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Scott County Historical Society

Scott County, Virginia


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History of Banking In Scott County

     Today, only two financial institutions, Bank of Virginia and Virginia National Bank operate banking facilities in Scott County. Later this year, Wise County National Bank plans to open a branch in Duffield. It's been more than 50 years since a bank operated in that area.

     At one time, banks were located in virtually every area of Scott County. In the early 1900's three banks were located in Gate City, one in Clinchport, Duffield, Dungannon, Fort Blackmore, and Nickelsville. The reason for so many banks, undoubtedly wasn't because there was so much money, but rather a necessity as each section was pretty much isolated. Travel was limited in those davs to horses and buggies, therefore, each section fundtioned pretty much on its own. It seems logical that a bank would be an important part of each community.

     The earliest account of a bank in Scott County is that of the Bank of Estillville, established in Gate City in 1889. The bank was located on the corner of Jackson and Cleveland Streets in the building now occupied by the Musicenter. In the 1930's, the Sandwich Shop, a popular gathering place, was located in the building. 1. P. Kane was chosen as the First Cashier of the Bank, serving in that capacity for about 15 years. J. M. Johnson was chosen as the bank's first president. The bank merged with the First National Bank of Gate City in the early 1900's.

     In a March 3, 1898 edition of The Southwest Journal, a report of the condition of the Bank of Gate City at the close of business, December 5, 1897, lists 1. P. Kane as president, J. M. Johnson, cashier, R. A. Ayers, J. M. Johnson and J. B. Richmond as directors.

     In 1907, The Gate City Herald reported .. "Messrs. H. G. and A. K. Morison have purchased a large amount of the stock of First National Bank of Gate City. Perhaps nothing could speak more highly for the flourishing condition of the bank than the fact that they bought this stock at a premium ranging from forty to fifty cents. The Morison brothers are shrewd, energetic and enterprising young men and their active connection with the First National will doubtless make it more prosperous than ever."

     The same edition listed, in addition to Mr. Kane, P. W. Bevins and W. D. Smith as vice presidents. Later in 1909, J. M. Johnson served as bank president. In 1914, N. M. Horton was added to the list of First National presidents. Again in 1931, 1. P. Kane was chosen as president succeeding Mr. Horton at his death.

      The Bank of Gate City, located where Virginia National Bank is now located, later merged with the Peoples National Bank. A consolidated report of the two banks places this transaction as having occurred at the close of business January 3rd, 1930.

    Peoples National and the First National Bank merged in 1932 with the name being changed to First and Peoples National Bank. In 1944, The First and Peoples National changed its name to the First National Bank of Gate City. W. H. Bowling was named president, succeeding Ryland G. Craft.

     In 1964, E. T. Carter, Jr., president of First National Bank announced plans for a merger with Virginia National Bank. The merger became effective April 9, 1965 with the name being changed to Virginia National Bank.

     Individuals associated with the Gate City banks, available from old newspaper files are as follows:

     First National Bank - 1907 - Jos. A. Quillen, J. D. Broadwater, W. D. Smith, R. A. Ayers, J. B. Gilley, 1. P. Kane. 1909 - J. M. Johnson, President; P. W. Bevins, Vice President; Directors: 1. P. Kane, Jno. E. Smith, D. C. Sloan, J. B. Gilley, A. K. Morison, Dr. J. M. Dougherty, W. D. Smith. 1912 - N. W. Horton, president; P. W. Bevins, Dr. J. M. Dougherty, Vice _President, J. W. Carter, Cashier; W. S. Pendleton, Assistant Cashier; J. B. Gilley, W. C. R. Strong.

     1906 - Jos. A. Quillin, J. J. Alley, W. D. Smith, R. A. Ayers, J. B. Gilley, P. W. Bevins; 1. P. Kane, President; P. W. Bevins, Jos. A. Quillen, W. D. Smith, vice presidents.

     1911- N. J. Bussell, W. D. Smith, Dr. J. M. Dougherty, W. C. R. Strong, J. S. Dorton, P. W. Bevins, J. B. Gilley, 1. P. Kane, N. M. Horton, president; P. W. Bevins and J. M. Dougherty, vice presidents.

