George H. (George Henry) Thurston.

Allegheny county's hundred years online

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relinquished its charter and organized with individual liability under the title of
the Farmers Deposit Banking Company, re-electing the former president and
cashier, and James Marshall, John Scott, John McDevitt, Samuel George, Wm.
Walker, Thos. Mellon, Eichard Floyd as directors.


On August 15, 1867, Mr. Magoffin resigned to accept the casliiership of the
Iron City Bank, and A. P. McGrew was elected his successor. Mr. McGrew resigned
August 15, 1857, and Eobert Alexander George was chosen as his successor. On
December 19, 1864, the bank was chartered as a National Bank. R. A. George
dying in June, 1868, F. L. Stephenson was elected his successor. Mr. Stephen-
son resigned January 30, 1871, and Samuel George succeeded him, acting until
January 14, 1880, at which time William Walker resigned the presidency *and
Samuel George was elected his successor, and T. H. Given elected to succeed
Samuel George in the office of cashier. On Mr. George's death, Joseph Walton wa&
elected to the presidency.

The bank has declared over $1,500,000 of dividends since its organization as a
National Bank ; its capital is $300,000, and its surplus $600,000. The market value
of its stock is $400 on a par value of $100. The bank, in 1886-7, erected a new
banking house, which is one of the architectural ornaments of the city.

In 1841 Allen Kramer began the business of banking. He subsequently asso-
sociated with him Edward Eahm, under the title of Kramer & Eahm, the banking^
house being at the corner of Wood and Third streets, and subsequently Florence
Kramer was associated in the firm. The banking house was subsequently removed
to Fifth avenue, to the building now occupied by the Central Bank, which finally
succeeded to the business of the firm, about 1868.

In 1845 Joseph H. Hill and Wm. Curry established a banking house under
the firm style of Hill & Curry, and began business at what is now No. 313 Wood
street. Mr. Curry subsequently removing to Erie, Pa., the firm became Hill &
Co., and in 1865, when the National Bank of Commerce was organized, the busi-
aess of Hill & Co. was transferred to it, Joseph H. Hill becoming the first cashier
)f that bank.

In 1846 the firm of Hussey, Hanna & Co. began banking. This firm subse-
quently became Hanna, Hart & Co., (Joshua Hanna, Wm. K. Hart, C. P. Caughey,)
and in 1862-3 were the agents at Pittsburgh for the sale of the first governmental
bonds issued to meet the expenses of the Civil war. Their office was for many
years at the N. W. corner of Wood street and Third avenue. The firm subse-
quently became Hart, Caughey & Co., under which style it ceased to exist.

About 1846 Warwick, Martin & Co. carried on banking business at the N. E»
corner of Wood street and Third avenue, the company being a huge German by

the name of Kahl, who was remarkable for wearing on his left thumb a

very large seal ring, and also for some other eccentricities. The firm became in-
volved in financial troubles and closed.

The intersection of Wood and Third street was in those days a favorite locality
for banking houses.

In 1848 Cook & Harris opened a banking house, (Jacob W. Cook, Harris,)

which subsequently became Harris & Co., and was carried on under that style in
1856, but later wound up its business.


In 1848 Wm. H. Williams began the banking business at the corner of Wood
and Third street, which firm subsequently became Wm. H. Williams & Cc^
Through a robbery of its safe by burglars it became necessary for the banking
firm to close up its business. The burglars rented the room above the banking
house, and one Sunday leisurely cut through the floor to the top of the safe in the
room below and then through the brick top of the vault, and carried off the funds.
The money was never recovered.

About this date a firm styled Hoon & Seargent had a banking house at the
corner of Sixth and Wood streets. The firm succumbed under financial difficulties,
and the partners are some years since dead.

In 1850 George E. Arnold & Co. opened a banking house on Fourth street, a
few doors from Wood. Subsequently Mr. Arnold closed the business and removed
to Philadelphia.

In 1851 the firm of Patrick & Friend opened a banking house on the north-west
corner of Wood street and Diamond alley. This firm subsequently became E. Patrick
& Co., and removed to the corner of Wood and Fifth streets (now avenue), and
subsequently to its present location, 52 Fifth avenue, having conducted a continu-
ous and successful banking business for thirty-seven years, without lapse from
any cause.

