History of Banks in Wichita, Kansas
From: History of Wichita and Sedgwick County, Kansas
Past and Present
O. H. Bentley, Editor-in-Chief
C. F. Cooper & Co. Publisher.
Chicago 1910


An authenticated history of the banks of Wichita since the founding of that city as a mere hamlet to a now thriving community, known and called the Metropolis of the Southwest, is not only important but in a commercial sense exceedingly advisable and almost indispensable.

Therefore, we have taken pains by use of records and by careful inquiry among the older business men living here since 1870, who have had business with the earlier banks, to establish beyond cavil an undisputed history of the banks of Wichita.

The Arkansas Valley Bank is often credited with being the first bank organized in Wichita, but this is not substantiated by the facts based upon authentic information, and, further, the records at the court house show that W. C. Woodman did not arrive in Wichita until the spring of 1871, when he bought out George Smith's general store, located midway on the west side of the first block on North Main street, where he erected a frame addition on the rear of the storeroom, where his family resided.

Mr. Woodman converted the northeast corner of his store with a desk behind the counter into a loan office, where money was advanced to settlers for the purpose of proving up on their claims at the rate of 5 per cent interest per month, secured by mortgage on the land, and many settlers lost their claims through this severe exaction of interest rate.

After several years of loaning the institution grew into the Arkansas Valley Bank, and failed some time in the nineties.

The Wichita Bank was really the first legitimate bank established and was opened for business in the spring of 1872 by J. C. Fraker, president; J. R. Mead, vice president, and A. H. Gossard, cashier, and was located in the most credible frame building in the town at that time.

The building was a handsomely built frame with store front erected midway on the west side in the third block on North Main street and did an excellent business from the start, and remained in that location until the spring of 1873, when it was chartered as the First National Bank of Wichita, at that time building a splendid bank structure, still standing as an ornament to the city, on the northeast corner of Main and First streets.

The county made it a depository, and when it failed obtained title to the building and ground in lieu of the losses sustained.

The Wichita Savings Bank was next in order and was incorporated July 1, 1872, with a capital of $100,000, one third being paid up, and the first officers being A W Clark, of Leavenworth, Kan., president; Sol. H. Kohn, vice president, and A. A. Hyde, formerly with Mr. Clark's bank at Leavenworth, cashier, and commenced business in August of the same year.

The first board of directors was completed with A. M. Clark, Sol. H. Kohn, W. A. Thomas, William Griffenstein, S. C. Johnson, H. J. Hills, N. A. English, Emil Werner and A. A. Hyde.

On October 27, 1875. M. W. Levy was elected vice president, Mr. Clark retiring March 1, 1879, and the bank was merged into the Wichita Bank of Kohn Brothers & Co. on January 1, 1883.

The institution began business as the Wichita National Bank with Sol. Kohn, then of this city, president; A. W. Oliver, vice president; W. M. Levy, cashier; C. A. Walker, assistant cashier. Capital, $250,000, and in 1882 deposits were $350,000; loans and discounts, $150,000; cash and sight exchange, $200,000.

This bank did a very successful business for several years, but owing to the disasters and shrinkages incident to the boom of the years 1900 and 1901 it passed into the hands of Major Ewing as receiver; finally, however, paying out its depositors in full.

The Kansas National Bank opened for business originally as the Farmers' & Merchants' Bank, and was established November 1, 1876, by H. W. Lewis as a private institution, and on September 1, 1882, was organized under the state banking law with a capital of $25,000, the directors and officers being H. W. Lewis, president; A. A. Hyde, cashier, S. Houck, W. S. Corbett and T. H. Lynch, and subsequently nationalized as the Kansas National Bank.

The deposits during the first year were $20,000, and in 1882 amounted to $100,000, with discounts of $60,000. The organization of the national bank under its present name, the Kansas National Bank, was made on November 1, 1882, with a capital stock of $50,000, with board of directors as follows: H. W. Lewis, J. L. Dyer, R. H. Roys, R. E. Lawrence and A. A. Hyde.

