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Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Saint Louis City and County, From the Earliest Periods to the Present Day: Including Biographical Sketches of Representative Men. In Two Volumes, Illustrated. Volume II . Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts & Co., 1883. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; proceedings]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
WHEN the white settlers first occupied the site of St. Louis, the currency in use among the Indians was mainly wampum, or peag, or wampumpeag, as it was variously called. It consisted of dark purple and white beads, made out of shells or stone, and pierced for stringing. The purple beads had twice the value of the white, and when arranged in strings or belts were used as articles of jewelry. As currency, wampum was used in strings and valued according to measure, a fathom, or belt, consisting of three hundred and sixty beads. At an early period the settlers, in trading with the Indians for furs and peltries, sometimes
times used wampum, but as it was liable to deterioration by wear and use, and became overabundant, besides not being of a character to satisfy foreign debts, it soon ceased to be current and was abolished as a nuisance.
When the early settlers received gold and silver, they hoarded it up to pay for foreign commodities, and to supply its place for making "change" began to use a "barter currency." 192 Beaver-, otter-, raccoon-, pechon-, muskrat-, mink-, gray-squirrel, buffalo-, and deer-skins, beef-hides, bacon, beeswax, country-made sugar, whiskey, and lead constituted the first currency of St. Louis. 193
In many instances taxes were collected in kind, and fees were established in barter.
It was long before the tide of immigration brought to the people a small supply of silver coin. This
was usually in the shape of Spanish milled dollars, and did not satisfy the demand for small change. For the purpose of making change the people cut the dollars into pieces worth twenty-five cents and twelve and a half cents each, which were nicknamed "sharp-shins." This class of currency soon became very redundant and, of course, very unpopular, and in time ceased to pass except at a great reduction, or as old silver. Smaller sums than twelve and a half cents were given out by store-keepers in pins, needles, writing-paper, etc.
In framing the Constitution (1789), the right to coin money and regulate its value was given to Congress, the States being prohibited from making anything but gold and silver coin a legal tender, with the avowed purpose of establishing a specie currency as the national standard of value. But the States each claimed the right to incorporate banks, and Pennsylvania had taken a leading step in this direction by chartering, in 1781, the Bank of North America. This was the first bank which issued convertible notes. On Sept. 2, 1789, the Treasury Department was established, and Alexander Hamilton was appointed secretary. He proposed the scheme of the first national bank of the United States, which was chartered by Congress in 1791. Its charter was for twenty years, and it issued no notes under ten dollars. Questions of coinage were taken up by Congress as early as 1781, but it was not until July 6, 1785, that the "dollar" was adopted. On Aug. 8, 1786, a mint law was passed, but after being modified Oct. 16, 1786, it was not approved until Sept. 2, 1792. Silver was first coined in 1794, and gold in 1795.
Banks at this time were political engines, and the charter of the Bank of the United States having expired, its renewal was refused, and it went into liquidation in 1811. A large number of State banks at once sprang up, and a wild inflation of paper money prepared the way for a sad condition of financial affairs. Immediately on the declaration of war with Great Britain in 1812, all the banks in the Middle and Southern States except New York suspended payment, and the New York banks had to succumb in 1814, amid, the closing scenes of the war. The New Orleans banks suspended in April, 1814, the banks of Philadelphia Aug. 30, 1814, and those of the Middle and Southern States within a fortnight later. Those of Ohio and Kentucky had specie until Jan. 1, 1815, and while a few in Maine ceased payment early in 1814, the banks in the rest of New England did not suspend at all.
Banks now multiplied faster than ever, and the old ones increased their issues. The notes required elaborate quotations, and brokers had a rich harvest in negotiating them. The war with Great Britain had very little effect upon St. Louis, but at its close immigration from the old States poured rapidly into the town. The new settlers brought more or less money and property with them, and introduced some changes in the customs and modes of living. About this period began that era of prosperity which has continued ever since, and which has been a conspicuous feature of the city's history. Enterprising traders took up their abode in the town and commenced successful business. The new buildings that were erected were more tasteful in appearance than the old; a new vitality appeared to quicken the sluggish channels of business, and an atmosphere of thrift and comfort was created. The money which the new inhabitants now brought in, and which had been paid by the United States to the militia during the war, and to the regulars stationed in or passing through the town, turned the heads of all the people, and gave them new ideas and aspirations, so that by 1819 the whole country was affected with a mania for speculating in lands and town lots. 194
St. Louis boasted in 1816 of having a business capital of nearly one million dollars, but complained that it did not enjoy the advantages of a bank, although the Territorial Legislature granted a charter for one as early as Aug. 21, 1813. 195 All the leading
citizens of the town felt that a bank was a necessity, and they made great efforts to establish one. They did not succeed, however, until September, 1816, when the Bank of St. Louis was first opened for business, as will be seen elsewhere.
The State banks in other sections of the Union had by this time flooded the country with their issues, and the result was a succession of speculations, revulsions, panics, and general depression in business. The year 1817 was considered "a period of gloom and agony; no money, either gold or silver; no paper convertible into specie; no measure or standard of value left remaining; no price for property or produce; no sales but those of the sheriff and the marshal." It was upon this troubled sea that the fortunes of the Bank of St. Louis were cast. It conducted its business after the prevailing fashion. Instead of restraining speculation, it joined in the race for wealth and flooded the country with its issues. As a consequence it ceased to exist within three years.
Shortly after the Bank of St. Louis began business the Bank of Missouri was organized, and incorporated Feb. 1, 1817. The commissioners appointed to receive subscriptions to its capital stock of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars were Charles Gratiot, William Smith, John McKnight, Jean B. Cabanné, and Matthew Kerr. The first president was Auguste Chouteau, and the first cashier Lilburn W. Boggs. The institution being a depository of the public moneys, it entered upon its career with the confidence of the public, but, like most banks of the day, it followed the course marked out by the Bank of St. Louis, and failed like its predecessor with great loss to many deserving and industrious citizens.
Governor Ford, in his "History of Illinois," says emigrants brought money into the State at this period in great abundance. "The owners," he adds,
"had to use it some way, and as it could not be used in legitimate commerce in a State where the material for commerce did not exist, the most of it was used to build houses in towns which the limited business of the country did not require, and to purchase land which the labor of the country was not sufficient to cultivate. The United States government was then selling land at two dollars per acre, eighty dollars on the quarter-section to be paid down on the purchase, with a credit of five years for the residue. For nearly every sum of eighty dollars there was in the country a quarter-section of land was purchased, for in those days there was no specie circulation to restrain unwarrantable speculation; but, on the contrary, the notes of most of the numerous banks in existence were good in the public land offices. The amount of land thus purchased was increased by the general expectation that the rapid settlement of the country would enable the speculator to sell it for a high price before the expiration of the credit. This great abundance of money also, about this time, made a vast increase in the amount of merchandise brought into the State. When money is plenty every man's credit is good. The people dealt largely with the stores on credit, and drew upon a certain fortune in prospect for payment. Every one was to get rich out of the future emigrant. The speculator was to sell him houses and lands, and the farmer was to sell him everything he wanted to begin with and to live upon until he could supply himself. Towns were laid out all over the country, and lots were purchased by every one on credit; the town-maker received no money for his lots, but he received notes of hand, which he considered to be as good as cash; and he lived and embarked in other ventures as if they had been cash in truth. In this mode, by the year 1820, nearly the whole people were irrecoverably involved in debt. The banks in Ohio and Kentucky broke one after another, leaving the people of these States covered with indebtedness and without the means of extrication. The banks at home and in St. Louis (as we have seen) ceased business. The great tide of immigrants from abroad, which had been looked for by every one, failed to come. Real estate was unsalable; the lands purchased of the United States were unpaid for and likely to be forfeited. Bank notes had driven out specie, and when these notes became worthless there was no money of any description left in the country." 196
In 1822 there was a pressing scarcity of money; in 1825, 1826, 1827, and 1828 convulsions and bankruptcy among the banks. Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, and Missouri tried stay laws, tender laws, and paper issues in every form. Kentucky tested the experiment most thoroughly; the others desisted sooner. In 1829 and 1830 the gloom which had brooded so long over the country was dispelled and a brighter prospect was unfolded. For the first time for eight years the natural course of trade had brought a balance of specie of eight and a half millions of dollars into the country. In 1828, in the election of Gen. Jackson to the Presidency, the people began to evince hostility to every form of paper money, and in his first message to Congress President Jackson charged
the United States Bank, which had been chartered in 1816, and which had established a branch in St. Louis with Col. John O'Fallon as president, with having "failed in the great end of establishing a uniform and sound currency." The friends of the bank defended it and the leading political parties took sides, one for, the other against, the bank. The citizens of St. Louis who favored the bank gave expression to their feelings at a public meeting held in the town hall on the afternoon of July 24, 1832. Dr. William Carr Lane presided at the meeting, and James L. Murray was appointed secretary. A committee consisting of Messrs. Edward Bates, Pierre Chouteau, Jr., George Collier, Thornton Grimsley, Henry S. Geyer, and Nathan Ranney presented the following resolutions, which were adopted:
"Resolved, That we view with deep mortification and regret the President's veto of the bill which recently passed both houses of Congress to continue for a limited time the charter of the Bank of the United States.
"Resolved, That, in our opinion, the Bank of the United States is greatly useful and convenient to the government as a fiscal agent, highly beneficial to the nation at large, and indispensably necessary to the commercial prosperity and individual comfort of the Western people, and its existence is as strictly accordant with the principles laid down in the Constitution as its operations are with the welfare of the community.
"Resolved, That in the present condition of the commercial and pecuniary affairs of this section of the Union, if the bank should be driven, by fear of the consequences of the President's veto, to curtail the discounts and withdraw its paper from circulation, one universal scene of distress and ruin will pervade the whole Western country.
"Resolved, That a committee be appointed to draft an address to the people on the subject of the re-charter of the Bank of the United States, and on the principles and doctrines of the veto message."
The chair appointed Dr. George W. Call and Messrs. Frederick Hyatt, Matthew Kerr, Asa Wilgus, Thomas Cohen, and James L. Murray to compose the committee under the last resolution.
Gen. Jackson had also a great many friends and admirers in St. Louis, and on the evening of the same day they held a meeting in the town hall, at which Dr. Samuel Merry and Absalom Link presided, and William Milburn acted as secretary. Col. George F. Strother made an address, after which Messrs. E. Dobyns, John Shade, James C. Lynch, L. Brown, B. W. Ayres, J. H. Baldwin, and P. Taylor were appointed to draft resolutions. Subsequently the veto message was read, and the following resolutions were adopted:
"Resolved, That this meeting view all banks and banking institutions possessing exclusive privileges and powers of monopoly as a dangerous tendency in a government of the people, calculated in their nature to draw distinctions in society and build up family nobilities.
"Resolved, That this meeting do concur with Gen. Jackson in the view which he has taken of the United States Bank, with its privileges, powers, and unconstitutionality.
"Resolved, That this meeting view the stand which Gen. Jackson has taken against the moneyed powers of Europe and America as a mark of firmness and patriotism not surpassed by any patriot or statesman since the light of liberty first dawned upon our country.
"Resolved, That he is entitled to the fullest confidence of this meeting and of the American people for his undiminished firmness.
"Resolved, That this meeting will, by all honorable and proper means, contribute all in their power to sustain him in his position against the bank."
During the time that the Branch Bank of the United States was in operation in St. Louis it had the confidence of the community, and was of great advantage to its business interests. It closed its career with great credit to its managers, for when the accounts were settled it was found that the government had sustained a loss of only one hundred and twenty-five dollars. On July 10, 1832, President Jackson vetoed a recharter for the parent bank, and in 1836, its twenty years' charter from the Federal government having expired, it was rechartered by the State of Pennsylvania. In 1837 and 1839 it suspended specie payments, and Feb. 4, 1840, it suspended finally, the stockholders losing everything.
Upon the abolition of the Branch Bank of the United States the Cincinnati Commercial Agency established a branch in St. Louis, and by means of its ample capital and liberal dealing gained the confidence of the public. The general government deputized the agency as its fiscal agent, and the new bank assumed the business of the Branch Bank of the United States, and imparted new vigor to business, which had begun to languish for the want of pecuniary support. With the aid of government deposits the agency made considerable money, and its success excited the jealousy of the merchants, who had long wished for a bank of their own, and who for several years had been trying to effect that object, but who had been opposed by others who dreaded the great influx of paper and a repetition of the disasters which had overtaken the banks that had previously been established in the city. The merchants, however, determined to make another effort, and the first bill presented to the Legislature in 1837 was one to charter "The Union Bank of Missouri." The bill was amended and changed, and on Feb. 1, 1837, the charter of "The Bank of the State of Missouri," which had been passed, was signed by the Governor and became a law. Hugh O'Neill, Henry Walton, John B. Sarpy, George K. McGunnegle, and John O'Fallon were appointed to receive subscriptions in
St. Louis, and a sufficient amount having been subscribed the bank went into operation on the 15th of April, 1837. After the establishment of the new bank the general government, in accordance with an act of Congress, was compelled to transact its business with it, and in June, 1837, a transfer was also made by the Commercial Agency to the Missouri Bank "of the local debt of our citizens," "the amount to be paid in installments at stated periods running through two years, bearing an interest of five per cent."
About the time of the agitation for the establishment of a local bank, a bill passed the Missouri House of Representatives for the expulsion of all agencies of foreign banking institutions from the State. Immediately a town-meeting was called at the City Hall, on Dec. 17, 1836, "for the purpose of taking into consideration the propriety of continuing bank agencies in the city, and for other purposes." The meeting was organized with Dr. Hardage Lane as chairman, and Charles D. Drake as secretary. John F. Darby addressed the meeting at some length, and Dr. William Carr Lane offered the following resolutions, which were adopted:
"That in the opinion of this meeting it will be highly inexpedient in the General Assembly to remove or lessen the banking facilities now possessed by the manufacturing and commercial community by removing the bank agencies now located amongst us, and that we deprecate any presentation in the General Assembly on the subject as tending inevitably to the great injury of every class of our citizens.
"Resolved, That a committee of five persons be appointed to respectfully memorialize the General Assembly upon the subject of these agencies."
The chair then appointed the following committee in accordance with the resolution: George Morton, Henry S. Geyer, John D. Dagget, James T. Swearingen, and Samuel S. Reyburn.
George Morton then offered the following resolutions, which were severally adopted:
"Resolved, That this meeting has heard with regret that there is a disposition in the General Assembly to expel from the State agencies of foreign insurance companies; for the reason that they are evidently an accommodation and benefit to this city, affording to the owners of insurable property facilities of protection which without them could not be had, and operating only for the advantage of the community.
"Resolved, Therefore, that our senators and representatives be respectfully requested to use their influence to induce the General Assembly to permit insurance agencies to continue their beneficial operations amongst us.
"Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed by the chair to select five gentlemen to repair as a delegation to the city of Jefferson, and co-operate with our senators and representatives in respectfully laying before the General Assembly the wants and wishes of the people of this city upon such subjects of general interest as to them shall seem proper."
The chair appointed Messrs. George Morton, Henry Von Phul, and Edward Tracy that committee.
In 1830 the banks in the United States were estimated to number three hundred and twenty-nine, with a capital of one hundred and ten millions of dollars. In 1837 their number, including branches, was seven hundred and eighty-eight, with two hundred and ninety million dollars capital. The consequences of their multiplication were speculation in property and commodities, increasing prices, strikes of working-people for increase of wages, the abandonment of agricultural pursuits, and the crowding of people into cities or large towns for the purpose of speculation, chiefly in city and village lots. Industry was no longer thought of by the multitudes of people who found themselves rich from the high prices obtained for farming lands bought for new villages or cities that were to grow up to enrich their owners. At length (1836-37) the United States began to import food from other countries, and hungry mobs attacked the flour-stores in New York, the great speculation culminating in panics in all the cities. Early in March, 1837, Herman Briggs and Co., of New Orleans, failed on account of the decline in cotton. Their New York agents failed as soon as the news reached that city. This was the beginning. At New York one failure followed another among those who held Southern funds. In April news came that the leading English merchants granting American credits had become dependent on the Bank of England, and were being carried on a guarantee from the city. The panic then recommenced, and continued increasing until May 8th, when the Dry-Dock Bank of New York suspended. The other banks were forced to suspend on the 9th and 10th. The Philadelphia, Baltimore, St. Louis, and other banks followed as the news spread. Each city professed that it could have held out, but was forced to yield in the general interest. St. Louis suffered greatly from the panic that swept over the country. Many of the leading firms of the city were prostrated, and business, which a few weeks before was moving smoothly along in its accustomed channels, was checked with fearful suddenness, and became almost extinct.
Of course the state of the country was a prominent topic in political discussions. Hon. Thomas B. Benton, then the leader of the Democratic party in Missouri, was an advocate of a specie currency, and his party declared in favor of a monetary system composed exclusively of the precious metals. The Whig party was in favor of re-establishing a controlling power, like the United States Bank. In August, 1837, notwithstanding the denunciations of Col. Benton
and his adherents, a petition to Congress "for the establishment of a National Bank" was adopted by the Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis, and was signed by nearly every leading business man in the city.
An extra session of Congress was called by President Van Buren; the banks expanded still more their issues of depreciated paper, and Congress did nothing but permit the issue of United States Treasury notes bearing a small interest to meet the pressing wants of the general government. On May 10, 1838, the New York and New England banks resumed, but the Philadelphia banks delayed until the Governor forced them to resume, Aug. 13, 1838. The banks in the other States followed in due time. In October, 1839, the paper of the United States Bank went to protest, and on the 9th the Philadelphia banks suspended payment. They were followed by all the banks South and West, and by those of Rhode Island. The New York and other New England banks did not suspend. In consequence of the suspension of the Eastern banks, the Bank of the State of Missouri, on the 12th of November, 1839, passed a resolution "that the bank will in future receive from and pay only to individuals her own notes and specie on the notes of specie-paying banks." This decision, on becoming generally known, aroused the intense indignation of the mercantile community of St. Louis.
The Missouri Republican of the following day says,
"The bank excitement continued very high during yesterday. In fact, it is the only subject matter of conversation or consideration. The merchants, it might literally be said, have forsaken their counting-rooms, and mechanics their shops. Wherever two or three meet, the action of the bank was the theme of conversation, and in every circle that we have fallen in with, whatever might be the polities of those composing it, the resolution of the directors was condemned without measure or reserve. In truth, there never has been in this community so universal and unanimous a condemnation of any measure as this. Execrations loud and deep are freely uttered in every quarter, and by men of all parties."
The notes of banks of other States formed the principal currency of the State, and by this act of the Bank of the State of Missouri all the notes of banks which had suspended specie payment lost their character as representing funds for the payment even of existing contracts. The merchants were in a most stressing situation. They had their commercial honor to preserve, and to do this it was all important their notes should not go to protest. There were not, however, sufficient specie and bankable funds in circulation to redeem their paper. 197 In this crisis a meeting was held at the court-house at noon on Nov. 13, 1839, "to take into consideration the recent movement by the Bank of the State of Missouri in refusing to receive anything except specie and its own paper in payment of debts due it."
Edward Tracy was chosen president, J. C. Laveille and J. Clemens, Jr., vice-presidents, and G. G. Foster and Samuel Gaty, secretaries. It was
"Resolved, That, as the sense of this meeting, it will be no discredit to any individual having paper maturing this day at the Bank of Missouri to allow said paper to go to protest if a tender is made at bank or to the notary of currency hitherto bankable and is refused."
The president announced the following gentlemen as a committee on resolutions: Messrs. N. Paschall, George Morton, Joseph Foster, A. Carr, J. P. Doane, J. B. Sarpy, Asa Wilgus, John Whitehill, Wayman Crow, George K. Budd, A. G. Farwell, H. Von Phul, and Felix Coonce.
A proposition was made to John Brady Smith, president of the bank, that the collection paper discounted by the bank up to that time should be paid in the same description of funds as that previously received by the bank, and that the business paper discounted by the bank up to that time should, as far as possible, be placed on the footing of accommodation paper, the curtailment and discount being paid in specie or the notes of specie-paying banks.
The president promised to confer with the board of directors, and after due deliberation by that body objection to the proposition was raised on the ground that there would be necessarily some depreciation of the funds, which loss the bank was unwilling to sustain. So great was the emergency at this particular juncture in financial affairs, that this objection was met on the part of the most wealthy of the citizens by an offer to legally bind themselves to indemnify the bank against any loss it might sustain by a depreciation of the notes of the banks "heretofore received." 198
The directors of the bank held a consultation, but determined to adhere to their original resolution.
The merchants had fully expected that the bank would accept the noble proposition made it by the responsible gentlemen mentioned, but when the refusal of the board of directors was made known, another indignation meeting was called, which strongly condemned the conduct of the bank, and resolutions were adopted recommending those doing business with it to withdraw their deposits and patronize some other
institution. As a consequence many of the largest depositors withdrew their funds and deposited them in the insurance offices, and with the St. Louis Gas-Light Company, which was then doing a banking business. 199
The bank, notwithstanding it was thus deprived of the support of many of its most influential patrons, still pursued the policy it had adopted, and weathered the financial storm which had threatened it.
On Jan. 15, 1841, all the banks of the country resumed specie payments, but they all suspended again on the 4th of February of the same year. The Philadelphia banks resumed in March, 1842, but complete resumption of specie payments throughout all the States was not accomplished until 1843, when prices were at the lowest point. Bankruptcy, ruin, and distress had done their work. At least two thousand millions of dollars, it has been estimated, represented the shrinkage in prices or values, six hundred millions of dollars of debts being wiped out by actual bankruptcies. 200
In 1846 the Democratic party succeeded in establishing the independent treasury, the general government becoming its own banker, and receiving and paying only coined money. The measure was highly beneficial in promoting the use of coined money. In the same year and in 1847 the potato famine in Ireland sent to the United States thousands of emigrants, and in 1848 the revolution on the continent sent thousands more. The potato famine also gave the United States a market for grain, and saved them from a share in the financial troubles of 1847. The repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 and the more liberal tariff adopted by Congress in that year gave wider scope to industry. Railroads had already been extended both in the United States and Europe sufficiently to affect production and exchange. The telegraph was just coming into general use, and ocean steam navigation was rapidly extending. Following close upon this conjunction of circumstances came the discovery of gold in California in 1848. At once began a great emigration of adventurous men to the Pacific slope, and also great speculation in exports thither. The whole industrial world gained by this new supply of the medium of exchange, which came just when it was needed to sustain the new development of industry and commerce. The first exchange of the metal was for food and manufactured articles, and its discovery caused a new and sharp demand for agricultural and manufactured products in St. Louis and elsewhere. New fields were opened, new factories built, not in the United States only, but in all the commercial countries. The new and enlarged industries brought richer returns than before, both of wages and profits, not on account of the money, but on account of the whole industrial expansion, which the new supply of real money facilitated.
