John H. Bankhead
John Hollis Bankhead cph.3a43983.jpg
United States Senator
from Alabama
In office
June 18, 1907 – March 1, 1920
Preceded byJohn T. Morgan
Succeeded byB. B. Comer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 6th district
In office
March 4, 1887 – March 3, 1907
Preceded byJohn Mason Martin
Succeeded byRichmond P. Hobson
Member of the Alabama Senate
In office
Member of the Alabama House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
John Hollis Bankhead

(1842-09-13)September 13, 1842
Moscow, near the present day town of Sulligent, Alabama, U.S.
DiedMarch 1, 1920(1920-03-01) (aged 77)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Tallulah James Brockman
ChildrenJohn H. Bankhead II
William Brockman Bankhead
RelativesTallulah Bankhead (granddaughter)

John Hollis Bankhead (September 13, 1842 – March 1, 1920) was a Democratic U.S. Senator from the state of Alabama between 1907 and 1920.

Life and career

Bankhead was born on September 13, 1842, at Moscow, present-day Lamar County, Alabama (near present-day Sulligent), the son of Susan Fleming (Hollis) and James Greer Bankhead.[1][2] His great-grandfather, James Bankhead (1738–1799) was born in Ulster and settled in South Carolina.[3]

Tallulah James Brockman
Tallulah James Brockman

He was educated in the common schools and served in the Confederate Army, during the Civil War, rising to the rank of captain, in the Alabama 16th Infantry, Company K .[4] He married Tallulah James Brockman. She was of Revolutionary ancestry, her father's great-grandfather, Benjamin Kilgore, having been a captain of a South Carolina company in the War of the Revolution. She was the daughter of James H. Brockman, a native of Greenville District, South Carolina. Her education was received in the fashionable schools of Tuskegee and Montgomery, Alabama. Their two elder sons, John Hollis and William Brockman, were practicing lawyers. The youngest, Henry McAuley, was a student at the University of Alabama. The elder daughter, Louise, married Representative William Hayne Perry, of Greenville, South Carolina, son of former South Carolina governor Benjamin Franklin Perry and the younger, Marie, was the wife of Thomas McAdory Owen, a historian by profession.[5]

Bankhead was a member of the Alabama House of Representatives from 1865 to 1867, and again in 1880 and 1881. In 1876 and 1877 he was a member of the State Senate. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1887, serving until 1907.[4] At age 65, John H. Bankhead was appointed, then elected, to serve out the remainder of the U.S. Senate term left by the death of John Tyler Morgan and later re-elected twice. He served from June 18, 1907, until his death in Washington on March 1, 1920.[6] B. B. Comer, former governor of Alabama, was appointed to serve the rest of his term, until November 2, 1920, when J. Thomas Heflin was elected to serve out the term.

Bankhead was a member of the Inland Waterways Commission in 1907,[7] and was instrumental in enacting the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916, which became the first federal highway funding legislation. He was also a member of the Commission on Public Buildings and the Commission on Rivers and Harbors. He wrote several books relating to post roads.[4]

United States Senator John H. Bankhead II and Speaker of the House William Brockman Bankhead were his sons, and actress Tallulah Bankhead was his granddaughter. The cross-country Bankhead Highway was named after him, as is Bankhead Lake on the Black Warrior River near Birmingham. Also, the Bankhead Tunnel on US 98 in Mobile, Alabama, is named after him.

See also


  1. ^ The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. Vol. XIV. James T. White & Company. 1910. p. 210. Retrieved December 15, 2020 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Saunders, James Edmonds (1899). "Early Settlers of Alabama".
  3. ^ "James Bankhead". Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c public domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainReynolds, Francis J., ed. (1921). "Bankhead, John Hollis" . Collier's New Encyclopedia. New York: P. F. Collier & Son Company.
  5. ^ Hinman, Ida (1895). The Washington Sketch Book.
  6. ^ "John H. Bankhead, Alabama's Senator, Dies at Washington". Los Angeles Evening Express. Washington. Associated Press. March 1, 1920. p. 1. Retrieved December 15, 2020 – via
  7. ^ Donald J. Pisani, Water Planning in the Progressive Era: The Inland Waterways Commission Reconsidered, Journal of Policy History 18.4 (2006) pp.389-418
Chairmen of the United States Senate Committee on Post Office and Civil Service