HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN COUNTY KENTUCKY
charles m. meacham
SEVEN SUCCESSFUL BANKS SUPPLY AMPLE RESOURCES
FOR THE COUNTY’S PROSPERITY
The first act of the Legislature authorizing the establishment of a bank in Christian County was passed January 26, 1818. A charter was granted the Christian Bank with $200,000 capital.
During the unsettled conditions of war times there was no bank in the county. After the war closed the Bank of Hopkinsville was organized in 1865 and John C. Latham was elected president and served until his death.
A few years later the Planters Bank was organized, followed by the City Bank and the First National Bank, all of which institutions are discussed more at length in these pages. Another bank called the Commercial Savings Bank was organized in the first decade of the twentieth century, but after a brief career merged with the Planters Bank and Trust Company. There are at present three other banks in the county, the Bank of Pembroke, the Bank of Crofton and the Bank of Lafayette. Two other banks, one at Pembroke and the other at Gracey, were organized
but quit business after running a few years. The affairs of all of the banks in the county not now in business were wound up in order. There has never been a bank failure in Christian County.
BANK OF HOPKINSVILLE
The bank starts into the sixty-fifth year of its existence with deposits of $756,050.65; bonds and securities, $310,936.21, and other resources totaling $1,419,744.45. Its capital stock is $100,000, its surplus and undivided profits, $101,898.38, and deposits, $1,208,346.15. The present officers are William E. Keith, president; Charles F. McKee, cashier; Herbert L. McPherson, assistant cashier. The directors are: L. D. Browning, M. C. Boyd, Dr. Gant Gaither, W. E. Keith, A. W. Wood, Hunter Wood and J. T. Wall.
As early as 1818 a bank was chartered, by the Legislature of Kentucky, for Hopkinsville, with Dr. A. Webber, Charles Caidwell, Charles W. Short, Samuel A. Miller, Joshua Hopson, Robert Patterson, Francis Wheatley and John Burgess named as directors. It was called the Christian Bank, but did not become permanent. It was some years later succeeded by the branch of the Bank of Kentucky, that is generally regarded as the beginning of the town’s banking resources. Capt. John P. Campbell was the president, and associated with him were John H. Phelps, Strother J. Hawkins and Reuben Rowland, who was cashier until his death. William H. Sasseen and John H. Van Culin were later cashiers. Its business was interrupted by the war, and the town was almost without a bank until after the war, when the old bank was reorganized, and became the Bank of Hopkinsville, with John C. Latham as its president. This institution is therefore the oldest bank in the city, and its history is closely identified with the financial and commercial development of Hopkinsville. Mr. Latham was for many years a member of the Board of Councilmen, and was an influential citizen and leader of public affairs until his death. He was succeeded as president of the Bank of Hopkinsville by I-Ion. E. P. Campbell, a very prominent lawyer, and he was in turn succeeded by Nat Gaither. Mr. Gaither served until his death, and J. Edgar McPherson, who had been cashier for many years, became president, and filled that position with great ability and increasing success for twenty years. He died in 1929, and some months later William E. Keith was elected the fifth president the institution has had in its long and honorable history. Mr. Keith came to the position well equipped. He had been cashier of the Crofton Bank, and later its president, and resigned as vice-president of the Planters Bank & Trust Company to assume the new position.
PLANTERS BANK & TRUST COMPANY
Few cities of the size of Hopkinsville have been as fortunate in having good, sound, conservative and well-managed banks. Hopkinsville proudly boasts of four such institutions, and, further, that there has never been a bank failure in this city.
The subject of this article is the Planters Bank & Trust Company, which was incorporated in 1873 as the “Planters Bank,” successor to Trice Brothers, which was organized in 1868. In 1901 the Articles of Incorporation of the Planters Bank & Trust Company were amended, adding the Trust Department to its commercial banking business. The Planters Bank & Trust Company is the oldest trust company in Western Kentucky with one exception, there being one other organized about one year earlier.
The institution conducts a fully organized commercial department with all modern equipment. Its vault is protected night and day with an electrically operated burglar alarm system in which are located safe deposit boxes for rent; also a burglar-proof ventilator has been installed in the vault for the protection of life in case of a “lock-up” of employes or customers by hold-up bandits.
It maintains a thoroughly equipped savings department; a Christmas Club department; issues interest-bearing time certificates of deposit and travelers’ cheques; and foreign exchange. Safe investments are made for its customers. Its trust department handles all fiduciary funds placed in its hands by experienced officers, and since its establishment hundreds of thousands of dollars have been handled without the loss of a single dollar to its customers. It has made rapid progress in its farm department in the handling and managing of farm lands, and which department is in charge of Floyd L. Hooks, a practical farmer, as weU as a graduate of the agricultural college.
The bank has a capital of $100,000.00, surplus and undivided profits of $125,000.00 with total resources of approximately $2,500,000.00.
During its long existence it has had some outstanding citizens and financiers as its officers, some of whom are Stephen E. Trice, John B. Trice, James P. Russell, Dr. James Rodman, Joseph F. Garnett, James West, Dr. T. W. Blakey, John H. Bell, all of whom have passed on, and J. M. Starling, resigned, and Ira L. Smith, now vice-president of City Bank and Trust Company, and W. E. Keith, now president of the Bank of Hopkinsville.
