- The First Seventy-five Years in the Sanborn Community (1878-1953) -
Banks Help Develop Community
Banking, an essential business in any town or small community, came quickly to the young town of Sanborn with its population of 100 people, when Isaac Daggett started the first bank in 1879. He moved his small office building, safe and residence from Primghar, Ia. as the Milwaukee railroad was advanced westward to Sanborn. This building, known as “Citizens Bank” was located just south of where the Watson Furniture Store now stands. Partners in this new banking venture were Henry C. Lane and Dr. C. Longshore, each of Sheldon, Ia.
A few years later, Mr. Daggett sold his interest in the Bank to William Harker and J.L. Green, who were bankers and land dealers from Ida Grove, Iowa. Sanborn was now two years old and had a population of 400 people. This Bank was known as the O’Brien County Bank, though it was often called Harker and Green’s Bank. A few years later Mr. J.L Green retired and the institution then functioned as a private bank, under Mr. Harker, until through his efforts, it became in 1893, the First National Bank of Sanborn, with Ezra M. Brady Sr., and J.H. Daly listed as stockholders and it was located in the building now occupied by the Sheridan Variety Store.
Mr. Harker died May 26, 1895, and for the next three years the bank was operated with his widow, Mrs. William (Elizabeth Vyse) Harker as president of the board of directors.
The First National Bank of Sanborn was dissolved by consent of its officers and stockholders and was succeeded by the Sanborn Savings Bank, the charter bearing the date of February 4, 1899. The stockholders were: W.W. Johnson, J.H. Daly, J.A. Johnson, E.M. Brady Sr., of Sanborn, and S.L. Moore, Frank and Fred Frisbee, Wm. M. Smith and John McCandless of Sheldon. The first officers were W.W. Johnson, president; E.M. Brady Sr., vice president; J.H. Daly cashier, and J.A. Johnson, bookkeeper. The first board of directors were W.W. Johnson, J.H. Daly, E.M. Brady Sr., J.A. Johnson, and Wm. M. Smith. This bank served the community in the brick building where Dr. M.J. Shanahan and Attorney Hessel Dykstra now have their offices, from 1899 until 1950, when a new and larger building was built south of the Watson Furniture Store. The new building opened for business November 17, 1950 under the same name, The Sanborn Savings Bank, and its officers and directors took pride and pleasure in the opportunity to serve the people of Sanborn and the surrounding country-side in a better and more modern bank.
Banking was vastly different in the early days and the present times. The late J.H. Daly, father of Mrs. John W. Cravens told many interesting incidents that took place in the early days. Bookkeeping was done by hand, entries for checks and deposits being made in Boston ledgers. Customers used pass books to enter deposits. These books were balanced and the checks returned to depositors, instead of the statements we use today. He told about one time when there was a ball game in town and they were anxious to go. When they balanced they had only nine checks and nine deposits to enter and were soon off to the game with nine players on each team. Today, with the aid of posting machines and efficient operators we often have from 1,000 to 1,500 items to post daily.
Another time, Mr. Daly took a suitcase of silver to Sioux City for deposit in the Security National Bank there. His train was late and when he arrived the bank was closed for the day. While taking the suitcase to his hotel, the sides gave way and the silver rolled all over the walk and street. He had plenty of help to pick up the money and strange as it seemed, when he deposited the money in the bank the next morning he had all started out with. Now we use the mail and express systems to transfer deposits to other banks. Mr. J.H. Daly retired as president of the Sanborn Savings Bank, November 9, 1933, after serving 38 years as president. He passed away November 24, 1943 at his home, now the residence of his grandson, James W. Cravens.
The Sanborn Savings Bank became a million dollar bank for the first time in its history in 1944, and it was also the first time the town of Sanborn had a million dollar bank. This bank has always been a home-owned bank. W.W. Johnson, the first president, built the Shaw home (recently torn down) at the north end of Main street in 1892. His son J.A. Johnson was connected with the bank until 1927, when he moved to California. Another son, Frank Johnson, still lives here.
E.M. Brady Sr., the first vice president, was the father of the late A.V. Brady, who retired as a director in 1936, Eva Brady, who taught in the Sanborn High school at one time, and who is now retired, and of Dr. E.M. Brady, of Sanborn, one of our state veterinarians.
D.M. Norton, who retired from the bank in 1949, after 20 years as a director, was one of the very early settlers in Franklin Township. His son, W.S. Norton, was bookkeeper at the time he left for Army service in the First World War.
John W. Cravens, president, has served as bookkeeper, assistant cashier, cashier, and president. He married Berniece Daly in 1918 and became connected with the bank in February 1919. He became president upon the retirement of Mr. D.M. Norton.
C.F. Watters, cashier, joined the bank in September 1928 and is also a director. He is a son of John and Mira Watters, early settlers in Center township.
Anna Bohan, assistant cashier, succeeded her sister, Frances B. Ahrend, (who served as a bookkeeper and assistant cashier from 1921 to 1927), in February 1927. Edw. R. Bohan succeeded A.V. Brady upon his retirement as director in 1936. Their father, W.C. Bohan Sr., purchased his first 80 acres of land in Franklin township September 18, 1882 from C.H. Rayson and Mary Rawson at $12.00 per acre - two miles west and 3/4 mile north of town.