After two or three years of low discount rate and cheap food, there followed in 1853 rumors of war and a bad crop in England. This caused high prices for wheat and a renewed speculation in Western lands and railroads, which resulted in 1854 in a crisis and panic in Wall Street, New York. Some California traders also found their affairs to be in a critical condition, but generally the mercantile community held firm. 201 Suddenly, on the 13th of January, 1855, the failure of Page & Bacon, of St. Louis, an old and highly-esteemed banking-house, with liabilities estimated at several millions of dollars, was announced. The firm transacted the largest banking business in the West, and at this time stood towards the city and county of St. Louis in the relation of public benefactors. 202
The announcement of the suspension of the banking-house of Page & Bacon created a wide-spread sensation in the community, which was not diminished, but rather increased, by the fact that Messrs. Loker, Renick & Co., another banking firm, did not open their doors. Ordinary business in the city was left unattended to by the citizens, and the public mind seemed absorbed at first in the public calamity of the stoppage of Page & Bacon, and afterwards in the run which commenced on the other banking-houses of the city. Indeed, Saturday, the 13th of January, 1855, was a day long to be remembered in the financial annals of St. Louis. As soon as the banking-houses were opened in the morning a run on the deposits commenced, and continued without intermission until evening. During this time the firm of Lucas & Simonds paid out upwards of two hundred and sixty thousand dollars, Louis A. Benoist & Co. 203 more than
one hundred thousand dollars, and the Boatmen's Saving Institution one hundred and seven thousand dollars.
Though the run was apparently upon these institutions alone, yet the other banking-houses by no means escaped the visitation. J. J. Anderson & Co. and E. W. Clark & Brothers, bankers, paid out on that day larger sums, in proportion to their deposits, than any other houses in the city, although no crowds were collected around their doors, as was the case with other financial institutions. The same was true of other firms to a smaller extent. It was calculated by good judges that between seven and eight hundred thousand dollars of deposits were drawn from the banking-houses on this eventful day.
To check the panic which was spreading over the community, and to restore public confidence in the monetary institutions of the city, on Monday morning, January 15th, the following guarantee notice was issued, in which it will be seen that ten of the wealthiest citizens of St. Louis, believing in the entire ability of these banking-houses to pay every demand which might be made upon them, pledged their private property (estimated to be worth over eight million dollars) to secure the deposits:
"The undersigned, knowing and relying on the ample ability of the following banking-houses in the city of St. Louis, and with a view of quieting the public mind in regard to the safety of deposits made with them, hereby pledge themselves, and offer as a guarantee their property, to make good all deposits with either of said banking-houses, to wit: Messrs. Lucas & Simonds, Bogy, Miltenberger & Co., Tesson and Danjen, L. A. Benoist & Co., John J. Anderson & Co., Darby & Barksdale and Boatmen's Savings Institution.
"J. O'Fallon, Ed. Walsh, Louis A. Labeaume, J. B. Brant, L. M. Kennett, D. A. January, John How, James Harrison, Andrew Christy, Charles P. Chouteau.
"ST. LOUIS, Jan. 15, 1855."
The generous manner in which these patriotic and self-sacrificing citizens stepped forward to sustain the credit of their city, with no motive save the city's good, showed plainly the broad basis on which the prosperity of St. Louis was founded and restored confidence completely. Indeed, no more pleasing event has ever happened in the commercial history of the country. These noble men volunteered their private fortunes for the purpose of protecting the character and standing of their city, both as to her commercial credit and the quiet of the community, and no one could require stronger evidence of the entire safety of his or her funds in the threatened banks. The guarantee provided, together with the prompt payment by the bankers of every deposit called for on January 16th, restored confidence completely, and for the remainder of the week, though money was very scarce, every one seemed comparatively cheerful and energetic. The crisis, though it seemed for a time about to result in a fearful public calamity, was in reality productive of much good, for it developed resources in St. Louis which before were latent and not suspected by many of the citizens. It showed also that the finances of the city were founded on a substantial basis, and that they were fully able to withstand a storm. But, above all, it exhibited the noble character of the wealthy citizens in a clear and brilliant light, and as the news of the crisis, and of its issue, spread over the country, St. Louis assumed a prouder and loftier position than she had ever attained in the eyes of the commercial world.
The houses which had survived the "run" proceeded to business with renewed vigor and added stability and strength, and the two firms which had suspended made immediate preparations to resume at an early day. Messrs. Page & Bacon paid all their drafts, after the 15th of January, at the Bank of America, in New York, with interest and cost of protest, and on February 17th announced that they would "resume the regular business" of their office on the 19th. At the time named the banking-house fully resumed business operations, but in consequence of the failure of their branch bank in San Francisco, and their drafts going to protest in New York, the partners of the parent bank in St. Louis determined to suspend operations, which they did finally April 4th.
On the 24th of August, 1857, the failure of the Ohio Life and Trust Company, of Cincinnati, an old and highly-esteemed institution, with liabilities for seven million dollars, was announced. This incident passed without causing any general alarm, but the banks well knew what it meant. They reduced their loans in New York City from August 22d to October 17th nearly one-half, and this produced a crisis. A large number of failures of banks and firms, especially brokers, produce dealers, and persons depending on Western collections, took place in September. Bills on the seaboard were hardly obtainable in the interior at ten and fifteen per cent. premium. On the 12th and 13th of September the banks of Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, and many interior towns suspended. Stocks fell forty or fifty per cent., and twenty thousand persons were thrown out of work in New York City within a fortnight. On the 13th of October the New York banks (with one exception) suspended; the New England banks followed immediately.
The crisis in St. Louis was perhaps more intense than in any other city of the country. The news from Philadelphia and Baltimore of the suspension of the banks in those cities was announced in the newspapers on September 28th, and was not without its effect on the money market. Immediately after the banks opened for business the "run" on them for specie payments began. The consequence was that the house of Darby & Barksdale closed about ten o'clock, and very soon thereafter that of J. J. Anderson & Co. suspended payments. There were unusual demands upon the other banking-houses of the city, but they were promptly met. An excessive "run" also occurred upon the banking-house of James H. Lucas & Co., which was then doing the largest banking business of any house in the West. The senior member of the firm was one of the wealthiest men in the city, and as his failure would have proven a public calamity at this time, eighteen generous gentlemen of large means, and of the highest character for honesty and integrity, without solicitation from any quarter, pledged their private property to secure the depositors of the banking-house against all loss. The guarantee was as follows:
"The undersigned, believing that there is nothing in the condition of affairs to justify a want of confidence on the part of the community in the solvency of the several banking-houses of St. Louis, do hereby, in order to allay the apprehensions of depositors and to prevent the inconveniences which might result from a run on their depositories (without intending by their action to intimate a distrust of any other house), guarantee and assure to all persons having accounts with the banking-house of James H. Lucas & Co. the safety of their respective deposits.
"Witness the hands and seals of the undersigned this 28th of September, 1857, at St. Louis, Mo.
"James E. Yeatman, James Harrison, John How, R. J. Lockwood, Edward J. Gay & Co., Ed. Walsh, J. O'Fallon, John H. Gay, M. Brotherton, W. Renshaw, Jr., J. S. McCune, D. A. January & Co., D. H. Armstrong, Chas. K. Dickson, Thomas T. Gantt, Wm. M. McPherson, James B. Eads, Chas. Tillman."
Another paper of the same character, guaranteeing the safety of all deposits in the banking-house of Renick & Peterson, was also issued and signed by Samuel Gaty, R. Campbell, Edward Walsh, John How, Charles K. Dickson, Thos. T. Gantt, J. J. Murdoch, O. D. Filley, G. F. Filley, J. B. Sickles, Livermore, Cooley & Co., W. Renshaw, Jr., W. H. Benton, and H. Crittenden. These gentlemen were known to be men of wealth; at the same time they were prudent and were able to carry out their pledge, and would have done so if it had been required of them.
After what had transpired on Monday, the 28th of September, there was great anxiety to see what would be the result of the panic on Tuesday. The Republican of the 30th thus details the financial proceedings of the day:
"It was apprehended that a run would be made on the bankers and savings institutions, notwithstanding the guarantees given to two of the banking-houses by some of the leading capitalists of the city and the acknowledged solvency of the whole of them. At the hour of opening an unusual number of persons was observed upon Main Street and on the cross streets leading to it. The first thing that attracted attention was a notice at the door of the banking-house of Bogy, Miltenberger & Co. that the house had temporarily suspended business, and that it would not be opened.
"The seekers after gold were early on the street in front of the banking-house of James H. Lucas & Co., where they were soon joined by a number of idlers and curiosity-mongers. Those who had deposits in this house were not overmodest in making demands for specie, and from nine to nearly eleven o'clock the tellers were busily employed in paying checks.
"Another class of depositors was not slow in paying their respects to the gentlemen who managed the German Savings Institution, in the Merchants' Exchange block. There was quite a rush upon them, and this was kept up for an hour or two, when all demands for specie from affrighted depositors ceased. While these things were going on in Main Street, another set of depositors were paying their respects to the Boatmen's Savings Institution, at the corner of Pine and Second Streets. For a time, say an hour or two, the young gentlemen whose province it is to honor drafts upon this institution were a good deal exercised, and the coin passed out pretty freely; but by the time they had fairly got their hands in the demand was exhausted, and they had nothing unusual to do for the balance of the day. Passing up Main Street, a few stragglers were noticed in the banking-house of L. A. Benoist & Co., but the serenity of the gentleman who manages that concern was not disturbed, and he rarely took his hands out of his pockets.
"Still farther up the street, the State Savings had no calls for specie from importunate or suspicious depositors, and discounts were made and the usual business carried on as if they had no knowledge of any undue excitement in the city."
Mercantile failures now commenced and followed each other day by day, the panic increasing with renewed force as each suspension was announced, and as money was locked up by any one who could get and keep it, the pressure for money in the city was very great. There was an abundance of "currency," but this had ceased to be available in the payment of debts where specie funds were required, and for this reason, on October 3d, Messrs. Chouteau, Harrison & Vallé, one of the largest and most important business houses, temporarily suspended payment. This was an event that was not expected, and it added fuel to the panic. As a consequence, many of the leading houses in St. Louis were compelled to suspend business, and thousands of persons were thrown out of employment. On the following day the banking-house of E. W. Clark & Brothers was compelled to temporarily suspend cash payments. This was followed on the 5th by the suspension of the great banking-house of James H. Lucas & Co., which had been struggling for several weeks to withstand the unexampled monetary pressure. The Republican in announcing this failure said,
"It needed only the stoppage of this banking-house of James H. Lucas & Co. to wind up the financial horrors with which this city has been overwhelmed within the past throe weeks. Business houses have suspended to the surprise of everybody, banking-houses supposed to be equally sound with that of Lucas & Co. have gone down, and confusion has been increased; but when the house of James H. Lucas & Co. was forced to suspend yesterday by the continual run upon it, as regular as the rain which fell throughout the day, men were amazed and scarcely knew what to think. The case is an extraordinary one. For at least thirty days the house had endured a regular, ceaseless draft upon it for coin. There was not a man, in all probability, who did not believe that his money was perfectly safe with them, but the great majority of depositors, either to answer the importunities of friends or to be sure that the gold was in their clutches, resolved to check it out, and it was done. We assume that a million of dollars of current deposits were thus extracted by little and little, and yesterday, between one and two P. M., the doors were closed. We need not say that we regret this suspension. There is hardly a man in the community who will not do it. To nearly all it was a matter of surprise that such an event should occur at all, even in such inauspicious times. But when it is considered that the house was doing an immense business, that it had daily transactions over the country, that in the sudden and extraordinary pecuniary panic through which we are now passing losses must necessarily be incurred, and with a run upon all banking-houses, indicating a general want of confidence, however ungenerous that feeling may have been, it is not surprising that even this strong house should have been forced to yield to the storm. The members of the firm have, it is certain, the warmest sympathies of the people of St. Louis."
On October 6th an unexampled run was made on the Boatmen's Savings Institution, which was continued until night. The capacity of the bank was not impaired by this demonstration, as the amount paid out hardly made an impression on the funds then in its vaults, and specie funds were offered it by other banks, but declined by the managers of the institution. In consequence of rumors that were circulated in the city, the bank in the afternoon issued the following "card":
"BOATMEN'S SAVINGS INSTITUTION,
"Oct. 6, 1857.
"Whereas, there are rumors injurious to this institution, that a portion of its cash funds are on deposit in other institutions of this city, the board deem it proper to state that all the cash funds belonging to it are in its own vaults.
"By order of the board of directors.
"S. BLOOD, President."
On the same day the "Mutual Savings Institution," located under the Planters' Hotel, at the corner of Fourth and Pine Streets, suspended. At the State Bank a steady run was made on it all day. The German Savings and the Franklin Savings Institutions, situated in the Exchange building, suffered a similar run, but it created no impression on their funds. Tesson & Danjen, Benoist & Co., Franciscus & Co., Renick & Peterson, and other banking-houses were not much troubled with specie demands.
Thus the panic continued until October 6th, when a second meeting was held by the leading merchants of the city at the Exchange room, for the purpose of receiving the report of Messss. Ranney, Gamier, Hogan, January, Crow, Wall, Gay, Oglesby, King, Funkhouser, and Tucker, a committee appointed at a previous meeting "to advise upon the currency question." The committee reported the following resolution, which was adopted:
"Resolved, That the committee are unanimously of opinion that memorials should be generally signed petitioning the Legislature of this State, which convenes on the third Monday in the month, not to issue any State bonds, except such as previous legislation makes imperative to be issued, and to pass such a revenue law as will give to the world the most perfect assurance that, under any and all circumstances, Missouri will pay her interest and protect her obligations."
On motion of Mr. Ranney, the following resolution was also unanimously adopted:
"Resolved, That the business men of St. Louis will continue to receive for the present the good currency (meaning Illinois bank-notes, which were thought to be better secured than any other) afloat in the country in all transactions at par."
In consequence of the action of the merchants, the following day passed off without any excitement whatever. "There was quite a cheerful feeling, and people seemed to feel that they had reached the turning point, when financial affairs must improve and greater activity be infused into every description of business."
On October 19th the banking-house of Messrs. Tesson & Danjen suspended, which was followed on the 24th by the closing of the Bank of the State of Missouri. On the 26th the State Bank opened as usual, but did not pay specie, and with this exception business was transacted through the day. The Merchants' Bank suspended specie payments as soon as it opened on Monday morning, the 26th, but the Southern Bank suffered the run to be made upon it for an hour, and then the suspension of specie payments was announced. The Mechanics' Bank sustained the run all day, but, like the others, was forced in time to succumb to the unexampled monetary pressure.
This crisis was short, sharp, and severe, but the recovery was rapid, and the reaction healthful. The losses were very great, but it was only a bad stumble in a career of great prosperity, and it simply taught sobriety and care. The number of bankruptcies in the United States and Canada was 5123, with $299,800,000 liabilities. Fourteen railroads suspended payment on $189,800,000, and cotton manufacturers suffered severely by the fall of cotton (sixteen cents to eight and a half cents) and by the depreciation of stock.
The Northern and Eastern banks resumed in December, 1857, and were followed shortly afterwards by all the other banks in the country. Things went on until the civil war very much in the old way. The next panic was in November, 1860. Prosperity and abundance prevailed everywhere in all the States. Business of every kind appeared to be conducted with profit; the crops had been abundant, and the banking and currency systems rested upon a solid foundation. But the election of President Lincoln was followed by movements towards secession and by political agitation and excitement. Later in November several States were found to be drifting in the wake of South Carolina, which was considered the leader in a movement aiming at secession. A dark cloud arose to mar the fair prospects of a great nation engaged in profitable occupations, and there ensued a shrinkage of business, a contraction of credit, the reduction of enterprise, and some hoarding of gold. Prices were lowered, the foreign exchanges fell, and gold began to be imported. Southern collections became difficult, and then ceased.
The panic set in about the middle of November at New York with sudden violence. Some of the banks were speedily embarrassed, and the suspension of all, or nearly all, was considered inevitable if the panic continued to the close of Thursday, the 22d of November. But on Monday, the 19th, a plan for allaying the panic was devised, and was submitted on that day and the next for the consideration of the bank officers, who adopted it in general meeting on Wednesday, the 21st. It was at once carried into effect, with wonderful success. People who had drawn out specie at once returned it to the banks, and the day that was expected to bring on general bankruptcy only witnessed universal rejoicing. Not so, however, in St. Louis, where all the banks, with the exception of the Exchange Bank, suspended payment on November 26th. They resumed shortly after, but during the winter the Southern States seceded and the political excitement increased. In April, 1861, the progress of the secession movement caused great uneasiness in financial circles, but on the 24th of that month the bank officers again united as before and prevented any panic worthy of note. 204
On October 14th the banks of St. Louis created quite a stir in the community by deciding not to receive or pay out the notes of the Union Bank of Missouri. The initiative was taken by the State Bank, which was followed by the others. On the following day a meeting of the bank presidents was called at the instance of the Merchants' Bank, "to determine on a line of policy to be pursued by these institutions towards each other." The State Bank, Merchants', Southern, Mechanics', and St. Louis were represented at the meeting. A resolution was adopted for a settlement of balances each day, the notes of each bank being received and paid out indiscriminately. This resolution was agreed to by all the banks represented except the Bank of St. Louis, which, in consequence of the seizure of some one hundred and thirty-four thousand dollars of its coin by the military authorities, did not feel itself warranted in abiding by the resolution. 205
In consequence of this action on the part of the St. Louis Bank, its paper on the 16th was rejected at the several banks. This proceeding was followed on the next day by similar action on the part of several of the other banks. The State Bank received and paid out Southern and Mechanics' Bank bills, while the Merchants' refused the Mechanics', but took the Southern Bank notes, as they had agreed to do. The Mechanics' then retaliated on the Merchants' by throwing out its paper. This state of affairs continued until the 19th, when the misunderstanding between the Merchants' and Mechanics' Banks was removed, and they received each other's paper as formerly. The paper of the State, Mechanics', Merchants', and Southern Banks constituted at this time the only circulating medium in the city. 206
The final panic at New York preceding the suspension of specie payments on Dec. 30, 1861, was very slight, the banks having suspended before the public had become aware of there being any pressing necessity for it. In the interior, where State banks were issuing notes on security of stocks of the seceding States, many banks failed, and there was much distress among the people. The year 1862 consequently opened with a general suspension of specie payments by the banks in all parts of the country, and on Feb. 25, 1862, Congress authorized the issue of one hundred and fifty millions of "greenback" legal tender notes. The first issue of legal tenders was in April. As they were issued gold rose, and all specie disappeared. On July 11th one hundred and fifty million dollars more legal tenders were voted, and the provision of the act of February 25th for funding them in six per cent. bonds was omitted. 207
In January, 1862, the highest price of gold was three and three-quarters premium, and when a second issue of legal tender notes was authorized (July 11th), it sold at a premium of twenty per cent. In January, 1863, another issue of one hundred million dollars of the notes was authorized, when gold rose to fifty per cent. premium. June 20, 1864, gold trading was forbidden. Gold rose from 199, on the 21st, to 230 on the 23d, and fell to 207 again. The act was repealed July 2d. Gold reached its highest point, 285, in July, 1864, the paper dollar being worth a little more than thirty-five cents in coined money. One week after the Confederate forces east of the Mississippi, on May 11, 1865, had surrendered, the premium on gold was as low as twenty-eight and a half per cent.
The act of July 17, 1862, provided for the issue of stamps to be used as "change," but they were inconvenient, and the act of March 3, 1863, provided for fifty million dollars of fractional notes. 208
On the 25th of February, 1863, the National Bank Act was passed, authorizing $300,000,000 of bank capital to be distributed, half of it according to banking capital, and half of it according to population. An act approved July 12, 1870, added $54,000,000, and provided for withdrawing and redistributing an excess above the quota held in New York and the East. This last was found impracticable. The act of Jan. 14, 1875, removed all restrictions. On Oct. 5, 1865, there were sixty-six national banks in operation. The system rapidly absorbed nearly all the banks. The law required that country banks should hold fifteen per cent. of their circulation and deposits in greenbacks, and that the banks in the large redemption cities should hold twenty-five per cent. The banks were afterwards allowed to count their reserves with their redemption agents as part of this reserve up to three-fifths of the required amount. The act of June 20, 1874, did away with this reserve, as far as circulation was concerned, and substituted a five per cent. reserve to be kept at Washington, where the redemption takes place.
The act of June 30, 1864, limited the amount of greenbacks to $400,000,000, and such part of $50,000,000 more as might be needed to redeem temporary loans. A general resolution in favor of contraction and resumption passed Dec. 18, 1865, and a measure allowing the Secretary of the Treasury to withdraw $10,000,000 in six months, and thereafter $4,000,000 per month, was adopted April 14, 1866. The crisis in England in the spring of 1866, and the war on the continent in the summer of that year, caused some stringency in the United States, and set the gold premium in activity. In February, 1868, McCulloch's contraction was suspended by order of Congress. He had reduced the greenbacks to $356,000,000, at which point they stood until October, 1872, when Mr. Boutwell, who affirmed that the $44,000,000 so withdrawn were under his control, issued $5,000,000 of them to correct a stringency in Wall Street. These were withdrawn during the winter, and the sum remained $356,000,000 until the crisis of 1873, when it was raised to $382,000,000. The act of Jan. 14, 1875, made that sum the limit, allowed national banks to be formed to any extent, and authorized them to issue notes for ninety per cent. of the bonds deposited. Greenbacks to the amount of eighty per cent. on the additional notes issued were to be withdrawn until greenbacks were reduced to $300,000,000. 209
The phenomena of excessive issues of paper money during the years 1863, 1864, and 1865 were peculiarly impressive. Prices frequently rose and fell from rapid fluctuations in the volume of the issues as well as from the vicissitudes of war. 210
Suffering and distress prevailed among the poor and all who were dependent on fixed incomes. There were stupendous speculations in gold, in stocks and commodities and property, and sudden acquisitions of wealth from these speculations, as well as from government contracts, with heavy losses and depressions in many branches of trade and industry. Since the close of the war, the panic of 1869, from a great speculation in gold, 211 and that of 1873, from the breaking down of new railroad enterprises, have been the most notable.