The ownership of this bank has entirely changed, but is still doing a large and profitable business in its own building located at the corner of Main street and Douglas avenue under the able and efficient management of C. Q. Chandler, president; E. E. Masterman, vice president; J. W. Berryman, second vice president; Elsberry Martin, cashier, and Charles Testard, assistant cashier.

It has a capital of $100,000; surplus and undivided profits amounting to $140,000, and has come safely through the financial storm incident to the boom, and is still one of the most solid, substantial and conservative financial institutions in the state.

The Kansas State Bank was organized December 16, 1880, with a paid up capital of $52,000, its officers being B. Lombard, Jr., president; James L. Lombard, vice president; L. D. Skinner, cashier, and George E. Spalton, assistant cashier.

After a year's business the bank was nationalized, but subsequently failed in 1894. Of the roster of officers of this bank only George E. Spalton remains as a resident of Wichita.

The Citizens' Bank was incorporated December 20, 1882, with a capital of $100,000 by J. O. Davidson, S. L. Davidson, C. L. Davidson, W. E. Stanley, R. S. Cates, A. Drum and John Carpenter, and officered as follows: J. O. Davidson, president; S. L. Davidson, vice president; C. L. Davidson, secretary, and John Derst, cashier.

The bank was opened for business at the corner of Main and Douglas, where the Kansas National Bank now operates, it having built and owned the building, and was finally merged into the Kansas National Bank.

The Bank of Commerce, a private banking institution, was established by Rodoiph Hatfield and John W. Hartley in January, 1883, with a capital of $25,000, to be increased as business demanded, and was afterwards purchased by George C. Strong and in 1887 reorganized as the Fourth National Bank of Wichita.

In 1892 a controlling interest was purchased by Messrs. L. S. Naftzger and J. M. Moore, and has at the present time a capital of $200,000, with surplus and profits of $200,000.

Mr. J. M. Moore severed his active connection with the bank in the fall of 1908, present officers being L. S. Naftzger, president; W. R. Tucker and C. W. Brown, vice presidents; V. H. Branch, cashier; George M. Whitney and M. C. Naftzger, assistant cashiers.

The bank is located in its own building, the handsome four story brick structure at the corner of Market street and East Douglas avenue, and is credited with having gone through the entire boom and various financial depressions and remaining continually in business since its establishment in 1887 without ever dishonoring a check or losing an hour's business time.

The bank has been managed under a broad and exceedingly safe and conservative policy, and has always been regarded as one of the most safe and solid financial institutions in Wichita or the state of Kansas.

Note. - Since the writing of the above article Mr. Naftzger has retired from the presidency of the Fourth National Bank of Wichita. He is succeeded by Mr. Ben F. McLean, so long connected with the directorate of that bank and formerly mayor of Wichita. - Editor in Chief.

The West Side National Bank was established in 1887 by Robert E. Lawrence and associates, but after two years' business went into voluntary liquidation, paying its depositors in full.

The American State Bank, located at the corner of Topeka and Douglas avenues, was organized in 1890 with a capital of $50,000, subsequently increased to $100,000, and has at the present time, in addition to the $100,000 capital, a surplus and profit account amounting to $20,000. The present officers are C. E. Denton, president; M. J. Lloyd, vice president, and J. N. Richardson, cashier.

This bank has had a very remarkable and substantial growth, and is a popular depository and enjoys the confidence of the business community.

The National Bank of Commerce was established in 1899 and now has a capital of $100,000 and surplus of $100,000, is under the excellent management of C. W. Carey, president; J. H. Stewart and J. H. Black, vice presidents, and F. A. Russell, cashier.

This bank is one of the leading popular and successful banks of Wichita and was founded by A. C. Jobes, now vice president of the First National Bank of Kansas City, Mo., and C. W. Carey and enjoys the implicit confidence of the community, having made a remarkably strong growth and building up its business upon extreme conservatism and excellent business judgment.

