Transcript:History of the Lake and Calumet Region of Indiana/Nathaniel Banks


NATHANIEL P. BANKS—The subject of this sketch has been one of the most active men in Lake County for many years, and is today serving in the responsible position of the president of the First State Bank of Hobart. One would have to be statistical to enumerate the many achievements of Mr. Banks, but it is possible in this limited space to touch only here and there on the most vital things. He was born in Lake County. Ohio, in 1846, the son of Orin and Olive (Brown) Banks. The family came to LaPorte County when Mr. Banks was six weeks old, and at the age of six years they moved to Lake County, where Nathaniel has since resided. His education was secured in the common schools of Lake County, Indiana, and at the age of sixteen he enlisted for service in the Civil war. As one of the noted contingent known as Miller’s Chicago Battery[1] he saw service in the campaigns throughout the Midwest scene of action, and subsequently participated in the battles of Chickamauga, Chattanooga, and Eastern Tennessee. As part of the Fourth Army Corps, his command, in common with all other contingents of that corps, were given credit for the defeat of Hood’s army. Mr. Banks returned to Lake County at the end of his service, being then nineteen years of age. After brushing up on his schooling, he engaged as a teacher, following farming during the summer months. His first stride toward substance was in the purchase of eighty acres, which was the first unit of his fine farm of 240 acres. This he retained although trading in farm lands, and here made many experiments and devoted much time and money to the development of an ideal farm. Even in the early days when scientific farming was looked askance by most sons of the soil, Mr. Banks was a sponsor for the adoption of scientific methods, and he has since preached it in and out of season. He became widely known for his activities in farm matters, and from time to time was called upon to address meetings of agriculturists and to read papers before these bodies. Very early Mr. Banks saw the necessity of including the rudiments, at least, of agriculture in the curriculum of country schools, and he was one of the earliest to insist on the inclusion of these courses. That it has been generally adopted is due to the persistence of men like Mr. Banks in keeping the issue alive. Mr. Banks was married to Clara Chandler, who was born in Vermont, but when a small child accompanied her parents to Ross Township, Lake County, where the family lived for many years. To this union were born six daughters: the eldest is Mrs. J. M. Sholl; the second, Carrie, who died in young womanhood; Miriam; Myrtle, who married Dr. J. W. Eddings of Lowell; Bessie, who is now Mrs. Dunning Idle of Ypsilanti, Michigan; and Florence, who lives at home with her father, her mother having passed away in 1921. Mr. Banks has been active in many directions, including the banking field, and for a number of years he has served as president of the First State Bank of Hobart, which is one of the most substantial institutions of this county. He is a Mason, and is a member of the G. A. R. and Izaac Walton League. Other noteworthy achievements that Mr. Banks may well be proud of is having sponsored the establishment of the first free rural delivery in the West. This was secured after a protracted campaign by Mr. Banks and his associates, with Congressman Crumpacker as a valuable aid, the Postoffice Department selecting Hobart as the first point in the West for the new service. Mr. Banks has always been a republican; his first presidential vote was for Lincoln on his second term, and he has voted for each succeeding republican president since that time. He served some appointive offices during his lifetime, and was elected as township trustee, which indicates that he was not an office seeker. Mr. Banks has a wonderful store of knowledge, the fruits of his wide participation in the avenues of life. He is at this date enjoying the possession of his faculties to the fullest and often indulges in reminiscences of bygone days when this great region was in the making. He helped to organize the G. A. R. post at Hobart and was the youngest member of that organization, and is probably the only member now living.


  1. Battery M, 1st Illinois Light Artillery.