Walking back in history....(Historical Families)
John Hollis Bankhead
Confederate War Hero, Congressman, Statesman
John Hollis Bankhead, lifelong resident of Alabama, was born in 1842
on his father's farm near Moscow in that part of Marion County which
is now Lamar County. The modern town of Sulligent was built upon
part of the Bankhead farm. He became a farmer, a legislator, a hero
in the Confederacy and a member of both the House and Senate of the
Reared upon his father's plantation in pioneer country, he
supplemented his meager formal education by avid reading and contact
with the issues and the world. He enlisted in the Confederate Army
at age 19. He served from the beginning to the end of the conflict,
participating heroically in many battles. As Captain he led the 16th
Alabama Regiment in a successful charge at Chickamauga, where he was
wounded. In spite of one useless arm, he saved the life of John
Custer. After the close of the war he married Tallulah Brockman of
Captain Bankhead served in the Alabama legislature in both houses.
In 1880 Governor Rufus Cobb offered him the wardenship of the State
penitentiary. Under his regime as head of the prison system, he
initiated many reforms, among which was the establishment of the
Boys Industrial School. This was later developed at Roebuck Springs,
under the leadership of club women.
From 1887 to 1907, Bankhead served in the US Congress and was active
in the establishment of the Library of Congress. He was instrumental
in the development of waterways including the deepening of Mobile
Bay. Lake Bankhead was named for him.
In 1907 he was elected to fill the vacancy in the US Senate left by
the death of Sen. John T. Morgan. He concentrated his efforts on
establishing a national system of highways and despite opposition,
was successful. In appreciation, the grateful public named the
transcontinental highway from the "Zero Stone" in Washington, DC the
"Bankhead Highway". Senator Bankhead continued to work on the
highway system at the request of President Roosevelt.
A dramatic moment in the life of Senator Bankhead took place at the
1912 Democratic Convention in Baltimore. Bankhead's son, William B.
Bankhead, the a member of Congress, stepped to the platform and
presented his father's name as Alabama's nominee for presidency of
the United States.
Senator Bankhead died in Washington, DC on March 1, 1920, and is
buried in the family plot in Oak Hill Cemetery, Jasper, Alabama.
Author: The Mountain Eagle newspaper issue of 2/12/1922
SENATOR JOHN HOLLIS BANKHEAD
John Hollis Bankhead was born on his father's farm in Marion
(now Lamar) County on September 13, 1842. He was educated in the
country schools of his native county and with this meager
scholastic preparation became a man of solid and practical
learning. He was married November 13, 1866 at Wetumpka, Alabama
to Tallulah Brockman and they celebrated their Golden Wedding
Anniversary in 1916 at their home ‘Sunset' at Jasper, Alabama.
At the time of his death there were surviving him, his wife,
Tallulah Brockman Bankhead and five children:
Louise (now deceased) wife of A. G. Lund;
2) Marie, wife of
Thomas McAdory Owen;
3) John H. Bankhead Jr;
William B. Bankhead (*
Father of Tallulah-see below)
Henry M. Bankhead
During the time Senator
Bankhead was a member of the Senate, his son, William B.
Bankhead was a member of the House.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, John Hollis Bankhead enlisted
as a Private inthe Army of the Confederacy and was in the
conflict from the beginning to the end. After the battle of
Fishing Creek he was promoted to Third Lieutenant and later
Senator Bankhead's death removed from the Senate the last
to occupy a seat in that body. During his services in Congress
he supported the
bill to locate and mark the graves of Confederate soldiers who
died in northern
prisons or were buried in the north.
After the Civil War Captain Bankhead returned to his home and
resumed life on the farm. He was elected a member of the Alabama
House of Representatives for the session of 1865 and 1866 from
Marion County. He was a member of the State Senate from the 12th
Senatorial District in the General Assembly of 1876 and 1877. In
1880 he again served in the House of Representatives of the
Alabama General Assembly from Lamar. He was later appointed
Warden of the State Penitentiary and served in this capacity for
On September 3, 1886, at the Fayette Court House Captain
Bankhead was nominated
for Congress by the Democratic Convention of the 6th
Congressional District of Alabama and elected to the office in
November of that year, serving ontinuously from March 4, 1887 to
March 4, 1907. His bill was adopted for an appropriation of 75
million dollars for post roads which was later increased to 200
million dollars. The Bankhead Highway beginning at Washington,
D. C. and ending in San Diego, is a just recognition by the
public of the achievements wrought by John Hollis Bankhead on
behalf of good roads throughout his
He entered the Senate in 1907 after the death of our
distinguished Senator John T. Morgan. He was re-elected by the
people in 1911 and again in 1919. He was serving his thirteenth
year in the Senate when death called him. All together his
period of service in congress was nearly thirty-three years.
John Hollis Bankhead was the son of James Greer and Susan Hollis
Through his efforts the government made its first survey of
for power development, the Warrior River became the world's
waterway and Mobile became a deep-seaport.