The Commercial Bank, located at 143 North Main street, is a private bank having a capital of $100,000, and is owned and operated by its president, J. A. Davison, with the assistance of E. L. Davison, cashier.

This bank is a very conservative private institution, with many friends and depositors.

The State Savings Bank, located at No. 115 East Douglas avenue, was organized by W. M. Levy and H. W. Lewis, who subsequently sold their controlling interest to Mr. J. S. Corley, now managing the bank as president with the assistance of William C. Little, vice president; M. V. Corley, cashier, and H. U. P. Gehring, assistant cashier. Its present capital is $25,000, and the bank is a well established, painstaking institution with a growing business.

The Citizens' State Bank, located across the river at No. 915 West Douglas avenue, was organized in 1902, and has for its present officers W. S. Hadley, president; G. E. Outland, vice president; W. C. Kemp, cashier, and H. C. Outland, assistant cashier.

This institution has always enjoyed the entire respect and confidence of the citizens of Wichita in general and the West Side in particular, to which location it has largely confined its growing business, constantly increasing, and building up a very large and successful business, particularly for a bank with so limited a capital, and this growing business has recently made it necessary to increase the capital from $10,000 to $25,000.

The National Bank of Wichita was organized by C. T. Granger, of Waukon, Iowa, and his associates, date of organization certificate being May 10, 1902, but the bank was not opened for business until in November following, owing to delay in completion of the building.

First officers were C. T. Granger, president; R. S. Granger, vice president; George W. Robinson, cashier.

Later and in July, 1903, R. G. Granger resigned as vice president, being succeeded by V. H. Branch, and on the following January Mr. C. W. Brown was elected president in place of C. T. Granger, resigned; George W. Robinson remaining as its cashier until he resigned on August 26, 1905, being succeeded by V. H. Branch, Mr. F. C. Sheldon, of Kansas City, being elected vice president.

The business of the bank continued under the excellent management of C. W. Brown, president; F. C. Sheldon, vice president, and V. H. Branch, cashier, until July 3, 1908, when the business was consolidated with the Fourth National Bank of Wichita, Mr. Brown and Mr. Branch going to the Fourth National Bank, the former as vice president and the latter as its cashier.

The National Bank of Wichita enjoyed a successful business, and at the time of the above mentioned consolidation carried a deposit of $600,000.

The Gold Savings State Bank, occupying the new Anchor Trust building, corner North Market and First streets, was organized in 1906 with a capital of $25,000, and now has surplus and profits amounting to $1,500.

This institution is under the management of H. W. Lewis, president; P. K. Lewis, vice president, and Charles Frank, cashier.

This bank is doing a general banking and deposit business and is meeting with a steady and substantial growth.

The Stock Yards State Bank, situated at 1857 North Lawrence avenue, was organized in 1907 by W. W. Brown and his associates, F. C. Sheldon and V. H. Branch, having a capital of $10,000.

Messrs. Sheldon and Branch subsequently sold their interests in the bank to Mr. Brown and associates, and same is now under the active and conservative management of Garrison Scott, President; George T. Cubbon, vice president, and W. W. Brown, cashier.

This institution is located in a territory by itself, having a fine neighborhood in the center of the growing industries on North Lawrence avenue, including the packing house district, and is doing a thriving and successful business.

The Merchants State Bank, located at the corner of Emporia and Douglas avenues, was opened for business on December 10, 1906, with George W. Robinson, president; D. Heaton, vice president, and J. A. Murphy, cashier, with a capital of $50,000.

The bank is at the present time under the management of Charles H. Lewis, president George Vail, vice president, and J. W. Dice, cashier.

Mr. Robinson, who was the organizer 'of the bank, resigned on October 1, 1909.

Present deposits of the bank are $315,000, and is one of the successful financial institutions of the city of Wichita.

