A Century Of Banking

Editor’s note:  John P. Herrick, oil historian of Olean, N. Y., founder of the Bolivar Breeze, and for more than 20 years a resident of Allegany County, has written a story of “A Century of Banking in Allegany County.”  A personal acquaintance with the bankers and banks of the county during the past half century makes it possible for him to write a new chapter in the history of the county.

By John P. Herrick

The Cuba National Bank

            Early in 1865 the board of directors of the Cuba Bank decided to convert it into a national bank with a capital stock of $100,000.  The organization certificate was executed on April 24 and the charter dated May 15, 1865.  The first officers were General C. T. Chamberlin, president; Edward D. Loveridge, vice president and Joel W. Rowley, cashier.  On August 27, 1873 the capital was increased to $150,000 but on August 30, 1876, it was reduced to $100,000 and has remained unchanged for 77 years.  Among the able men who served the Cuba National Bank as president for some years was the Hon. Edward D. Loveridge.

            The bank building occupied by the Cuba National Bank was erected in 1863, when General Chamberlin was president.  It has been remodeled several times through the years, the last time in 1950.  As an example of rents paid in the sixties, on June 20, 1864, the rental for an attorney’s office on the ground floor was fixed at $5.00 per month.

            On December 31, 1953, the capital, surplus and undivided profits of the Cuba National Bank were $347,073.16 and total deposits $2,640,919.57.  The officers are Charles A. Ackerly, chairman of the board; Clyde C. Brown, president; Frank L. Gere, vice president; A. F. Brown, cashier and F. G. Pugh, assistant cashier.  The directors are Charles A. Ackerly, A. F. Brown, Clyde C. Brown, F. L. Gere, G. L. Hendryx, D. J. Hitchcock, E. S. Moses and D. G. Perkins.  The president, Clyde C. Brown, is reputed to be a most capable executive and loaning officer.

            Mr. Ackerly entered the employ of the Cuba National Bank in March, 1883, as a clerk.  He was elected a director and assistant cashier in 1893, president in 1925 and chairman of the board in 1939 – a service record of 71 years.  Since 1939 he has not been active in the bank but available for consultation by the executive committee.  Mr. Ackerly once told the writer that he favored oil loans as among the best and that every oil loan made by his bank had shown a profit.

The First National Bank of Cuba

            The First National Bank of Cuba was chartered on January 29, 1880, with capital stock of $50,000.  The first officers were Elmer E. Bond, president; William P. Stevens, vice president; Mortimer W. Potter, cashier; Henry C. Morgan, assistant cashier and Timothy J. Carmody, bookkeeper.  The first directors were E. M. Bond, Asher W. Miner, Addison W. Smith, William P. Stevens, S. H. Morgan, George H. Eldridge, Thomas Case, J. B. Cole and I. N. Sheldon.

            This bank had its inception in the Cuba Banking Company, organized September 1, 1866, with a capital stock of $25,000.  Asher W. Miner was the first president and L. F. Lawton, cashier.  In January, 1870, the capital stock was increased to $50,000.  In 1876 The Cuba State Bank was incorporated with a capital stock of $50,000 to succeed the Cuba Banking Company.  The first officers of the state bank were Asher W. Miner, president; M. B. Champlain, vice president and S. H. Morgan, cashier.  The Cuba State Bank was converted into the First National Bank of Cuba four years after incorporation.  Henry C. Morgan was elected president in 1901 and served until his death in 1922, a period of 21 years.  The building now occupied by the bank was purchased in 1943.

            The capital, surplus and undivided profits of the First National Bank of Cuba on December 31, 1953, were $219,277.51 and total deposits were $1,317,590.02.  The officers were Ward. M. Hopkins, president; Hayden M. Setchel, vice president and cashier and Carl G. Failing, assistant cashier.  The directors are Cassar R. Adams, Lawrence L. Dye, Ward M. Hopkins, Lewis L. Schuyler, Hayden M. Setchel, Frank W. Williams, Frank E. Witherell and Roland T. Wyles.  The president and a director of the First National Bank, Ward M. Hopkins, has ably served Allegany County since 1936 as County Judge and Surrogate.  The population of Cuba is 1783 and the elevation 1300 feet.