In 1851 O'Connor Bro. & Co. (James O'Connor, Hercules O'Connor,) began the
banking business at No. 15 Wood street, which they continued until 1864, when
James O'Connor and associates organized the Fourth National Bank, at which
time the business of the banking house was discontinued.

In 1852 John Woods opened a banking house at 61 Fourth avenue, which
ultimately succumbed to financial pressure.

About 1850 A. Wilkins & Co., (Alvin Wilkins) had a banking house in the
old United States Bank building. Fourth avenue. In 1855 they sold their lease
of the building to the Mechanics Bank and withdrew from the business a short
time afterwards.

In 1848-50, William Larimer, Jr., formerly the proprietor of the Eagle Hotelj
on Liberty street, opened a banking house at 68 Fourth street, (now avenue).
In 1854 he failed with heavy loss to depositors, and went to Kansas, where he
afterward became a member of the legislature of that State. While resident at
Pittsburgh he was the president of the Youghiogheny Navigation Co., which
after improving by locks and dams the river as far as West Newton feU into decay.
Mr. Larimer was quite prominent in the Free Soil party, in its day, and was^other-
wise prominent. About the same time Hugh D. King, also opened a banking
house on Fourth street a few doors east of Market street. He also succumbed to
the local financial panic of 1854.

In 1854 Arthurs, Rodgers & Co. opened a banking house on the corner of
Fourth avenue and Smithfield street, but the firm had but a short existence,f be-
coming financially involved.

In 1855 Wm. A. Herron & Co. began the banking business at the cornerjof
Sixth street (now avenue) and Wood street. Frank J. Herron, who, during the


civil war, obtained the rank of Major General for gallant conduct, was a member
of this firm, which not being found profitable closed out.

About the same period Samuel McClean, who had previously been in the
banking business on Diamond alley, embarked in the banking business. When he
died some years after his son, Samuel E. McClean, succeeded him, and the firm
style was changed to S. McClean & Co. The firm subsequently became involved
and was closed out.

The firm of Ira B. McVay & Co. was the style of another banking firm of this
period of private banks. Their banking house was at the corner of Fourth ave-
nue and Smithfield street. After Ira B. McVay's death the firm was continued by
his sons under the same business style. It also became involved after some years
of success and went into the hands of assignees, Mr. McVay's sons going to the
West, where they afterwards accepted positions as cashiers and presidents of
Western banks, Charles B. returning to Pittsburgh, and is now secretary and treas-
urer of the Fidelity Title and Trust Company of Pittsburgh.

In the period ending about 1855, from about 1841, there seems to have been a
furor at Pittsburgh for embarking in the banking business. Superinduced to some
extent by the increasing business of the city, the more rapid circulation of money,
and the limited number of regular chartered banks. The record of the successful
management of these banking houses is not especially favorable to the financial
acumen of those who meddle thus with finance. One reason of which was that
many of the individuals had but a very limited or no training in the art of bank-
ing, and often with but limited capital, banking largely on their deposits.

In July, 1852, the Pittsburgh Trust Company was chartered and organized as
a bank of discount and deposit, with a paid up capital of |200,000, afterwards the
First National Bank.

The First National Bank of Pittsburgh originated with the Fifth Ward Sav-
ings Bank, an institution projected by James Laughlin and carried into operation
by him and associates. It had its ofiEice in Hays' oil mill, on Liberty street, near
Twelfth. It was organized as a Savings Bank simply, with regular assessments,
payable weekly. Mr. Laughlin was its president.

Some time about 1844^5 an association of business men obtained a charter for
a bank called the Pittsburgh Trust and Savings Company. The books for sub-
scription to its stock were advertised to be open on April 10, 1845. The great fire
frustrated the enterprise, the most of the organizers being burned out and heavy
losers by the fire.