The Wichita State Bank was organized on August 2, 1908, as a savings bank only with a capital of $25,000 and surplus of $5,000, present officers being H. V. Wheeler, president; H. J. Hagney, vice president; J. C. Kelly, cashier, and H. H. Dewey, secretary.

This bank does exclusively a savings bank business, and as such is rapidly growing in popular favor, and holds the faith and confidence of its customers.

The Union Stock Yards National Bank was organized in May, 1910, and opened for business in the stock yards district north of Twenty first street and just outside the city limits of Wichita by Charles H. Brooks and his associates, and has a capital of $50,000, with the following officers: Charles H. Brooks, president; George Theis, Jr., vice president; F. F. Ransom, cashier, and John D. McCluer, assistant cashier.

The bank occupies a fine banking room in the Live Stock Exchange building, and will undoubtedly enjoy a successful business under its present efficient management.

We have endeavored in this resume of the banks of Wichita to show no partiality and to name them all in existence at the present writing, June, 1910, though we are informed there are several banks in contemplation, all of which, of course, cannot be included in this recital no more than we could undertake to describe the thousand or more new organizations and industries that the coming years will unfold, these forming material for a subsequent history.

It might be well to state in conclusion that during the boom of 1887 the deposits of the Wichita banks increased to about $4,000,000, but later on and at the close of the boom and some few years subsequent thereto finally shrunk to the low level of $437,000, and at about that time seven of the nine Wichita banks then in existence either failed or liquidated as a result of the boom, leaving the two banks, the Fourth National Bank and the Kansas National Bank, as the only solvent financial institutions of the city.

Subsequently, however, and in the last years of the century just passed, the deposits of the Wichita banks commenced to increase at a substantial rate, and later on increased very rapidly, until at the present time deposits of all the Wichita banks have reached the high figure of over $12,000,000, showing a financial growth seldom recorded in a city the size of Wichita, and is a striking tribute to the wonderful resources of the territory surrounding Wichita and the care, thrift and business sagacity of the various gentlemen now managing the twelve Wichita banks.

$12,000,000 IN WICHITA BANKS.

According to the last official report of the condition of the eleven banks of Wichita, there was on deposit at that time about $12,000,000, or more than an average of a million dollars each. The bank clearings of Wichita during the past year have increased in a greater ratio than those of any other city in the United States. This increase has at times run as high as 62 per cent over last year, as shown by the weekly reports sent out by the government. Of these eleven banking institutions of Wichita, three are national banks and eight are under state supervision. They are all conducted in a businesslike and conservative manner, and no legitimate banking institution in Wichita has failed in many years.

The three national banks, which have deposits aggregating nearly $8,000,000, are the Fourth National, the Kansas National and the National Bank of Commerce. The state banks, with an aggregate in deposits of $4,000,000 are the American State, the Wichita State, the State Savings, the Stock Yards State, the Gold Savings State, the Citizens' State, the Merchants' State and the Commercial. A new national bank has just been organized and will be ready for business soon. It will be known as the Union Stock Yards National Bank.


As Sedgwick county has grown and expanded, there has gradually arisen a need of banking facilities in the various trading and shipping points in the county. This want has called into existence a number of very reliable banking institutions, located in the various towns of Sedgwick county. These banks are patronized extensively by the business men of the various communities and very generally by the farmers in the localities named.

Sedgwick City, upon the northern border of Sedgwick county, has two banks - namely, the Farmers' State Bank, organized in 1906, with William Nightser as president, J. C. Crawford as vice president and Charles B Harling as cashier; this bank has a paid up capital of $10,000, and carries a good Fan of deposits; the Sedgwick State Bank, which was organized in 1894, of which C. A. Seaman is president and J. H. Hume is cashier; the capital stock of this bank is also $10,000, fully paid up.

At Valley Center is one bank, the Valley Center State Bank, with a paid up capital of $10,000. W. D. Goodrich is the president, S. B. Amidon is the vice president and J. B. Gardiner is the cashier. This bank was organized in 1901.

