CLARKSVILLE BANKS In 1859
In 1859 four banks were located in Clarksville: (1) the Branch Bank of Planters Bank; (2) the Branch Bank of Tennessee; (3) the Bank of America; and (4) the Northern Bank of Tennessee.
The Branch Bank of Planters Bank
This bank opened in 1835 with headquarters in Nashville. Henry F. Beaumont was president and John C. Miller was cashier. Shareholders included: H. F. Beaumont, James B. Reynolds, John Poston, Charles Minor, Andrew Vance and William Gray. Upon the death of Mr. Miller, A. A. McLean of Nashville became cashier and in 1842 William P. Hume became the cashier.
In 1859 the branch bank was located on the west corner of Franklin Street and Public Square. Bank directors were H. F. Beaumont, William Broaddus, William M. Stewart, R. S. Moore, Thomas McCulloch, W. T. Dortch, J. G. McKoin, John F. House, W. B. Munford and Samuel B. Seat. The bank closed during the Civil War.
The Branch Bank of Tennessee
This bank opened in 1838 with Thomas W. Barksdale as president and E. B. Roche as cashier. In 1844 John H. Poston became president and Mr. Barksdale cashier. In 1846 the Tennessee legislature decided to discontinue this branch bank but later decided to reestablish it in 1850.
In 1859 R. W. Humphreys was president and Benjamin H. Wisdom was cashier. The bank had capital of $160,000 and was located on the west side of Public Square. Bank directors were R. W. Humphreys, Joshua Elder, J. T. Johnson, R. F. Ferguson, 0. M. Blackman, Thomas J. Munford, William Parry, W.M. Shelton, John F. Courts, T. B. Gorin, J. M. Scarborough and R. McNeilly.
David N. Kennedy, W. B. Munford and Joshua Elder also served as presidents prior to the Civil War.
During the Civil War the bank was moved quite frequently to evade capture by federal forces. At the close of the Civil War the assets were turned over to the state government in Nashville. A large portion of these assets were never accounted for and many depositors and note holders lost their investments.
Bank of America
The parent Bank of America was established in Clarksville in 1856 and had branches at Dresden and Rogersville. It had capital of $200,000. Colonel Montgomery D. Davie was president and John F. Barnes was cashier. Charles M. Hite also served as cashier at one time. In 1856, John Barnes, S. Philpott, James A. Trice, C. D. West, William A. Mason, Dr. Walter Drane, G. A. Henry, James F. Quarles and James H. Williams were founders disposing of 100 shares in this $100,000 enterprise; $100,000 was to be added for each branch.
In 1859 Colonel Davie was president and Captain R. Y. Johnson was cashier. The bank was located on the' west side of Public Square where the mayors office was once located. This bank was unable to survive the panic of 1857 which closed. The building later collapsed and was rebuilt.
Northern Bank of Tennessee
This bank was established in 1854. It was first known as Kennedy and Glenn, Bankers and Exchange Dealers. When chartered in 1854, it became the Northern Bank of Tennessee because of its geographical location in the state. It was chartered with $50,000 capital by two experienced bankers, David N. Kennedy, who became president and James L. Glenn, who became cashier. Mr. Kennedy had formerly been with the Branch Bank of Tennessee and Mr. Glenn had formerly owned a private bank on the east side of Public Square. This bank was first located in an old house on the west side of Public Square which later became John Young's saddlers Shop.
This was a bank of issue up to the Civil War, redeeming its notes in gold until United States currency was made legal tender. Thereafter it redeemed in such currency until all its notes were retired.
During the Civil War Mr. Kennedy was still president of the bank. When he learned that Fort Donelson had been captured by Federal forces, he took action to preserve the bank's assets. He put the assets in his saddlebags and left town in the dead of night headed for New Orleans. These assets were sent to England for safekeeping. Mr. Kennedy was experienced in packing money in saddlebag and traveling through the night in cold weather. Some ten years before in December he had done it for the Branch Bank of Tennessee in order to bring needed funds from Nashville to Clarksville.
At the close of the Civil War, the bank's assets were returned to Clarksville and the bank reopened. John W. Faxon became Assistant Cashier. The bank was now located in a building next door to its old offices. This building had been vacated by the Bank of America. During the Civil War it had been used by the Provost Marshal of the federal forces.
The Northern Bank was the first bank to offer loans based on the borrower’s credit rather than on the endorser's credit. This was a revolutionary step in banking circles.
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