The present officers and directors are: A. H. Eckles, president and director; S. Y. Trimble, vice-president and director; J. H. Anderson, Knoxville, Tenn., director; C. L. Aibritton, director; W. T. Cooper, director; Phil E. Chappell, cashier and director; F. H. Mason, secretary; Hal W. Johnson, assistant cashier.
CITY BANK & TRUST COMPANY
The City Bank, Hopkinsville, Ky., was chartered and organized January 19, 1880, with a paid up capital stock of $60,000.00. The original incorporators, officers and directors were:
Lucian Jones, president; George C. Long, cashier; E. B. Long, assistant cashier; Charles W. Radford, director; Charles A. Thompson, director; W. W. Garnett, director.
The bank under the wise direction of this first group of Hopkinsvifle’s successful business men enjoyed the confidence and patronage of the community from its incipiency.
The successive presidents were Lucian Jones to 1891; H. R. Littell to 1894; E. B. Long to 1911; W. T. Tandy to the present time.
Others connected officially with the Bank have been James A. Young, Jr., assistant cashier; Thomas B. Fairleigh, director; J. 0. Cook, director; John B. Trice, director and vice-president; Ira L. Smith, director, cashier and vice-president; J. A. Browning, Jr., assistant cashier; J. E. Croft, director; S. Y. Trimble, director; Joe McCarroll, Jr., cashier and director; Thomas L. Smith, assistant cashier; R. M. Fairleigh, director; S. Pettus White, director.
It is a notable incident that in the great fire of 1882, which swept through the heart of our town, the City Bank building miraculously came through unscathed when all the buildings around it were destroyed.
The City Bank & Trust Company was created July 1, 1909, by amending the charter and articles of incorporation, adding a trust department to handle trust and fiduciary interests, which has accumulated and grown to an aggregate amount of $1,000,000.00. This, when added to the bank assets of $1,500,000.00, makes it one of the largest and strongest financial institutions in Western Kentucky.
The banking offices and fixtures were enlarged and remodeled in 1919, including the construction of a large special safe deposit vault affording its customers and friends a modern and up-to-date protection for all securities and valuables.
The uniform success and strength of this institution in building up an earned surplus of $200,000.00 indicate the soundness and approval growing out of fifty years of service throughout Hopkinsville and Christian County. Also, the participation and assistance it has given in floating city, school and county bond issues as the growth and demands of the community required, show a recognized policy of helpfulness in a material way that may well merit mention when the history of Christian County is being written.
The present officials are:
Officers—W. T. Tandy, president; Ira L. Smith, vice-president; Joe Mc-Carroll, Jr., cashier; Thomas L. Smith, assistant cashier.
Directors—W. T. Tandy, T. B. Fairleigh, S. Pettus White, Ira L. Smith, Joe McCarroll, Jr., R. M. Fairleigh, S. Y. Trimble.
Other Employees—Dennis Shaw, teller; D. A. Cavanah, teller; Miss Louise Breathitt, secretary trust department and stenographer; Miss Maude Adams, assistant teller and bookkeeper; Mrs. A. C. Overshiner, bookkeeper and stenographer; John C. Roberts, bookkeeper; Miss Lucy Campbell, bookkeeper; Miss Elizabeth Hammond, bookkeeper; Douglas G. Roberts, bookkeeper.
FIRST NATIONAL BANK
The First National Bank of Hopkinsyule, Ky., was organized February 25, 1888, with capital stock of $64,000.00 The first directors were S. R. Crumbaugh, W. A. Lowry, G. W. Graves, John P. Prowse, W. J. Withers, M. Frankel, R. F. Rives, R. W. Henry, C. F. Jarrett and W. L. Thompson. The officers were Maj. S. R. Crumbaugh, president; ‘i W. Graves, vice-president, and Palmer Graves, cashier.
It was not long till there was a material change in the personnel, both of the officers and stockholders. Mr. George C. Long was made president, W. A. Lowry, vice-president, Thomas W. Long, cashier, and Bailey Russell, bookkeeper. Messrs. R. W. Downer, B. S. Campbell, John Moayon and A. B. Croft became members of the Board of Directors.
E. L. WSATHERS The bank was first housed in a rented building on the southeast corner of Ninth and Main streets, but later the present site on the southwest corner of the same street was purchased and the building now occupied was erected and equipped with fire and burglar-proof vault, safe and safety deposit boxes, and the capital stock Df the bank increased to $100,000.00.
In 1915, after the death of the cashier, Mr. Thos. W. Long, Mr. Ed L. Weathers was called from the cashiership of the Bank of LaFayette and was elected active vice-president of this bank, with Mr. C. F. Jarrett, who was also vice-president at the time, and Mr. Bailey Russell was elected cashier.
The growth of the city and increase of the bank’s business soon made it necessary to add other officials, and Robert U. Gaines, Guy Starling and Carl H. Williams were made assistant cashiers, and W. H. Fyke, who had been with the bank from his boyhood, was appointed chief individual bookkeeper. With these, and other employes, there are now twelve men and women on the salary list of the bank.