Brockman Bankhead was the son of John Hollis Bankhead,
brother of John Hollis Bankhead II, and uncle of Walter Will
Bankhead), a Representative from Alabama; born in Moscow, Lamar
County, Ala., April 12, 1874; attended the country schools; was
graduated from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa in 1893
and from the Georgetown University Law School at Washington,
D.C., in 1895; was admitted to the bar the same year and
commenced practice in Huntsville, Ala.; member of the State
house of representatives in 1900 and 1901; city attorney of
Huntsville 1898-1902; moved to Jasper, Walker County, Ala., in
1905 and continued the practice of law; solicitor of the
fourteenth judicial circuit of Alabama 1910-1914; unsuccessful
candidate for nomination to the Sixty-fourth Congress in 1914;
elected as a Democrat to the Sixty-fifth and to the eleven
succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1917, until his
death; chairman, Committee on Rules (Seventy-third Congress);
majority leader (Seventy-fourth Congress), Speaker of the House
of Representatives (Seventy-fourth to Seventy-sixth Congresses);
delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1940; died in
Washington, D.C., September 15, 1940; funeral services were held
in the Hall of the House of Representatives; interment in Oak
Hill Cemetery, Jasper, Ala.
Source: DAB; Heacock, Walter J. “William Brockman
Bankhead: A Biography.” Ph.D. dissertation, University of
Wisconsin, 1952; Heacock, Walter J. “William B. Bankhead and the
New Deal.” Journal of Southern History 21 (August 1955):
From The Mountain Eagle
newspaper September 19, 1940
William B. Bankhead died at the U.
S. Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. A short funeral
service was held at 12:30 p.m. in the House of
Representatives on Monday, Sept. 16, 1940. A special
train for Jasper, Alabama, left Union Station,
Washington, D.C. at 4:30 p.m. that afternoon and arrived
at 11 a.m. in Jasper on Sept. 17th. Funeral rites were
held at the First Methodist Church of Jasper where he
was a member.
The President of the United States, Franklin
Delano Roosevelt, along with his cabinet
members, 63 members of the House of Representatives, 30
Senators and many other dignitaries attended the
funeral. B. B. Speed, Chief of Police, estimated a crowd
of 40,000 people who came to pay final tribute to one of
Jasper's most beloved citizens.
Active ushers were Dr. A. C. Jackson, R. A. Argo, Dr.
L.M. Walker, John Kilgore, W.D. Leake, E. W. Long, M. E.
Nettles and Charles R. Wiggins. Honorary pallbearers
were the Board of Stewards of the First Methodist
Church, members of the Brotherhood Class of the
Methodist Church, members of the Masonic Lodge No. 221
and members of the bar of the Seventh District. Ushers
were G. T. Patrick, head usher; Bob Argo, Bob Kilgore,
Bob Bruner, Al Blanton, C. O. Bostick, Robin Boteler,
Bert Simmons, E. K. Barnes, Dr. Fred Haston, Lee
Hamilton, John Primm, Charles Tweedy, Jr, William Ellis
and R. R. Looney. The ushers were aided by Jasper Sea
Scouts and Boy Scouts. Sam Watkins, Dora; Albert
Boutwell, Birmingham, and Pitt Tyson Manor, Montgomery,
served on the state identity committee.
There was a scriptural reading by Dr. T. L. McDonald,
pastor; Dr. L.E. Barton, Dr. B. F. Tingle, district
superintendent; Rev. Harrison McMains, and prayer by
Rev. J. F. Akin. William Brockman Bankhead was buried in
the Bankhead family plot at Oak Hill Cemetery in Jasper,
John Hollis Bankhead II
John Hollis Bankhead II,
(son of John Hollis Bankhead, brother of William Brockman
Bankhead, and father of Walter Will Bankhead), a Senator from
Alabama; born on a farm near Old Moscow, Lamar County, Ala., July 8,
1872; attended the public schools; graduated from the University of
Alabama at Tuscaloosa in 1891 and from the law department of
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., in 1893; admitted to the
bar in 1893 and commenced practice in Jasper, Ala.; served in the
Alabama National Guard with rank of major 1901-1903; member of the
State house of representatives 1904-1905; president of the Bankhead
Coal Co. 1911-1925; trustee of the University of Alabama 1917-1919
and 1931-1946; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in
1930; reelected in 1936 and 1942 and served from March 4, 1931,
until his death in the United States Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Md.,
on June 12, 1946; chairman, Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation
(Seventy-fifth through Seventy-ninth Congresses); interment in Oak
Hill Cemetery, Jasper, Ala.
Source: Dictionary of American Biography; Key, Jack B.
“John H. Bankhead, Jr. of Alabama: The Conservative as Reformer.”
Ph.D. dissertation, Johns Hopkins University, 1966; U.S. Congress.
Memorial Services for John Hollis Bankhead, 2d. 80th Cong.,
1st sess., 1947. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1949.
Walter Will Bankhead
Will Bankhead, (son of John Hollis Bankhead II, grandson
of John Hollis Bankhead, and nephew of William Brockman Bankhead),
a Representative from Alabama; born in Jasper, Walker County,
Ala., July 21, 1897; attended the public schools; was graduated
from Marion (Ala.) Military Institute in 1916, from the
University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa in 1919, and from the law
department of the same university in 1920; was admitted to the
bar in 1920 and commenced practice in Jasper, Ala.; delegate to
the Democratic National Convention at Chicago in 1940; elected
as a Democrat to the Seventy-seventh Congress and served from
January 3, 1941, until February 1, 1941, when he resigned;
resumed the practice of law; chairman of the board of Bankhead
Mining Co., Inc., and Bankhead Development Co., Inc.; president
of Mammoth Packing Co. and Bankhead Broadcasting Co., Inc.; vice
chairman, board of directors, First National Bank of Jasper; was
a resident of Jasper, Ala., until his death in November 1988.