The stringency which had occurred in the fall of 1871 and 1872 was significant of the approaching absorption by expanding credit of the legally limited amount of paper currency. In the summer of 1873 the granger agitation in the West frightened investors from railroad bonds and crippled the enterprises which depended on the continuance of these investments for funds. The rebuilding of Chicago and Boston had also caused a great absorption of circulating capital. On the 8th of September the New York Warehouse and Security Company failed, and its suspension was followed by that of one or two firms involved by railroad construction. Confidence in persons known to be burdened in this way was impaired, and a run on them for deposits began. On the 18th of September, Jay Cooke & Co. succumbed to this demand, and a panic followed. The country depositors began a "run" on their banks, the country banks called for their balances, and the city banks called their funds in from the brokers. On the 20th the Union Trust Company of New York suspended, and two or three other banks and trust companies followed in quick succession. The panic on the New York Exchange was so great that it was closed, and remained so for ten days. The Gold Exchange closed on Monday, the 22d, with gold at 112.
The financial storm did not break upon St. Louis until late in September. To prevent a panic and business failures a meeting of bank presidents and other members of the Clearing House Association was called at the rooms of the association on September 25th, and the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:
"Resolved, 1st, That, for the protection of our commercial interests and for the purpose of preventing a drain of currency from the banks of this city, we do hereby agree to adopt substantially the plan adopted in New York, viz.: we will not pay out currency or checks except for small sums, to be optional with the banks upon which they are drawn, but we will certify checks drawn on balances in our banks payablex through the Clearing-House only.
"2d, That the committee of management of the St. Louis Clearing-House Association are hereby authorized and directed to issue immediately Clearing-House certificates in sums of five hundred dollars each to an amount not exceeding two million dollars. Said certificates shall be used for the purpose of settling balances between the banks composing the Clearing-House Association, and each bank should be entitled to an amount of said certificates equal to its pro ruta of clearings during the past quarter; such certificates so issued to be secured by a deposit of ample collateral with a special committee of five bank officers to be selected by the president of the Clearing-House Association. 212
"3d, That the deposit of collateral with said committee shall consist of United States bonds, bonds of this city and county, such commercial paper and such other securities as the committee in their judgment consider proper and satisfactory, and the committee shall fix the valuation at which the securities shall be taken.
"4th, That these resolutions shall remain in force only until the 1st of November next."
The leading merchants of the city considered this movement of the banks as being commendable and prudent in the highest degree, and as having a direct tendency to prevent a panic and business failures. Immediately after the adjournment of the meeting a general suspension of the St. Louis banks and banking-houses took place, and a run upon them
was thus prevented. As a consequence currency became very scarce, and Mayor Brown in a message to the City Council recommended that the city issue its warrants as a measure of relief for existing financial embarrassments. The City Council entertained the proposition favorably, and with curious unanimity on September 29th passed an ordinance providing for an issue of three hundred thousand dollars in municipal "shinplasters." The new scrip was immediately prepared, and on November 6th the first installment of one hundred and five thousand dollars was put into circulation. The notes were of three denominations, one dollar, two dollars, and three dollars, and the engraving and printing were finely executed. They were printed on a superior quality of bank-note paper, in four colors. The back of the notes was brown in color, from which circumstance they came to be known as "brown-backs." In general appearance they were similar, but each was embellished with a different design. They read:
"STATE OF MISSOURI,
"ST. LOUIS, Nov. 1, 1873.
"The city of St. Louis hereby promises to pay to bearer at the city treasury one (two or three) dollar. This note is receivable for all city taxes, licenses, and other municipal dues.
"JOSEPH BROWN, Mayor,
"SAMUEL PEPPER, Comptroller,
"A. GEISEL, Treasurer." 213
The panic of 1873 was allayed in New York by the union of the banks, as in 1860 and 1861, although not without serious disasters incident to a shrinkage in values estimated at three hundred millions of dollars within four weeks, principally in the obligations of railroad enterprises, which had been placed upon the market to an extent far exceeding the immediately available financial resources of the country. The revulsion was precipitated by a falling off in the demand for American railway securities in other countries. Happily, the course pursued by the bank officers in New York and other cities was effectual in preserving the industry, trade, and commerce of the country from a catastrophe that threatened at one time to overwhelm the economical interests of the people. The suspension of paper payments by the banks continued until Nov. 22, 1873.
In the summer of 1877 considerable depression was felt in commercial circles in St. Louis, which seriously affected the banking institutions of the city. With the decrease of business the banks became crippled in their resources, and in consequence of failing securities a considerable amount of depreciated real estate came into their possession. The banks could not realize upon this class of assets in time to meet the demands of their clamorous depositors, and when the crisis came a number of the small savings institutions were forced to suspend business.
The German Bank, then located at the corner of Fifth and Market Streets, was the first to suspend, on July 10, 1877. The announcement of the failure of this institution, though not altogether unexpected among the well informed in the community, was a surprise to the public at large. On the 14th, soon after the beginning of banking hours, crowds began to gather at the numerous small banking-houses, and a run was made on them by frightened depositors, who were determined to withdraw their money. As a consequence the Butchers' and Drovers' Bank, at the corner of Fifth and Morgan Streets, soon went into liquidation, and its suspension was followed on the 16th by the closing of the North St. Louis Savings Association, situated at the southeast corner of Fourth and Morgan Streets, and of the Bank of St. Louis. The suspension of the Bank of St. Louis appears to have been directly the result of the failure of the North St. Louis Savings Association. At the same time a slight run was made on the Boatmen's, but the withdrawals amounted to scarcely more than a trifle for that wealthy institution. A number of the most substantial citizens offered this bank liberal assistance if it needed it, one gentleman making a proffer of one hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars cash; but the Boatmen's Bank declined these kind offers, as it felt fully able to satisfy all the demands that might be made upon it. The Provident Savings Association, the Union Savings, the German Savings, the Broadway Savings, the Biddle Market Bank, and a number of other banks sustained something of a "run," but cheerfully paid all deposits on demand.
At the close of business on the 16th of July the run had about ceased, and although quiet prevailed in banking circles, on the 17th another moneyed institution closed its doors. The Bremen Savings-Bank opened as usual on that day, but in the face of a pressing demand for more money than it had at hand, it suspended about ten o'clock.
The failure of this bank ended the financial crash of 1877. The suspensions fell like a thunderbolt upon a great number of small depositors, frugal, trustful, hard-working men and women, whose little all, representing years of toil at the market-stall or the wash-tub, was swept away.
The act of Congress of Jan. 14, 1875, specified Jan. 1, 1879, as the day for the resumption of specie payments by the national banks, and at the time named all the banks resumed, and to-day the country is enjoying unexampled prosperity.
The extent of the commercial interests of St. Louis is plainly indicated by the strength and proportions of her banking business. A larger capital is employed in banking in St. Louis than in any other city in the country of approximate size. Notwithstanding the enormous capital invested the business has been uniformly profitable, and while the number and strength of the banks have increased year by year, the wonderful development of the commercial and manufacturing interests of the city has kept the money employed.
At one time St. Louis received calls from some of the Southern States for large amounts of money. This demand was sufficient to absorb all the money that the banks could spare during the entire season of moving the cotton crop. It was a profitable business, as the margins were liberal and the borrowers were able to offer the very highest grade of commercial paper. Since the war, with the opening up of new channels of trade, this class of banking business has changed somewhat. Then, again, the commerce of certain of these States is so disturbed that St. Louis bankers noted for conservatism refuse to accept any paper offered from them unless it is well secured.
Therefore this old channel for the employment of banking capital is temporarily closed. Yet the grain trade, the flour interest, the cotton traffic, and other elements of St. Louis commerce have increased so largely that the bankers have been able to employ their immense resources safely and profitably. In view of this success under conditions somewhat unfavorable, the banks properly feel assured of the future. There is no other section of country in the world that is recuperating and advancing commercially so rapidly as the South. The influence that the prosperity of Texas and Arkansas has had upon St. Louis is well known. There is not a branch of trade in the city that has not been benefited by it, and the banking business has had its share. With the further progress of prosperity in the South, and with continued commercial activity, there will be a greater demand for the employment of banking capital than has ever been known in St. Louis, and this will no doubt necessitate an increase on even the enormous resources now in the hands of existing banks, if it does not call for the establishment of other banking institutions. For a generation past St. Louis has been renowned for the strength of her banks.
The leading institutions of this class have long held a high rank among the very best banks of the United States, and the representative bankers of St. Louis have enjoyed a wide reputation as enterprising, sagacious, and prudent financiers.
AGGREGATE STATEMENT OF THE TWENTY-FOUR BANKS IN ST. LOUIS, eighteen State banks on the 15th December, 1882, and six national banks on the 30th December, 1822, compared with statement of 31st December, 1881, as exhibited by Edward Chase, manager of the Clearing-House.
The Bank of St. Louis, or "the Old Bank of St. Louis," as it is distinctively known, was chartered by the Territorial Legislature on Aug. 21, 1813, the commissioners being Auguste Chouteau, John B. C. Lucas, Clement B. Penrose, Moses Austin, Bernard Pratte, Manuel Lisa, Thomas Brady, Bartholomew Berthold, Samuel Hammond, Rufus Easton, Robert Simpson, Christian Wilt, and Risdon H. Price.
On the 2d of October, 1813, subscription books were opened under the supervision of the board of
commissioners, Christian Wilt secretary, as follows: At St. Louis, by Robert Simpson; at St. Charles, by Uriah J. Devore; at Ste. Genevieve, by Thomas Oliver; at Mine à Breton, by Moses Austin; at Cape Girardeau, by Joseph McFerron; at New Madrid, by John La Vallee.
In December, 1814, Thomas F. Riddick, Risdon H. Price and John Cromwell, on the part of the commissioners, gave the public notice that
"on the 15th of December instant subscription books will be opened at St. Louis, St. Charles, Herculaneum, Mine à Breton, and Ste. Genevieve, in the Missouri Territory, and at Kaskaskia and Cahokia, in the Illinois Territory, under the direction of William Smith, Theodore Hunt, and Edward Hempstead, at St. Louis; Nathaniel Simonds and Jesse Morrison, at St. Charles; John W. Honey and Elias Bates, at Herculaneum; Moses Austin and William H. Ashley, at Mine à Breton; Joseph Pratte and William Shannon, at Ste. Genevieve; Pierre Menard and William Morrison, at Kaskaskia; Nicholas Jarrot and John Hay, at Cahokia, for the purpose of receiving subscriptions for stock in the Bank of St. Louis. A copy of the articles of the association will be found in the hands of each of the commissioners above named, the books to continue open for three months; shares at one hundred dollars each."
It was the first bank established in Missouri, and was organized on Sept. 2, 1816, with the following directors: Samuel Hammond, William Rector, Bernard Pratte, Risdon H. Price, Moses Austin, Theodore Hunt, E. B. Clemson, Justus Post, Robert Simpson, Charles N. Hunter, Walter Wilkinson, Theophilus W. Smith, and Elias Bates. On the 20th of September, Col. Samuel Hammond was elected president, and John B. N. Smith cashier. The capital stock was one hundred thousand dollars.
For over a year the bank was a most popular institution. It created an extraordinary impetus in business circles, encouraged the public mind, and was everywhere regarded as a most excellent enterprise. Early in 1818, however, there was a reaction, caused, it is said, by speculative and unsafe investments on the part of the management, and the stockholders and directors became divided. The antagonism finally culminated in a rupture in the board, and the seizure of the bank property by what was known as the Thomas H. Benton faction among the stockholders. These proceedings are fully set forth in the subjoined protest in the interest of the ousted officials, bearing date Feb. 13, 1818:
"TERRITORY OF MISSOURI, COUNTY OF ST. LOUIS.
"I, Joseph V. Garnier, a notary public in and for the county of St. Louis, in the Territory aforesaid, duly commissioned, at the request of the president and directors of the Bank of St. Louis, stating among other things that on Wednesday, the 11th day of February inst., a meeting of the board of directors of said bank being held at the banking-house of said bank (being discount day) after the business of the day had been gone through, a certain resolution was offered by Joshua Pilcher, a director, supported and seconded by Elias Rector, also a director, having for object the removal from office of cashier of said bank of John B. N. Smith, which being carried in the affirmative by a majority of two (ten of the directors being present), a motion was made by the said Joshua Pilcher that the board proceed to the appointment or election of a cashier, which being also carried, the board proceeded to the election of a cashier, when, after two ballots without effect, on the third ballot Theophilus W. Smith was declared duly elected the cashier of the said Bank of St. Louis by a majority of four votes, three votes being in the negative and seven in favor of the said Theophilus W. Smith. That upon the result of the election being made known, three of the directors then present, to wit, the said Joshua Pilcher, Elias Rector, and Robert Simpson, tendered their resignation as directors of the said bank, which being recorded, their seats as directors of the said bank were declared vacated, and an entry of the same was made on the minutes of the proceedings of the said board of directors. That shortly after a tumultuous assemblage of persons was seen in and about the banking-house of said bank, instigated, it is supposed by the said Joshua Pilcher and Elias Rector, in consequence of the said election and appointment of the cashier as aforesaid, and for no other cause as is verily believed. That the said Joshua Pilcher, Elias Rector, Thomas H. Benton, Lieut. James McGunnegle (of the army of the United States), Thompson Douglass, Stephen Rector, Thomas Handy, John Little, Jeremiah Connor, Taylor Berry, and Col. Daniel Bissel, also in the army of the United States, with others, at present unknown, did, as they also believe, enter the banking-house of the said bank with an intent forcibly to wrest from the president, directors, and officers of the said bank the possession thereof; and did actually then and there pass a resolution to possess themselves of the keys of the outer doors of the said bank, and did accordingly, or one of them for the whole and in the name of the whole, actually take possession of the same, and, having ordered out the subordinate officers of the bank, did lock up the doors thereof. The said president and directors further state that the aforesaid Joshua Pilcher and others did afterwards assemble near the said banking-house at the counting-room of the said Joshua Pilcher, and then and there demanded of the president the delivery by him of the keys of the vault of the same, which being refused, they did afterwards, on the evening of the same day, again assemble together, when the following resolution was adopted, to wit: ‘Resolved, That a committee of five persons be appointed to take charge of the keys of the bank and to have the custody of the banking-house, and deny admittance to the said governing directors and their officers, and will assist in putting them out if they gain admittance by any means,’ a copy of which was left by the said Joshua Pilcher and Jeremiah Conner with Eli B. Clemson, the president pro tem., legally appointed by the president, who was prevented from attending by indisposition. They, the said Pilcher and Connor, in conjunction with Thomas H. Benton, having previously declared to the said Theophilus W. Smith, the cashier of the said bank, that it was their determined intention to carry the said resolution into effect should an attempt be made to regain the possession of the said bank and banking-house, which said declaration and threats thus made by the said Pilcher, Connor, and Benton, for themselves and on behalf of the aforementioned Elias Rector, James McGunnegle, Thompson Douglass, Stephen Rector, Thomas Hanly, John Little, Taylor Berry, and Daniel Bissel, the said parties thus protesting had no doubt and verily believed would be carried into execution should an attempt be made at regaining the possession of the said bank and banking-house, whereby and wherefor all attempts at the same have by the said protesting
parties been thought useless and even dangerous. Afterwards, to wit, on the 12th day of the same month, Theophilus W. Smith, the cashier of the said bank, made of the said Joshua Pilcher, Thomas H. Benton, and Jeremiah Connor a demand of the keys of the said bank, which were denied him; Col. Eli B. Clemson, the president pro tem., also made a demand of the keys aforesaid of the said Joshua Pilcher, and the same were refused and denied him; whereby the said president and directors and the subaltern officers of the said bank have been prevented from attending to the duties of their respective appointments, to the great damage, prejudice, and detriment of the said Bank of St. Louis, the stockholders thereof and all others concerned, either directly or indirectly, with the same.
"Whereupon I, the said notary, at the request aforesaid, have and do hereby protest against the said Joshua Pilcher, Elias Rector, Thomas H. Benton, James McGunnegle, Thompson Douglass, Stephen Rector, Thomas Hanly, John Little, Jeremiah Connor, Taylor Berry, and Daniel Bissel, and all others concerned, for all the damages, losses, interests, and costs suffered or to be suffered by the said president and directors of the Bank of St. Louis, the stockholders in the said bank, whether collectively or in their individual capacity, and all others concerned in business with the said bank of whatever nature soever, in consequence of or resulting from the taking possession by the said Joshua Pilcher, Elias Rector, Thomas H. Benton, James McGunnegle, Thompson Douglass, Stephen Rector, Thomas Hanly, John Little, Jeremiah Connor, Taylor Berry, and Daniel Bissel of the said Bank of St. Louis and the banking-house thereof, and the keeping out of the same the said president and directors, and thereby putting a stop to and preventing the carrying on of the business of the same and exposing it to disorder."
Legal proceedings were instituted against those who took forcible possession of the bank, and on February 20th following it was announced that "the banking-house of the Bank of St. Louis having been restored to the possession of the board of directors by the individuals in whose possession it has unlawfully been, the public are hereby notified that the bank will be open for business as usual on Monday, the 23d day of February inst., at ten A. M. By order of the board. S. HAMMOND, President."
On March 3d following the opposition party published the following protest:
"TO THE PUBLIC: Whereas, a notice was given by the president and directors of the Bank of St. Louis to the public that the Bank of St. Louis would open on Monday, the 23d inst., for the transaction of business; and whereas that period has passed without his notification having been complied with, but another advertisement has been published, notifying the public that the Bank of St. Louis would remain closed until the 10th March next, stating among other reasons for such a measure that ‘it is believed’ (by the president and directors) ‘that a combination has been formed for the purpose of embarrassing the proceedings of said bank, which combination still exists,’ the undersigned, stockholders in the said bank, being fully satisfied that no such combination has ever existed, and that this is only a pretext of the said president and directors to shield themselves from the imputation such a proceeding was calculated to draw upon them from the public, and also to give an additional coloring to the proceedings of the 11th and 12th inst., and being also convinced that no substantial cause exists for the adoption of such a measure by the said president and directors, we do therefore most solemnly protest against such a proceeding on the part of the said president and directors as calculated materially to injure the interests of the stockholders in said bank; we do also further protest against the manner in which the business of the said bank is at present conducted, by keeping the doors closed, and refusing the payment of their paper, at the same time receiving payments from many individuals who are obliged to enter the banking-house by a private door for that purpose.
"Stephen Rector, Thompson Douglass, Joshua Pilcher, Elias Rector (agent for William Rector), Thompson Douglass (attorney for Risdon H. Price), J. McGunnegle, J. McGunnegle (attorney for Daniel Bissell), Taylor Berry, T. H. Benton (for self and Thomas Wright), John Little, Thomas Hanly.
"ST. LOUIS, Feb. 26, 1818."
On March 12, 1818, the board of directors, through S. Hammond, president, issued a notice that "the public mind having become tranquillized, the Bank of St. Louis opened for business on Tuesday last, redeemed its paper in specie, and the public are hereby notified that it will continue to redeem its paper in specie on its presentation." 214
After the disagreement of February, 1818, the bank continued to decline until July, 1819, when it finally collapsed, to the serious disadvantage of its stockholders. On July 12, 1819, the following notice declared the suspension of the first bank established in St. Louis:
"The directors of the Bank of St. Louis, finding that the operation of the bank cannot be continued either with profit to the stockholders or advantage to the community, have determined to suspend the business of the bank. A general meeting of the stockholders has therefore been called to take into consideration the propriety of continuing or closing finally its concerns; and in the mean time, to save the creditors of the bank from losses or unnecessary delay in the liquidation of their demands, the directors have made specific assignments of the effects of the bank, appropriating them so as to discharge the debts due by the bank as promptly as possible.
"The Bank of St. Louis, after a suspension of business for
about twelve months, resumed operation on the 3d of March last under the expectation on the part of the directors of being able, if not to continue the operation of the bank successfully, at least to collect the debts due the bank, and pay the claims against it more promptly than while in a state of suspension. The first object of the directors, therefore, was to acquire a fund on which to commence temporarily until the bank could collect the debts due to it.
"By order of the board of directors.
"RISDON H. PRICE, President."
Branch Bank of the United States. In the year 1829 a branch of the Bank of the United States at Philadelphia, chartered by Congress in 1816, was established in St. Louis with the following officers: John O'Fallon, president, William Clark, Thomas Biddle, Peter Lindell, William H. Ashley, John Mullanphy, George Collier, James Clemens, Jr., Matthew Kerr, Pierre Chouteau, Jr., and Edward Tracy, of St. Louis, Samuel Perry, of Potosi, and Peter Bass, of Boone, directors; Henry S. Coxe, cashier; George K. McGunnegle, clerk; and Thomas O. Duncan, teller. John O'Fallon was re-elected in 1830, 1831, 1832, and 1833, and after the latter date we find no account of the institution, which succumbed about that time to the embarrassments growing out of the determined hostility of President Jackson's administration to the parent bank at Philadelphia.
The directors during these years were as follows: 1830, John O'Fallon, William Clark, Thomas Biddle, William H. Ashley, John Mullanphy, George Collier, James Clemens, Jr., Pierre Chouteau, Jr., Edward Tracy, Jesse G. Lindell, John Kerr, Louis Vallé, of Ste. Genevieve, John Bull, of Chariton; 1831, John O'Fallon, John Mullanphy, George Collier, Jesse G. Lindell, Bernard Pratte, John W. Johnson, Thomas Biddle, William H. Ashley, John Kerr, Daniel D. Page, Charles Wahrendorff; 1832, John O'Fallon, John Kerr, Jesse G. Lindell, Daniel D. Page, Bernard Pratte, John W. Johnson, John H. Gay, James Clemens, Jr., Henry Von Phul, Peter Powell, Edward Tracy; 1833, J. O'Fallon, D. D. Page, B. Pratte, Sr., J. H. Gay, J. Clemens, Jr., H. Von Phul, E. Tracy, G. Collier, J. Mullanphy, A. Kerr, A. Gamble. On the 12th of March, John O'Fallon was unanimously re-elected president.
The affairs of the branch bank in St. Louis were conducted with the strictest integrity, and the directors never forfeited the confidence reposed in them by the public.
The Bank of the State of Missouri 215 was chartered in 1837, the act of incorporation being signed February 1st of that year. On that day, in the evening, the election for president and directors took place, with the following result: John Brady Smith, of St. Louis, president of the parent bank; Hugh O'Neill, Samuel S. Reyburn, Edward Walsh, Edward Dobyns, William L. Sublette, John O'Fallon, directors of the parent board.
