility was to keep the firebox filled with coal to generate steam. The steam drove the pistons and the pistons turned the giant steel wheels. The job with Southern Railway was interrupted the following year, however, when the United States entered World War I. At the age of 26, John Allen volunteered for service in the U.S. Army and reported to Camp Gordon, Georgia, for basic training. The 82nd Infantry Division was formed August 25, 1917, at Camp Gordon. Since members of the Division came from all 48 states, the unit was given the nickname ―All-Americans,‖ hence it‘s famed ―AA‖ shoulder patch. In the spring of 1918, the Division deployed to France. In nearly five months of combat the 82nd fought in three major campaigns and helped to break the fighting spirit of the German Imperial Army. Among the infantrymen of the 82nd was Sergeant Alvin York, the pacifist from Tennessee, who distinguished himself in the battle of the Argonne Forest. The 82 nd was demobilized after World War I, and for more than 20 years the ―All-American Division,‖ known as ―America‘s Guard of Honor,‖ would live only in the memories of men who served in its ranks during the Great War. And among those who served was Russell Marion Banks, John Allen‘s brother. In World War II, the 82nd was reactivated and became known as the 82 nd Airborne. Assigned to the Quartermaster Corps John Allen attained the rank of Sergeant First Class. While in France he was able to visit Paris. In fact, he was so enthralled over visiting Paris, he gave a fellow Georgian, a member of his company, a handful of francs and insisted he also visit Paris. On the occasion of his twenty-seventh birthday—November 13, 1918, a Wednesday—he

Inside this issue: John Allen Banks—continued


When Uncle Bill Became My Hero


Sharon (Davis) Cook Col. Tim Dixon Gets Tanked


Rebecca Dixon Family News/Announcements


Larry Barton—Rests in Peace


Banks Family Photos


Submitted by Jeri Stapleton Bob King & the Florida Cracker Ride Very special thanks to Jeri Stapleton for the beautiful photos!


Summer-Fall 2007

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returned to Paris, along with one of his fellow sergeants to celebrate. A photograph recorded the event. After the war ended, November 11, 1918, John Allen remained in France an additional year, with the Grave Registration Division. With his duffel bag in tow, filled with souvenirs he had bought from across Europe, he returned to the family farm in 1919. His siblings, eager for memorabilia, grabbed his uniforms and souvenirs; and among those souvenirs was a pair of Belgian sabots—wooden shoes. Although one of the shoes was lost years ago, the other remained in our household. It now rests with me, and even though it is now 90 years old, it remains in pristine condition. Returning to civilian life, his job with the railroad took him to Charlotte, where he met and courted Susie Jane Williams. They were married August 2, 1924, four days prior to her twenty-third birthday. John Allen was thirty-two. They traveled to Niagara Falls on their honeymoon. In time he would become the father of three sons. Some of my early memories of my father dates to a time he worked the third shift—known as ‗third trick‘ by railroaders—as a fireman for Southern Railway. And, in addition to a regular job as fireman, he was periodically called upon to perform the duties of engineer. That required that we have a telephone. So, at a time when telephone service was limited, and indeed a luxury, he obtained a priority for a two-party line. Daddy normally arrived home around 7 o‘clock each morning. And if it happened to be wintertime, he would have a warm fire blazing in the living room fireplace and a second fire going in a small heater located in the kitchen. This provided warmth to the kitchen and also provided ample hot water. Mother would have breakfast underway and Daddy would wake the boys for school, and it was always with a little jingle he sang. At the time, I would love to have thrown a pillow at him. Today, I cherish the memory. His jingle: I know you’re tired and sleepy too, I hate to call you . . . but I’ve got it to do By the mid-1940s, Daddy‘s seniority had earned him a coveted position as engineer on the first trick—seven to three. Having always prided himself in the way he dressed, mother kept his bib overalls starched and pressed, a red bandanna around his neck, and his Hamilton watch tucked in his bib pocket, safely attached to a gold chain. As a junior in high school I had taken typing as an elective and was a pretty good typist. Daddy, a staunch Democrat, had always been a strong believer in labor unions and was an easy choice to become Chairman of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. Once he brought home an old Underwood typewriter. It was one of those cast iron types that stood about eighteen inches high and weighed a ton. Suddenly, as a result of my typing experience, I was commandeered to be his secretary. He dictated, I typed, and the complimentary close was always in keeping with his strong belief in unions:

Fraternally yours.

