Banks of Rock Island County
Before entering into details of the banks of Rock- Island County it would be well to recall early conditions and incidents. Within the last fifty-six years there have been numerous panics, but none so disastrous locally as that of 1857 and 1858. Four banks in Rock Island were reduced to one (Mitchell and Cable) as the immediate result, and that bank and the bank of Gould, Dimock and Company, Moline, were the only banks in the county for several years. The bulk of the currency in this section in those days was issued by the Bank of Florence, organized by Cook, Sargent and Parker, but it was located at Florence, Nebraska, which is still an insignificant suburb .of Omaha. It must be remembered that there was no railroad across the State of Iowa in 1857, hence the place of ultimate redemption of Florence money was practically inaccessible. As long as the powerful banking house of Cook and Sargent at Davenport voluntarily redeemed the notes, they stood high but when that firm went down in the panic great distress followed in this section. As far as I know there was never but one daylight bank hold-up in the county. March 24, 1856 there was a robbery of $5,000 from the bank of Cook, Sargent and Parker in Rock Island. Mr. Parker, the cashier, was out of the city, and at the noon hour A. F. Heath, bookkeeper, had gone to the Rock Island House for dinner, leaving the teller, John Thorington, alone in the office. Thorington said he was assaulted by three men, having been knocked down with a slung shot, and that the robbery and escape followed. He dragged himself into the adjoining hardware store of Harper and Steel in a very much battered state. Alarm was immediately given and officers and citizens, horseback and afoot, swarmed over the city and surrounding country, but without avail. The matter is still a mystery. July 20, 1904, burglars made a desperate attempt to enter the safe of the State Bank of East Moline. With a liberal use of nitro-glycerine they blew off the outer safe door, but left at about two o’clock in the morning without having made any impression on the burglar proof money box. While they did not get a cent of money they made a sad wreck of office and furniture. No clue was ever obtained of the burglars. Charles Fiebig, lock expert of this city, opened the money chest next morning and contents were intact and uninjured. John L. Drew, of Davenport, was a clerk in the bank of Cook, Sargent and Parker of Rock Island in 1854, continuing with the bank of Mitchell and Cable for a few months during the year of 1856. He, therefore, served as a banker at an earlier date than any living man in this section. Honorable J. M. Gould, late of Moline, served for a great. many successive years as a banker, and is the pioneer living bank president. Phil Mitchell commenced his bank service in 1863; it has been practically continuous, and he is probably entitled to credit for longest service. In order to show the growth of the banking business it may be said that in 1873, which was a panic year, deposits in all the banks in the county did not exceed $600,000. Now they are $11,800,000. The first bank in this section was that of Cook and Sargent, established in 1847 at Davenport. It continued in business, as the leading bank on the upper Mississippi until its failure in the panic of 1858. Its owners, Ebenezer Cook, John P. Cook and George B. Sargent, were able financiers, and at the time of the failure they probably owned more good Iowa land than any later firm or individual, but it could not be sold at any price in those distressing times. The first bank in Rock Island County was that of Cook, Sargent and Parker, which in 1852 occupied the room now occupied by T. H. Thomas, Second Avenue and Seventeenth Street. In 1854 this bank was moved to the quarters’ now occupied by the State Bank of Rock Island, its successor, showing a continuous existence of more than fifty-six years. It is the oldest bank in the State of Illinois, save one. In 1856 the late P. L. Mitchell, and the late P. L. Cable came to Rock Island from Kentucky and bought out the Cook, Sargent and Parker bank, continuing the business under the firm name of Mitchell and Cable until 1860, when the late Cornelius Lynde, junior, bought out Mr. Cable’s interest, and the firm became Mitchell and Lynde, which firm was in turn succeeded by the present State Bank of Rock Island in 1905. In the latter part of 1852 or early 1853 the late Isaac Negus, and the late William L. Lee and the late M. B. Osborn organized the Rock Island Bank, a state institution, and authorized under the then existing state banking law to issue bank notes, which it did liberally. John H. Kinney, now of Chicago was cashier for several years. This was the first bank of issue in the county, and it is fair to state it met every dollar of its obligations, both to depositors and note holders, chiefly through the financial rectitude and moral stamina of the late Isaac Negus, who stood by it manfully, and was its last president when its bank building and business were sold to Mitchell and Lynde in 1861. The Bank of the Federal Union of Rock Island was organized in 1856 by the late General N. B. Buford, H. C. Blackburn and Bushrod Birch, all brothers-in-law. This was also a bank of issue as well as deposit and succumbed to the panic of 1857 and 1858. In 1856 there was the private banking house of Fish, Goodale