Branch at Fayette: J. J. Lowry, president; W. H. Duncan, J. Viley, Wade M. Jackson, James Eareckson, directors. On the 20th of February a subscription was opened for the $50,000 capital stock required to authorize the subscription on the part of the State, and $108,000 was realized. The capital stock was $5,000,000, and the State held one-third of the amount. The bank purchased the house of Pierre Chouteau, on Main Street near Vine, shortly afterward, and on April 15th began operations.
In June, 1837, the board of directors was completed by the appointment by Governor Boggs of C. C. Detchemendy, of Ste. Genevieve, and Carty Wells, of Warren, as directors on the part of the State. The organization of the bank was then as follows: President, John Brady Smith; Directors, Hugh O'Neil, Edward Walsh, Samuel S. Reyburn, William L. Sublette, Edward Dobyns, John O'Fallon, D. C. M. Parsons, Thomas West, C. C. Detchemendy, Carty Wells (on the part of the State), George K. McGunnegle, Theodore L. McGill (elected by the stockholders); Cashier, Henry Shields.
John Brady Smith was one of the most efficient officers the bank ever had. He remained at its head for many years, and died March 17, 1864.
Mr. Smith accompanied his father to St. Louis at an early period, and was at one time one of the most extensive and liberal merchants in St. Louis. As the first president of the bank, he administered its affairs with safety and liberality during several trying periods of financial disaster. He was collector of the county of St. Louis for several years, and at all times enjoyed the fullest confidence of his fellow-citizens.
On the 31st of July, 1837, the bank began issuing its own paper, the lowest denomination of notes being twenty dollars. In 1839 it suffered a serious loss in the abstraction of one hundred and twenty thousand dollars in foreign coin stored in its vaults, and although an arrest and prosecution followed, and every effort was made to recover the money, it was without result. In 1857 the institution was reorganized under the general law of the State of that year, and with its branches then had a cash capital of three million two hundred thousand dollars. There were eight branches, one at each of the following places: Cape Girardeau, Palmyra, Canton, Fayette, Springfield, Arrow Rock, Louisiana, and Chillicothe.
In 1866 the stock held by the State was sold, and the bank was reorganized under the National Banking Act. Its title was changed to "The National Bank of the State of Missouri," the stock of all of the branches was consolidated with that of the parent bank, and the institution began operations as a national bank Nov. 1, 1866. The aggregate capital at the date of this movement was $3,410,300. Col. James H. Britton, formerly of the Third National Bank of St. Louis, was elected president, Judge Barton Bates vice-president, E. P. Curtis cashier. Under this management the bank purchased all the water loan of five million dollars in 1868. In June, 1876, it having been found that the existing capital was too great to be profitable, it was deemed expedient to reduce it to two million five hundred thousand dollars.
Up to 1877 the National Bank of the State of Missouri was believed to be the strongest, as it was the oldest, institution of its kind in St. Louis. The bank had been uniformly successful and prosperous, its business had been most extended, yet it had always been conducted upon sound banking principles. It had never made money fast, but had paid its semiannual dividends regularly. Of it it was said at this time, "In the long course of years during which the National Bank of the State of Missouri has been a leader in the banking business of the West, it has maintained its position in public confidence and esteem. It has survived panics and crises without being disturbed, and when banks were tumbling down in ruins on all sides this old and stanch institution stood as solid as a mountain."
Among the early officials of the bank were some of the most prominent men in the State. Its other presidents besides Mr. Smith, before its organization under the National Act, were Ferdinand Kennett, Bernard Pratte, Joseph Charless, Edward Walsh, Robert Campbell, James M. Hughes, and Robert A. Barnes.
Mr. Barnes was born in Washington, D. C., Nov. 29, 1808. His father was Jesse Barnes, of Charles County, Md., whose ancestor emigrated in 1662 from the county of Norfolk, England, to the southern part of Maryland, settling near the site of the present town of Port Tobacco. His mother was Mary Evans, of Prince George County, Md.
When thirteen years old he was placed in charge of an uncle, Richard Barnes, of Louisville, Ky., from whom he obtained his business education. Having determined to make St. Louis his home, he removed thither, arriving on the 17th of May, 1830, and has resided there ever since.
In December, 1840, Mr. Barnes became a director in the Bank of the State of Missouri, and was continued as such until November, 1866, a period of nearly twenty-six years, during the last eight of which he was its president. In November, 1866, as we have seen, the institution became a national bank, when its management passed into other hands. He was also a director in various other corporations. Mr. Barnes has never had any political aspirations, and has led the quiet life of a private citizen. On the 28th of January, 1845, he married Louise de Mun, third daughter of Jules de Mun and Isabelle Gratiot. There is no living issue of this marriage.
A large proportion of the subordinates of the old Bank of Missouri were in its service for a long term of years. Up to the year 1877 it had had only three cashiers, Henry Shields, A. S. Robinson, and E. P. Curtis.
Early in 1877 rumors became current to the effect that the bank was embarrassed by reason of shrinkage in the value of its securities. This led to an investigation by the comptroller of the currency, which resulted in an order for the election of a new board of directors. At this election in May, 1877, four new members were chosen, consisting of Hon. John B. Henderson, N. S. Chouteau, Web M. Samuel, and H. S. Mills. At the next meeting of the board after the election it ordered an examination of the affairs of the bank, appointing for that purpose the gentlemen named above in conjunction with J. H. Britton, president, and Barton Bates, vice-president of the bank. The result was a unanimous vote to wind up the business, either by securing the appointment of a receiver, or by placing the bank in voluntary liquidation.
The failure of the bank created the greatest surprise, as there were few persons in the West who doubted its strength and solvency, and so strong was the confidence placed in it that the city and State funds were deposited in it. Its suspension was ascribed to the following causes:
In 1873, when the panic came, the bank found itself in possession of many securities, real and personal, which at the time were fully up to the values for which they were pledged. Subsequently the shrinkage in values was so great that the assets could not be kept up to the standard. This depreciation was all the more severely felt because of the general depression in trade during the previous three years, which had prevented all the banks of the country from making the profits of former years. The bank had a good record as a promoter of public enterprises. It took corporation loans, it aided the building of railroads within the State borders, it subscribed liberally to the stock of the new Merchants' Exchange, and it assisted the tunnel and bridge enterprises and the Eads
jetties. No city or county or State loan was offered the market but that the bank made bids. At the time of the failure its board of directors was composed J. H. Britton, president; Barton Bates, vice-president; James B. Eads, John B. Henderson, N. S. Chouteau, J. S. Walsh, C. F. Burns, Web M. Samuel, and H. S. Mills.
The Exchange Bank was chartered in 1856, with a capital of five hundred thousand dollars, and was one of the few institutions of its kind that did not reorganize under the national banking laws. Books for subscriptions to the stock were opened on the 21st of March, 1857, at the office of Bogy, Miltenberger & Co., and the advance notice of the fact was signed by the following corporators and commissioners: Lewis V. Bogy, Andrew Christy, Edward Cabot, Joseph S. Pease, Samuel B. Wiggins, M. L. Jackson, L. Dorsheimer, Bartholomew Rice.
On the 9th of October, 1857, the stockholders elected as directors Lewis V. Bogy, Louis Dorsheimer, Joseph S. Pease, M. W. Warne, E. Schneider, J. W. Spalding, John D. Perry, John T. Douglass, Louis C. Herschberg, A. Berthold, A. M. Waterman, Stephen Hoyt, J. B. Osborn. On the 11th of the same month Lewis V. Bogy was elected president. In 1869 the bank erected a building at 217 North Third Street, and removed from its old location opposite the custom-house. In 1874, Joseph Bogy was elected president. The Exchange Bank, and its New York correspondent, the Chemical Bank, were the only banks which did not suspend specie payment in their circulation. This bank always paid coin in redeeming its bank notes.
The Merchants' National Bank was organized as a State bank in 1857, the notice of the opening of books for subscriptions, issued in March of that year, reading as follows:
"MERCHANTS' BANK. Books for subscription to the capital stock of this bank will be opened on Wednesday, the 18th of March, 1857, at the office of the Millers' and Manufacturers' Insurance Company, on the corner of Main and Pine Streets, and will remain open from 9 o'clock A. M. until 4 o'clock P. M. of each day, until Tuesday, the 31st inst.
"Parties subscribing will be obliged to pay to the committee of corporators ten per cent. in gold and silver coin at the time of subscribing, and the residue at such times as may be required by the directors during the ensuing twelve months.
"Corporators. James E. Yeatman, William G. Clark, Thornton Grimsley, B. M. Runyan, R. M. Parks, William T. Christy, Robert Campbell, John A. Brownlee, John G. McCane, D. A. January, Joseph Charless, William M. Morrison, Henry T. Blow."
In April, 1857, the organization was effected by the election of the following directors: John A. Brownlee, Joseph Charless, William M. Morrison, William L. Ewing, Thomas T. Day, P. B. McCreery, D. A. January, James E. Yeatman, E. C. Sloan, B. M. Runyan, L. Levering, R. Campbell, J. W. Luke. John A. Brownlee was chosen president, and B. F. Barry cashier. Five months later, on the 1st of September, the bank went into operation. On April 23, 1861, the directors passed a resolution tendering to the State authorities a loan, for the purpose of enabling the State to take measures for a more efficient organization of the militia and to provide arms for defense.
On July 31, 1863, Robert K. Woods was elected cashier to succeed R. F. Barry, resigned.
In 1865 the institution was reorganized under the national banking law as a national bank. W. L. Ewing was elected president, and James E. Yeatman cashier. The presidents since the reorganization have been as follows: W. L. Ewing, elected in 1865 and served until 1866, when he was succeeded by Robert Campbell, who served one year, when Mr. Ewing was again elected and served for a similar term, being succeeded by George L. Stansbury in 1869. Mr. Stansbury served until 1872, when he retired and C. B. Parsons was chosen in his place. In 1874, James E. Yeatman was elected president, and still retains the position. The cashiers have been James E. Yeatman, elected in 1865 and served until 1874; Robert Eagle, elected in 1874 and served until 1878; James C. Moore, the present incumbent, chosen in 1878. The bank is now located on the corner of Locust and Third Streets. The present capital stock is $700,000; surplus and dividend profits, $157,254.
The present officers are James E. Yeatman, president; L. Levering, vice-president; James C. Moore, cashier; Directors, James E. Yeatman, A. F. Shapleigh, E. C. Sterling, L. Levering, J. L. Sloss, Thomas Rankin, Jr., John O'Fallon, David Rankin, H. T. Simon, E. A. Hitchcock, John A. Walsh, and H. L. Newman.
The Bank of Commerce was organized March 28, 1857, by John F. Darby, Lawrason Riggs, Carlos S. Greeley, Felix Coste, Marshall Brotherton, Henry Hassinger, and William H. Maurice. It was incorporated under an act of the General Assembly of Missouri as a State bank, Feb. 14, 1857, the incorporators being Asa Wilgus, A. P. Ladew, George M. Moore, W. H. Morris, Clark J. Morton, William Hassinger, John F. Darby, and Josiah G. McClellan. The bank was opened for business July 6, 1857, having for its board of officers Marshall Brotherton, president; R. M. Funkhouser, vice-president; and A. P. Ladew, secretary and treasurer. The different presidents of the bank were elected in the following order: Marshall Brotherton, elected March 28, 1857;
Felix Coste, elected Nov. 11, 1857; Henry J. Reed, elected Jan. 14, 1874; and C. B. Burnham, elected Jan. 13, 1875. Mr. Burnham still retains the position. The bank was originally located at No. 202 North Second Street, and was removed in 1872 to the corner of Fourth and Olive Streets. The institution was organized originally as a building and savings association, under the title of the "St. Louis Building and Savings Association," with an authorized capital of $500,000, and a liberal charter, which also gave it banking privileges. On Jan. 1, 1869, the name was changed to that of the "Bank of Commerce." The original capital was paid in at the rate of $2.50 per month per share, and at the end of the first six months amounted to $15,105.50 in cash. On Jan. 1, 1864, the capital was $200,000, which was afterwards increased to $300,000 on July 1, 1864. In 1866 the stockholders voted to discontinue the payment of dividends and allow the profits to remain in the reserve fund of the association for five years, and in 1871 again voted to continue the non-dividend policy indefinitely. On July 1, 1878, the payment of dividends was, at the request of the stockholders, resumed; the accumulated earnings to the credit of the reserve fund at that date amounted to $775,000, which with the capital of $300,000 gave the bank $1,075,000 of its own funds in the business.
On July 1, 1882, the reserve fund amounted to $900,000, and the bank sold the remaining two thousand shares of stock to its shareholders at $400 per share, making its capital stock July 1, 1882, $500,000, and the reserve fund $1,500,000, being a total capital of $2,000,000.
The present officers are C. B. Burnham, president; Nathan Cole, vice-president; and J. C. Van Blarcom, cashier. The directors are James W. Bell, C. B. Burnham, G. W. Chadbourne, Nathan Cole, Samuel M. Dodd, George J. Plant, W. H. Pulsifer, W. H. Thompson, and John Whittaker.
The Mechanics' Bank of St. Louis was incorporated under the general laws of Missouri in 1857, and in March of that year notice was given that on Thursday, March 19, 1857, books for the subscription to the capital stock would be opened at the room of the Mechanics' and Manufacturers' Exchange, on Chestnut Street, between Third and Fourth Streets, and would remain open from nine in the morning until three o'clock in the afternoon of each day until Monday, the 30th day of March.
The notice was signed by Charles H. Peck, B. W. Alexander, Bernard Bryan, John C. Evans, N. M. Ludlow, D. K. Ferguson, J. W. Thornburgh, S. C. Hunt, L. D. Baker, R. M. Parks, Oliver A. Hart, John Evill, William S. Cuddy, G. I. Barnett, John M. Wimer, incorporators.
The bank was opened for business in November 1857, being then located on the corner of Third and Chestnut Streets. Joseph Charless was elected the first president in 1857, and his successors in order were J. W. Wills, Oliver Garrison, and D. K. Ferguson. The first cashier was J. W. Wills, his successors being Charles Everts, George T. Hulse, and R. R. Hutchinson, the present incumbent.
The institution has always transacted business under a charter from the State of Missouri. This bank is now located on the corner of Second and Pine Streets.
The last annual statement of Dec. 15, 1882, makes the following exhibit:
The officers during 1882 were D. K. Ferguson, president; J. W. Branch, vice-president; R. R. Hutchinson, cashier; Directors, Oliver Garrison, R. M. Parks, John G. Wells, E. N. Leeds, D. K. Garrison, R. Sellew, D. K. Ferguson, Joseph W. Branch, John N. Booth, R. B. Whitmore, Benj. B. Graham, and W. L. Wickham.
Joseph Charless was born in Lexington, Ky., Jan. 17, 1804. His father, Joseph Charless, was a native of Westmeath, Ireland, where he was born July 16, 1772. The family was originally of Wales, from which principality John Charles emigrated to Ireland in 1663. Joseph Charles the elder was implicated, with Emmet, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, and other noble spirits, in the Irish rebellion of 1795, upon the failure of which he fled to France, whence he soon emigrated to the United States, landing in New York in 1796. To maintain the familiar European dissyllabic pronunciation of his name he added a final s to its spelling, and thus Charles became Charless.
Joseph Charless the elder was a printer by trade, made his home in Philadelphia, and found employment with Matthew Carey, the publisher, himself an Irish patriot and refugee, a man of warm heart and generous impulses, a creator of public opinion, a friend
of Franklin, Lafayette, Washington, and Henry Clay, and a hater of everything English, from William Cobbett to Manchester cottons. Carey was a great favorer of "the American system" of protection to American industries (he was the father of Henry C. Carey), and it was probably through his acquaintance with Clay that the senior Charless was induced to remove to Kentucky. In 1798 he had married Mrs. Sarah McCloud, a widow with one child, her maiden name being Jordan, born Jan. 28, 1771, at Wilmington Del. He moved to Lexington in 1800, and to Louisville in 1806, coming finally to St. Louis in 1808, where he founded the Missouri Gazette, the first newspaper published in St. Louis and west of the Mississippi, a journal which still flourishes in vigorous usefulness and widespread influence as the Republican of St. Louis.
Joseph Charless the elder was a man full of all good qualities, honored and respected by all who knew him; simple in manner and habit, an impulsive, warm-hearted, generous Irish gentleman, hospitable to a degree, and brimful of cheery humor. He lived to be sixty-two years old, while his widow died at the age of eighty-one, outliving all her children but one, Joseph, the subject of this sketch, and all her grandchildren except two.
Joseph Charless the second, the fourth child of his parents, was very early put to "the case" and taught the rudiments of the printer's trade in his father's office. Then, an academy having been started in St. Louis, he was sent there to complete his education; began the study of law under Francis Spalding, a leading member of the bar of St. Louis, and finished his studies in the law school of Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky.
A profession, however, was not to his taste, and his father having sold out his interest in the Missouri Gazette and gone into the wholesale drug business, Joseph became his partner in 1828, and from that time was a prominent man among the merchants of St. Louis. Joseph Charless, Sr., died in 1834, his son persuading him on his death-bed to alter his will and make an equal partition of the estate, which he intended bequeathing all to his favorite son, Joseph. This act was characteristic of the whole life of Mr. Charless, in whom the spirit of justice was instinctive. The tender and beautiful little "Memorial" of his domestic life, prepared for her grandchildren by his widow, unconsciously reflects this trait in his character on every page. This venerable lady, still surviving, is Charlotte, daughter of Capt. Peter Blow, a veteran of the war of 1812. Her mother was formerly a Miss Taylor, and both her Parents were Virginians of the old stock. They had emigrated from Virginia, and, after farming in Alabama and elsewhere, came to St. Louis in May, 1830. Miss Blow became the wife of Joseph Charless, Nov. 8, 1831.
Joseph Charless was closely attentive to business all his life, not content merely to maintain his house at a paying level, but striving always to extend its con nections and client&eagrave;le, and increase the number and scope of its operations, going from jobbing to importing, and from importing to manufacturing. But he was a public man at the same time in the truest sense, not as a politician and office-holder, but as a representative and promoter of public business interests. He had little to do with politics, though always an earnest Old-Line Whig; but he took a leading part in municipal councils, just as he made himself prominent in church and Sunday-school, he was a Presbyterian and an elder, as a matter of public duty; he took his place in the board of aldermen, among the directors of the public schools, and was a railroad director and bank president. The State appointed him president of the Bank of the State of Missouri, and he was president of the Mechanics' Bank, and director of the Pacific Railroad at the time of his sudden death, besides being one of the most active men in the city in encouraging the founding of the City University. Mr. Charless was loved and cherished by a very large circle of business friends, acquired in the domestic sphere in which he shone, in the church, the school board, the bank, and the business connections of the extensive house of Charless, Blow & Co., of which he was the head. His personal integrity and worth, his high business standing, his skill and probity in all sorts of affairs earned him the respect and confidence of the entire community; they looked to him as a leader, and he never hesitated to take the lead in every creditable and honorable enterprise for advancing the interests of St. Louis. He contributed his money freely to all these, and he was quick to see the advantages of every solid scheme of public improvement. He gave liberally and wisely in benevolence; in charity, in ministering to the sick, the suffering, and the needy his purse was always open, and his personal services always employed.
Mr. Charless was a man of deep, unaffected piety in all the walks of life, a consistent and active Christian at church, at home, in society, and business alike. His conformity was steadfast and consistent, without making him strait-laced or austere. His manners were gentle, polite, and all that the winning benevolence and generous nobility of his face and bearing promised; he was kindliness and courtesy personified, and he had no enemies. He never made
any enemies except one, the man whose dastard malignity turned him into an assassin. This man, Joseph W. Thornton, was hanged Nov. 11, 1859, and Joseph Charless forgave his deed, though his fellow-citizens and the law could not do so. Thornton had been defendant in a criminal action, in which it became Mr. Charless' duty to bear witness against him. Charless told only what he knew, what the law compelled him to reveal, and it must have been an ungrateful task to a man of his gentle disposition; but Thornton never forgave him, always declaring that Charless' testimony had ruined his prospects and deprived him of his livelihood, which indeed was the consequence of his own act, not what Charless bore witness to. He brooded over it, and at last waylaid him on June 3, 1859, and fired two shots at him. This was on Market Street, between Third and Fourth Streets. The first shot prostrated the victim, and as he fell the assassin fired another shot at him, all without a word of warning. Such a feeling of intense indignation was aroused at this wretched deed that the military had to be called out to preserve order and save Thornton from lynching. Mr. Charless died, after twenty-four hours' great suffering, with the peace and composure of the Christian always ready for any summons, no matter how sudden.
The painful tragedy of Mr. Charless' death and the great love and esteem in which he was held by all his fellow-citizens led to a more than usually solemn and imposing funeral. An immense concourse of people was present in and around the Second Presbyterian Church, in which he had worshiped, and all there were mourners and filled with feelings of profound sympathy for his bereaved family. The pall-bearers, headed by John O'Fallon, consisted of James H. Lucas, Edward Bates, H. R. Gamble, Robert Campbell, John Simonds, Wm. W. Greene, Thornton Grimsley, Geo. K. McGunnegle, Edward Walsh, N. Paschall, Charles Keemle, B. F. Edwards, Wm. Nisbet, I. W. Willis, and Chas. S. Rannels. The banks, churches, railroad companies, and all the other financial, benevolent, and religious associations with which Mr. Charless had so long and intimately been connected passed resolutions of condolence and sympathy, and the whole community, roused to its depths by such a sad and untimely taking off, did not stint to express its consciousness of the great loss it had sustained in the death of so honored, trusted, and useful a citizen.
The St, Louis National Bank was established in the spring of 1857, under the name of the Bank of St. Louis. The original notice of the opening of the subscription books read as follows:
"Notice is hereby given that on Wednesday, the 18th day of March, 1857, we will open books for the subscription to the capital stock of the Bank of St. Louis, at the office of John J. Anderson & Co., corner of Main and Olive Streets, in the city of St. Louis, and they will remain open from nine in the morning until three o'clock in the afternoon of each day until Saturday, the 26th day of March.
"All persons subscribing will be required to pay ten per cent. in gold and silver, and the balance at such time and in such amounts as may be required by the directors; it being provided, however, according to the charter, that the whole amount shall be paid within one year from the date of subscription.
"Corporators. John J. Anderson, John G. Priest, George Knapp, A. P. Ladew, D. S. Senter, Madison Miller, Joseph Widen, Stephen Haskel, James Harrison, Taylor Blow.
"ST. LOUIS, March 3, 1857."
The original directors were John Simonds, A. G. Switzer, Frederick Meyer, George B. Sanderson, George S. McClure, Henry T. Mudd, George R. Robinson, Morris Collins, William Lucas, L. M. Kennett, J. B. S. Lemoine, S. B. Wiggins, T. A. Buckland. John J. Anderson was elected president, and John Brown cashier. The bank began operations Dec. 15, 1857.
