Short History of Alexander Bankhead
Contributor: PKristineHurd Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
A Short History of Alex Bankhead
Alex Bankhead was born in North Carolina in 1837. He came to Utah with the Bankhead Family in 1848. It has been said by people living in Draper, Utah that he was the son of Nancy. He had a brother Sam. George Bankhead's home in Draper was cared for by Nancy and the two boys, Alex and Sam who were there a great deal. Later, Alex was sold to Abraham Owen Smoot who took him to Provo, Utah. Some of A.O. Smoot's family say their grandfather had other colored help. After they received their freedom, Alex lived in Spanish Fork where he married Miranda who belonged to the Redds.
Alex stood five seven and although he was very thin, he had a round jovial face and walked very erect. Alex and Miranda lived in a small cottage that was very well kept. It had a pole fence and a gate made of three inch lumber around the home. Alex built a board walk from the gate to the home, as Miranda was very particular about her home. Alex owned a small farm in what was known as "River Bottoms" and during the season when farm work could be accomplished, he would take his team and wagon and go to the farm each day to work. During the winter he worked as a helper in "Henry Humbles' Blacksmith Shop.:" Alex and Rindy were highly respected by everyone.
One Halloween, the boys of the town decided to play a joke on Alex. They acquired some bottles of clothes bluing from Zebedee Coltrin who made and sold bluing. After dark they went to the stable where Alex kept his horses and painted one of them blue and then tried to turn the horse out into the street. but the horse refused to go. When Alex realized it was his own horse, he took soap and water and scrubbed the bluing from its' coat. As a result of the joke each boy received a severe reprimand, not only from their fathers but from other citizens. Alex was a kind man and could not understand why the boys had chosen to play a joke on him. Both of these good people were member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Maude Jex Park whose parents lived not far from the Bankhead's had this to say: "Uncle Alex" as we called him, worked in Grandpa William Jexs' Broom Factory. I remember watching him tie the brooms on to the handles, and then hand them to the next man who did the sewing. My folks always raised a good garden and plenty of fruit. As a child, my chore was to pick a syrup bucket of strawberries or whatever fruit was ripe and take it to the Bankhead's. I attended the funeral of Alex with my mother and father. From that time on, each Decoration Day, we would clean around the graves of Uncle Alex and Aunt Rindy. And then Kate Dowley and I would pick wild flowers and decorate the graves. As long as I lived in Spanish Fork, we decorated the graves all summer. My Dad kept the lettering on the headboards bright and readable. Sometimes I wonder if there was even a stone maker cut up for them and if anyone ever thinks of them."
The following letter was written by A.O. Smoot in 1897, during the semi-centennial pioneer celebration.
There is an old colored man, Alexander Bankhead, living in this city, who came to Utah in September 1848. The old man called upon me this morning and stated he was very anxious to visit the Jubilee as a pioneer, and I assure you I would be glad to have him do so, as he is one of the "whitest colored man" living. If you will forward to him the necessary blanks for him to fill out and return, I will arrange to have them promptly attending to and returned.
Alex and his wife Rindy attained the celebration and were honored as pioneers of Utah. Alex died January 20, 1902, notice of death give the cause as paralytic stoke. She is buried in Spanish Fork Cemetery.
Rindy pass away January 2, 1902 of breast cancer and was also buried in the Spanish Fork Cemetery. In all my research, I have never heard one unkind thing about her. She was a wonderful American citizen.