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This Day in Georgia History

October 23, 1794

Richard Banks Born

Physician Richard Banks was born in Elbert County, Georgia. One of thirteen children, Banks was the only one to attend college. After attending both the University of Georgia (for one year) and the University of Pennsylvania, he received his M.D. degree. After practicing in Philadelphia for a year, he returned to rural northwest Georgia and set up practice not far from his original home. He was so skilled and popular that he eventually moved to larger offices on Gainesville, Georgia. Despite having limited medical facilities, Banks performed numerous successful surgeries, some (like removing a parotid gland) which had never been done before. Even though he was among the most talented physicians of his day, Banks never sought publicity or fame for his work, preferring to quietly help his neighbors and friends. After thirty-five years of such dedicated service, Banks died in Gainesville on May 6, 1856. Fame was to be his, however, as the General Assembly named a county in his honor on December 11, 1858.