Towards the close of 1860, R. P. Hanenkamp, afterwards city comptroller of St. Louis, was elected president, and held the position for three years, at the end of which William E. Burr was chosen his successor. Mr. Burr has continued in the management of the bank ever since.
In 1865 the institution was changed to a national bank, and became known as the St. Louis National Bank. Its in corporators as a national bank were William E. Burr, James H. Wear, R. P. Hanenkamp, John F. Tolle, Benjamin Stickney, Thomas Ferguson, Joseph Garneau, and N. Schaeffer. The officers at this time were William E. Burr, president; James H. Wear, Benjamin Stickney, Thomas Ferguson, R. P. Hanenkamp, Joseph Garneau, William Ballentine, N. Schaeffer, John F. Tolle, directors; and Louis C. Billon, cashier.
The bank, as originally operated, was located on Chestnut Street, between Main and Second Streets, and was well patronized from the beginning. When changed to the St. Louis National Bank in 1865 it was removed to the building on Olive Street, opposite the post-office. Having sold that building, it moved in 1875 to its present commodious quarters in the Chamber of Commerce building. The government funds collected in the city and in a large extent of surrounding country are all deposited in this bank, together with all the collections of the internal revenue office, as well as those of the post-office and the bankrupt courts.
The annual statement of the bank, Dec. 31, 1881, showed its resources to be $3,143,876.82; capital
stock paid in, $500,000; surplus fund, $56,335.44; undivided profits, $36,902.80; deposits, $581,305.39; United States deposits, $110,913.63.
The officers for 1882 were William E. Burr, president; J. G. Chapman, Nathan Cole, S. H. Laflin, H. McKittrick, F. Mitchell, James M. Nelson, S. A. Bemis, James H. Wear, directors; and John Nickerson, cashier.
The First National Bank of St. Louis was organized in October, 1863, and began operations on the 10th of that month in its new building at the junction of Fifth Street and Carondelet Avenue, with the following officers: President, F. W. Cronenbold; Vice-President, Christian Staehlin; Cashier, Peter Weiss; Directors, F. W. Cronenbold, Christian Staehlin, James Harrison, Bernhard Heidacker, Henry Kalbfleisch, William Lemp, Francis A. Lorenz, George Gehrke, and Henry Steinmeyer. The amount of stock subscribed at this time was over one hundred thousand dollars. In 1871 some of the officers became involved and the bank changed its name to the Empire Bank. Mr. Kalbfleisch was elected president. It continued under the same directors until 1876, when the business was turned over to the Lafayette Bank. A handsome building was erected at the junction of Fifth and Merchant Streets for the First National Bank.
The Lafayette Bank was organized in 1876, with a paid in capital of one hundred thousand dollars. The incorporators were F. Arendes, H. Ziegenhein, Charles B. Stuever, William Hahn, and Philip W. Schneider. F. Arendes was the first president, H. Ziegenhein vice-president, and F. Lesser cashier. The first directors were the incorporators. The original location was the corner of Carroll Street and Carondelet Avenue. From here it was removed to its present location, at the junction of Fifth and Merchant Streets. The present officers are F. Arendes, president; H. Zeigenhein, vice-president; and P. J. Doerr, cashier; Directors, F. Arendes, H. Ziegenhein, Charles B. Stuever, W. Hahn, and Philip W. Schneider.
The Second National Bank was organized in December, 1863, with a capital of $200,000, with the privilege of increasing it to $1,000,000. The first board of directors was composed of T. B. Edgar, George H. Rea, S. Rich, George P. Plant, Morris Taussig, J. O. Pierce, E. O. Stanard, Charles Holmes, and Wm. Smith. T. B. Edgar was chosen president, and E. D. Jones, of the Exchange Bank, cashier. The bank began business in January, 1864. It immediately became conspicuous in its services in placing the popular loans of 7-30's, 5-20's, and 10-40's, and handled a larger amount of these securities than any other bank in St. Louis. The bank declared its first dividend May, 1864, and in July, 1868, gave to its stockholders a fifty per cent. dividend in stock, making the capital $300,000.
During a period of ten years its dividends amounted in the aggregate to $370,175, ranging from five to six per cent. semi-annually, up to July, 1873, at which time it suspended the payment of dividends, preferring to let the accumulations remain for the benefit of increasing business.
The Third National Bank of St. Louis was originally chartered by the General Assembly of Missouri for 1856-57 as the Southern Bank of St. Louis, with a capital of $1,000,000. The incorporators were James S. Watson, James H. Britton, Abner Hood, Wm. J. McElhinney, and Wm. T. Wood. On the 6th of April, 1857, the following persons were elected directors:
Robert M. Funkhouser, John J. Roe, Samuel K. Wilson, Abner Hood, E. B. Kimball, Charles Miller, Wm. H. Barksdale, John J. Mudd, E. F. Pittman, John R. Lionberger, Wm. J. McElhinney, James S. Watson, James H. Britton. This board subsequently elected as officers James S. Watson, president; James H. Britton, cashier; George O. Atherton, teller; B. W. Dudley, general book-keeper; Thomas A. Stoddart, individual book-keeper.
The bank began operations June 16, 1857, on Pine Street, near Main, with $110,600 of paid in stock. In February, 1859, President Watson died, and on March 14th following, E. B. Kimball was elected his successor.
James S. Watson was born at Jackson, Tenn., Sept. 17, 1815. Of his early career little is recorded. He is understood to have lived some years in Kentucky; and about 1839 removed to St. Louis, where he was employed for some time as clerk. He then went to St. Charles, Mo., where he was similarly occupied, and where, March 25, 1841, he was married to Miss Alby A. Easton. In November, 1842, he was elected chief clerk of the lower house of the Legislature. Under the firm-name of Watson & Yosti, he for some time transacted business at Boonville, Mo., where he made an excellent record as an honorable and successful business man. In December, 1849, he entered into partnership in the wholesale boot and shoe business with Thomas E. Tutt at St. Louis. This partnership continued five years, the firm transacting a large and profitable business.
Mr. Watson was one of the passengers on the train that met with the fearful casualty at the Gasconade bridge, whereby many persons lost their lives, and he
was so badly injured that his life was despaired of. Having a fine constitution he rallied sufficiently to be able to engage in business again, but, while traveling eastward and when near Philadelphia, he was again almost killed by a collision. For the second time he apparently recovered, and resumed business with his usual energy and perseverance, but he never fully regained his strength, and his death, which occurred at New Orleans, Feb. 25, 1859, was doubtless hastened by the injuries which he sustained in these two accidents.
Mr. Watson's business career in Missouri appears to have been uniformly successful, and in St. Louis he was a leader in whatever he undertook. He was public-spirited, and took a deep interest in politics. His sympathies were with the Democratic party, and he enjoyed the friendship and confidence of its leading men in Missouri and the West. He had great faith in the future of St. Louis, and erected the first dwelling south of Lafayette Park.
There are not many of Mr. Watson's contemporaries living, but those who remain testify most cheerfully to his many noble traits. He was a true friend, an obliging neighbor, an accurate business man, a kind husband, and an affectionate father.
Mr. Watson was a brother-in-law of Hon. Thomas L. Anderson, Samuel L. South, Archibald Gamble, and Gen. L. C. Easton, gentlemen of character and prominence then and for many years subsequently. At his death he left a wife and two children.
On the 2d of January, 1864, the Southern Bank having been changed into a national bank, with a cash capital of one million dollars, was reorganized, and began operations as the Third National Bank of St. Louis. The directory under the reorganization consisted of E. B. Kimball, president; James H. Britton, cashier; and E. B. Kimball, Charles K. Dickson, John R. Lionberger, James B. Eads, William N. Switzer Eugene Jaccard, Samuel R. Filley, John Jackson and James H. Britton, directors.
On March 14, 1864, Mr. Kimball resigned the presidency, and James H. Britton was elected his successor. On the same day Thomas A. Stoddart was elected cashier. Mr. Britton served as president until Nov. 1, 1866, when he resigned to accept the presidency of the National Bank of the State of Missouri. John R. Lionberger, his successor, resigned Nov. 8, 1876, and was succeeded by Thomas E. Tutt, the present chief executive of the bank.
The bank was removed from its original location on Pine Street to Second Street near Pine, and on Nov. 25, 1874, occupied its new building, No. 417 Olive Street, where it still remains. This building is six stories in height, with a stone front, and basement and first floors fireproof.
During its existence this bank has paid to shareholders in dividends $1,902,540, of which $1,512,400 was declared and paid in its character of the Third National Bank.
The present officers are Thomas E. Tutt, president; John R. Lionberger, vice-president; T. A. Stoddart, cashier; Directors, John Jackson, Oliver B. Filley, John R. Lionberger, Thomas E. Tutt, Leonard Matthews, James W. Paramore, W. T. Wilkins, J. S. Walsh, J. M. Franciscus.
The Fourth National Bank of St. Louis was organized Feb. 1, 1864. It was chartered Feb. 26, 1864, under the general National Bank Act, and was
first opened for business on March 22, 1864, with a capital stock paid in of $500,000. The incorporators were John C. H. D. Block, Joseph J. Mersman, C. L. Holthaus, John C. Nulsen, F. E. Schmieding, Francis Cornett, John H. Kaiser, Arnold Hussmann, C. L. Buschmann, and Christian Peper. The first board of officers was composed of Joseph J. Mersman, president; John C. H. D. Block, vice-president; and Frederick W. Biebinger, cashier, the last of whom still holds the position. In 1866, John C. H. D. Block succeeded to the presidency of the bank, and has retained it ever since. When the bank was first organized it was located on the northwest corner of Third and Washington Streets, where it remained until it was removed to the present location on the northeast corner of Fourth and Washington Streets. It has a capita] paid in of $500,000; surplus fund, $200,000; contingent fund, $41,969.21; and undivided profits of $91,607.41. The assets, consisting of United States bonds, Missouri State bonds, real estate, and other good securities, amount to $4,693,013.91.
The present board of officers is composed of John C. H. D. Block, president; A. Hussmann, vice-president; and F. W. Biebinger, cashier. The directors are John C. H. D. Block, F. E. Schmieding, Francis Cornett, John H. Kaiser, Arnold Hussmann, C. L. Buschmann, Christian Peper, Henry Grove, and Louis J. Holthaus.
The Fifth National Bank was first organized in 1860 under the name of the Tenth Ward Savings Association. The incorporators and first directors were Henry Overstolz, Thomas L. Sturgeon, Philip Stremmel, Gustavus Hoffman, Thomas M. Speer, James Stoltebinn, John H. Marquard, Nicholas Hatch, and N. F. W. Brentzen. The bank was first located on Broadway and Exchange Street. In 1881 it was again incorporated under the name of the Tenth Ward Savings-Bank, the directors being Louis Espensehied, James Green, John H. Marquard, Albert Schroder, Theodore Koch, Henry Overstolz, and C. Crecelius. Henry Overstolz was the first president, Theodore Koch was the first cashier. In January, 1883, it was organized under the National Banking Act as the Fifth National Bank, and on January 10th opened for business on the northeast corner of Fifth Street and Christy Avenue. Henry Overstolz was chosen president, Louis Espensehied vice-president, and C. C. Crecelius cashier. The present directors are Henry Overstolz, James Green, Louis Espenschied, Otto D. Amour, Conrad Stauff, Charles Wunderlich, and G. A. Rubelmann. The capital stock is two hundred thousand dollars.
The bank is one of the most flourishing of the financial institutions of St. Louis, and much of its success is due to the energy, sound judgment, and business tact of its chief executive, Hon. Henry Overstolz, who has long been prominent among the business men of St. Louis for the rare combination of enterprise, sagacity, and prudence which he brings to the administration of affairs whether public or private.
The Continental Bank of St. Louis was chartered as the National Loan Bank of St. Louis in February, 1865, and was organized and went into operation as such in March, 1866. The incorporators were Thomas O'Reilly, William McKee, Chauncey I. Filley, and Stephen Ridgely. The institution was for several years conducted as the "National Loan Bank," but its name was changed to that of the Continental Bank, under which name it now transacts a general banking business. The capital stock is one hundred thousand dollars; surplus, fifty thousand dollars. The first president was T. B. Edgar, who was succeeded by George A. Baker, the present incumbent. W. H. Maurice was first chosen cashier in 1866, and was succeeded by E. Karst, who held the position for a term of years, and was followed by W. P. Keating, who still retains the position. The bank is located at No. 411 North Third Street. The officers for 1882 were George A. Baker, president; J. M. Thompson, vice-president; W. P. Keating, cashier; Directors, H. A. Crawford, C. W. Rogers, E. C. Meacham, Oscar Bradford, J. A. Bartlett, I. G. Baker, C. S. Freeborn, J. W. Larimore, and G. W. Parker.
The International Bank of St. Louis is a State bank, and was chartered Feb. 28, 1865, the incorporators being Isidor Bush, F. S. Behrens, William C. Lange, August Leisse, C. T. Uhlmann. It was first opened for business Nov. 12, 1866, with a capital of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, at 226 Market Street, and was subsequently removed to its present location, southeast corner Fifth and Market Streets. The resources of the bank, according to a statement made Dec. 31, 1881, were $517,542.07; capital stock paid in, $100,000; surplus funds on hand, $1358.93; deposits, $395,212.44. The first president was William C. Lange, who has served ever since. The directory for 1882 consisted of William C. Lange, president; and Louis Gottschalk, Hugo Krebs, P. A. Schroth, G. J. Helmerichs, William C. Lange, John P. Heinrich, C. F. Hermann, August Leisse, A. W. Straub, directors; John P. Heinrich, secretary.
The Commercial Bank of St. Louis was incorporated under the general corporation laws of Missouri, March 19, 1866, and the bank was opened for business
during the same month. The incorporators were Edward M. Samuel, William J. Lewis, John M. Platt, John F. Baker, Isaac S. Warren, J. A. J. Aderton, George W. Rucker, James Richardson, and Charles W. Keiser. The first officers were Edward M. Samuel, president; John M. Platt, vice-president; and J. W. Donaldson, assistant cashier. Mr. Samuel continued to act as president of the bank until his death, Sept. 22, 1869, when he was succeeded by William J. Lewis, who was followed by William Nichols, the present incumbent.
Edward Madison Samuel belonged to a family of Welsh and English descent, the Welsh branch of which settled in Virginia about the year 1700. From thence they emigrated westward, and Edward M. Samuel was born in Henry County, Ky., Oct. 12, 1807. In 1815 the family moved to Missouri, where the father became quite prominent, serving for many years as the county clerk of Randolph County. When about eighteen young Samuel was placed in business in Old Franklin, Clay Co., and in 1829 removed to Liberty, Clay Co., where he engaged in mercantile pursuits for nearly twenty-five years, and where he lived for nearly forty years. He soon became one of the leading business men of Northwest Missouri, and established a reputation for integrity and ability that was recognized throughout the State.
In 1829, Mr. Samuel was appointed receiver of public moneys at the land office at Plattsburgh, a position which entailed peculiar responsibilities. The "Platte purchase" was included in the district, having then recently become subject to pre-emption and settlement. But before the survey had been made settlers had flocked in, improvements had been made, and the result was an immense number of conflicting claims, which it was the province of the register and receiver to adjust. As a member of this court, Mr. Samuel distinguished himself as a clear-headed business man as well as an able and impartial judge.
In June, 1853, he was appointed a justice of the Clay County court, and served as such for somewhat over a year. In this important position his financial and administrative talents were conspicuously demonstrated.
In 1857, upon the organization of the Liberty Branch of the Farmers' Bank of Missouri, he was elected its first president, and was continuously re-elected until his removal to St. Louis in 1865.
On settling in the metropolis he established the commission house of E. M. Samuel & Sons, his sons entering the house with him. Soon after he interested himself in the organization of the Commercial Bank of St. Louis, and, as we have before stated, became its first president, retaining that position until his death. As a business man he enjoyed to an unusual degree the confidence and respect of his associates, and came to be regarded as a public-spirited and useful citizen. Although of delicate health, he was a man of great mental activity and endurance, and filled a large space in the community. During his long residence in Clay County he contributed largely to every public and religious movement. His gifts were marked by a large-minded catholicity. Thus, while for many years a devoted member of the Presbyterian Church, some of his largest contributions were in behalf of William Jewell College, a Baptist institution. His own lack of adequate school privileges when a boy made him regard education with peculiar favor, and he was a generous and steadfast friend of all worthy enterprises in this direction. He was also an earnest and judicious adviser of young men, and there are many yet living who remember with gratitude his encouraging and kindly counsel. Extensive and varied reading enabled him to supply the education he was unable to obtain when a boy, and he was a well-informed man on matters of general information, while few were better instructed on economical and political questions. Practice made him a clear and logical speaker and writer, and he was a frequent contributor to the public journals, his communications often giving a decided impulse to popular thought.
In politics Mr. Samuel was an earnest Whig. He enjoyed the acquaintance of Henry Clay, and corresponded with both Clay and Webster for many years. He was also the personal friend of many of the great men of his period, especially those who represented Missouri in the national councils. He was twice nominated by his party for Congress, but, although his canvass was spirited and able, it was impossible to overcome the adverse majority.
In social life and in his family, Mr. Samuel's warmhearted and genial nature shone with peculiar lustre. His domestic relations were particularly happy, and by the community at Liberty, where he so long lived, he was regarded with the highest respect and affection as a citizen above reproach. He was twice married, and two daughters and three sons survive him. The latter succeeded to his large and profitable business, and constitute one of the best known of the commission houses of the present day.
The Commercial Bank has a capital of $200,000, and a surplus fund amounting to $293,594.92 bank was located originally at the corner of Second and Olive Streets, but subsequently removed to 217 Olive Street. Its present quarters are situated in the
Chamber of Commerce building, and the officers in 1882 were W. Nichols, president; Erastus Wells, vice-president; B. C. Breck, cashier; and William Nichols, Erastus Wells, E. C. Breck, Isaac M. Warren, B. W. Lewis, M. M. Buck, Miles Sells, William Spear, Thomas Howard, John M. Gilkerson, A. A. Talmage, W. M. Samuel, and John H. Maxon, directors.
The Franklin Bank was chartered in 1867, under the laws of Missouri, as the Franklin Avenue German Savings Institution, with a paid up capital of sixty thousand dollars. The incorporators were John H. Conrades, James H. Forbes, F. H. Krenning, J. G. Kaiser, Henry Meier, Adolph Moll, H. Mohriman, H. S. Platt, F. W. Reipschlaeger, E. F. Kethwilm, Ad. Wippern, and J. B. Woestman. The bank began business in 1867, and until Jan. 1, 1882, was conducted as the Franklin Avenue German Savings Institution. Then the title was changed to that of the Franklin Bank, and the institution was removed to the present location, at the southeast corner of Fourth and Morgan Streets, the directors having purchased the bank building of the late North St. Louis Savings Association. The capital and surplus of the Franklin Bank at present is three hundred thousand dollars. The bank is under the same management as when originally organized, having for its chief executive officer H. Meier, with Ad. Wippern as vice-president, and G. W. Garrels as cashier. The present board of directors is composed of James H. Forbes, F. H. Krenning. Henry Meier, Adolph Moll, H. S. Platt, F. W. Reipschlaeger, Ad. Wippern, and J. B. Woestman.
The Laclede Bank was established in 1867 by Bartholow, Lewis & Co., and was operated as a private bank until 1872, when it was incorporated as the Laclede Bank by Thomas J. Bartholow, Benjamin W. Lewis, Jr., W. H. Chick, James A. Jackson, Theodore D. Meier, William J. Lewis, P. B. Leech, Carlos S. Greeley, Edward Fenton, Joseph P. Card, and George M. Edgerton. Thomas J. Bartholow was the first president, and Francis T. Iglehart cashier. The hunk was originally located at Third and Locust Streets, but subsequently removed to 217 North Third Street, and on the 27th of February, 1883, to its present location at the corner of Third and Pine Streets. The original chartered capital of the bank was two hundred thousand dollars, but upon the reorganization of the institution, in November 1882, it was increased to five hundred thousand dollars. The officers for 1883 are John D. Perry, president; James A. Gregory, vice-president; H. B. Schuler, cashier; and the following directors: John D. Perry, James A. Gregory, H. B. Schuler, Theodore Meier, William McMillan, L. C. Nelson, D. C. Grier, James W. Lewis, Turner T. Lewis, Howard Blossom, Charles Filley, D. R. Francis, and W. S. Hume.
The State Savings Association is one of the prominent financial institutions of St. Louis, and may justly rank as one of the strongest and most prudently managed banks in the country. It was organized under an act of the Legislature of Missouri, on the 29th of December, 1855. While the charter was granted for a savings-bank, yet it has never been in any respect a savings association, but has always done a regular commercial business as a bank of discount and deposit. The incorporators were John How, R. M. Henning, Eugene Miltenberger, Isaac Rosenfeld, Jr., Lewis V. Bogy, Neree Vallé, William L. Ewing, R. J. Lockwood, and B. W. Hill. The bank went into active operation immediately after its organization, and was located at first at the corner of Vine and Main Streets, where it remained until 1876, when it was removed to its present quarters at the corner of Vine and Third Streets. The first president of the institution was R. M. Henning, and his successors were John How, John J. Roe, and Charles Parsons, the present incumbent. The first cashier was Isaac Rosenfeld, Jr., who was succeeded by Charles Parsons, who was followed by J. H. McCluney, the present cashier. The capital stock of the institution is six hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and a surplus has been accumulated, after making regular and liberal dividends since its organization, which now amounts to over seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The officers during 1882 were Charles Parsons, president; William H. Scudder, vice-president; and John H. McCluney, cashier. Directors, Charles Parsons, John A. Scudder, Daniel Catlin, A. F. Shapleigh, C. C. Moffitt, Joseph Franklin, and John T. Davis. 216
Charles Parsons, president of this bank, was born in Homer, Cortland Co., N. Y., on the 24th of January, 1824, and is the son of Lewis B. Parsons, late of Buffalo, N. Y., and grandson of Capt. Charles Parsons, of the New York line in the Revolutionary war. He commenced business, after receiving a thorough academical education, as a clerk in his father's store, and soon after attaining his majority was employed, first as clerk and after as partner, in a commission and transportation house in Buffalo from 1846 to 1850, when he entered the Bank of Attica, in Buffalo, and remained some months, solely for the purpose of learning the business of banking under its very able financier, Gains B. Rich. At the close of 1850 he removed to St. Louis with the view of selecting a point at which to commence the business of banking, and finally, at the instance of H. D. Bacon, of the then well-known firm of Page & Bacon, located at Keokuk, Iowa, where he was very successful in business, and remained until January, 1862, when he tendered his services to the government and was placed in charge of the army transportation at St. Louis, receiving soon after the rank of captain and assistant quartermaster. The duties of his position were very extensive and onerous, embracing employment of hundreds of steamers on the rivers and railroad trains on land, to transport the troops, horses, cannon, provisions for men and animals, and all the various articles required to provision, feed, and render efficient great armies operating over the extended theatre of war in the West and South. Besides these duties he was required to audit and settle the accounts of all other army quartermasters pertaining to transportation from Wisconsin in the North to the line of actual war in the South. These various and arduous duties he fulfilled and discharged to the great satisfaction of Gen. Robert Allen, the chief of the Quartermaster's Department in the West, as is shown by his report to the War Department, in which he speaks in the highest terms of Capt. Parsons, and also to the satisfaction of Gen. M. C. Meigs, quartermaster-general himself, as is shown by the order of Gen. Meigs, June, 1864, calling him to Washington to take control of the bureau of railroad transportation for the United States, under the management of the War Department. This order, however, he persuaded the quartermaster-general to rescind. Mr. Parsons continued in the service of the government until July 13, 1864. Having been elected, in the previous February, cashier of the State Savings Association, and being satisfied that the success of the government was assured, he resigned his commission in the army. As a further recognition of his services he received the brevets of major and lieutenant-colonel. In August, 1864, he assumed the discharge of his duties as cashier of the State Savings Association, and served as such with remarkable fidelity and success until February, 1870, when he was elected president of the association. Mr. Parsons was one of the organizers of the Keokuk and Des Moines Railroad Company, and continued on the directory for some years. He was at one time a director of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad Company, has been president of the St. Louis Clearing-House for the past ten years, is president of the Hannibal Gas Company, vice-president of the Bellefontaine Street Railroad Company, and director of the Missouri Street Railway Company, both of St. Louis, and is a director in the water-works companies of Atchison, Kan., and Hannibal, Mo.
