A gentleman of becoming modesty, whose life, however, has been one of honor and usefulness. A. J. Banks enjoys an unimpeachable reputation in the commercial and agricultural circles of Hancock county and his sterling honesty and integrity have gained him the unqualified regard of all with whom he has business or social relations.
Adam Banks, father of A. J., was a native of Virginia and by occupation a farmer. He was an early pioneer of Wayne county, Indiana, where he entered a quarter section of land from which in the course of years he cleared and developed one of the finest farms in his section of the country. He was an honest, hard-working man, accumulated a handsome competency and died in 1842 on a farm near Harrisburg which he purchased from the government. By his first wife, whom he married in Virginia, he had thirteen children, all deceased. His second companion, Susana Kolb, a native of Georgia, who he married in Wayne county, this state, bore him seven children, namely: Andrew J., subject of this sketch; Louvisa, deceased, wife of H. Ludlow; Rylond T. died young; Mehitable, deceased; Jemima, widow of the late Daniel Scott; Susanna, deceased and one that died in infancy.
Adam Banks was a man of local prominence, held the office of justice of the peace for a number of years and in an early day taught several terms of school in the county of Wayne. He was respected by all who knew him and left to his children the heritage of a spotless name and a reputation untainted by the commission of a single unworthy act. His second wife, a woman of sterling character and nobleness of purpose, was called to the other world in the year 1880.
Andrew Jackson Banks was born on the old family homestead in Wayne county, August 26, 1830, and in the subscription schools acquired a fair English education. His early life was marked by no striking event, being passed amid a routine of farm labor, and as a dutiful son he remained with his parents until reaching an age when young men are supposed to start in life upon their own responsibility. On entering upon his career, at the age of twenty-one, he chose farming for a vocation and or a period of eleven years thereafter his attention was devoted to agriculture and stock raising, in both of which his success early became assured.
On the 24th of July, 1859, Andrew J. Banks and Miss Viola Harvey, of Wayne county daughter of Benjamin and Nancy Harvey, were made husband and wife, a union blessed with the following children: Rosalind, wife of John Cochran, of Greenfield; Linna M., wife of M. H. Gant, of Greenfield; Viola M., who married N. R. Spencer, also a resident of Greenfield; Luman, his fathers associate in business under the firm name of A. J. Banks & Son; Harvey and Mabel, who died in 1881 and 1880, respectively.
After his marriage Mr. Banks engaged in the dry goods business in Greenfield, but two years later sold out and engaged in the hardware trade. In 1896 he disposed of the hardware feature of his business and continued in the line of plumbing, tin and slate roofing, gas fitting, etc., and took his son, Luman, in as a partner. The firm of A. J. Banks & Son is now engaged principally in the plumbing business and all work in that line, including steam fitting, etc., in which they have built up a very large and prosperous trade. They employ none but experienced workmen and by close attention to business, was well as by the superior excellence of their workmanship, their place is now the leading establishment of the kind in the city, while ist future outlook is in every respect most encouraging. Mr. Banks permits his son to have practical control of the business, while he devotes the greater part of his time to his large agricultural and livestock interests, owning a fine farm of one hundred and eighty acres in Center township upon which can be seen many of the finest cattle and hogs to be seen in the county of Hancock.
Mr. Banks makes specialties of Poled Durham and shorthorn cattle and Poland China hogs of the most approved breeds. He devotes considerable attention to general farming and seldom fails to reap abundant harvests from his well-cultivated fields which, under his personal direction, are made to yield their full capacity of the different crops with which the land is planted. Mr. Banks is a careful student of agricultural science and as a business man ranks with the most enterprising and progressive of his fellow tradesmen of Greenfield. He displays unusual shrewdness in the management and prosecution of his several important interests and by careful foresight and executive ability has materially increased the value of the large property which he owns.
Mr. Banks has one of the finest and most attractive home in Greenfield situated on Pennsylvania Street, where, surrounded by the comforts and luxuries calculated to make life desirable, he finds rest and surcease from labor which only the exceedingly busy man of the world knows how to appreciate and enjoy. He owns other valuable city property, improved and unimproved, and financially is one of the safe and reliable men of the county seat. He is content to be known merely as a man of affairs and seeks not the honors and emoluments of public office. He is entirely free from ostentation or vain display, is kindly and genial in manner and enjoys the warm friendship of many of his fellow citizens who esteem him for his sturdy character and genuine personal worth.
Transcribed from Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 401-402.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI Sept. 22, 2003.
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