Born Shepherdstown, Jefferson County West Virgina-1817
Bio-Pen Pictures

Rolla Banks was born at Shepherdstown, Jefferson County, West Virginia, November 15, 1817.  His father, Samuel Banks, was a native of Virginia, and his mother of Maryland.  They removed to Coshocton County, Ohio, where he followed farming, and died about the year 1826.  Mrs. Banks died in 1880, aged nearly 100 years.  They reared a family of five sons and three daughters, Rolla being next to the youngest.  He spent his boyhood days on the farm, and lived there till 1836, when he left home, but remained in the neighborhood till the breaking out of the Mexican War, in 1846, when, in the month of June, he enlisted in the Third Ohio Infantry, Col. Samuel R. Curtis commanding, and was elected Second Lieutenant of Company B, of which James M. Love was Captain.  At the end of his enlistment he was mustered out and returned to Ohio, and in 1849 came to California, and was among the first to come overland.  His train, consisting of five wagons, started from Independence, Missouri, and all remained together till they reached Sacramento, in September, after a journey of nearly five months.  Sacramento, at that time, was a large camping-place, there being no buildings except a few adobe houses.  The party still adhered together, bought a load of provisions, and took them to the mines at Hangtown (now Placerville), unloaded, and returned to Sacramento with their teams and sold them.

            The party mined at Hangtown till 1851, when they went to Amador County, near Drytown, and again engaged in mining till some of the party tired of it and wanted to go home, and finally all concluded to do so, as they had been together so long, and, in 1853, they all returned to Coshocton, Ohio, the place they started from.  Late in 1853 Rolla and family removed to Illinois, and in 1855 to Minnesota, where he followed farming till the outbreak of the Civil War.  In 1862 he organized a company and was commissioned Captain.  The company was attached to the Seventh Minnesota Infantry, Col. William R. Marshall commanding.  Receiving a paralytic stroke while in Mississippi, in August, 1864, he was discharged from the service in 1865, and was a sufferer from this for some years before he was able to get around without assistance.  He came to California in the fall of 1882, locating first at Santa Cruz, then at Santa Rosa and St. Helena, and in 1883 he located in Los Gatos, where he has resided since that time.

            Mr. Banks was married in September, 1847, at Coshocton, Ohio, to Elizabeth Morrison, who was a native of that place.  They have two children living:  Sadie Banks Clement, residing at Winona, Minnesota, and Bessie Banks, who resides with her parents.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.
Pg. 322-323
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler
Proofread by Betty Vickroy