On the 11th of June, 1857, Mr. Parsons was married to Miss Martha A. Pettus, of St. Louis.
In the various positions which he has been called on to fill, Mr. Parsons has never failed to exhibit rare business abilities and administrative talents of the highest order.
The Valley National Bank was organized July 25, 1871, and was chartered under the National Banking Act Aug. 9, 1871. The incorporators were Dwight Durkee, George D. Hall, James Richardson, H. H. Curtiss, N. C. Chapman, O. G. Proctor, W. N. Stone, A. W. Mitchell, J. M. Brawner, Preston Roberts, Augustus Kountz, N. S. Penfield, J. C. Culbertson, A. B. Safford, J. L. Stephens, A. D. Jaynes, T. H. Waugh, David Auld, Josiah Hunt, John Williams, and others. The bank opened its doors for business Aug. 23, 1871, at which time its president was Dwight Durkee, who was elected at a regular meeting of the board of directors July 27, 1871. The cashier at that time was James T. Howenstein. When the bank began business the board of directors consisted of Dwight Durkee, George D. Hall, James Richardson, H. H. Curtiss, N. C. Chapman, O. G. Proctor, W. N. Stone, A. W. Mitchell, J. M. Brawner, Preston Roberts, Augustus Kountz, N. S. Penfield, J. C. Culbertson, A. B. Safford, J. L. Stephens, A. D. Jaynes, J. H. Waugh, David Auld, Josiah Hunt, and John Williams. On Jan. 29, 1873, J. A. J. Aderton was elected president of the bank, and served until Oct. 24, 1878, when he was succeeded by S. E. Hoffman, who has since retained the position. The first location of the bank was No. 320 North Third Street, whence it was removed
to No. 207 North Third Street, where it remained until the removal to the present location, at the corner of Locust and Fifth Streets.
The annual statement of the bank, Dec. 31, 1881, makes the following exhibit:
The officers for 1882 were S. E. Hoffman, president; M. J. Lippman, vice-president; G. H. Goddard, cashier; M. J. Lippman, John B. Noland, Charles P. Burr, H. H. Curtis, Joel Wood, G. H. Goddard, R. J. McElhaney, Walter H. Trask, and S. E. Hoffman, directors.
The German-American Bank was incorporated by Martin Lammert, August Gehner, John J. Menges, Ernest Witte, B. P. Horn, George Tinker, Hugh L. Pox, and B. A. Mysenburg, Nov. 3, 1872, and was opened at the northeast corner of Tenth and Franklin Streets. John J. Menges was elected president; Martin Lammert, vice-president; and E. A. Mysenburg, cashier. The first directors were Hugh Brennon, G. Mysenburg, Ernest Witte, William Nieman, Martin Lammert, John J. Menges, B. Weber, B. F. Horn, George Tinker, William Trauernicht, Hugh L. Fox, August Gehner, and E. A. Mysenburg. The capital stock paid up is $150,000. The bank is now located at the northwest corner of Fourth and Franklin Streets. The official statement of the officers Dec. 31, 1882, showed gross earnings for six months of $36,730.11; surplus fund, $56,684.21; resources, $1,174,605.95. The present officers are August Gehner, president; Martin Lammert, vice-president; John Dierberger, cashier; Directors, Thomas Ferrenbach, H. H. Schulze, August Gehner, Casper Stolle, C. H. Grote, William Trauernicht, George Holtgrewe, Claus Vieths, Martin Lammert, Ernest Witte, F. H. Logemann, John H. Yandell, J. C. Lullman.
As early as 1839 an effort wag made to establish a savings-bank in St. Louis, a meeting of "merchants, traders, and mechanics" being held at the Merchants' Exchange rooms for that purpose on the 7th of February. On motion of Col. Charles Keemle, George K. McGunnegle was called to the chair, and N. E. Janney appointed secretary. The object of the meeting having been stated by the chairman, J. Smith Homans made an address in favor of the project, presenting many statistics showing the success and utility of similar institutions in other cities, and concluding by offering the following preamble and resolutions:
"WHEREAS, This meeting is fully impressed with the belief that there is a large number of persons in this city who have no profitable mode of investment for their surplus earnings, and
"WHEREAS, The want of a depository for the active, beneficial, and profitable investment of the surplus means of many of our fellow-citizens is the cause of the extravagant waste of such funds; therefore,
"Resolved, That a committee of five persons be appointed by the chairman, whose duty it shall be to report within forty days a plan for the formation of a savings association in the city of St. Louis.
"Resolved, That when this meeting adjourns, it adjourn to meet again on the 20th of March next, to receive the report of the committee."
The resolutions were unanimously adopted, and on motion of A. Wilgus, it was unanimously
"Resolved, That the committee under the first resolution be authorized to procure the written opinions of Josiah Spalding, H. R. Gamble, and Beverly Allen as to the authority which the citizens have to establish such an institution without a charter from the Legislature, and whether the same is contrary to the Constitution of the State."
On motion of D. L. Holbrook, it was unanimously
"Resolved, That the same committee be directed to report upon the expediency of connecting a joint-stock association for the proposed savings institution, similar to the Mechanics' and Traders' Bank of Cincinnati and other institutions of the same character."
The chairman then announced the following as composing the committee under the first resolution:
J. Smith Homans, Asa Wilgus, J. W. Paulding, Wayman Crow.
On motion of Mr. Wilgus, the chairman was added to the committee.
The Boatmen's Savings-Bank was originally organized in 1846, was chartered in 1847 as the St. Louis Boatmen's Savings Institution, and was opened for business during the same year. The bank was incorporated as a savings institution (without capital, on the savings-bank plan, "where boatmen and other industrious classes can safely deposit at interest their earnings," etc.), with a twenty years' charter, the profits to be divided pro rata among "original six-month depositors," viz., those who deposited one hundred dollars and upwards during the first six months, and allowed the same to remain undisturbed.
The incorporators were George W. Sparhawk, Sullivan Blood, Edward Dobyns, L. M. Kennett, Daniel D. Page, B. W. Alexander, Samuel C. Davis, Adam L. Mills, Amedee Vallé, George K. Budd, Thomas Andrews, Henry D. Bacon, Lawrason Biggs, James G. Barry, John M. Wimer.
These gentlemen were subsequently continued as trustees, and Adam L. Mills was elected president.
At a meeting of the board of trustees, held at the office of the Missouri Republican on the 30th of August, 1847, there were present George W. Sparhawk, Sullivan Blood, A. Vallé, John M. Wimer, Thomas Andrews, Samuel C. Davis, A. L. Mills, and James G. Barry.
On motion the meeting was called to order, and George W. Sparhawk was called to the chair, and A. Vallé appointed secretary.
The object of the meeting having been explained by the chairman, and the act of incorporation read, the latter, on motion of James G. Barry, was accepted.
On motion of John M. Wimer, a committee of three was appointed by the chairman to draft by-laws and regulations for the government of the institution, whereupon A. Vallé, S. Blood, and S. C. Davis were chosen.
On Sept. 14, 1847, John F. Darby and E. Haren were elected trustees to fill vacancies. On the 21st, Dr. Robert Simpson was elected treasurer, and B. B. Chamberlain secretary.
On Oct. 16, 1847, the trustees gave notice to the public that on Monday, the 18th inst., its doors would be opened for business, stating that "the Boatmen's Savings Institution will henceforward be opened daily from 10 A. M. to 4 P. M., and on Saturdays till 6 P. M., until further ordered. On Fridays no males will be admitted, this day being expressly set apart by the trustees for the female community. The institution for the present is located at No. 16 Locust Street, one door west of Main, and those who become its patrons are respectfully requested to circulate among their friends and neighbors its charter and by-laws."
In April, 1854, the bank was robbed of eighteen thousand dollars in notes of the bank and over one thousand dollars in gold. The thief or thieves obtained access to the safe before the bank was opened in the morning, but left behind four thousand dollars in gold and several checks which were also in the safe. Upon the discovery of this loss the officers offered a reward of one thousand dollars for the detection of the thief and four thousand dollars for the return of the money. In anticipation of a run on the bank, the banking-houses of Page & Bacon, Lucas & Simonds, Loker, Renick & Co., E. W. Clark & Brothers, and J. J. Anderson & Co. offered advances to unlimited amounts, but assistance of this character was not required, as the ordinary routine of the bank was not disturbed. During the financial panic of 1855 the Boatmen's was one of the institutions for which the leading merchants pledged their property.
On the 1st of January, 1856, the bank abandoned its original charter and began business under a second twenty years' charter, with a capital of four hundred thousand dollars. On the 1st of October, 1873, three years prior to the expiration of the second charter, the bank reorganized under the general banking laws of Missouri as The Boatmen's Savings-Bank, with an authorized and paid up capital of two million dollars. A peculiarity of the second charter was the section which provided that "at the expiration of every five years from the first day of January, 1856, if the board of directors deem it expedient, they may make, in such manner and on such terms as to them shall appear equitable, a dividend among the stockholders not exceeding one-fourth of the net profits of the preceding five years, and the remainder of said profits shall, at the discretion of the board, be reserved for the better security of depositors and for future operations, until the winding up of the affairs of this corporation, on converted into stock of the corporation and apportioned equitably among the stockholders, notwithstanding such conversion and apportionment should increase stock beyond the sum limited in the first section of this act. Otherwise than is in this section provided no dividend shall be made by this board."
In accordance with the above section, the board of directors did not declare any dividend until April 1, 1871, more than fifteen years after commencing the banking business, but carried their net earnings to the credit of profit and loss account, until at that time the earnings had amounted to $2,293,442.83, and on the first of April, 1872, a further dividend of $300,000 was declared, and on July 1, 1873, the surplus was $2,456,742.
At the first election for directors under the second charter, held in 1856, the following were elected: Sullivan Blood, 217 Carlos S. Greeley, George K. Budd, Rufus
J. Lackland, William D'Oench, Louis A. Labeaume, Robert Holmes, Luther M. Kennett, John M. Wimer, Asa Wilgus, Adain L. Mills, and Adolphus Meier. Sullivan Blood was elected president, and Alton R. Easton cashier. Charles Hodgeman succeeded Mr. Easton as cashier in 1857, and occupied that post until his death, which occurred in April, 1870, when the present cashier, William H. Thomson, was elected.
On Oct. 26, 1857, at a called meeting of the directors of the institution, the following resolutions were adopted:
"1. Resolved, That all deposits in this institution up to this date will be paid in gold and silver, and it will continue to receive deposits in the same, and pay out the same to said depositors.
"2. Resolved, That this institution will also receive on deposit bank-notes of all the chartered banks in this State, together with their branches, and will pay out the same to said depositors indiscriminately in the bank-notes aforesaid.
3. Resolved, That this institution will receive in payment of all discounted paper or other debts due the Boatmen's Saving Institution the paper of all the chartered banks in the State of Missouri and the branches thereof.
"4. Resolved, That the Boatmen's Savings Institution will receive in payment for all collection-paper gold and silver only, unless otherwise notified in writing.
In 1870, Capt. Sullivan Blood resigned the presidency of the bank, and was succeeded by Rufus J. Lackland, although he still retained his place in the board of directors.
Rufus James Lackland is a member of one of those Maryland families which removed to Missouri at an early day, and which, as frequently noted elsewhere in this work, have contributed so much to the growth and prosperity of St. Louis. Among these enterprising spirits, Peter and Jesse Lindell, Michael McEnnis, Robert A. Barnes, Edward Bredell, John Kennard, Thomas T. Gantt, and R. J. Lackland attained to special prominence in the affairs of the city. The Lacklands, or Lachlans, as they originally spelled their name, were influential people in Montgomery County, Md., and closely allied with the Edmonstones and other leading families of that State. Archibald Edmonstone, who came from Scotland at an early day, is stated by George Lynn Lachlan Davis, a well-known Maryland antiquarian and writer, in his "Day Star of American Freedom," to have been the ancestor "of the Lachlans of Montgomery, but now in the State of Missouri, and of the wife and children of Governor Hempstead, of Iowa." In Scotland, where it originated, the Lachlan family enjoyed considerable prominence, and in this country it has always maintained a leading position. James Lackland was a member of the Levy Court and county commissioner of Montgomery County from 1799 to 1801, and Dennis Lackland was a merchant of the same county in 1820.
Rufus J. Lackland is directly descended from the "Lachlans of Montgomery" mentioned in the "Day Star," and is a cousin of the author of that book. He was born in Poolesville, Montgomery Co., Md., his father being Dennis Lackland, and his mother Eliza Appleby, a native of Berkeley County, Va., whose mother was Mrs. Margaret Moore Appleby, of Baltimore.
In 1835, Mr. Lackland removed with his parents to Missouri, and during the same year entered the store of Mullikin & Pratte, at the corner of Market Street and the Levee. Upon the dissolution of this firm in 1837 he obtained a position as clerk of the steamer "Clyde," plying between St. Louis and New Orleans, and subsequently of the steamers "Chester," "Oregon," "Caroline," and "Eclipse." In 1847 he
withdrew from the steamboat business and established himself in the wholesale grocery and commission trade as a member of the firm of William M. Morrison & Co., which continued to transact a flourishing business until 1861, when it dissolved, each partner having secured a competence. Mr. Lackland continued the business in his own name, and later admitted his two elder sons to partnership, the style of the firm being R. J. Lackland & Sons. In 1871 he finally retired from business.
For many years Mr. Lackland had been a director and one of the largest stockholders in the Boatmen's Savings-Bank, and in 1871 he was elected president, a position he has held ever since. The excellent judgment which had characterized his management of his private business and had contributed so materially to its success has been conspicuously displayed in the conduct of this institution, which is one of the strongest and most prosperous banks in the West.
Numerous other public enterprises have enjoyed the benefit of Mr. Lackland's wise counsel and assistance. In 1855 he was elected vice-president of the Merchants' Exchange, and in the autumn of 1871 was chosen president of the Chamber of Commerce Association, organized for the purpose of erecting a new Exchange building. Mr. Lackland is still president of this association, having been continuously re-elected to the position. He was one of the most zealous and efficient spirits in promoting the construction of the new Chamber of Commerce, and has always been foremost among his fellow business men in aid of all important public enterprises. For many years he has been a director in the Iron Mountain Railroad, and also in the Oakdale Iron-Works and the Scotia Iron Company. For twenty years he has been a director in the Belchers Sugar-Refining Company, and is now president of the St. Louis Gas Company. Some of these are among the most important industrial concerns in the city, employing large capital and a vast number of hands, and are justly regarded as representative institutions of St. Louis.
Mr. Lackland was married in St. Louis, Aug. 23, 1840, to Miss Mary Susannah Cable, a native of New York, who died in December, 1866, having borne ten children, eight of whom are living. Mrs. Lackland was loved and respected for her many virtues. Some years later Mr. Lackland married his present wife, Mrs. Caroline Eliot Kasson, the youngest sister of the Rev. Dr. William G. Eliot, chancellor of Washington University, St. Louis, and a lady of fine literary attainments.
In religion Mr. Lackland is a Unitarian, and in politics a Democrat. In all the relations of life, whether public or private, he enjoys in the highest degree the esteem and respect of all who know him.
His present position in the community is due entirely to his own exertions. Forced at an early age to rely upon himself, he put forth all his energies, and soon made a decidedly favorable impression as a young man of exceptional industry and zeal. As a merchant, his career was marked by great energy and steadfastness of purpose, a clear, quick judgment, unsullied integrity, and exceptional ability in the management of enterprises of great magnitude. As the result, he now enjoys an influence and consideration among his fellow business men which gives him a peculiar and special pre-eminence in the mercantile world of St. Louis. Personally, Mr. Lackland is a gentleman of pleasant and genial address, and kind and amiable towards all with whom he is thrown in contact. By the community in which he has resided for more than forty years he is justly regarded as a far-sighted, liberal-minded, and noble-hearted citizen.
In 1873, as previously stated, the Boatmen's Savings Institution was transformed into the Boatmen's Savings-Bank. In addition to the original capital of $400,000 there was a surplus fund of $2,400,000, and the capital of the bank was fixed at $2,000,000, the $800,000 remaining being divided among the stockholders. The following were designated as the board of directors in the articles of association: Rufus J. Lackland, Carlos S. Greeley, Adolphus Meier, James Smith, Sullivan Blood, William A. Hargadine, Edward J. Glasgow, William P. Howard, John B. C. Lucas, George S. Drake, and William H. Thomson.
The Boatmen's Bank was first located on the southwest corner of Second and Pine Streets, but was afterwards moved to the north side of Chestnut, between Main and Second Streets, and thence to the present location on the northeast corner of Second and Pine Streets.
The officers of the bank for 1882 were Rufus J. Lackland, president; George S. Drake, vice-president; William H. Thomson, cashier; Directors, Lawrence L. Butler, Samuel Cupples, George S. Drake, Theodore Forster, Carlos S. Greeley, William A. Hargadine, Rufus J. Lackland, Adolphus Meier, E. C. Simmons, William H. Thomson, Edwards Whitaker.
The semi-annual statement rendered Dec. 31, 1881, showed the condition of the bank to be as follows:
The Germans' Savings Institution of St. Louis was incorporated Feb. 25, 1853, with an authorized capital of twenty-five thousand dollars, and authority to increase the same from time to time at the will of the directors to any amount not exceeding two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, divided into shares of fifty dollars each. The incorporators were Edward Haren, John Kern, William Palm, Francis Saler, Robert Barth, Joseph Degenhardt, George Busch, Charles Wetzel, Adolphe Abeles, Frederick Bergesch, Lewis Bach, John Wolff, Edward Eggers, Louis Hirschberg, Ernest C. Angelrodt. The institution opened for the reception of deposits on Monday, May 23, 1853, the office being located at No. 35 Main Street, between Chestnut and Pine Streets. It transacts a general banking business, and solicits the accounts of corporations, firms, and individuals. The present capital stock paid up is $250,000, and there is a surplus fund on hand amounting to $95,707.67.
The board of directors for 1882 was composed of F. W. Meister, president; Charles F. Orthwein, George H. Braun, John Wahl, Louis Fusz, William Koenig, J. Gr. Greer, Adolphus Boeckeler, and A. Nedderhut. Richard Hospes is the cashier. The bank is located in the Chamber of Commerce building.
The Provident Savings Institution was organized and incorporated in February, 1864, and was originally intended to supply the need of a public pawn-office, such as those which exist in Europe. The project did not, however, receive the support of the public, and the institution was changed to a savings-bank, and continued as such until 1877, when it was again changed to a commercial bank. Its charter authorized a capital of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The paid up capital is now one hundred thousand dollars, and it is the intention of the management to increase it to two hundred thousand dollars.
The incorporators of the savings-bank were Henry Hitchcock, Carlos S. Greeley, Robert Holmes, William M. Morrison, George Partridge, George P. Plant, S. A. Ranlett, and Levin H. Baker. The bank was opened for business in January, 1865, having for its president J. P. Doan, who served in that capacity until 1872. He was succeeded by William Gresham, who occupied the position until 1877, and was followed by C. S. Greeley, who still retains the position. The cashiers have been S. A. Ranlett, from 1865 to 1877, and the present incumbent, Almon B. Thomson. This institution was first located at the corner of Main and Locust Streets, but removed to its present location, No. 513 Olive Street, in 1867. The official statement shows that it has a cash paid up capital of $100,000, and a surplus fund of $4666.51.
The officers for 1882 were C. S. Greeley, president; William H. Thomson, vice-president; and Almon B. Thomson, cashier; Directors, William H. Thomson, D. F. Kaime, Thomas H. Swain, James S. Garland, Carlos S. Greeley, Lucien Eaton, S. A. Ranlett, and A. B. Thomson.
The Union Savings Association was incorporated and organized Feb. 19, 1864, having for its incorporators Gustavus W. Dreyer, T. B. Edgar, E. O. Stanard, Henry Overstolz, Réné Beanois, John W. Woerner, Alexander B. Moreau, Edward Wider, T. M. Ellis, Thomas E. Souper, Ferdinand Meyer, James M. Corbett, and John T. Tell. Thomas S. Rutherford was elected president of the association, and was succeeded by W. A. McMurray, who was followed by Peter Nicholson, the present incumbent. The association has a paid up capital of one hundred thousand dollars, and a surplus of twenty-three thousand seven hundred and sixty-one dollars. The officers for 1882 were Peter Nicholson, president; William A. McMurray, vice-president; and Horace Ghiselin, cashier; Directors, Peter Nicholson, G. W. Updyke, W. A. McMurray, S. G. Niedinghaus, John Scullin, H. C. Wilson, J. W. Mortimer, A. Mansur, J. B. C. Lucas, Charles H. Turner, D. A. Marks, G. A. Madill, and Horace Ghiselin. The present location of this institution is at No. 322 North Third Street.
