Banks and Bankers

At the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, traditional banks did not exist, while business activities in Kentucky were conducted between sole proprietorships and partnerships.  Trade was “on account” that was usually settled in the fall after harvest or after a trip to New Orleans on a riverboat.  Currency was unavailable, with gold and silver coinage the principal form of monetary instruments.

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During the early Nineteenth Century, the principal means of exchange was gold and silver coinage or barter.  However, the supply of coinage was limited the amount of precious metals available.  As the economy of Kentucky expanded during the Nineteenth Century trade became largely based upon bank drafts sent to other banks for collection.  However, this method was slow and eventually required the exchange of...

The Agricultural Deposit Bank of Lexington was formed in 1856, with a capital base of three hundred thousand dollars.  Its banking house was located on Jordan's Row (Upper Street between Main and Short Streets).  The original Directors were John G. James (President), George W. Brand, John Norton, Oliver Farra, L. H. Chrisman, Dudley Portwood, Benjamin Tyler, James H. Hanna, Jesse Baker, Robert Young, Jordan Scott...

A third Bank of Kentucky was formed in Lexington during 1909.  The bank was located at 210 West Short Street, with a capital base of one hundred fifty thousand dollars.  The bank immediately ran into difficulties and ceased operations in December 1910.  Joseph W. Porter, of the First National Bank, was appointed the bank's receiver and made arrangements to pay off depositors.  In July 1911, the Board of Directors...

The first Bank of Kentucky was chartered by the General Assembly on December 27, 1806.  Its charter was promoted by a young Henry Clay, who was serving in Frankfort at the time.  One-half of the bank's capital stock was owned by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, with the parent bank located in Frankfort.  The charter also granted the right to establish branch banks.  Branches were shortly established in Lexington,...

To fill the void in banking the General Assembly established the second Bank of Kentucky in 1834.  This institution was headquartered in Louisville and owned partly by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  The bank was initially authorized to have a capitalization of five million dollars, divided into shares of one hundred dollars each.  By law, the Bank of Kentucky was restricted in the amounts of banknotes that could...

The Bank of Lexington was established in 1966.  Its offices were located on East Main Street until 1975, when the bank relocated to the Bank of Lexington Building on Limestone and Vine Streets.  In 1987, the bank relocated again to the Lexington Financial Center.  In 1991, the bank was acquired by the Liberty National Bank of Louisville, Kentucky.

The Bank of the Commonwealth was chartered during 1820 as a state controlled bank.  The bank's notes were secured by public land and branches established around the state, including one in Lexington.  The bank operated for only three years until its charter was revoked by the Legislature.

A branch of the Bank of the United States opened in Lexington during January 1817.  The first President was James Morrison and the directors included John Wesley Hunt.  In 1827 John Tilford (father of John B. Tilford) was elected President, after the death of Charles Wilkins (who served as President from 1819).  In 1835 the institution's charter was revoked and its banking operations taken over by the Northern...

In March 1890, a group of farmers and businessmen met to establish a state bank in Lexington.  At this time, state bank charters were less restrictive than Federal charters in agriculture and real estate lending.  These investors appointed Watts Parker and Hal Pettit Headley to draft a charter for submission to the legislature in Frankfort.  The organizers were N. F. Berry, Louis Straus, Charles Seelback, George...

The Central Bank was established during 1938 by Jefferson Davis Purcell, of the Purcell Company, as the Southern Industrial Loan Company.  Mr. Purcell was formerly associated with the Third National Bank.  The bank operated for a period as the Central Exchange Bank.  During 1945, Garvice D. Kincaid purchased the bank and changed the name to the Central Bank.  Mr. Kincaid obtained the financing to purchase the...

The Citizens Union Bank and Trust Company was formed in 1955, with the consolidation of the Union Bank and Trust Company (which see) and the Citizens Bank and Trust Company (which see).  In August 1958, the Citizens Union converted from a state to Federal charter and changed its name to the Citizens Union National Bank and Trust Company.

In 1958, the bank also joined the Federal Reserve System.  In 1972,...

Commerce National Bank was established in 1986, by the merger of the Second National Bank (organized in 1883) and the Bank of Commerce and Trust Company (organized in 1911).  The bank was affiliated with the First National Bank of Louisville.

The Second National Bank was chartered by the Comptroller of the Currency on March 15, 1883 and operated for a number of years on Cheapside.  The first Board of...

The Commonwealth Bank and Trust Company was established in 1925 and operated until its failure in 1931.

Advertisements, 1929

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David A. Sayre came to Lexington in 1811 as an apprenticed silversmith and during the next several years prospered enough to branch into private banking in 1823.  In 1828, he purchased a building at the corner of Mill and Short Street, locating his banking offices on the ground floor and his family on the second floor.  The firm of D. A. Sayre Company continued to operate from this location until its liquidation...

The Deposit Bank of Lexington was chartered by the General Assembly on March 1, 1854.  The capital stock was limited to fewer than three hundred thousand dollars to control the bank's size.  The Board of Commissioners were William A. Dudley, Charles S. Bodley, James H. Hanna, John B. Wilgus and Richard A. Buckner.  The bank dissolved less than two years later.

The Farmers and Mechanics Bank was established during January 1818 when the Legislature authorized the establishment of private banks.  John Wesley Hunt (see Profiles) was the bank's only President, serving until 1829.  This bank was the only bank in Lexington to survive the Panic of 1819, but it was ordered to cease operations by the Legislature during 1822.  The bank finally closed in 1829, after taking seven...

The Farmers and Traders Bank was created during 1876 when James M. Hocker and T. Logan Hocker, his son, purchased an interest in the private bank of Headley, Farra & Company.  The bank was located on Short and Upper Streets.  Mr. Hocker was previously associated with J. M. Hocker & Company and the Fayette National Bank.  Headley, Farra & Company was originally formed in 1870 as Headley, Anderson...

The Fayette National Bank of Lexington was organized on September 8, 1870 and chartered by the Comptroller during October 1870.  The Board of Directors appointed Robert R. Stone and James M. Hocker as President and Cashier, respectively.  Charter Number 1720 was issued to the new institution.  The Board of Directors consisted of John W. Appleton, Squire Bassett, William Cassius Goodloe, Milton G. Thompson, Robert...

The Fayette Safety Vault and Trust Company was formed in 1890 as the second trust company in Lexington.  The Fayette Safety Vault was capitalized with two hundred thousand dollars and located its offices on Cheapside.  Robert S. Bullock, Watts Parker and William K. Massie acted as President, Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer, respectively.

The Board of Directors included Messrs. Bullock, Parker and...

On July 3, 1913, the Lexington City National Bank acquired the assets of the First National Bank and continued operations under the name of First & City National Bank of Lexington.  Over the Fourth of July holiday, the records, papers and equipment of the old First National Bank were moved to the City National Building and, on the next day, the new bank commenced business.        

The consolidated bank...

First National Bank of Lexington was formally chartered by Hugh McCullouch, the Comptroller of the Currency on January 26, 1865.  First National was the first national banking association established in the City of Lexington.  The bank was granted charter number 760, which certified that having "compiled with all provisions of said act required to be compiled with before commencing business under said act...

First & City National Bank of Lexington consolidated with the Phoenix National Bank and Trust Company on March 4, 1929 to form the First National Bank and Trust Company of Lexington.  The consolidation was intended to establish a bank of sufficient size to meet the economic growth experienced in Lexington since the First World War.

Under terms of the merger agreement, the capital stock of the new bank...

On October 14, 1974, First Security Corporation of Kentucky was incorporated by the management of the First Security National Bank as a bank holding company.  This reorganization was approved by the stockholders at the annual meeting on May 20, 1975, by a favorable vote of over eighty-eight percent.  Stockholders of the bank received two shares in the new holding company for every one share held in the bank....

In July 1957, discussions began between the First National Bank and Trust Company and Security Trust Company regarding the consolidation of the two institutions.  At the time, First National was the largest commercial bank in Lexington while Security Trust acted primarily as a trust company.  The two institutions complemented each other, while a combination would better serve the community's commercial needs with...

The Freedman Saving Bank was established in Lexington to serve Lexington's black population in 1871.  The bank was located on West Main and North Upper Street.  William Cassius Goodloe, a nephew of Cassius M. Clay, was President.  Mr. Goodloe was also a director of the Fayette National Bank.  The Freedman Saving Bank was sponsored by the Freedman Bureau, a Federal agency set up after the Civil War to help the...

James A. Grinstead and Thomas Bradley announced on July 8, 1863 their partnership as private bankers and securities dealers.  Mr. Grinstead had previously been Cashier of the old Agricultural Deposit Bank and Mr. Bradley was a farmer and standardbred breeder.  Their offices were located on Jordan's Row in the Agricultural Deposit Building (Upper between Short and Main Streets).

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The Guaranty Bank and Trust Company was formed in 1912 (as the Title Guaranty Trust Company), with the name changed in 1920.

Advertisement, 1918

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1806 – 1888

Distiller and Banker

Robert B. Hamilton was born on October 5, 1806.  From 1881 to 1888, he was a partner in the whiskey and liquor brokerage firm of Stoll, Hamilton & Company (with Richard P. Stoll).  In 1872, Hamilton became President of the Lexington City National Bank and led the bank through the Panic of 1873.  He resigned in October 1883 due to ill health and died on August 6,...

J. B. Wilgus & Company commenced business as a private bank on February 7, 1872 and was temporarily located in the Kastle & Hoeing store on Main Street.  The private bank shortly relocated to the Wilgus Building on Main Street, between Mill and Broadway.  The new firm was composed of John B. Wilgus, D. Frederick Wolf, John T. Miller and John Clark as Partners; with William Bright, Cashier and Frank...

The origins of J. M. Hocker & Company can be traced through several banking partnerships.  The first partnership was Tilford & Barclay, which was started in 1855, by John B. Tilford and John L. Barclay.  They advertised, "interest allowed on money deposited.”  During May of 1860, the firm was dissolved after the death of Mr. Barclay.  Mr. Tilford reestablished the business as J. B. Tilford & Company ...

The Kentucky Insurance Company was chartered in 1802 to provide insurance coverage for riverboats and barges on the inland rivers of the state.  The insurance company began business on April 1, 1803 and located its offices on Main Street, between Mill and Broadway.  The bank's charter also authorized the issuance of notes and it quickly entered the banking business.  The firm's first President was William Morton...

The Kentucky Joint Stock Land Bank of Lexington was incorporated on April 4, 1922 as part of the Federal Land Bank System to operate in Kentucky and Ohio.  The Land Bank System was established by Congress to provide long term funding for agricultural purposes, usually in the form of real estate mortgages.  The company was headquartered in the Security Trust Building and maintained a branch office in Wapakoneta,...

In January 1906, the National Exchange Bank and Central Bank combined to form the Lexington Banking and Trust Company.  The bank opened its doors on February 1, 1906 in the old Northern Bank Building on Short Street at Market.  John L. Barkley, Benjamin T. Head and Christopher D. Chenault were appointed President, Vice President and Cashier, respectively.  The Articles of Incorporation listed over one hundred and...

The Lexington City National Bank was organized in February 1865 and was granted Charter Number 906 by the Comptroller on March 17, 1865.  First Security National Bank & Trust Company continued to operate under this original banking charter until the Bank One merger.

William C. Goodloe, John B. Wilgus and Alexander M. Barnes were elected the first President, Vice President and Cashier, respectively. ...

On January 17, 1889, the Cashiers from all the city's banks met in the boardroom of the Fayette National Bank to organize a clearinghouse to promote interbank settlements.  The Lexington Clearing House was partially the result of a short-lived fiscal crisis in May 1888.  This crisis caused a constriction in the money supply that slowed interbank settlements.

Under the proposed rules, the porters from each...

1836 - 1909

Banker & Dry Goods Merchant.

Thomas D. Mitchell was born around 1836 in Bourbon County, Kentucky.  He settled in Lexington during 1865 (at the end of the Civil War) to become the first Cashier of the First National Bank of Lexington.  He held that position from 1865 to 1887.  He served as a director of the bank from 1876 to 1906.  He was also a director of the Security Trust &...

The National Exchange Bank of Lexington was established in August 1878, with the nationalization of J. B. Wilgus & Company.  The bank was granted by the Comptroller charter number 2393, with initial capital of one hundred thousand dollars.  The National Exchange was first located in the Wilgus Building on the north side of Main Street, between Mill and Broadway.  James P. Metcalfe was its first President;...

The Northern Bank was founded in February of 1835 when the Kentucky General Assembly in Frankfort granted a charter to the Northern Bank of Kentucky.  The institution immediately purchased the branch banking house, debts and specie of the Lexington branch of the Bank of the United States.  In addition, this concern was appointed agent to settle the affairs of the Lexington branch.

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The Phoenix & Third National Bank of Lexington was formed in February 1911 from the consolidation of the Phoenix National Bank and Third National Bank.  J. Waller Rodes was the Bank's first President and Fred G. Stilz the Cashier.  The consolidated bank continued to operate under Third National's charter, number 3052, and used the Third National Bank's building on Main Street.  On July 12, 1911, the directors...

The Phoenix & Third Trust Company was organized in March 1913, by the principal stockholders of the Phoenix & Third National Bank, to operate as a trust company under the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  Upon organization, the bank assumed the assets of the Lexington Banking and Trust Company.  The firm's officers at the time of its organization were Younger Alexander, President; William A. McDowell...

The Phoenix National Bank of Lexington was established in September 1888, locating its banking house on Main Street and Phoenix Alley, next to the Phoenix Hotel (where the Hernando Building stood for years).  The bank's New York City correspondent was the Hanover National Bank (now part of Manufacturers Hanover, currently one of First Security's New York City correspondent banks).  Initial capital was set at one...

The Phoenix National Bank and Trust Company of Lexington was formed in June 1922, with the merger of the Phoenix & Third National Bank and the Phoenix & Third Trust Company.  The bank assumed charter number 3052 from the Phoenix & Third National Bank.  William A. McDowell, a grandson of Henry Clay, was elected President of the new institution.  Mr. McDowell departed immediately for Washington to order...

During 1884, Richard H. Courtney founded a private bank and brokerage business in Lexington.  R. H. Courtney & Company operated on the southeast corner of Upper and Short Street.  Mr. Courtney moved to Lexington in 1873 to join D. A. Sayre & Company and married a daughter of Ephraim D. Sayre.  Around 1900, he relocated to Louisville (his hometown) but retained numerous banking connections in the Lexington...

Colonel Robert R. Stone founded R. R. Stone & Company, a private bank, in May 1874.  Mr. Stone had previously been involved with the Fayette National Bank.  He operated for several years on Jordan's Row at #11 Upper Street.

In 1885, a group of prominent financiers and businessmen headed by Ephraim D. Sayre organized a trust company to act as fiduciary agents, manage financial assets, administer trust accounts and settle estates.  Among the organizers were Squire Bassett (President of the Fayette National), Madison C. Johnson (former President of the Northern Bank), General William Preston (a Civil War hero), Richard T. Anderson (...

Southern Trust and Security Company was established in 1907 and operated for a brief period.  The bank's offices were located at 155 North Broadway.

1841 – 1914

Banker and Revenue Agent

George J. Stoll, Jr. was born in Lexington on December 22, 1841, the first son of George J. Stoll, Sr. After graduating from Transylvania with high honors, he spent a year in Cincinnati studying business before returning to Lexington in 1858.  He became a bookkeeper with the Agricultural Deposit Bank and in 1861 was elected City Clerk (serving for four years)....

1855- 1908

Distiller and Banker

James S. Stoll was born in Lexington in 1855, the third son of George J. Stoll, Sr. In 1881 he invested, along with his brother, in Stoll, Clay & Company.  In 1891, Stoll and Sanford K. Vannatta established a partnership, known as Stoll, Vannatta & Company, to wholesale whiskey.  At the time of his death in 1908, he was President of the Stoll & Company (...

1864 – 1929

Banker

J. Will Stoll was born in Lexington on September 11, 1864, the fifth son of George J. Stoll, Sr.  After graduating from Transylvania University in 1882, he became a messenger for the Lexington City National Bank.  During the 1890s Stoll became the bank’s Cashier and in 1908 its President.  After the merger in 1913, with the First National Bank, he became the President of the First...

Taylor, Turner & Company advertised in 1855 that it conducting a general banking business, including paying interest on deposits.  In 1857, the name was changed to Taylor, Shelby & Company, a private bank.  The partners consisted of Edmund H. Taylor, Jr. (of Frankfort), Isaac Shelby and William Shouse.  The firm operated until shortly before the Civil War.  Taylor was the distiller of the Old Crow and Old...

The Third National Bank of Lexington was established in August 1883 with the nationalization of the private banking firm of Grinstead & Bradley.  The bank's initial capital was one hundred thousand dollars, with the Comptroller of the Currency assigning charter number 3052.  John W. Berkley was elected President, with J. G. Kinnaird, Vice President; Oliver L. Bradley, Cashier and Louis des Cognets, Assistant...

In September 1905, the Union Bank and Trust Company was chartered by a group of merchants headed by Clarence LeBus, a Cynthiana capitalist.  The bank was capitalized for one hundred thousand dollars, of which Mr. LeBus contributed eighty-five percent.  The bank's directors were Clarence LeBus, George A. Bain, D. W. Scott, D. B. Jones, C. M. Marshall, C. C. Patrick, W. L. Spears, J. Frank Van Deren, Henry Voght, J...

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