John Hollis Bankhead a descendant of Scotch-Irish stock was born on his father’s farm in Marion, now Lamar Co., near the town of Moscow, Alabama, and September 13, 1842. His father, James Greer Bankhead, a native of Union District, S.C. settled at that place in 1818 and resided there until his death in 1861. His mother, Sussan Hollis, was born in Darlington District, S.C. and came with her parents to Alabama in 1822 where she remained until her death at the age of seventy-five.
He was married November 13th 1866, at Wetumpka, Alabama, to Tallulah Brockman, a native of S.C. who had been reared in Alabama. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1916 at their home, “Sunset,” at Jasper, Alabama. Their five children (in 1920) Louise, (wife of A.G. Lund); Marie, (wife of Thomas M. Owen); John H, William B, Henry M. Bankhead.
He enlisted as a Private in Co. K, 16th Alabama Regiment Infantry Volunteers, of the Confederacy and was promoted to Captain after the battle of Shiloh. After the Civil War, he returned to his home and resumed life on the farm. In his early twenties, he was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives of 1865-6 from old Marion County and this marked the beginning of long career in Public service. Some of the offices he held include; State Senator at various times, State Legislator, Warden of Alabama State Penitentiary, Congress, House of Representatives. He was instrumental in making the Warrior River a navigable stream as well as the development of Muscle Shoals on the Tennessee River. The Bankhead Highway beginning in Washington D.C. and ending in San Diego, Ca. is a just recognition by the public of the achievements wrought by John Hollis Bankhead in behalf of good roads throughout the nation.
His death occurred at his residence in Washington D. C, March 1st, 1920. Following a religious service in the Methodist Church at Jasper, Alabama, of which he was a member, he was buried by the Grand Lodge A. F. & A. M. of Alabama.