Photos gathered from other family members and my personal collection. If you have any to add, please scan and email
them to me with details of who they are and dates (if you have them)
|John Henry Blanks (around 1920)
|(photo courtesy of Frances Blanks Bryant)
John Henry Blanks was born sometime between 1835 and 1842. It's uncertain as various records such as Civil Way
pension, death certificate and census documents vary on age. My best guess is that he was born after
1840. He appears on a 34th Ala Inf Reg muster roll as "age 18" and this was around 1862. There was a John Blanks,
age 17 in the 1860 Tallapoosa County Alabama census. He was the son of William and Mary Blanks and had several brothers
(The problem with accuracy in ages appearing on Census pages is that you don't know the year that the census taker
interviewed the family. It could have been anywhere from a couple of years before to a couple of years after the date
of the official census year.)
He joined the Confederate army while on a trip to Wetumkee, Alabama with his cousin Henry B. Blanks. There was
a recruiting desk set in the town square and they were paying 50 confederate dollars for those who would enlist. The
recruiter told John Henry that he could join now and get the $50 or return home, get drafted and receive nothing.
He and his cousin Henry joined the 34th Alabama Infantry Regiment. Henry died of the fever in Mufreesboro,
TN either before or after the Battle of Stones River and John Henry named one of his sons after him later on.
John Henry was wounded twice. Once in the right side during the battle of Utoy Creek in east Atlanta (off Cascade
Road). He recovered in a hospital in Mississippi and rejoined his regiment in North Carolina in time to participate
in The Battle of Bentonville where he was again wounded in the inner thigh around April 10, 1865. Within hours, General
Lee surrendered to Gen. Grant and John Henry went home to Georgia after recovering from his wounds.
Martha Hogan Blanks was born in 1838 around Troup County, Georgia and the family story is that she was the daughter
of the Hogan that founded Hogansville, GA (I believe it may have been the same family, but not the actual founder).
Her mother was full blooded Indian, but we are not certain which tribe. My guess is Creek based on the tribes within
the area at the time. Martha married a man named James Oliver in 1858 who was killed in the Civil War. When
John Henry returned home, he married Martha and together had six sons; James; William Berry; Henry; Thomas Hill
(my grandfather), Joseph; John Warren (Toad).
Martha passed away around 1917 and is buried at Smith Chapel Cemetary outside of Carrolton, GA. John
Henry died in Cedartown, GA at Uncle Henry's home on March 23rd, 1929. He is buried at Line Branch Cemetary on hwy 100
between Tallapoosa, and Cedartown. It had rained quite a bit and they could not get him down to be buried next to Martha
due to the bad roads at the time.
|(photo courtesy of Frances Blanks Bryant)
|Uncle Henry's grave marker in Line Branch Cemetary
Henry Blanks was the third oldest son son of John Henry and Martha Blanks. He was named after John Henry's cousin
that joined the Confederate Army with him in 1962 and died of fever in Tennessee.
Uncle Henry lived in Cedartown, GA and I can recall going to his funeral around 1949 when he passed away. Aunt
Dude (Louise), his wife, passed away 10 years later in 1959.
|Thomas Hill Blanks & Kathryn Jiles Gruetzmacher
|(photo courtesy of Jackie Neighbors)
Thomas Hill Blanks, my grandfather, was born in August of 1880. He was the 4th son of John Henry and Martha Blanks.
Hill, as he was known, was a "rounder". In 1904, he was in a tavern in Carroll County Georgia and got into a fight with
a man named Harvey Bennett. Bennett said he was going to shoot Hill, so Hill left. He went to his brother
Henry's home with Bennett chasing after him on horseback. Henry's wife had just had a baby and was in the bedroom.
Bennett, who had quite a bit to drink, rode his horse onto Henry's porch and into his living room and was waving a gun
looking for Hill. At that point, Henry fought with Bennett and ended up stabbing him.
Bennett was from a promenent family in Carroll County and they had Henry and Hill arrested for murder. Hill was
released but Henry spent a year in jail and John Henry Blanks, his father, had to sell his farm and most everything he
owned to pay for Henry's defense. He was eventually acquitted, but at a high cost to my Great-Grandfather.
Hill was married several times. His first wife was Emma Weldon and they had three boys; Clifford Joseph, Homer
and George William. His Second wife was Maude Fowler and they had two daughters and one son, Albert McCoy, Carolyn and
Catherine. His third wife was Mattie Reeves , who was a barmaid at a tavern he frequented. They had one son.
