John Baylor Banks, Texas legislator and entrepreneur, was born about 1818 in Kentucky, son of Baylor and Mary Grant (Sterne) Banks. He came to Texas before 1840 when he appeared on the tax list for Jackson County. On January 22, 1846, Banks married Caroline C. Browning in Washington County, Texas. Around 1851 Banks bought land east of Austin in an area then known as Webber's Prairie, now Webberville. In addition to the income from his farm Banks accumulated a large personal fortune as a member of a group of land speculators. As a resident of Travis County during the 1850s and 1860s John B. Banks was a trustee of the Austin Female Academy, an incorporator of the Air Line Rail Road, and during the Civil War solicited aid for families of Confederate soldiers under the aegis of the Protestant Episcopal Church. From 1853 through 1855 John B. Banks was Travis County's representative to the Fifth Texas Legislature. By the 1870 census Banks and his family had moved to Galveston, where Banks owned a large oyster bed and continued to invest in railroads; he was listed as a stockholder in the Houston and Texas Central. Banks and Caroline had eleven children, six boys and five girls. John Baylor Banks died on January 28, 1874, in Galveston. Banks was buried in Galveston, but his grave was washed away in the Galveston Hurricane of 1900.
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Ray Banks, All Banks Families DNA and Compilation Project Information (http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/), accessed August 24, 2006.
Fifth Legislature (1853-1854)
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Banks, John Baylor,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 25, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
March 24, 2008
Most Recent Revision Date:
November 19, 2014