The last published statement showed the capital, surplus and undivided profits, $138,906.97, and the total net resources $1,231,930.91.
The present directors are George C. Long, president and trust officer; Ed L. Weathers, vice-president and chairman of the board; J. W. Downer, L. B. Cornette, G. H. Stowe, Morgan C. Boyd, J. T. Garnett and Sam Frankel, all prominent and representative business men of the community.
Although a commercial bank, it has a trust department and acts in the same capacity as a regular trust company.
THE BANK OF CROFTON
In 1904 a group of live business men, in the flourishing town of Crofton, realized the need of a bank in the town, and promptly organized, secured a charter and launched the Bank of Crofton, with A. B. Croft as its first president. It started on a modest scale, with its capital stock held by a few individuals. The bank was a success from the very start, and the twenty-five years of its career have been an unbroken period of prosperity. It has not only made a success of its own business, but has been a training school for bankers who have been called to higher places, in larger banks, and one of its recent cashiers has been elected sheriff of Christian County.
The latest statement of the bank shows that it has an earned surplus equal.
First President, Bank of Crofton to its capital stock of $25,000, undivided profits of $4,686.80, $1,000 reserved for interest, $500 for taxes and $1,500 set aside for semi-annual dividend of six per cent. Its deposits
were $179,550.59. Its resources were $107,218.73 in loans and discounts; $80,500 in bonds; $2,000 in banking house and lot; $1,950 in fixtures; $45,542.79 in cash and exchanges, and only $25.87 shown as overdrafts. The bank not only does a general banking business, but pays three per cent on time deposits. The officials who have developed the Bank of Crofton to its present state of efficiency are: W. E. Keith, president; R. W. Trotter, vice-president; B. E. Brown, cashier, and the directors are: W. E. Keith, M. E. Croft, B. E. Brown, R. W. Trotter and S. H. Williams. Mr. Brown resigned at the close of the year 1929 to enter upon his duties as sheriff for a term of four years.
BANK OF PEMBROKE
The Bank of Pembroke was organized in 1890 as the Pembroke Deposit Bank, but some years later the name was changed to the Bank of Pembroke. William Warfield Garnett was the president up to the time of his death in 1914. He was succeeded by Moses L. Levy, who served from 1914 to 1926 and resigning, was succeeded by Douglas Graham, who had been cashier since 1903. Charles W. Johnston became cashier at the same time. In its career of forty years, the bank has had only three president,s and three cashiers. The present head of the institution has been identified with its affairs for thirty years as bookkeeper, cashier and president. Of a long line of successful business men, well equipped for the duties of life, and trained in financial affairs from the beginning of his business career, President Douglas Graham has become recognized wherever he is known as a banker whose very name gives confidence and stability to the successful institution that serves the needs of his little city. Capital, $20,000.
SKETCH OF THE PRESIDENT, DOUGLAS GRAHAM
Son of Thomas L. and Mattie (Carneal) Graham, was born in Christian County, December 18, 1878. His paternal grandparents were John and Catherine (Moseley) Graham. His maternal grandparents were Rev. Josiah and Catherine (Gaibreath) Carneal. Josiah Carneal was a Methodist pioneer preacher widely known throughout Western Kentucky.
Douglas Graham was educated in Kentucky State College, now State University, and began his business career as a bookkeeper in the Bank of Pembroke in 1900 and was made cashier in 1903 and in 1926 succeeded to the presidency of the bank. He was married in 1906 to Miss Erma Alexander. They have two children, Walter A. and Erma Louise. Like his distinguished grandfather, Mr. Graham is a staunch Methodist, superintendent of the Pembroke Sunday School and for the last fifteen years treasurer of the Louisville Conference. He is a leader in civic affairs, being treasurer of the town of Pembroke, chairman of the Board of Education and president of the Chamber of Commerce. In all of his official and business relations, he enjoys the respect and confidence of the people who know him best and appreciate his worth as a citizen.
THE BANK OF LAFAYETTE
Upon its organization in 1898, R. J. Carothers was the first president and H. M. Massie was cashier. Mr. Carothers served only a few months, when he resigned, and Q. A. Elliott succeeded him, and has been president for thirty-one years. In 1903, Ed L. Weathers succeeded Mr. Massie as cashier, and filled that position until 1915, when he removed to Hopkinsyule. The capital stock of the bank is $15,000.
Since July 1, 1898, a period of more than thirty years, this prosperous institution has supplied the needs of the busy little town of LaFayette, twenty miles from the county seat, for a bank of its own. It is well situated to serve a large territory in Christian and Trigg counties, and in Stewart County, Tennessee. Its career has been one of good management and uninterrupted success. One of the founders of the bank was the venerable Thomas H. Elliott, now more than ninety years of age, and one of Christian County’s leading citizens and most successful business men. His son is the present head of the institution. The officers and directors at the present time are as follows: Q. A. Elliott, president and director; J. W. F. Williams, cashier and director; M. J. Cooper, M. J. Draper and L. B. Williams, directors.
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