The Banks County News
March 15, 2000
Be sure and return
those census forms
Most Banks Countians have likely received
a questionnaire from the census bureau. Most have also likely
tossed it aside and not filled it out yet.
It is very important that these forms be returned to the United
States Census Bureau in a timely manner.
The census data is important to counties and cities because it
is used to determine grant eligibility and funding for social
welfare programs. It is also used to calculate how many state
and national representatives a state is entitled to. Leaders
say that inaccuracies in the 1990 census led to Georgia missing
out on two additional representative allocations for Congress.
It only takes a few minutes to fill out the form and it doesn't
ask any complex or very personal question. It only asks for the
names of the persons living in the home.
Those who don't receive a form at their home, may pick up forms
at area city halls, pharmacies, banks and grocery stores. Display
boxes will be placed in participating businesses to provide these
forms and a place to drop them off.
Make sure you are counted.
The Banks County News
March 15, 2000
Labor of love provides
history book for county
I have always heard good things about
Jessie Julia Mize, but I never had the opportunity to meet the
woman behind the words. Most of you know exactly what I'm referring
to: The History of Banks County, Georgia.
When sitting in her home recently, I quickly found out that Banks
County was not the lone subject of her writing career, but her
shelves were lined with other writings that had been published.
When I started working for The Banks County News, it didn't take
me long to find out about the history book. I learned the books
were few and far between and the people who were lucky enough
to have one were not about to sell it or give it away.
So I've got some good news for you book-seekers out there. The
book is being reprinted by the Banks County Chamber of Commerce.
I visited Mize to write a short biography to be included in the
It seems the book was printed in an awkward size, so other attempts
to get the book reprinted were too expensive, but we got lucky
and found a publisher who would take on the task.
When it was printed in 1976, Mize said at that time "it
fit well on the library shelf."
When I told Miss Mize about the continuing popularity of the
book, she had her own stories to tell as well. I've had calls
from as far away as Oklahoma requesting a copy of the book. She
said she had a lady call her up and offer her $100 for a copy
of the book.
Needless to say, talk about the popularity of the book still
puts a smile on her face.
The book didn't start out to be a book at all.
Mize began the quest in search of her family history at the urging
of her parents, Charles Allen Mize and Leila Ritchie Mize, who
were both born in Banks County. When Mize was born, the couple
had moved to Commerce but her roots were right here in Banks
At 89 years of age, she still remembered the opportunities and
good advice given to her by her parents. It was her parents who
urged her to go to college where she obtained three bachelor's
degrees, a master's and a doctorate. She, like her mother, taught
grade school for years. Mize then became a professor at the University
of Georgia where she taught home economics and consumer science.
Her mother gave up teaching and became the state's first home
demonstration agent, while her dad had a career as an engineer
and land surveyor. You can see the joy in her face when she talks,
not only about her parents, but other family members as well.
She told me about rides she had taken on a wagon with a family
member in Commerce and she told me where she got her name, from
an aunt who had died at a young age.
So while Mize felt such a strong desire to write down her family
history, she felt a desire to share with others as well.
Once Mize got into the records at the historic
courthouse and began documenting the history of her family, she
took it a step further and began handwriting a history of other
families in the county. For about a year, she locked herself
in the courthouse on the weekends and emerged with a handwritten
"It needed to be done and I had the spare time to do it,"
she said. "I hope through this and other means, the people
have tied themselves to their background."
After an afternoon visit with my newfound friend, I realized
Mize is just that type person. She could give the people of Banks
County a gift that would last forever and she was the one to
Sherry Lewis is news editor of The Banks County News.