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Stories from the past...moments we remember

     Sylvester Banks and the Red Clay Tile

 By Ed H. Jones


Sylvester Leon  Augusta Logan Banks

 In the middle 1920’s, my dad, Albert Vernon Jones was courting Lorene Elizabeth Banks, daughter of Sylvester Leon Banks.  Apparently Sylvester was well accepted by the Jones family and he must have made several visits from Cordova to the old Jones place on Hay Valley Road.  Mr. Banks, as the stonemason, had already finished his work on the United Methodist Church in Jasper, and it seems as if he had a box or two of 6” x 6” x ½” red clay tiles left over.  These had been used in the foundation construction of the church.  Sylvester Banks gave some (or all) of these tiles to Vernon’s little brother to lay a walk leading from the front porch of the Jones farm house.  These tiles lay in that dirt for close to 50 years until the house was bought and razed by the strip-miners.  At that time, a sister of Vernon took the tiles and the fireplace stones from the old house to use in the building of her new home in Jasper.  This was in the 1970’s.  She used all but two of the tiles.  I had not visited this Alabama aunt for many years, until July of 2002.  The Jasper church and Mr. Banks was one of many topics of discussion that day, and at that time my 90 year old aunt told me this story and gave me one of her two clay tiles.  I brought the tile home and have since given it, and a copy of A White Marble Church-Jasper First United Methodist Church, to my oldest son.

 I remember running and playing on that walk as a child when we would visit my Papa Jones during our 1940’s ‘Texas to Walker County’ summer vacations.  I never dreamed that one of those pieces of red baked clay (and its history) would give me such pleasure some 60 years later.