Kechi has the State Bank of Bechi, with L. H. Watson as president, S. B. Amidon as vice president and E. S. Basore as cashier. This bank has a paid up capital of $10,000, and was organized in 1909.

Payne, Minneha and Gypsum townships have no banks, but Rockford township has a bank at Derby, called the Farmers' and Merchants' State Bank, which was organized in 1907, with a paid up capital of $10,000. This bank is officered by S. T. Townsdin as president, It. It. Goodin as vice president and S. T. Townsdin as cashier.

Mulvane, on the southern border of Sedgwick county, has two banks. The Farmers' State Bank was formed in 1906, with a paid up capital of $10,000. George Miller is president, J. W. Dice is vice president and O. W. Good is cashier. Also the Mulvane State Bank, organized in 1886, with a paid up capital stock of $20,000. Of this bank W. C. Robinson is president and C. F. Hough is cashier.

Clearwater has two banks. The Home State Bank was organized in 1905, with a paid up capital stock of $10,000. A. W. Wise is president and S. M. Broomfield vice president and cashier. The State Bank of Clearwater was organized in 1899 and has a capital stock of $10,000. Z. H. Stevens is the president, H. M. Harrington is the vice president and J. W. Dale is the cashier.

Viola has one bank, to-wit, the Viola State Bank, organized in 1903. This bank has a capital of $10,000, fully paid up, and Joseph Longe is its president, Charles Dalbom its vice president and J. E. Mathes its cashier

Cheney has two banks, the Cheney State Bank, with John T. Hessel as its president, J. W. Weatherd as vice president and F. Zimmerman its cashier. This bank was organized in 1889 and has a cash capital of $10,000, fully paid up. Also the Citizens' State Bank, organized in 1884, with a capital stock of $15,000, fully paid up. Of this bank A. W. Sweet is the president, Odin Northcutt the vice president and E. M. Carr the cashier.

Garden Plain has one bank called the State Bank of Garden Plain. This bank was organized in 1901, with H. F. G. Wulf as president at this time, William H. Taylor, Jr., as vice president and G. A. Payer as cashier. This bank also has a paid up capital of $10,000.

Goddard has one bank, the Goddard State Bank, with a paid up capital of $10,000. This bank was organized in 1907. S. L. Nolan is its president, S. L. Hutchinson its vice president and V. A. Reece its cashier.

Mt. Hope has two banks - namely, the Farmers' State Bank, organized in 1909, with a paid up capital of $12,000. E. W. Jewell is president, E. C. Gortner is vice president and H. M. Washington is cashier. Also the First National Bank of Mt. Hope, organized in 1885, with a capital stock of $25,000, fully paid up. Of this bank J R Fisher is president, S. B. Aniidon is vice president and Henry Jorgenson is the cashier.

Andale has one bank, denominated the Andale State Bank, organized in 1900, with a fully paid up capital of $10,000. L. A. Townsend is the president, A. M. Richenberger is vice president and E. O. Damon is the cashier.

Colwich has one bank, the State Bank of Colwich, organized in 1885, with a capital stock of $10,000, fully paid up. W. H. Burks is president of this bank, H. H. Hansen its vice president and A. C. Lambe its cashier.

Bentley has one bank, organized in 1901, known as the State Bank of Bentley. This bank has a paid up capital of $10,000. H. H. Hansen is its president, T. J. Smith is its vice president, C. L. Baird its cashier and Avis Baird its assistant cashier.

The country banks of Sedgwick county are regarded as uniformly safe and conservative. Their business interests are in the hands of careful and conservative men - men who have an intimate personal acquaintance with the patrons of the various banks. Bank failures are unknown in the country banks of Sedgwick county. This situation is due to two causes - first, the uniform prosperity of the county, and second, the care and fidelity of those intrusted with the management of the various institutions.

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