John Allen, my father—Dad, Daddy to three sons—died at an early age. I regret that he never got to see his sons married, never experienced the joy of holding a grandchild. Had he lived to become a grandfather, however, you could safely bet the farm that at some point in their early lives he would have had them seated on his engine, pretending to drive that mammoth machine, blasting that powerful horn. Even though fifty-three years have passed since his death, he has always remained an important part of my memory. All I have to do is picture a warm summer day, a lawn chair in our front yard, and Daddy smoking his pipe, watching kids at play. Charles W. Banks, Charlotte, NC

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When Uncle Bill became my Hero

(Referring to Bill Banks, son of Groves & Ethel Banks)

There was a lot of excitement around our house that bright summer morning in 1949. My mother's younger brother, Bill, was coming for a visit. The house was spotless, as always. My baby sister, Jennifer, was confined to her play pen in the hall while I was keeping busy with the record player. As a soon to be first grader, I felt very responsible when Daddy had taught me how to place the 78 on the turntable and carefully lower the needle to just the right place on the outer edge of the record where the grooves would mysteriously begin those beautiful sounds. I even had my very own recording of my favorite song, Cruising Down the River that I was playing again and again. I guess Mama had heard the song about as many times as she could tolerate, so she told me to turn the record player off and find something else to do until Uncle Bill arrived. I don't know exactly how it happened, but in trying to get everything back in place, my knee came down on my precious record and it broke into a number of pieces. My world fell apart on the spot and I began to wail uncontrollably. Mama came running in answer to my cry and was trying to comfort me when my uncle arrived. I'm sure he wondered what he was walking into when I handed him the pieces of my beloved record and continued to sob. He told me to dry my tears, that we were going for a ride. I wasn't sure that riding in his convertible would actually make me feel better, but it was worth a try. My sweet uncle drove into downtown Greenville on that Saturday and took me to two music stores before finding another copy of "Cruising Down the River". He bought the record for me and on that summer day, my Uncle Bill became my hero! Obviously, Bill made quite an impression on me because I have never forgotten the kindness that he showed that day. Sharon Davis Cook Mother - Irene Banks Davis, daughter of Groves and Ethel Banks

Col Tim Dixon As seen by his sister Submitted by Rebecca (Becky) Dixon This is not a typical photo of one of our military family folks, but I just had to share this picture of my brother, Tim. He looks like a "little boy" playing Army. HEADLINE: DCMA SOUTHERN EUROPE COMMANDER CAPTURES ENEMY TANK (DCMA-GGI)

Brief: On 16 Feb 07, while conducting normal reconnaissance and review inspections of DCMA-Israel operations, COL Tim Dixon encountered a hostile enemy tank in the DCMA-Israel Area of Operations (AoR). Single-handily and without assistance or supporting fire, COL Dixon charged, overpowered, and captured the enemy tank. He then took command of the tank and proceeded to conquer the entire battlefield. COL Dixon’s act of heroism saved numerous flowers, bushes, and several weeds from certain destruction.

Summer-Fall 2007

Aunt Viola I loved my grandmother Viola dearly, but I must tell you that she burned most everything she cooked, I think that is why I like burnt chocolate chip cookies, burnt bacon, and she would even burn pole beans. So as far as recipes from Viola the only one that comes to mind is blackberry jello with fruit cocktail mixed in before it jelled. That she couldn't burn. We would watch Lawrence Welk while eating her wonderful jello. Thought I would share that with you. Cousin Susan DeLura

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Uncle Groves Lexy, Katrina's daughter in her ballet outfit. She is a flamingo! We went to see her in a real ballet at her Christian Dance School where they did Noah's Ark. She worked so hard -I'm a proud ma!!! Elaine Honea

Meanwhile, we had sold our NC place and 140 acres back in September and bought a different house with only one and a half acres nearby. But we could not move into that house, because the sellers were building another house that was not ready. So, we had to pack up all that stuff, give away, throw away and haul to thrift store. Anyway, we are back in Mitchell County, NC, unpacking and moving into our "new" NC home. It is a very nice home, and when we finally get settled it will be just right for us. So then we can welcome visits from family and friends. I am hoping that after this move and moving into the new FL house my moving experiences are over. (May 23, 2007)

Aunt Alice Alicia, Harold, Kinsey & Brianna lost their home in a house fire recently - they are currently staying with us.

The problem was complicated by, as Susan says, "one of us is a pack rat."

Jennifer & Tom Gallaher were married May 31 in Clarksville, GA. Congratulations to the newlyweds!!

Karen is on a 3 month leave hoping to feel better and will be on some brand new meds in July hoping for great improvement. Chris Terrell was married to Heidi Gayla Lynette Jones on March 17, 2007 at Henderson Falls Park in Toccoa, Georgia. Congratulations to the newlyweds! Russell & Karen Terrell

Aunt Bertie We wanted to share this newspaper article with you. The graduation was great and we enjoyed being a part of this event. For those or you not sure, this is Volina Dixon Roper & Earle Roper's grand children. Their parents are Patricia Roper Hudson and Mike Hudson. Thomas and Ginger Dixon

Uncle John Rita and Michael Banks (Charlotte) recently vacationed in St. John, Virgin Islands. And on the heel of their return, sister Lisa and husband Brett Kimball left for Italy, where they toured Venice, Florence, Sienna, Ro me, and the Amalfi Coast to Sorento. Konnichiha, Matthew. Having completed a year of studies at Gakushuin University, Tokyo, as an exchange student in their international program, Matthew Banbury of Charlotte was warmly greeted by family and friends on his recent return. Matthew will be a rising senior at UNC-Charlotte in the fall semester.

