John Banks (1797-1870), banker, merchant, and planter primarily resided in Elbert and Muscogee Counties, Georgia. Married Sarah Watkins in 1828. Children included Willis Dunston (1830-1864), George Young (1831-1887), Daniel Watkins (1833-1864), Edward Sims (1834-1900), Susan Martha (1835-1893), Richard Eugene (1838-1864), Elbert Augustine (1840-1902), Sarah Lucy (1842-1928) married Edward Willis Yonge (d. 1919), and Anne Virginia Josephine (1844-1906) who married Gideon James Peacock (d. 1913).
The collection consists of papers of the Banks family of Elbert and Muscogee Counties, Georgia from 1818-1923. The papers include indentures and legal documents, but mainly correspondence between family members. Early letters are addressed to John Banks and concern business activities. Most of the Civil War correspondence is addressed to either Sarah Lucy or John Banks and primarily includes letters from Willis Dunston and Daniel Watkins with a few from George Young and Richard Eugene; all part of the 39th Alabama Infantry Regiment. The letters describe battles and fighting at Falls Church, Virginia; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Lookout Mountain, Tybee Island, and the retreat from Atlanta, Georgia. Other topics discussed include troop movements, marches, causalities, problems with deserters, and the lack of supplies. Some letters also discuss farm management during the war, financial problems, and cotton sales. After the death of Willis Dunston, Daniel Watkins, and Richard Eugene in 1864 the correspondence (1864-1865) consists of letters of condolence to John Banks.
Later correspondence (1870-1923 with gaps) contains letters to E.A. (Elbert Augustine) Banks in New York City, mainly from G.J. (Gideon James) Peacock concerning family news, cotton sales, farm management, and land sales in Georgia. Other correspondents include Edward Sims Banks and Susan Martha Banks.