The Safe Deposit Company of St. Louis was established in 1870, under a charter from the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, for the safekeeping of money, bonds, valuable packages, plate, etc., and for the execution of trusts, absolute security and privacy being guaranteed. The incorporators were J. B. S. Lemoine, Eugene Jaccard, Robert K. Woods, G. A. Hayward, John R. Lionberger, J. H. Britton, Janies Harrison, John Byrne, Jr., Thomas Howard, and Logan Hunter. In 1870 the safe deposit building, No. 513 Locust Street, now occupied by the company was erected. The building is supplied with the latest and most improved fire- and burglar-proof vaults, safes, etc., and everything pertaining to the establishment is furnished with a view to safety
and durability. J. B. S. Lemoine was chosen president in 1870, and continued as such for some years, being succeeded by John R. Lionberger, the present incumbent. The officers for 1882 were John R. Lionberger, president; Edwin Harrison, vice-president; and G. A. Hayward, secretary. The board of directors remains the same as at the incorporation of the company in 1870.
The Bremen Savings-Bank was incorporated Aug. 16, 1868, and began business Oct. 1, 1868. The incorporators were M. Brotherton, L. L. Ashbrook, Horace Fox, Hermann Obrock, Christopher Crone, August F. Reller, F. W. Prange, Henry Bakewell, Henry Leder, John Maguire, Joseph W. Crooks, Reiner Bueter, Samuel Stannard, and James Green. M. Brotherton, president; Horace Fox, vice-president; and C. D. Affleck, cashier, were the first officers. The original directors were Christopher Crone, James Green, Jacob Bitner, Henry Bakewell, Joseph W. Crooks, Horace Fox, M. Brotherton, F. W. Prange, August F. Reller, Henry Hahne, L. L. Ashbrook, Samuel Stannard, and Nicholas Hatch. The capital stock was originally $100,000; of this only $30,000 was paid in, which grew to $125,000. In 1877 the bank suspended for fifteen days, and reopened on the 1st of August with a capital of $35,000. The present capital is $70,000, with a surplus of $12,000. F. W. Prange is president, and C. E. Kircher is cashier. The directors are Samuel Marx, Charles Naber, Anthony Nacke, Hermann Obrock, F. W. Prange, C. H. Spencer, and T. T. Wurmb. The bank occupies the original location, 3618 Broadway.
The Citizens' Savings-Bank was incorporated in September, 1868. The incorporators and first directors were Joseph O'Neil, John Ring, David Nicholson, R. W. Powell, M. H. Phelan, J. B. Ghio, and P. P. Connors. Joseph O'Neil became president; R. W. Powell, vice-president; and John Schenk, cashier. The bank was first opened one door from its present location, on the corner of Locust and Third Streets. The capital stock is two hundred thousand dollars. Joseph O'Neill and R. W. Powell have continued as president and vice-president, and P. Gleeson is the present cashier. M. H. Phelan, William Dooly, Daniel Cahill, Joseph O'Neil, P. P. Connors, R. W. Powell, and J. B. Ghio are the directors.
The Mullanphy Savings-Bank was incorporated Jan. 16, 1873, by A. S. Allen, F. W. Buschmann, G. H. Elbrecht, James Garnett, F. Heman, H. Klages, George Lanitz, John P. Mullally, F. G. Niedringhaus, J. H. Rottmann, F. A. Schulenburg, A. Schulherr, and Frederick Schwartz, and was organized with a paid up capital of one hundred thousand dollars. The incorporators comprised the original board of directors, and the officers were A. Schulherr, president; Frederick Leser, cashier. The bank has always been located at the corner of Broadway and Mullanphy Street. The last annual statement, Dec. 1, 1882, showed: Assets, $675,276.72; surplus fund, $38,089.54. The present officers are John H. Rottman, president; G. H. Elbrecht, vice-president; L. G. Kammerer, cashier; Directors, H. C. Benning, G. H. Elbrecht, C. Kellersmann, William Kerksieck, E. C. Little, Joseph Marks, John P. Mullally, Louis Nolte, James W. Rosebrough, J. H. Rottmann, Charles Schumacher, F. Schwartz, H. Klages.
The Northwestern Savings-Bank, corner of Fourteenth and North Market Streets, was incorated May 15, 1873. The incorporators were Charles G. Stifel, J. H. Evers, A. Peck, A. Bohn, John J. Hilger, J. F. Heidbreder, B. Israel, H. Kobusch, William Leffmann, Henry Pius, R. W. Remmelkamp, Fred. Steinkamper, Charles Schulter, and P. Obernier. The original and present officers Charles G. Stifel, president; J. H. Evers, vice-president; and P. Obernier, cashier. The original and present directors are the incorporators. The capital stock is fifty thousand dollars, and the surplus is forty-seven thousand dollars. The bank has always been at the corner of Fourteenth and North Market Streets.
Miscellaneous Notes. In addition to the banks and savings institutions whose history has been narrated, many other financial institutions have been established in St. Louis from time to time. Among these are the following:
Mutual Savings Institution, chartered in 1863, commenced operations Feb. 6, 1854, with a capital of $50,000. Deposits as small as five cents were received. On time deposits six per cent. interest was paid. From the 6th of February up to the 20th of December, 1854, the institution had opened seven hundred and sixty-nine accounts, with deposits aggregating $66,484.59.
Central Savings-Bank, organized in 1857 with a capital stock of $50,000, subject to increase not exceeding $750,000. When the Central commenced its career it was managed by the following officers: Henry L. Patterson, president; John H. Tracy, cashier; Directors, Henry J. Spaunhorst, John Byrne, Jr., Peter J. Hurck, John F. Slevin, Francis Lepere, Thomas Ferguson, Hugh Boyle, Henry B. Berning, Redmond Cleary.
Owing to imprudent investments the institution collapsed, and on the 17th of July, 1876, the directors
executed an assignment for the benefit of the creditors to E. T. Parish, attorney, and Charles Green, real estate agent. Subsequently a committee was appointed, consisting of Timothy Cavanaugh, Daniel Cavanaugh, J. Dalton, Fusz & Backer, and Thomas McEvilly. Subsequently M. H. Phelan was appointed assignee by the United States Court. When the estate passed into the bankruptcy court the following statement of assets was submitted:
There were 1228 creditors, representing a total indebtedness of $844,673.07. The deposits consisted of small amounts, chiefly ranging from $200 to $1000. Assignee Phelan succeeded in six years in paying off twenty per cent. of this indebtedness in three dividends, ten, five, and five per cent. each, which exhausted the collected assets of the bank, amounting to $160,000. The value of the assets shrunk to insignificant figures, owing to the worthless nature of some of the real estate securities.
The City Bank of St. Louis; books for subscription to stock opened at the counting-room of Lucas & Simonds, March 18, 1857; incorporators, D. A. January, William M. Morrison, Henry L. Patterson, Charles D. Drake, John Simonds.
People's Savings Institution; subscribers notified that ten per cent. of the amount subscribed was to be paid on or before Tuesday, March 10, 1857, to Isidor Bush, corner of Park and Carondelet Avenues, or to Emil Ulrici, No. 53 Carondelet Avenue, between Barry and Marion Streets; commissioners to receive the first installments, John How, Waldemar Fischer, Isidor Bush, Matthias Steitz, John Hogan, Henry Pilkington, Emil Ulrici, Charles Taussig.
First Ward Savings Association; books for subscriptions opened March 14, 1857, at the office of Thomas Allen, Decatur Street, and at J. P. Mack's drug store; Commissioners, Thomas Allen, John C. Rust, Stephen D. Barlow, Benjamin A. Soulard, Réné Bouvais, James G. Stewart, Heber Livermore, E. A. Burt, Patrick E. Burke.
St. Louis Building and Savings Association; subscription-books opened at the rooms of the Mechanics' and Manufacturers' Exchange, on Chestnut Street between Third and Fourth, March 9, 1857; incorporators and commissioners, Asa Wilgus, Clark J. Morton, Peter A. Ladue, John F. Darby, William Hassinger, George H. Moore, William M. Maurice, Josiah G. McClellan.
United States Savings Association, organized in 1857, went out of business in June, 1879. The directors of the institution, which was then located at Second and Market Streets, decided in that month to close up the affairs of the bank, and to transfer its accounts to the Mechanics' Bank, southwest corner of Second and Pine Streets. This decision was caused by the fact that the business was no longer profitable. The officers at the time were Jacob Tamm, president; Theodore Sessinghaus, vice-president; Charles Kern, cashier. The directors were Jacob Tamm, Theodore Sessinghaus, G. Wetzel, Charles Hegel, Charles Kern, Henry Wiebusch, August Eichele, H. D. Meyer, Herman Morell, Nicholas Guerdan, and Otto Lademann. 218
Accommodation Bank, organized about 1864, was located at first on Chestnut Street near Fourth, but afterwards removed to the northeast corner of Chestnut and Third Streets. For some years the bank transacted a flourishing business both as a savings and discount association. Its president was Hon. Erastus Wells, and the cashier William D. Henry. The board of directors in 1867 was composed of Erastus Wells, G. W. Dreyer, Col. Cavender, John E. Liggett, of Liggett & Dausman, and Thomas V. Strude, of Strude, Ruby & Co.
Real Estate Saving Institution, organized in April, 1867, was located at 72 North Third Street, above Olive. Seven per cent. interest was paid on deposits, and sums as low as one dollar were received. The officers were: President, George K. Budd; Treasurer, Francis Whitney; Legal Counselor, John M. Krum; Trustees, William M. Morrison, John S. McCune, John M. Krum, Thomas E. Tutt, Henry Whitmore, Morris Collins, Charles A. Pope, Oliver A. Hart, R. M. Funkhouser, George K. Budd, Edward Haren, Sr., John B. Johnson.
Home Savings-Bank, established in May, 1867, "for the accommodation of citizens at the northern end of the city." The officers were E. D. Jones, president; James Hodgman, vice-president; H. C. Pierce, cashier, and E. D. Jones, James Hodgman, D. P. Green, E. G. Obear, A. C. Osborn, A. H. Weber, J. O. Coding, G. W. Alexander, H. L. Parker, J. P. Colby, John Crangle, W. L. Barker, and T. Sessinghaus,
directors. The building was located at the corner of Broadway and Jefferson Street.
Butchers' and Drovers' Bank, organized in June, 1867, with B. M. Chambers as president, and P. S. Langton, cashier, was located at the corner of Fifth and Morgan Streets, opposite the Union Market. Its business grew to enormous proportions, and during the great panic of 1873 it paid all checks as presented, but on the 14th of July, 1877, it ceased operations. "The only reason," says a newspaper announcement of the action of the bank officers, "as given to us for the close was the imperative provision of the new statute, which takes effect at the end of the month, and which provides ‘that when the capital stock shall have become impaired to the extent of twenty-five per cent. thereof by reason of bad loans or otherwise, such corporation shall cease to do business unless the stock shall have been made good by assessment within sixty days.’
"The stock of the bank as subscribed is two hundred and sixty-one thousand dollars, of which one hundred and thirty thousand five hundred dollars is paid in. Interpreting that the capital stock paid in must be treated as the sum by which must be tested the solvency of the bank, Mr. Chambers saw but two alternatives for compliance with the law, either to cease to do business or to call on stockholders, which last within sixty days would not be possible.
"The Butchers' and Drovers' Bank was organized in 1867 with a nominal capital of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, of which thirty per cent. was paid in. From time to time dividends were declared, and were credited to stock on the books until fifty per cent. was paid up, making a working capital of one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. The bank did a flourishing business from the start, and, in addition to a heavy list of large depositors, became popular with small depositors, of which it had a host. This gave the bank such a prestige that two years ago, when only forty per cent. of the stock was paid up, shares were selling at from seventy to seventy-two per cent., or a little over seventy-five per cent. premium."
American Bank, established in November, 1867; officers: President, E. Miltenberger; Cashier, Wash Barrow; Assistant Cashier, F. Siebenmann; Directors, E. Miltenberger, Wash Barrow, Henry B. Berning, William Druhe, J. F. Schiefer, John F. Tolle, Joseph Uhrig, Jacob Blattner, Clingan Scott, C. F. Orthweim, L. W. Burris, J. O. Banks, R. D. Lancaster.
German Bank, organized in 1869, was located on Market Street, between Second and Third, but removed to Fifth and Market Streets. It transacted a large business, having at one time deposits amounting to one million six hundred thousand dollars, and in December, 1869, established a branch office in "Hiemenz's new building, at the northeast corner of Carondelet Avenue and Carroll Street." On the 10th of July, 1877, the directors made an assignment of all the assets of the bank to Charles G. Stifel for the benefit of the creditors.
Broadway Savings Bank, established March 4, 1869. Officers: L. S. Bargen, president; J. P. Krieger, Sr., vice-president; J. P. Krieger, Jr., cashier. For some years the bank transacted a flourishing business, but on the 21st of May, 1879, it was compelled to suspend, owing to the sudden crippling of its resources. Less than two years later (Jan. 17, 1881) its founder, J. Phil. Krieger, Jr., committed suicide at the Western Hotel, corner of Carr Street and Broadway. The cause of the act is indicated by the Republican as follows:
"The bank had a good run of business and did fairly well, although it is said to have experienced at least two financial storms, both of which it weathered under the guidance of Krieger, Jr., its cashier. On the afternoon of May 21, 1879, the bank closed its doors. The directors had discovered a slight impairment, and decided it was the wiser plan to suspend, though Krieger, Jr., was in favor of making efforts to tide over the difficulty. At this date the liabilities of the bank were about seven hundred thousand dollars, and its assets were then figured at two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Mr. John Dierberger first, and afterwards Mr. John Lionberger became assignee. Public feeling over the matter of the failure ran very high, especially as there was a widespread opinion that Krieger, Jr., and one Mayer Goldsoll had conspired together to help themselves in their own speculations by using the money of the bank. The grand jury after a grand jural investigation indicted Krieger, Sr., the president of the bank, Krieger, Jr., its cashier, and Mayer Goldsoll, a beneficiary of the institution."
North St. Louis Savings Association, established April 2, 1860, the directors being A. B. Erfurt, Francois Cornet, H. W. Winmann, John F. Wittee, Caspar Stolle, C. L. Holthous, Julias Thamer, and John C. Vogel. In 1864 the association reorganized under a new charter, and commenced operations on the 1st of February of the same year. Louis Espenschied was elected president, and John G. Hermann secretary. In 1866 the real estate at the southeast corner of Fourth and Morgan Streets, part of which was occupied by the building where the association transacted its business, was sold at auction, and the association having a fair surplus of profits, concluded to purchase it, with a view to building a banking-house on one of the two lots. The corner-stone of the building was laid on the 3d of June, 1869. On the 16th of July, 1877, the bank was compelled to suspend and go into liquidation. At the time of the suspension the officers were A. C. Erfurt, president;
E. F. W. Meier, vice-president; H. H. Wernse, cashier; J. H. Dickmann, assistant cashier; Directors, F. Barklage, Theodore Becker, Henry Cornet, A. C. Erfurt, Joseph Kilpatrick, E. F. W. Meier, Frederick Schiercck, J. W. Schloemann, A. W. Schulenberg, William Hake, F. A. Witte.
The cause of the suspension was the depression in the real estate market.
Traders' and Mechanics' Bank, established in October, 1872, suspended in February, 1876. C. L. Kraft was president at the time, and was subsequently appointed assignee.
S. B. Bullock, for twenty-seven years a resident of St. Louis, and for fifteen years a banker, died Aug. 7, 1863.
Among the prominent bankers of St. Louis was Capt. Mark Leavenworth, who died on Feb. 17, 1866, aged forty-one years. He was for a number of years widely known as a river commander and pilot, and for several years prior to his death was a member of the banking firm of Gaylord, Leavenworth & Co., of Olive Street.
The house of Donaldson & Fraley, brokers and bankers, was established in 1868, at the corner of Third and Olive Streets, where the firm has conducted a general brokerage and exchange business ever since. The house was established by John W. Donaldson and Moses Fraley, both of whom are active members of the firm. A branch house in New York is composed of Moses Fraley and Philip J. Goodhart, and transacts business under the firm-name of Fraley & Goodhart.
The Old Banking-House of James H. Lucas & Co. In 1851, James H. Lucas established a banking-house in St. Louis, and in the following year associated with him John Simonds, the firm-name being Lucas & Simonds. Mr. Simonds was born on the 13th of March, 1800, in Windsor County, Vt. His father removed to St. Louis in 1817, and for several years filled the post of harbor-master, dying in 1839. John Simonds received a common school education, and in 1819 was appointed deputy constable. Two years later he was made deputy sheriff, and in 1825 was appointed United States marshal, but owing to his opposition to Gen. Jackson was removed in 1828. He then became a steamboat captain, and between the years 1828 and 1835 acted as commander of various steamers on the Mississippi. In 1835 he established a large commission house in St. Louis, and successfully pursued this business until 1852, when he entered the banking-house of James H. Lucas as a partner. In 1857 he retired from the firm and established the banking-house of Simonds & Taylor. Capt. Simonds' first wife was Miss Teresa Geyer, sister of Hon. Henry S. Geyer, whom he married March 4, 1824, and his second wife was Miss Susan M. Kennett, whom he married May 5, 1852. For many years Capt. Simonds was president of the Citizens' Insurance Company, and for a considerable period president of the Board of Underwriters.
In the autumn of 1852 the firm determined to establish a branch banking-house in San Francisco, and for that purpose selected as their agent on the Pacific slope Maj. Henry S. Turner, assistant treasurer of the United States at St. Louis, the name determined upon for the branch establishment being that of Lucas, Turner & Co. A short time previous to this decision, Capt. William T. Sherman, who afterwards became so famous as a general in the Union army, had been stationed at St. Louis as commissary of subsistence, but in September of that year was transferred to New Orleans. About Christmas of the same year Maj. Turner laid before him the details of the plan for the establishment of the branch house in San Francisco, and proposed that he should become a partner in the firm. 219
James H. Lucas, the senior partner, subsequently had an interview with Capt. Sherman, and also presented for his consideration the particulars of the California project, desiring him to accept the position of resident partner and manager in San Francisco. The enterprise struck Capt. Sherman so favorably that he obtained a leave of absence and visited San Francisco. After carefully surveying the field, he determined to accept the proposition of Messrs. Lucas and Turner, and resigned his commission in the army to take effect on the 6th of September, 1853. On the 20th of that month he left New York with his family by steamer for the Pacific coast, and arrived safely in San Francisco. Maj. Turner was associated with him in the management of the branch bank until 1855, when he (Turner) returned to St. Louis, and Capt. Sherman was left alone to tide the affairs of the agency over the crisis of that year. Nearly every other bank in San Francisco closed its doors, but the house of Lucas, Turner & Co. survived the "run." Early in 1857, however, he informed the parent house in St. Louis that in his opinion the maintenance of the San Francisco establishment was no longer advisable. His suggestion was approved, and he accordingly closed up the affairs of the branch bank, and with his family removed to Lancaster, Ohio. Subsequently Mr. Lucas and Maj. Turner determined to establish a branch house in New York, which was done on the 21st of July, 1857. In the fall of that year the great financial panic necessitated a suspension of the St. Louis firm, but Mr. Lucas assumed the liabilities and paid all the creditors, with ten per cent. interest.
In Normandie of old, in what is now the department of the Eure, at the head of navigation on river Brille, which empties into the estuary of the Seine, stands the ancient town of Pont-Audemer, not a large place, but venerable, with a history of its own, as you will read in Thierry and in Martin; with seven thousand or eight thousand people, and manufactures of leather and cloth. Its leather products are quite famous in their way, and it is to the fact of manufactures being of old establishment in Pont-Audemer that St. Louis owes the residence there of the Lucas family, who have done so much to improve and adorn the town and city; for manufactures most have manufacturers, and these again their wives and daughters, and thereby hangs a tale. The procureur du roi (king's prosecuting attorney) of Pont-Audemer from 1760 onward was Robert Edward Lucas. An old Norman family, the Lucases, with a terribly long pedigree, Lucas, Lucie, Fitz-Lucas, De Lucy, Filius, Lucae, you will find their names in the roll of Battle Abbey, in the English Domesday Book, in Holinshed, in Joinville, in Camden, Leland, and Froissart, proud they were accordingly, sticklers for rank and social distinction. Robert Edward Lucas married for his la Mademoiselle de L'Arche. He had a fine old family seat outside the town, and the office of procureur was in some sort almost hereditary in his family. His wife bore him a son, Jean Baptiste Charles Lucas,
Aug. 14, 1758, and this boy from the first was looked upon as destined to be his father's successor. He was educated with the position steadily in view, and with the profession also in which it was intended he should succeed his father, an education at once liberal and exact, classical and technical, received in part at the university founded in Caen by King Henry VI. of England, and in part at the Honfleur and Paris law schools. At Honfleur, J. B. C. Lucas met his fate, in the person of Mademoiselle Anne Sebin, daughter of a manufacturer of cloth. Because her father was in trade, while the family of Lucas were gens du droit, Mademoiselle Sebin was not looked upon as his social equal. But she was handsome, well educated, and rich in mental endowments, and Lucas did not care much for the social arrangements which not only stood between him and the object of his affections, but also proposed to marry him to quite another person. Besides, in Paris he had become acquainted with Jacques le Roy de Chaumont, son of the landlord at Passy with whom Franklin and Adams sojourned during the times of the Revolution, and through him was imbued with American ideas, becoming such a hot Republican, in fact, that he and the king's attorney, his father, could not agree at all. Le Roy was coming to this country to buy land and settle in Western New York. Lucas accompanied him, arriving in the United States in 1784, having first married Anne Sebin. As soon as he became sufficiently acquainted with the English language, Lucas sent for his wife to join him in the western wilds. Albert Gallatin, Lucas' lifelong friend, who had come out in 1780, had bought land in Virginia, but the Indians prevented him from occupying it, and he was settled near Pittsburgh. Thither went Lucas also, and bought a farm, called "Montpelier," on Coal Hill, on the Monongahela River, six miles from Pittsburgh. Here some of his children were born, Robert, the eldest, who was cadet at West Point by Gen. Wilkinson's appointment, and died in the service of his country in 1813, on the Canada frontier; Charles, the lawyer, killed in a duel by Thomas Hart Benton; Adrian the planter, who was drowned while crossing on the ice on Loutre Lake, Mo., in 1804; Anne, born Sept. 23, 1796, widow and survivor of Capt. Theodore Hunt, U. S. N., and Wilson P. Hunt, the great fur-trader, who afterwards kept store in St. Louis (Hunt & Hankinson); James H., born Nov. 12, 1800; and William, born in 1798, who died in 1837. Mrs. Anne Sebin Lucas, who was born in Honfleur, Aug. 10, 1764, died in St. Louis, Aug. 3, 1811.