Aunt Martha Bob and Susan King have made some significant changes recently. We turned our home, in which we have lived for 42 years, over to our son, Ben, and his family. The idea was that we would build a smaller place nearby to move into, but bureaucratic red tape delayed construction, and the new house has not even started yet. So we sorted all the accumulation of 40 plus years, boxed some, gave some away, threw away some and gave a lot to our church thrift shop.

Seneca High School triplets, Stephen, Ashley and Blake Hudson, share a laugh with school guidance counselor at commencement exercises in May. Both Blake and Stephen were recipients of scholarship funds through the South Carolina Elks Association. Blake plans to attend Furman University to study music. Stephen plans to attend UNC and study pre-med.

Summer-Fall, 2007

We have lost a special Cousin Larry Barton was their brother, but Elaine, Tommy and Lanny Banks would not know of him until just months before his death. His ill health was the reason an aunt decided to contact them, knowing this could be Larry‘s last chance to meet the family he had longed to know. Tommy, Lanny, Elaine, Aunt Evelyn, and their families all welcomed Larry into their lives and gave him the love he so deserved. Larry Barton died April 3, 2007, leaving behind his wife, Shirley, and the brothers and sister whose lifetime of love was shared in a few short months. I can‘t help but think what an incredible man Larry was – how unselfish to carry his secret for decades so that others would not be hurt. We are glad to have met this special man—our cousin, Larry Barton, at the last Banks reunion.—DDodd

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Summer-Fall 2007

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Bertie and Gertrude Gertrude, Granddaddy Banks & Bertie

Gertrude, Jeri Stapleton & George Banks Gertrude—Roaring 20’s

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Left to right: Alice, Bartow, Viola, Gertrude, Jeri, Haynie, Willard, Martha. (Bertie took the picture.)

Do you recognize these boys? This picture was made by Uncle Haney on the occasion of Granddaddy Banks' funeral, January 1941. Charles Banks recalls they were all at Aunt Bertie's house. Uncle Haney drove them a short distance away to a house with a gated entrance. See Page 8 for identification—but first, try to figure it out for yourself!

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Bob King Reenacts the Florida Cracker Trail Ride Cousin Bob King joined 250 horse riders and teamsters from as far away as Wisconsin and Idaho for the 20th annual reenactment of the Florida Cracker Trail Ride February 18-23, 2007. This ride commemorates Florida's cattle ranching history of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and covers 120 miles from Manatee County on the Gulf coast to Ft. Pierce on the Atlantic. In Florida's open range days, each Spring there was a big cattle drive beginning on the east coast and ending at the cattle markets at Bradenton, Tampa and Punta Rassa (Ft. Meyers). As the drive crossed the state, ranchers along the way would add their cattle to the herd and their cow hunters to the drovers. After the cattle were sold for shipment to Cuba, the drovers would celebrate a couple of days, then head back home along the route that this ride uses. The biggest difference is that they had to ford the rivers and modern day riders use bridges. About half of the distance is along state roads with sheriff escorts ahead and behind, but part is through back woods. One rancher, "Duck" Smith, who owns 50,000 acres, allows us to cross his ranch and camp along the way. Bob and his mule-loving friend, Darrell Jackson from Kentucky, drove their team of mules pulling Darrell's covered wagon. About half of the 250 participants dropped out before completing the course, either as planned or because it was a bit too strenuous. Unknown to Bob and Darrell, friends and family members were betting whether that pair and team would complete the trip, but they did. Nightly camp fires provided entertainment ranging from a demonstration on horse training, relating a well trained horse to the ways we should respond to the discipline of God in our lives, to demonstrations of horse riding skills, to music, history, cow country poetry and awards for past trail bosses and Cracker Trail Hall of Fame recipients. Riders ranged in age from 9 to 80+ years. Two participants had been on all 20 rides, but on average this was about the fifth ride. There were five wagons, and they served a practical purpose of hauling riders who were saddle sore or had a horse give out. Food was good, provided by a caterer with a chuck wagon trailer with generator and walk-in cooler. We got one shower at a camp ground at about halfway, but mostly a "spit bath" had to fill the need. Susan, daughter Marti, daughter-in-law Sara and assorted grandchildren and friends visited us in camp twice during the trip. Susan said that the pile of dirty clothes at the end reminded her of the end of Boy Scout camp week. The ride was a memorable and enjoyable experience, reminding us of a Florida that is just about gone. Bob King

Got Scoop for the next newsletter? You may send it via email to, or by US Mail to: Donna Dodd, 3425 Spinnaker Way, Acworth, GA 30102 Phone—678-574-7071

From previous page: ARE YOU READY? Back row, left to right: Peter King, John Banks, Tom Banks, Bill Banks, Peter Banks, Russell Banks (vest), Banks Terrell, and Truitt Banks. Middle row, left to right: Bob King, Thomas Dixon, and that well dressed dude in a three-piece suit, Charles Banks. Front row, left to right: Rodolph Dixon, George Banks (with cap), and Bob Terrell standing next to Charles Banks.

Summer-Fall 2007 Banks Newsletter  

The 72nd Reunion Thomas Marion Banks Banks Family Photos Submitted by Jeri Stapleton Family News/Announcements P.4 John Allen Banks—continue...