A Private Bank the First in Hume Township

            As early as 1853, Milton W. Skiff, a merchant at Hume, three miles west of Fillmore, sold exchange on New York and made collections.  Previous to 1853 the nearest banks were at Warsaw, Mt. Morris, Dansville and Geneseo.  After the Civil War ended Mr. Skiff sold the business to Charles J. Balcom who soon retired, leaving the area without an exchange office.  In 1873 J. M. Hammond & Co. opened an exchange office at Hume, a firm dissolved two years later, to be succeeded by James P. Manchester, who established the first private bank in Hume in 1875 and continued the business for ten years.  In connection with the bank he conducted a strictly cash store, perhaps the first one in Allegany County.  Due to his popularity Mr. Manchester was elected supervisor as a democrat in a strong republican district.  In 1886 he was appointed by President Cleveland as assistant treasurer at St. George’s Island, in Alaska Territory, where he remained three years, returning from the north to become cashier of the first state bank in Hume township.

            From 1876 to 1885 John S. Minard sold exchange on New York and made collections.  Born in Hume, January 31, 1834, he was a versatile man, in turn a farmer, surveyor, justice of the peace, supervisor, merchant, furniture dealer, undertaker, county historian and friend of the Seneca Indians.  In 1878 James S. Bishop opened an exchange office in Fillmore which he sold to William P. Brooks who continued the business under the firm name of Brooks & Howden until the opening of a State Bank of Fillmore

The State Bank of Fillmore

            The State Bank of Fillmore was authorized November 4, 1889, with a capital of $25,000.  The application for a charter was signed by 34 incorporators.  The first officers were William P. Brooks, president; Frank S. Smith, vice president and James P. Manchester, cashier.  The first directors were William P. Brooks, T. I. Campbell, James P. Manchester, G. W. Marvin, William J. Richardson, Charles Ricker, F. H. Smith and William P. Stevens.  A bank building was completed in 1890.  Increases in capital were made in 1935, 1944 and in 1947.  The officer who has longest served the bank is Lynn S. Gleason, cashier, who entered the employ of the bank 41 years ago.

            The capital, surplus and undivided profits of the State Bank of Fillmore on December 31, 1953, were $202,474.63 and total deposits $1,799,985.51.  The officers are Hovey A. Geiser, president; Hollis G. Young, vice president; Lynn S. Gleason, cashier, who entered the employ of the bank 41 years ago.

            The capital, surplus and undivided profits of the State Bank of Fillmore on December 31, 1953, were $202,474.63 and total deposits $1,799,985.51.  The officers are Hovey A. Geiser, president; Hollis G. Young, vice president; Lynn S. Gleason, cashier and J. Gilbert Bloomster, assistant cashier.  The associates are Lynn R. Ingleby, Anna Thurnstrom and Jean Brown.  The directors are Charles W. Bliss, David P. Richardson, Hovey A. Geiser, Willard G. Smith, Loren M. Towner, Clair J. Winship and Hollis G. Young.  The population of Fillmore is 527 and the elevation is 1200 feet.

Friendship Private Banker Issued Shinplasters

            Morris C. Mulkin opened a private bank in connection with his provision store in Friendship before the Civil War and continued to serve patrons for many years.  His son, Fred C. Mulkin, was associated with him during the latter years of his long life.  So far as known, Mr. Mulkin was the only banker-merchant in Allegany County to issue and circulate shinplasters, as notes of small denominations were called.

            The writer is indebted to Harry L. Blossom, President of the Union National Bank of Friendship, for three of the Mulkin engraved shinplasters of 10, 25 and 50 cent denominations.  They are dated December 1, 1862 (92 years ago) and were payable to bearer by Miner & Wellman, Bankers, of Friendship, when signed by Mr. Mulkin, and presented in sums of one or more dollars.

            Mr. Samuel Cotton found a packet of the unsigned shinplasters when he purchased the Mulkin store property and generously divided his find with Mr. Blossome.  The shinplasters are 2¼ x 5 inches in size, printed in black and green ink on bond paper with Mr. Milkin’s advertisement as dealer in provisions in upper left hand corner.  In the lower right hand corner is an engraving of bags labeled Java and Rio coffee, chests of Oolong tea, a barrel of molasses and one of West India sugar.

(To be continued)