Lee County Biography


John W. Banks, supervisor of Brooklyn township and a partner in the operation of grain, seed and coal concerns at Compton and Paw Paw, was born in Paris, Ontario, January 26, 1861. He is a son of Joseph and Hannah L. (McDonald) Banks, the former of whom came from England to Canada about the year 1840 and followed farming in Ontario for a number of years. In 1862 he moved to Lee county, Illinois, and after engaging in agricultural pursuits for eight years he moved to Malugins Grove and became connected with the mail service as a carrier in 1869. At the end of four years he moved to Compton, where he was appointed postmaster. In 1887 he went to California and he died in Los Angeles in 1908, at the age of eighty-five. He was survived by his wife one year, her death occurring when she was seventy-eight years of age. Both are buried in Posedale cemetery, Los Angeles.

John W. Banks was still an infant when he came to Lee county with his parents. He acquired his education in the public schools of Compton and at the age of thirteen laid aside his books, working for a few years thereafter as a farm laborer. In 1887 he became clerk for the firm of Warner & Guffin, dealers in grain, seed and coal, and in 1889 became manager of the concern operated by this firm. In 1907 he was admitted into partnership, the old name being, however, retained. His work has been a helpful factor in the success of the firm, which now operates establishments in Compton and Paw Paw. He is known as a resourceful, farsighted and able business man and has been carried forward into important relations with the general business life of the locality.

In Dixon, on the 23d of January, 1895, Mr. Banks married Miss Elizabeth McBride, a daughter of J.S. and Abbey (Carnahan) McBride, the latter the daughter of one of the oldest settlers in Lee county. Her father now resides with his family in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Mr. and Mrs. Banks have two sons: Stanley M., who was graduated from Paw Paw high school in 1912; and Smith M., attending school.

Mr. Banks is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and is connected fraternally with the Masonic lodge; Anchor Lodge, No. 510, I.O.O.P.; the Modern Woodmen of America, and the Order of the Eastern Star. He gives his political allegiance to the republican party and is very active in community affairs. He was for six years chairman of the republican county central committee and was president of the village board for a similar period of time. In 1911 he was appointed supervisor of Brooklyn township and elected in 1913 to the same position, which he still holds and the duties of which he discharges with credit and ability. In whatever relation of life he is found he is honorable and straightforward, being recognized as a capable man of business and a public-spirited and progressive citizen.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.


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