     1927 - J. T. McConnell, S. W. Coleman, N. M. Horton. 1928 -J. M. Dougherty, W. D. Smith, N. M. Horton. 1929 - W. D. Smith, H.C. Kidd, N. M. Horton, J. M. Dougherty, S. W. Coleman, I. P. Kane. 1930 - 1. P. Kane, S. W. Coleman, N. M. Horton, Jas. W. Lynn, E. W. King, King Anderson, C. L. Kidd, J. L. Addington, R. C. Carico, J. D. Clay, R. G. Boatright, cashier. 1931 -J. M. Dougherty, I. P. Kane, N. M. Horton, S. W. Coleman, John H. Caldwell, E. W. King, C. L. Kidd, W. F. Smith, cashier, J. A. Odle. 1932 - I. P. Kane, H. C. Kidd, J. M. Dougherty, Sr., J. A. Odle, S. W. Coleman.

     Peoples National- 1906 - J. B. Riclunond, W. H. Bowling, W. C. R. Strong. 1911- 1. G. Cox, President, D. C. Sloan, J. V. Lyon, Wilburn Neeley, vice presidents; W. H. Bowling, P. H. Nickels, J. H. Peters, E. T. Carter, W. W. Ramey, A. R. Jennings. 1927 - W. A. Ruth, D. C. Sloan, A. R. Jennings. 1928 - D. C. Sloan, W. A. Ruth, J. H. Peters, E. T. Carter. 1929 - D. C. Sloan, E. T. Carter, A. R. Jennings, H. P. Boatright, cashier. 1930 - D. C. Sloan, Ryland Craft, E. T. Carter, P. H. Nickels, S. W. Coleman. 1931 W. H. Bowling, P. H. Nickels, E. T. Carter, S. W. Coleman, D. C. Sloan, J. W. Carter, Gus N. Addington, H. P. Boatright, cashier, R. G. Craft, J. M. Dougherty, Jr. 1932 - D. C. Sloan, W. H. Bowling, P. H. Nickels, E. T. Carter, R. G. Craft, J. W. Carter, H. P. Boatright, cashier (June 30, 1932).

     First & Peoples National Bank - (Dec. 31, 1932) H. C. Kidd, E. T. Carter, D. C. Sloan, I. P. Kane, W. H. Bowling, P. H. Nickels, W. S. Pendleton, Cashier. 1933 - H. C. Kidd, D. C. Sloan, P. H. Nickels, W. H. Bowling, I. P. Kane. 1937 - P. H. Nickels, W. H. Bowling, I. P. Kane, Mack Coleman, R. L. Kane, R. G. Craft, president.

     Bank of Gate City -1898 - R. A. Ayers, J. M. Johnson, J. B. Riclunond, I. P. Kane, President. 1927 - P. H. Nickels, W. W. Ramey, S. P. Elliott, C. M. Quillin. 1928 - P. H. Nickels, C. M. Quillin, J. B. Quillin, W. W. Ramey, J. W. Carter, Cashier. 1929 - P. H. Nickels, J. B. Quillin, W. W. Ramey, C. M. Quillin, J. W. Carter, cashier.

     Information on the other banks is rather limited, especially details on the Citizens Bank of Duffield. An old letter, dated February 23, 1922, provided by Kenny Fannon, lists Fred R. Steel, president, J. B. Robinette, vice president; J. N. Wagner, cashier and directors C. J. Robinette, C. P. Rogers, I. N. Gobble, J. L. Hill, J. M. Tomlinson, C. D. Robinette, J. D. Bledsoe and W. B. Nickels. The two story block building which housed the bank is still standing. The facility was used as a post office after the bank failed during the depression. Empire Gas is currently occupying the building.

     The old bank building in Dungannon was built by Walter Cox of Ashland, Kentucky in 1914. It was called the Bank of Dungannon. The post office was in one end of the building and the bank in the other end. Upstairs was used as apartments.

     W. F . C. Blackwell was the first and only cashier of the state bank. George Bevins of Wood was president of the bank. The bank closed during the depression years. According to a May 7, 1931 newspaper report, the bank failed to open for business on Saturday morning .. "in view of the slowness and difficulty of collections". Directors in 1927 were E. C. Quillen, Geo. C. Bevins, B. T. Culbertson. 1928 - J. M. Craft, B. F. Culbertson, Geo. C. Bevins. 1929 - J. M. Craft, G. H. McConnell, Geo. C. Blevins. 1930 - J. M. Craft, G. C. Bevins, G. H. McConnell.

     Early accounts of the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Clinchport found in a 1907 Gate City Herald, lists N. M. Horton as bank president, O. H. Gobble, J. L. Q. Moore, W. H. Davidson, vice presidents, and J. R. Carter, cashier.

