RICHARD BANKS

RICHARD BANKS, Physician, was born in Elbert County, Georgia, on October 23, 1794, son of Ralph Banks and Rachel Alston Jones.  One of thirteen children, Banks was the only one to attend college.  After attending both the University of Georgia (one year)  and the University of Pennsylvania, in 1820 he received his M.D. degree.  After practicing in Philadelphia  for one year, he returned to rural Ruckersville, Elbert Georgia and set up a practice not too far from his home. He was so skilled and popular that he eventually moved his practice to larger offices in Gainesville, Ga. in 1832.  Dr. Banks was employed by the United States government to visit Cherokee indians, and vaccinated them and performed surgery on the Indians as well.  He gained national recognition for performing skilled surgeries,like achieving almost natural-like results in correcting cleft palate.  He was the only physician in the area who performoed paratoidectomies, cataract removal and lithotomy.  Dr. Banks was noted for his loaning money to Mark Allen Cooper to keep the city of Etowah, in Bartow County, a going concern. Dr. Banks is listed on the Friendship Monument built by Mark Cooper in honor of the men who helped him overcome his financial problems.  Dr. Banks once owned a gold mine and his name appears as drawing land in the 1821 and 1832 land lotteries.

Even though he was among the most talented physicians of his day, Dr. Banks preferred to quietly help his neighbors and friends.  Richard Banks married Martha Brown Butts (1810-1880) on 14 Dec 1830 in Warren County, Georgia.  He died in Gainesville, Ga. on May 6, 1856 and is buried in Alta Vista Cemetery..  On December 11, 1858, the General Assembly honored his memory by naming a county after him.

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