J. B. C. Lucas, a man of great parts naturally and of superior culture, began at once to take part in public affairs, following the example of Gallatin. Like Gallatin, he took the popular side in the excise troubles of that section, acquiring great influence, and being able to do much good by conservative and moderate counsels. His next neighbor was Maj. Ebenezer Denny, a Revolutionary officer, and one of Harmar's staff. The two were opposing candidates in 1795 for the Pennsylvania Legislature. Denny was a universal favorite, Lucas scarcely known, speaking English with difficulty, and charged by partisan maligners with being an avowed atheist, and with permitting his wife, during his absence in France, to have his land plowed on Sunday. Nevertheless Lucas was elected, though next year, in a purely local contest, Denny beat him badly for county commissioner, receiving nearly every vote. Lucas himself told this to Denny's son, years after. They were great friends, went to the polls together, and Denny contradicted on the stump the calumnies circulated about his political opponent. Lucas had a chance to repay this generosity in kind long years afterward. When he was judge of the Territorial Court in St. Louis, a case came before him in which Denny, who was not present, was plaintiff, and Alexander McNair, first Governor of the State, and a very popular and influential man, was defendant. Denny's case rested on his own deposition and was likely to go against him, when Judge Lucas charged the jury, both in French and English, to this effect: "When I lived in Pennsylvania," he said, "I was the next neighbor to the plaintiff; we differed in politics, we were opposing candidates for office, but there never was a more honest man. It is impossible that he could set up any claim that was not just and true." The jury found for Denny without leaving the box. Lucas was a man of remarkable prudence and judgment. Jefferson selected him, in the beginning of his administration, to go West and ascertain the temper of the French and Spanish residents of Louisiana. This was about 1801. He went incognito to St. Louis, and thence to Ste. Genevieve and New Orleans, taking the name of Pantreaux.
In 1803, Lucas was member of Congress from Western Pennsylvania, and on the purchase of Louisiana being completed, was at once appointed by Jefferson commissioner of land claims and judge of the Territorial Court. He sold his Coal Hill farm for five thousand dollars and went West with his family, arriving in St. Louis in September, 1805, and immediately investing his money in land in and adjacent to the town. Mrs. Hunt, in her cheerful little memoir of her family, after mentioning that a Pittsburgh lot, taken by her father for a bad debt, and
afterwards traded for a horse, had sold for twenty-five thousand or thirty thousand dollars, adds, "On the advice of my mother, who had learned experience from the sale of the Pittsburgh lot, he invested his salary in the purchase of land. He bought mostly outlets, facing on what is now Fourth Street, each lot being one arpent wide by forty arpens deep. All this land was used as a common field, each man cultivating what he pleased. There were no fences of any kind on it. By purchasing a lot at a time, he at length came to own all the land from Market Street to St. Charles, and from Fourth Street to Jefferson Avenue. He did not buy it as a speculation, but for what it would produce; it turned out, however, to be an immense speculation, for the whole seven arpens front did not cost him over seven hundred dollars, and that property is now worth, I suppose, seventy millions! A hundred dollars was what he usually paid for an arpent in width by forty deep, though sometimes he got it for less. The heirs to this vast estate need not thank my father for it, for he was too much of a politician to think of investing his money in land; it was my mother's foresight that suggested the investment which turned out so well."
This is rather a feminine way of looking at things, perhaps. It needed the sagacity of a man, not the instinctive security women feel in land-holding, to see the possibilities of the future in the untamed and unprogressive trading town of that day, with streets all mud-holes, Chouteau's hill a barren waste, and wolves prowling in the suburbs at Sixth and Chestnut Streets when the snow fell. James Lucas, with his traps, caught prairie-hens where the Laclede Hotel now stands, and rabbits on the site of the Four Courts.
Judge Lucas, so far from being an "avowed atheist," was, like all his family, a consistent member of the Catholic Church. So far from being a "confirmed poker-player," gambling away whole blocks of houses, as some alleged "old inhabitants" have gone out of the way to charge him with being, he was a man of refined, scholarly tastes and domestic habits, giving to his family all the time which he could spare from his business, and looking in person after the education of his only daughter, a lady of peculiar graces both of mind and person. He was a man of strong feelings, and grief for the untimely loss of his sons, five of the six of whom died sudden deaths in their youth and prime, bowed him under a weight of affliction such as would have crushed a less composed and resolute soul. These losses did, indeed, drive him into retirement and seclusion in his private life after the death of his accomplished wife and his distinguished son Charles, but they never distracted him from close attention to his affairs. These were multifarious and complicated, as, besides the care of his own immense estate, with all its various interests, he had a large law business and a great amount of fiduciary concerns for others, trusteeships, executorships, and administrations. It is related of him that in spite of all the innumerable time sales and leases made by him, through which he became the creditor of thousands of persons, he never foreclosed and sold up more than five mortgages, and the most of these by request of the debtors.
In 1814, having occasion to go to Washington, a journey then indeed, and scarcely to be made except on horseback and in the course of months, he took with him his son, James H., a frolicsome youth, full of fun and humor and rather coltish in his high spirits and free temper, naturally somewhat impatient of restraint having lost his mother so young in life. Returning West, James H. Lucas was sent to school at the college of St. Thomas, Nelson Co., Ky., an institution in charge of the Dominican order of friars. Among his schoolmates at this academy were Jefferson Davis, with Louis A. Benoist, Bernard Pratte, Gustave Soulard, and Bion Gratiot, all of St. Louis. In 1816 he and his brother William were students in Jefferson College, Canonsburg, Pa., an institution founded in 1802, and under charge of the Presbyterians. He was still here when, Sept. 27, 1817, his brother Charles died of the wound inflicted by Col. Benton's pistol. It is said, we know not how truly that his father, disliking the lad's propensity for mischief, sent him from here to a school in New Hampshire. He may, perhaps, have been "rusticated." At any rate, he did travel, about the time assigned, in New England, and whether he sent his father a "declaration of independence" or not, he studied law in Hudson (or Poughkeepsie), N. Y., supporting himself the while by teaching French in a young lady's seminary. In Hudson he studied in the office of Elisha Williams, a leading lawyer. Afterwards he went to the well-known law school of Judge Reeves, in Litchfield, Conn., where he had for his fellow-students men like Governor Ashley, Ichabod Bartlett, of New Hampshire, and N. P. Talmage, of New York, afterwards United States senator.
In 1819 he and Ashley, tiring of the "land of steady habits," returned to the West, the two with a companion forthwith embarking on a keel-boat with the purpose of descending the Mississippi and seeking their fortunes in South America, then in all the turmoil and excitement of revolution. Having got as far as Montgomery Point, on the White River, they seem to have changed their minds, took a pirogue up
the river, passed through the "cut-off" to the Arkansas, and landed at Arkansas Post, famous for its founder Tonti, the companion of La Salle, and for the connection of Laclede with the place. Here Lucas was fortunate enough to become acquainted with Mr. Notrebe, the chief merchant and planter in that section, an elegant French gentleman of culture and refinement, with whom Lucas sealed a lifelong friendship. Doubtless this new acquaintance had a most beneficial influence upon young Lucas, for he seems at once to have settled down, resuming his law studies with energy, determination, and persistence, supporting himself by teaching school, and giving all his leisure hours to study. Here, and at Little Rock later, he followed other means of livelihood also, set type on the Arkansas Gazette, worked a plantation, and ran a ferry opposite the place, charging twenty-five cents' toll for his fares, foot passengers. He secured the appointment of county clerk also, until he passed the bar, when he took his saddle-bags and began to ride the circuit. This industry was not without its reward, for Governor James Miller, of the Territory, made him in 1825 major in the militia, and afterwards judge of the probate court. In this position Mr. Lucas remembered to have often performed the marriage ceremony, and it was he who married Albert Pike, the poet and general.
On May 10, 1832, he was himself married to Marie Emilie Desruisseaux, a native of Arkansas Post, but French in descent. The father of Miss Desruisseaux was Indian agent at the post of Arkansas it the time, a man of consequence and ability, well educated, and possessing great influence. He was a Canadian by birth, French in his origin, and had come to that remote station from Canada by way of the ancient town of Cahokia. On the mother's side, the late Mrs. James H. Lucas was more American in blood. Her mother was a Van Noye, daughter of a native of New Jersey (of Dutch descent) who had married a Miss Anderson, of Virginia, and had seen service during the war of the Revolution. Thirteen children were the fruits of James H. Lucas' marriage, of whom six sons and two daughters survived him. Mrs. Marie E. Lucas died on the 24th of December, 1878, after a married life of forty-six and a half years, being then only in her sixty-fourth year. At the time of her death a St. Louis journal said that, "though occupying a position in society which the advantages of wealth and refinement entitled her to assume, she was unpretentious and unassuming. She was ever the dutiful wife, the indulgent mother, and faithful friend, devoted to every duty which a religious faith and matronly qualities called upon her to exercise. Surviving her husband five years, she lived to see her numerous family settled in life, enjoying the large portions which fell to them from one of the largest estates in St. Louis. Besides her six sons she leaves two sons-in-law, Dr. J. B. Johnson, of St. Louis, and Judge Hager, of California."
In 1837 his brother William died, and James H. was the only living son of John B. C. Lucas, who was already old, getting feeble, and feeling lonesome. His daughter, Mrs. Hunt, had only at this time been married a year to her second husband, Wilson P. Hunt, and of course her own ménage demanded all her time. John B. C. Lucas wrote to his son James to come home to him, and, prompted by filial duty, the young man gave up his prospects in Arkansas and removed with his family to St. Louis. He arrived here in October, 1837, and settled on what Mr. Lucas called "the farm," or home-place, which his father gave him for his own. It consisted of fifty acres of land, and was valued then at thirty thousand dollars. His residence was near the fountain in Lucas (now called Missouri) Park, and he soon took the entire control and management of the extensive Lucas property, the judge, now nearly eighty years old, having become infirm and feeble. From 1837, therefore, James H. Lucas is thoroughly and effectively identified with the progress of St. Louis, and its growth in wealth and prosperity.
In 1842, on the 18th of August, John Baptiste Charles Lucas died, full of years and honors, and James H. Lucas and Annie L. Hunt, his sister, succeeded to the entire estate.
The original tract owned by the estate was bounded north by St. Charles Street, on the east by Fourth, south by Market, and west by Pratte Avenue. That embraced the Lucas property up to 1837. The last acquisition made by the old judge was Côte Brilliante, consisting of two hundred and forty acres, which was bought for one hundred and fifty dollars in gold, and comprised the undivided land owned by Mr. Lucas and Mrs. Hunt. Mr. Lucas had also another farm, the New Madrid location, his country-seat, called "Normandy," on the St. Charles Rock road, nine miles from the city. This portion, now belonging to the Lucas estate, comprises eight hundred acres. Also, at the mouth of the Missouri River, there are six hundred and forty-three acres belonging to the estate. This is an old Spanish fort, where the battle of Bellefontaine was fought, in which fight Charles Lucas participated as colonel. There is also the Courtois tract, consisting of four hundred arpens, near Eureka Station, on the Maramec, still undivided; also twenty
acres on the Clayton road, the old Barrett place. In the management of the city portion of his vast estate, in building and improvements, Mr. Lucas devoted the remaining years of his protracted life, and but rarely engaged in the turbulent excitement of political affairs. He was, to be sure, State senator from 1844 to 1845, making a good serviceable member, and in 1847 consented to run as the Whig candidate for mayor in a triangular fight in which W. M. Campbell, Native American, and Judge Bryan Mullanphy, Democrat, were his opponents. Mr. Lucas was simply the color-bearer in a forlorn hope, and he ran for the sake of his party, not to be elected. Mullanphy triumphed over both the other candidates.
In business enterprises of a public character Mr. Lucas took a conspicuous and leading part. He was always ready to subscribe his money liberally and give his time freely to the service of any undertaking which he thought likely to promote the welfare and prosperity of St. Louis. He subscribed thirty-three thousand dollars at the start to the stock of the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company, of which he was twice elected president, promoting its success in many ways, and especially by shaping and indorsing its financial exertions. He helped to organize the St. Louis Gas Company, of which he was also president; was a director in the Boatmen's Savings Institution, and a large shareholder and director in nearly all the other prominent moneyed institutions of this city. In 1851, as hertofore stated, in order to promote his own extensive financial operations, he established a banking-house in St. Louis, branches of which were afterwards established in New York and San Francisco. He was now building very extensively, besides his ramified connection with many joint-stock enterprises, and the Lucas Market and the Lucas Place, both laid out by him, are perpetual monuments of the liberality of his great projects, and the taste which strengthened and embellished his judgment. His bank enjoyed, as it deserved, the confidence of the community, the vaults of the St. Louis house sometimes containing deposits to the value of two and a half millions.
In 1857 the banking firm of Lucas, Simonds & Co., of St. Louis, and the branch in San Francisco, under the firm of Lucas, Turner & Co., went under with the financial panic of that year. It was no reproach to the stability of any concern to yield temporarily to the pressure of such convulsions. Mr. Lucas gave his notes to all the creditors, some of whom valued the security so highly, with the rate of interest paid on them, that Mr. Lucas had not succeeded in calling them all in three years afterwards. In these financial troubles, Mr. Lucas, as we have seen, assumed the entire liabilities, and paid off every creditor with ten per cent. interest, the loss to him amounting in the aggregate to about half a million of dollars. The debtors of the banking houses he never sued, but accepted whatever was offered.
In 1856, the year before this monetary cataclysm, Mr. Lucas sought a temporary relaxation from his labors in an extensive tour through Europe, his traveling companions being his son William and his daughter Elizabeth (now the wife of Judge Hager, of California). He visited the home of his ancestors in Normandy, and bought the old homestead near Pont-Audemer. Returning home he attended with assiduous industry to the management of his business. Under the transforming hand of time, and the rise in the value of real estate, his riches increased with the rapid progress of St. Louis.
Of this rapid growth and unexampled progress Mr. Lucas was at once the observant witness and the sagacious promoter. He enriched himself by contributing wisely and largely to enrich and beautify the city, and so freely did he employ his vast means that he was generally in debt for ready cash, and compelled to borrow money to help forward the innumerable enterprises with which he was associated. Sometimes his great estates made him "land poor," and he once told a friend, at a meeting at the Planters' Hotel, many years before his death, that while he was worth, as he supposed, two million dollars, he frequently had not money enough to go to market with. It was not with many people that he became thus confidential, for he was a quiet man, rather reserved, and fond of keeping his own counsel, but at times, in the company of a few friends, he unbent from his usual reserve, and was eminently social and fond of telling sketchy anecdotes of his early life and adventures.
Mr. Lucas was a man of marked capacity and positive character, and of the most undoubted integrity. He was modest and unassuming in his deportment, and retiring in his habits, with no disposition to put himself forward, but in whatever position be was placed he was emphatic and decided.
With all these elements of a strong character, he was fitted to assume the responsibilities devolved upon him by his father and to manage a great estate which by his prudence, foresight, and industry was so largely increased in value and kept intact for the benefit of his family.
His fortune was very large. He owned two hundred and twenty-five dwellings and stores previous to the division of his property in 1872. His taxes the year before his death on his portion of the estate
were one hundred and twenty-six thousand dollars. He had in all three hundred and odd tenants. Before the division of two millions to his wife and eight children, the income was forty thousand dollars per month, amounting to nearly half a million annually. After giving away the two millions, the portion of the estate left was estimated by good judges at five millions. He was also largely interested in the Pilot Knob Iron Company, owning one-fifth of the stock, which he gave away to his children, being twenty-five thousand dollars to each, and not included in the two millions given them as before stated. At an early day his father, Judge Lucas, lived in a stone house on Seventh Street, between Market and Chestnut, and he also had a farm residence in the woods, on the site of the First Presbyterian Church, and one of the apple-trees of the old orchard is yet standing.
The residence of Mr. Lucas was for many years on the southwest corner of Ninth and Olive Streets, but of late years he resided in an elegant dwelling on Lucas Place, bought of John How in 1867.
Mr. Lucas gave as liberally as he subscribed. The city owes him for a quit-claim deed for the old jail lot; he built the Lucas Market, and gave the Historical Society real estate valued at ten thousand dollars. He gave the ground upon which the Planters' Hotel was built, and which was originally called "Lucas Hotel."
He donated eleven thousand dollars towards building the Southern Hotel. He encouraged the new Exchange enterprise by selling a portion of the ground to the association at a low price and by taking twenty thousand dollars' stock, with assurances that the Fourth Street front when built would be equal in elegance and architectural design to the building of the Chamber of Commerce Association. He gave to the city Missouri Park. Two or three times he and Mrs. Hunt gave lots for a cathedral, besides lots and donations of money to numerous charitable institutions.
The following instance of his liberality may also be mentioned in this connection: At the close of the war in 1865, a man came up here from Little Rock, with three thousand dollars in "starvation bonds," which he endeavored to sell, in order to meet his pressing wants. The only offer he received was twenty cents on the dollar for the bonds. Mr. Lucas took them at their face, making only one request, that the party selling them would on his return to Arkansas give "Old Larky," who was in indigent circumstances from the war and whom he knew, some meat and flour. The bonds he subsequently gave away to old Dr. Price to pay his taxes with, as they were good in Arkansas for that purpose.
James H. Lucas died Nov. 11, 1873, at his residence, 1515 Lucas Place. His eight children survived him, six sons and two daughters, all of whom are married. He was buried with quiet but imposing ceremonies from St. John's Church, corner of Chestnut and Sixteenth Streets, Archbishop Kenrick officiating and Bishop Ryan preaching the funeral sermon in presence of nearly all the leading citizens of St. Louis, assembled to do honor to the deceased good man and honored fellow-citizen. The remains were interred in Calvary Cemetery.
Mr. Lucas' sister, Mrs. Anne L. Hunt, the other heir to the estate of J. B. C. Lucas, survived him for several years, dying April 13, 1879, at her residence, which, like her brother's, was also in Lucas Place. In youth she was a bright and lovely girl, precocious in intellect and a favorite in society. As has been stated above, she married early and had two husbands. Her large estate was managed by her with excellent prudence and judgment, while of its income she seemed to look upon herself as chiefly an almoner, giving very largely to charities, some of which originated with others, but some were planned and conceived by her alone. She gave in the most unostentatious way, so, indeed, as she used to say, that only she alone could see the fruits of her beneficence. It is said that in this way, in money and real estate, she gave away nearly a million dollars. Among the institutions founded by Mrs. Hunt were the sisterhood and house of the Good Shepherd, and the church and school of St. Mary's. She also materially aided the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Mrs. Hunt was her own executrix in a great measure, distributing her estate herself during the last four years of her life. She was as charitable in thought and speech as she was in deed, lived simply and plainly, and had such an aversion to ostentation that she particularly directed all the arrangements for her own funeral, so as to prohibit everything like display. She left two children, nineteen grandchildren, and twenty-two great-grandchildren.
The St. Louis Clearing-House Association was organized in the latter part of 1868, and began active operations on December 24th of that year with the following members:
Accommodation Bank, Bartholow, Lewis & Co., Boatmen's Savings Institution, Butchers' and Drovers' Bank, Central Savings-Bank, Commercial Bank, Exchange Bank, First National Bank, Fourth National Bank, Fourth Street Bank, Franklin Avenue German Savings Institution, Franklin Savings Institution, German Bank, German Savings Institution, Haskell & Co., International Bank, G. H. Loker & Brother, Mechanics' Bank, Merchants' National Bank, National Bank State of Missouri, National Loan Bank, North St. Louis Savings
Association, People's Savings Institution, Provident Savings Institution, St. Louis National Bank, St. Louis Building and Savings Association, Second National Bank, State Savings Association, Third National Bank, Traders' Bank, Union National Bank, Union Savings Association, United States Savings Institution, Clark Brothers & Co., Western Savings-Bank. The original management was composed of: President, W. E. Burr, president St. Louis National Bank; Vice-President, Charles Hodgeman, cashier Boatmen's Savings Institution.; Committee of Management, J. H. Britton, president National Bank State of Missouri; Felix Coste, president St. Louis Building and Savings Association; J. C. H. D. Block, president Fourth National Bank; W. H. Maurice, cashier National Loan Bank; John R. Lionberger, president Third National Bank; Manager, James T. Howenstein.
In 1873, Charles Parsons succeeded Mr. Burr as president, J. R. Lionberger succeeded Mr. Hodgeman as vice-president, and Edward Chase succeeded Mr. Howenstein as manager.
On the 12th of July, 1875, an amendment (section 18) to the constitution was adopted, providing that
"no member shall be added to this association unless such member shall have a paid up capital of $150,000, and no member having a less amount of paid up capital than $150,000 shall be allowed to make the exchanges through the Clearing-House for any non-member, except under such contracts as are now existing."
The Clearing-House was originally located in the Exchange Bank building, but is now situated at No. 528, Chamber of Commerce building.
The present government is as follows:
President, Charles Parsons, president State Savings Association; Vice-President, Thomas E. Tutt, president Third National Bank; Committee of Management, Joseph O'Neil (president Citizens' Savings-Bank), William H. Thomson (cashier Boatmen's Savings-Bank), E. C. Breck (cashier Exchange Bank), Richard Hospes (cashier German Savings Institution), R. R. Hutchinson assistant cashier Mechanics' Bank); Committee of Arbitration, C. B. Burnham (president Bank of Commerce), S. B. Hoffman (president Valley National Bank), William Nichols (cashier Commercial Bank), James E. Yeatman (president Merchants' National Bank), George A. Baker (president Continental Bank); Committee on Membership, T. A. Stoddart (cashier Third National Bank), John Nickerson (cashier St. Louis National Bank), F. W. Biebinger (cashier Fourth National Bank); Manager, Edward Chase; Members, Laclede Bank, Boatmen's Savings-Bank, Commercial Bank, Fourth National Bank, Franklin Bank, German Savings Institution, International Bank, Mechanics' Bank, Merchants' National Bank, Continental Bank, Provident Savings Institution, St. Louis National Bank, Bank of Commerce, State Savings Association, Third National Bank, Union Savings Association, Citizens' Savings-Bank, Valley National Bank.
Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Saint Louis City and County, From the Earliest Periods to the Present Day: Including Biographical Sketches of Representative Men. In Two Volumes, Illustrated. Volume II . Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts & Co., 1883. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; proceedings]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=scharf2.html