     The bank building was located between Gobble and Kidd General Merchandise and J. M. Bowling Store.

     Frank Wolfenbarger, a long time resident of the town prior to moving to Gate City, recalls the closing of the bank. Frank was teaching in Speers Ferry at the time and had persuaded the school board to pay him two month's salary, which at that time was $75 per month, to be placed in the Clinchport bank. The money was placed in the bank on Friday and the doors were closed on Monday! Quite a few lost money but a small number recovered their loss, he says. According to Frank, Mr. Frank Stewart was the first receiver at the bank, followed by Horton and Ray Carter. These men served in this capacity until the bank was finally closed. Directors in 1927 were E. T. Sproles, J. L. Q. Moore, J. K. Carter. 1928 - J. B. Steele, E. T. Sproles, and 1929 - J. L. Q. Moore, E. T. Sproles, J. K. Carter, John R. Stone, cashier. Bill Stone was clerk at the time the bank closed.

     1909 - N. M. Horton, President, O. H. Gobble, J. L.Q. Moore, W. H. Davidson, vice presidents, J. T. Carter, cashier.

     The building which housed the Bank of Ft. Blackmore is the only landmark left in the town. The building is located next door to the post office. C. E. Geear, W. B. Johnson and B. C. Turner served as bank directors in 1927 and 1928. C. C. Johnson, Jr. was listed as cashier in the last financial statement found in our records, dated March 27, 1929. In the Jan. 1, 1931 edition of The Gate City Herald, an item stated a suit had been instituted by P. H. Carter, Jr., receiver for the bank for recovery of $934.70. The bank was paid in full, the article stated.

     The Farmers Exchange Bank located at Nickelsville was one of the few banks which survived the depression years. The bank building situated near the Ole Towne House Restaurant, was destroyed by fire following the depression. The fire began in a department store located in the building adjoining the bank. Although the building was re-built, the bank's stockholders sold to the Farmers Exchange Bank in Coeburn.

     Directors of the bank in 1927 were J. A. Odle, R. E. Fugate, R. L. McConnell. 1928 - R. L. McConnell, A. R. Grigsby, J. H. Dorton, V. W. Quillen. 1930 - R. L. McConnell, cashier, J. A. Odle, W L. Hillman, V. W. Quillin. 1931- J. A. Odle, R. E. Fugate, V. W. Quillin. 1932 A. R. Grigsby, H. P. Hillman, G. B. Culbertson, R. L. McConnell, cashier. 1933 - R. E. Fugate, V. W. Quillin, J. A. Odle, R. L. McConnell, Cashier.

     As late as December 1927, Scott County banks reported resources in excess of 2 million dollars. First National Bank of Gate City listed resources at $714,486.40; Peoples National Bank, $508,836.81; Farmers and Merchants Bank of Clinch port, $353,518.29; Bank of Gate City, $280,253.69; Bank of Dungannon, $179,097.65; Farmers Exchange Bank of Nickelsville, $119,805.06; and Bank of Ft. Blackmore, $97,599.26.

     In the April 16, 1931 edition of The Gate City Herald, an article on bank failures appearing in Harper's Magazine was quoted as having stated .. "there are 7000 National Banks in the U. S. and 16,000 State Banks. In 1930, 1188 banks failed completely in November and December alone, 564 banks closed their doors. In the last 10 years more than 6500 banks failed in the U. S. of which more than 5000 were in agricultural communities such as those in this section of Virginia."

     To restore normal and financial stability President Roosevelt proclaimed a nationwide banking holiday in 1933.

     The Gate City Herald carried the following article in conjunction with Roosevelt's action in its March 9, 1933 publication ... "The latest bank development embracing the United States brought only optimism from D. C. Sloan, president, regarding the condition of the First and Peoples National Bank here.

     "Sloan said he believed his bank to be in as good a shape as any in the state of Virginia. He explained that the bank owed no money to any outside source, that the bank's debts were paid, and that its credit was good for a large amount, should it become necessary to borrow.

     "Explaining that banks must have the permission of the Comptroller before restricting withdrawals, Sloan said he did not know whether or not the banks in the state would be placed on a restricted withdrawal basis after the present banking holiday draws to a close Thursday evening."Governor John Garland Pollard has called a two day banking holiday, Monday and Tuesday this week; Monday morning papers carried the proclamation of President Roosevelt declaring a national banking holiday extending through Thursday."


Scott County Herald-Virginian, July 2, 1980
Submitted by Lester Shadrick


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