and Lee at Rock Island. This bank also went out of business in the panic of 1857 and 1858, but our late fellow citizen, Mylo Lee, was the medium through which every dollar of its obligations were paid. Mitchell and Lynde continued to be the only bank in Rock Island from 1861 to 1863, when P. L. Mitchell and Cornelius Lynde, junior, organized the First National Bank of Rock Island, capital $100,000, with P. L. Mitchell as president and J. M. Buford as cashier. It was among the earliest of the national banks to be in operation in the United States, its charter number being one hundred and eight. It continued in business until 1890, when its business was merged with that of Mitchell and Lynde. The next bank to be started in Rock Island was the Rock Island National Bank, in 1871, whose first president was the late Captain T. J. Robinson, and first cashier Mr. A. Benedict, now of San Jose, California. Mr. Benedict served but a short time and he was succeeded by the late J. F. Robinson, the present officers being H. E. Casteel, president; M. S. Heagy, vice-president; and H. B. Simmon, cashier. Capital, $100,000. The Peoples National Bank of Rock Island -capital, $100,000-was organized in 1874, with Bailey Davenport as president, Joseph Rosenfield, vice-president and John Peetz as cashier. Its present officers are Otto Huber, president, and Carl Hellpenstell, vice-president and cashier. The Rock Island Savings Bank was the first savings bank, and first state bank to be organized under the present Illinois banking laws in the county. Capital, $100,000. The first officers were E. P. Reynolds, president, and J. M. Buford, cashier, which position he retained up to the time of his election to the presidency to succeed the late P. L. Mitchell. The present officers are Phil. Mitchell, president; H. P. Hull, vice-president, and P. Greenawalt, cashier. The Central Trust and Savings Bank of Rock Island-capital, $100,000-was organized in 1899, and its present officers are H. E. Casteel, president; M. S. Heagy, vice-president and H. B. Simmon, cashier. In Moline, Chapman Brothers conducted a small banking and exchange business, with insurance agency, as early as 1856, but they failed in the ensuing panic, and it may be truthfully said the beginning of the banking business in Moline was in 1857, when Gould, Dimock and Company started their private bank. This bank was succeeded in December, 1863, by the First National Bank of Moline, with J. S. Keator as president, and J. M. Gould as cashier. John Deere was president in 1866, succeeded by J. M. Gould as president and J. S. Gillmore cashier in 1867, H. S. Chapman becoming vice-president in 1905, succeeding J. T. Browning. It was merged with the Peoples Savings Bank and Trust Company in 1905. The Peoples Savings Bank of Moline-capital, $100,000-organized in 1891, its first officers being C. H. Deere, president; Morris Rosenfield, vice-president, and J. S. Gilmore, cashier, merged with the Peoples Savings Bank and Trust Company in 1905. The Peoples Savings Bank and Trust Company of Moline was organized in 1905. Capital, $150,000. This was a consolidation with the First National Bank, and Peoples Savings Bank of Moline. Its first officers were C. H. Deere, president; H. L. Chapman, vice-president; and J. S. Gillmore, cashier. The present officers are William Butterworth, president; N. H. Green, vice-president; and C. W. Lundahl, cashier. The Manufacturers Bank of Moline was organized under a state charter in 1869. Its first officers were S. W. Wheelock, president ; Porter Skinner, vice-president; C. W. Lobdell, cashier; and C. F. Hemenwav, assistant cashier. It was succeeded in 1872 by the Moline National Bank-capital, $100,000-with the same officers as above, and this bank was in turn succeeded in 1906 by the State Savings Bank and Trust Company, of Moline-capital, $200,000. The present officers are F. G. Allen, president; C. I. Josephson, vice-president; and Sol. Hirsch, cashier. In 1863 W. H. Devore started a private bank at Port Byron. At first it was under the name of Brown and Devore, but Mr. Devore succeeded and continued until Simon-son and Schafer became his successor, to be in turn succeeded by the present Port Byron State Bank-capital, $50,000. The present officers are J. W. Simonson, president; F. S. Gates, vice-president; B. B. Huntley, cashier. E. E. Rogers and Sons started in the private banking business in Port Byron in 1871, the partners being E. E. Rogers, Frank E. Rogers and E. M. Rogers, the bank being known as the Bank of Port Byron. – M. Schoonmaker started the Reynolds Bank, at Reynolds, in 1888, a private bank which was sold to R. P. Wait and Company several years thereafter, who continue the business. The Farmers State Bank of Reynolds was organized in 1904-capital, $25,000-with M. Schoonmaker, president; Elisha Lee, vice-president; and J. E. Lee, cashier. The State Bank of East Moline was organized in 1904-capital, $25,000. Its first officers were Phil Mitchell, president; Daniel McNeal, vice-president; and B. J. Mitchell, cashier. The present officers are J. A. O’Neil, president; William Jackson, vice-president; and F. A. Sudlow, cashier. R. P. Wait started the private Bank of Taylor Ridge in 1905. H. R. Cox started the private Bank of Silvis in 1907, which is the last one to be started in the county.
Source: Historic Rock Island County, pub. Kramer & Company, Rock Island, Illinois, 1908