Meet Ealy Franklin Banks.
She was the oldest child of William Duckworth Franklin & Nancy Bowman Franklin, having been born on January 17, 1827 in the Shelton Laurel Community of Madison County, North Carolina.
I’ve heard that she was actually fathered by legendary silver counterfeiter Duck Shelton but cannot find any evidence to support that rumor.
This article is going to be fairly short. However, it serves a bigger purpose. It is sort of a tease, if you will, leading to a bigger project that Kelley and I will be working on together. Y’all will have to be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that project.
I’ve heard stories about Granny Banks throughout my life but never laid eyes on her until finding photographs online.
Isn’t the internet wonderful?
Somewhere along the line, Miss Ealy became better known as “Granny”. She was the maternal great grandmother of my late neighbor, school teacher and history buddy, Ruth Tweed Landers (1921-2005).
Miss Ruth told me a lot of facts, tales & legends over the years.
Now, before the introduction of modern medicine to rural Madison County, Granny Banks considered herself an “Old-Timey Mountain Doctor”, specializing in the healing properties of roots, herbs, prayer and maybe even a little magic.
Enter, Doctor George Packard.
Presbyterian Missionary and Teacher Frances Louisa Goodrich persuaded Doctor George Packard into leaving his successful practice in Medford, Massachusetts. His wife Miranda had served as a Presbyterian Missionary in China during The Boxer Rebellion of 1899-1901.
Goodrich managed to retain enough funding to build Doctor & Mrs. Packard a home in the Whiterock section of the Shelton Laurel Community. It is the home that I live in now.
Later on, Miss Goodrich would manage to retain enough funding to both build and staff a two story hospital in the Shelton Laurel Community; Madison County’s first and last hospital.
However, Granny Banks bitterly resented the new medical presence.
However, Granny Banks suffered a stroke early in 1920. One of her sons sought ought Doctor Packard.
Doctor Packard took Granny Banks to the Whiterock Hospital where he personally cared for her until her death at the age of ninety-three on February 17, 1920.
Other than simple human decency, I guess you could call Doctor Packard’s care for Granny Banks a Professional Courtesy!
Getting back to Granny Banks great granddaughter, Ruth Tweed Landers…..Miss Ruth told me a legend about 15 years ago that has survived a handful of years short of two hundred years!
I guess I’ll lay that one on you folks next week.
Y’all have a good one.
Photographs are courtesy of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild.