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.
The bank's Commissioners were John Tilford (President), John Wesley Hunt (see Profiles), John Brand, Benjamin Gratz, Leslie Combs, Charles Carr, Dudley M. Craig, Walter Dunn and Robert S. Todd (see Profiles).
Branches of the Northern Bank were established in Richmond, Paris, Louisville, Covington, Barbourville and Glasgow.
The bank's Presidents were John Tilford (1835 to 1852), Matthew T. Scott (1852 to 1858), Madison C. Johnson (1858 to 1886), Joseph Clark (1886 to 1887 - see Profiles), W. D. Boswell (1887 to 1888) and Judge Joseph D. Hunt (1888 to 1899).
For years, the "Old Northern" was the largest bank in Lexington and regarded as the strongest financial institution in the state. However, in 1898 its stockholders voted to voluntarily liquidate the bank due to the heavy taxation of capital. At the time the bank's capital was in excess of one million eight hundred thousand dollars. By 1899, the Northern Bank dissolved, with its accounts being taken over by the other banks in Lexington. Throughout its history, the bank operated in the same building, formerly the Bank of the United States Branch, on the corner of Short and Market Streets.