She ran off to Memphis, TN with another man and took the baby with her. She later told Hill that the boy died and was
buried in Memphis.
|George William Blanks (3rd from left to right)
|My Dad in the Army, late 1920's in Panama Canel Zone
|George William Blanks around 1955
|He was a union construction painter and this was taken at Dupont
My Dad, George William Blanks was born March 5th, 1904 to Thomas Hill and Emma Weldon Blanks. He had two full brothers,
Homer and Clifford Joseph (Uncle Joe) Blanks, and two half sisters and a half brother, Caroline Blanks Edwards and Katherine
Blanks Wing (formally married to Efton Jiles) and Albert McCoy (Coy) Blanks.
Clifford Joseph Blanks was married to Dealie ____ Blanks and had two sons, Earl and Coy (Buddy).
Albert McCoy Blanks, Dads middle brother, died in 1937. Coy fell down an open elevator shaft in Marietta, GA on
Aug 30, 1937, a short while before his son was born to Gladys Bell Blanks (she is decended from John Bell from the Bell Witch
of TN). Coy only had the 1 son. Norman Coye Blanks married Jo Ella (Jo Ann)Goins (May 26, 1939 to July 21, 2005) and has 2
living children, Thomas Eugene Blanks born Aug. 22, 1961 (he and ex-wife Noel Feaster Blanks have 2 daughters Erin Miranda
Blanks and Caroline Marie Blanks)and Tamra Ruth Blanks Flores born Feb. 24, 1963. She has 3 Children, Joshua Coye Blanks
Ford (Feb. 15, 1989), Jokayla Carmela Ruth Flores (Feb. 24, 1993) and Mauricio Micah Caleb Alberto Flores (Aug. 22, 2000).
Norman and Jo's first born daughter Connie Jo only lived 11 days and 1st born son Steven was still born
George was first married to Irene Hindman Blanks before joining the army. They had one daughter, Helen and
were later divorced. He married Lillian Adams Blanks (formally married to Dutch Howell) in September of 1934.
They had one child, (me) George Larry Blanks, on January 26, 1943.
Dad's growing up during the period from 1904 until about 1920 was pretty rough. His mother passed away when he
was very young and his Dad sent him and Uncle Joe and Uncle Homer to live with John Henry and Martha, their grandparents.
Joe was 3 years older than Dad, so his father, Hill, took him back first to work in the cotton mills in Tallapoosa, GA.
When Dad got old enough, Hill brought him up to Tallapoosa as well. From about the ages of 10 to 15, they worked for
about pennys and brought their pay envelopes home to Hill each week. He would take the money and give them each a nickle
(5 cents). My Dad got a 25 cent raise one week an didn't tell Hill. He would pull out the quarter and then
take the nickle and save them. When he got enough money for a train ticket, he ran away from home and went to a cousins
in Chattanooga. Hill found him and brought him back. When Dad finally got old enough, he joined the army
and stayed for two 3 year enlistments, getting out just in time for the great depression. His duty station
was the Panama Canel Zone and he loved it there. That was why he reenlisted, so he could stay.
Getting out of the army, he ended up being a hobo for a number of years, riding the railroad boxcars and working in the
Kansas wheat fields, at the Whippet Auto factory in Ohio stamping out fenders and of course, the cotton mills in the
He settled in Chattanooga and married my Mother. When WWII broke out in 1941, he already had 6 years active duty,
was nearly 40 years old and married with one daughter, Helen, from his first marriage to Irene.. He worked on government
constructions projects such as the Oak Ridge facility and in the Florida shipyards as a painter. We lived in places
like Oak Ridge, Tennessee; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Panama City, Flordia during the war years, returning
to Chattanooga after the war. My half-sister Helen ran away and got married at age 16. I was born in January of
1943, and my Mom and I moved along with Dad to Oak Ridge, West Palm Beach and to Panama City Beach during that time.
Always returning to a rented home on Morrison Springs Road in Red Bank. We lived there until the the late 1940s when
we moved to Middle Valley. Later we rented a home on Cresent Club Drive in Hixson before they bought the house on Bagwell
Ave in 1950 for $6,000.
My mother, Lillian Viola Adams Blanks was born in Pennville, GA on June 16th, 1912. Her parents were Lillian Cleo
Cochran Adams (b. 1/21/1876 - d.10/1/1950) and William J. Adams (b.1/15/1859 - d.8/22/1913).
Mom was the youngest of 10 children (4 girls and 6 boys) and her father passed away when she
was fourteen months old. They lived on a 160 acre farm in Pennville and the boys took care of the place as best they
could. Times were bad and they ended up losing the farm for back taxes (yep, the lawyers and politians took it).
The boys joined the army and went off to Europe during WWI, sending what money they could home to support their mother and
sisters. All returned home after the war, but two (Roy and Julius) were gassed while in France and suffered from
it all their lives The girls were Mary, Maude, Roberta and Lillian (Mom). The boys were Roy, Julius,
Buford (?), Cicero, Richard, and Alfred
|William and Cleo Adams Grave Markers
|Pennville, GA Cemetary
|Brian, Kaden, Lillian, Scott