E.W. Mayne became a director upon the retirement of J.A. Johnson, September 13, 1927. His father, E.A. Mayne was a Sanborn merchant for 62 years prior to his death in 1946. E.W. Mayne and his sister, Mrs. A.W. Parker now operate the same general store.
Arthur Vyse, nephew of Mrs. Wm. Harker, was employed as bookkeeper and teller in the early days. He married Irene Phelps. The Phelps family lived in the Vander Woude house on Highway 18. The Vyses lived here a few years when they moved to Chicago and Mr. Vyse became a very successful financier.
Lyla Wieman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wieman, served as bookkeeper for several years, until her marriage to Geo. A. Balliet, a veteran of World War II. The Wieman family, Lyla’s grandparents, were among the early pioneers.
Mrs. Helen L. Fakehany, bookkeeper - March 1, 1951. Helen’s grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Lowe, were among the early railroad people to come to Sanborn.
Bonnie Dummett, bookkeeper - April 1, 1951. Bonnie’s great grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. H. Dummett, were the first settlers in Franklin township.
Other employees of the Sanborn Savings Bank have been: Elmer Huibregtse, son of Mrs. Jane Huibregtse; Ralph Harberts, Virginia Washburn Sauer, Bernice Kimmel Watters, Doris Wright Raymond, Laura King Groot, Florence Soop Hansen, Helen Anne Albert, Ruth Van Zyl Vander Tuig.
As history repeats itself, we find Sanborn in its 75th year with one bank at the same location as Sanborn’s first bank, which I.W. Daggett started in 1879, now the Sanborn Savings Bank, a pioneer bank, associated with pioneer families.
Sanborn State Bank
Sanborn had two banks in the early days. The Ellis Bros., C.D. and E.A. Ellis, well-known bankers of Charles City, Iowa, started the Sanborn State Bank, April 1, 1883. The Articles in Incorporation, under the laws of Iowa, gave its capital as $25,000. George B. Davids was a stockholder and the first cashier. His daughter, Louise Davids, worked as a translator of German. Morton Wilbur was bookkeeper.
The Geo. B. Davids family came through Sanborn on the first all-passenger train to go on to Canton, South Dakota in 1880, and settled at Sheldon, coming to Sanborn in 1883. He purchased two quarter sections of land in Summit township from a disgruntled Easterner, who said it would never be anything but a swamp. He paid $2.00 per acre for one quarter and paid $1.25 per acre for the other. These are the Gus Storm farm and the Leland Storm farm which corners the Gus Storm farm to the southwest. Today these are two very fine farms. The first year that the family lived in Sheldon, Mrs. Davids had a garden on the Gus Storm farm and drove out 10 miles twice a week to care for it. The large cottonwood trees we see on this farm now, were started from twigs she used to mark the garden rows. The Ed Melvin family, parents of Frank Melvin, lived on the Davids farm at that time. In Sanborn, the Davids family lived in a house located on the grounds where the Anna Bohan home now stands. His neighbors to the east (Freda Moses home) were the George N. McCullow family. Zaidee McCullow, present librarian, is the only member of the McCullow family still living here. Her brother, C.E. McCullow, lives on a farm at Volga, South Dakota. Between these two homes are two large black oak trees planted by Geo. B. Davids. Louise Davids, daughter, married James McNeil and they were the parents of Irene McNeil of Washington D.C., and Isabel, now Mrs. R.H. Penning. Mr. McNeil served as Mayor and Mrs. McNeil was very influential in all civic, patriotic and church work.
Geo. B. Davids retired from the bank and in later years Peter Velie became president and W.A. Solon, cashier. This institution functioned from 1883 to 1924. The bank is almost forgotten but the oak trees planted by Mr. Davids, live on as a memorial to this early pioneer family.
Building & Loan Assn.
The Sanborn Building and Loan Association played an important part in the lives of Sanborn people for 60 years. It was incorporated May 4, 1885. The first officers were:
President ............. J.M. Finch
Vice President...... Morton Wilbur
Secretary ............. D.W. Woods
Treasurer ............. Geo. B. Davids
Directors: J.M. Finch, J.L. Greene, Morton Wilbur, T.A. Fraser, Geo. H. Klein, Geo. W. Schee, J.F. Hughes, J.H. Wolf, Jas. Allen, John O’Leary, Daniel Moody, H.J. Gormon, James Allen. D.W. Wood, Dated May 4, 1885 Notary Public
Many homes were built or paid for through the Building and Loan. The first one to be erected was the Henry E. Corey home, completed in August 1885. Real Estate transfers from the Public Library show that A.J. Fitzgerald and wife transferred Lots 5 and 6. Block 27, to Henry E. Corey, July 17, 1885. This home later became the Tom Helman house, the Amanda Harges home, and is now the Chas. J. Getting home. The second home financed by the Building and Loan, was the John Gallagher house, now occupied by the Gerben Tamminga family, east of the Mrs. Edith Burns home.
The Building and Loan Charter had to be renewed every 20 years. Officers elected in January 1945 were: President, M.J. Shanahan; vice president, Edith Burns; secretary, John W. Cravens; treasurer, Anna Bohan.
Board of directors: A.F. Weiss, E.C. Luke, R.C. Sawyer. The charter was not renewed in 1945 due to the lack of volume in business.
(NOTE - Information obtained from files of old Pioneers Library; Zaidee McCullow, Isabel Penning, Claribel H. McMillen and John W. Cravens).
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