By Margaret Banks Stewart
King Lemuel Banks was born July 4, 1895, the second child of four born to Lucy Heartsill Banks and William Love Banks. They were Heartsill, King, David and Sallie Love Banks. The last one was named for Grandmother Sallie with Love as her surname.
As a youth he attended a boy’s school in Trenton, Tennessee; on to Arkansas State College at Jonesboro; and from there to Missouri University at Columbia. At Missouri University he received his BS degree in agriculture and almost earned his MA degree if it hadn’t been for the thesis!
In 1917 he was married to Hazel Davis of Mt. Vernon, Missouri. She had attended a girl’s school, Christian College, and was teaching voice there when they met. She was also the first “Queen of the May” there. Her mother lived in Mt. Vernon. Her father died of typhoid fever when Hazel was 5 years old. King and Hazel eventually became the parents of five girls, –Margaret, Lou Anna, Ruth, Carol and Charlotte. In 19179 he had become the county agent of Lawrence County, Arkansas located at Walnut Ridge.
From there he went into the dairy business, working for the Clover Farm Dairy at Raines, Tennessee, (now a part of Memphis). Within about two more years he had moved to Wynne, Arkansas to a dairy of his own. Next, in 1923, he had moved his family and dairy herd of Holstein cows to Peagreen in Montrose County, Colorado. In addition to the dairy, he farmed 240 acres.
As a member of that community he was active, and donated a corner of his property to the community for a community hall. Then he went with several other member of the community to the hills to harvest some logs to be used in the construction of the hall. He and my mother took part in community efforts, like entertainment at the meetings, etc. He also served as president of the community club. In all this time they both sang in the choir of the Methodist Church and mother continue to do so.
But fate stepped in in 1925 in the form of fire. Fire destroyed his dairy barn and all the milking machines. As a result he eventually sold his while herd of 20 cows, more or less to Clymer’s Dairy in Grand Junction.
In 1927 King became manager of the Delta Potato Growers Association of which he had previously served as president of the board. This post he held for the next 27 years.
In 1955 he ‘retired’ from the everyday business of Potato Growers o the Production Credit Association and to writing of insurance for the Framer’s Union. He had been associated with the Federal Land Bank in Wichita since 1933 and was on both the state and national PCA advisory committees. At one point he was national chairman. During this time he made frequent trips to Denver, Wichita, and Washington D.C. to testify at hearings. He also went abroad to Europe and Mexico. His wife went with him on many of these missions.
The overriding sorrow of his life came in 1956 with the death by drowning of his youngest daughter, Charlotte, and her young husband, Edgar Rawls. This sorrow stayed with him and Mother the rest of their days. Other deaths- Ruth, in 1981, Carol in 1979, saddened them too. Lou Anna and Margaret survive. He died in 1987 and Mother died in 1986.
Director, Delta County Historical Society and Museum