Russell Banks, Sr.

Submitted by: Mike Esposito {great grandson}

Russell Banks image

Russell -Banks, Sr. was born around 1895. Russell Banks served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service

Chapter I -- The First Nine Years of My Life

By Russell Banks1

I was born September 25, 1895, at Elkatawa, Kentucky, the year the railroad was finished into Jackson, Kentucky2. My father, Samuel Henry Banks, made a living by cutting hickory timber and loading it in box cars to be shipped to Louisville, Kentucky to make wagons. Each car was supposed to have two wooden malls made and put in the car to split the timber at the factory.

I don’t know how long we lived at Elkatawa; the first recollection I have is living on Tira Creek3, a tributary of Frozen Creek. I remember my father was walking to the O & K4 Junction, five miles away, to help build the O & K railroad. While we lived here, I had my first pair of shoes. They were brogans with brass on the toes. There was no right or left, they were exactly the same so as to be changed back and forth if they started to run over. They were made of coarse stiff leather and the soles were put on with wooden pegs. They had to be greased with beef or mutton tallow to soften them up and keep out the water.

When I was three, we moved farther up the creek to a two-room log cabin. Here my father bought my mother her first cook stove. It was a 4-cap cast step stove known as a “rail burner.” It cost $12.50. While we were living here, Mother had a hen setting near the house and the hen was found dead on the nest from snake bite. Mother put the eggs in with an old cat and kittens and hatched every one.