The charter of the Pittsburgh Trust and Savings Company was purchased by
the Fifth Ward Savings Bank, and on July 13, 1852, the Pittsburgh Trust Com-
pany was organized, with a capital of |200,000, and on July 28, 1852, John D.
Scully was elected actuary, or cashier, and James Laughlin president. The first
board of directors were James Laughlin, Thomas Hays, B. F. Jones, John Lind-
say, I. M. Pennock, Samuel Eea, William Bingliam, William K. Nimick, James
A. Hutchinson. In 1863 the Pittsburgh Trust Company applied for a charter un-


der the National Banking Act, with a capital of $500,000. It was organized under
that charter, with no change of president or cashier. This bank was the first in
the United States to make application for a charter under the National Bank Act,
and should have the credit of being the pioneer National Bank in the United
States. At the time the bank made application for its charter there were no gov-
ernmental forms prepared for that purpose. Those of the Pittsburgh Trust Com-
pany having for that reason experienced delays before completion, being sent back
for some technical changes arising out of its being already a chartered institution.
Through this delay four other banks in small towns obtained their charters before
the First National Bank of Pittsburgh. Its application was, however, the first
made to the Treasury Department at Washington, and it is entitled to be called
the first National Bank of the United States as well as the First National Bank
of Pittsburgh, and the county of Allegheny to the honor of the pioneer National
Bank, as she is to the pioneer bank west of the Alleghenies.

When the Fifth Ward Savings Bank was absorbed in the Pittsburgh Trust
Company it was moved down to Wood street, within two doors of its present loca-
tion, corner of Wood street and Fifth avenue, where the bank subsequently erected
its present banking house. There are some commercial historical facts connect-
ed with the plot of ground on which it stands. On June 24, 1786, John Penn
and John Penn, Jr., deeded to John Crawford Lot 407, fronting on Fifth street,
on the line of the corner lot, beginning 60 feet from the corner of Wood street
and running west on Fifth avenue, and a depth of 240 feet to Virgin alley, for
the consideration of £10 in Pennsylvania currency, about $40. On February 9
1790 John Crawford deeded Lot 407 to James O'Hara for £40, gold and silver.
0<March 15, 1806, James O'Hara deeded to William McCullough Lots 406 and
407, 60 feet east on Fifth avenue by 240 feet to Virgin alley, for the considera-
tion of $1,800. William McCullough deeded the lots to William Porter, the first
iron manufacturer at Pittsburgh, noticed in the chapter on iron industries, in
1808, in which year William Porter died. The same piece of ground is now
valued, without. the buildings, at about $2,000,000.

Shortly after the organization of the bank under its national charter Charles
F. Speer was elected assistant cashier, which office he still fills, as does John D.
Scully that of cashier, being the oldest cashier in continuous service in the city.
Mr. James Laughlin died December 18, 1882, having been president of the insti-
tution from its origination as the Fifth Ward Savings Bank until his death, when
Alexander Nimick succeeded him in the presidency of the First National Bank.

James Laughlin was born in County Down, Ireland, in 1806. His father was
a'farmer. Mr. Laughlin received his education at Belfast, and after a course of
study returned home to assist his father on the farm. When he was of the age of
23 years the family decided to emigrate to the United States. The farm was sold
and early in 1829 the family set sail. After a passage of forty-five days they
landed at Baltimore. For about a year Mr. Laughlin was occupied in disposing
of an invoice of queensware he had bought at Liverpool before sailing. The ven-


ture did not prove remunerative, and he came to Pittsburgh, where, with his
brother, under the firm style of A. Laughlin & Co., he entered the provision busi-
ness and established a branch house at Evansville. The partnership was dissolved*
in 1855. In 1855 James Langhlin embarked in the iron business with B. F. Jonesy
under the firm style of Jones & Laughlin, of which firm he was a member until*
his death. He organized the Fifth Ward Savings Bank, as before mentioned, was-
also the founder of the Eliza blast furnace of Laughlin & Company. He was one-
of the corporators of the Western Pennsylvania Deaf and Dumb Institute, and
one of its directors until his death. He was one of the founders of the Pennsyl-
vania Female College. Mr. Laughlin died on December 18th, 1882, mourned by
all with whom he had ever had business relations. He was a good illustration of
that Scotch-Irish population whose conservatism and yet persistent enterprise-
have been such efiTective factors in the building up of the industries and mercantile
interest of Allegheny county.

The total dividends declared by the bank since its organization as a National-
bank amounts to |1,689,250. Its surplus fund is |150,000, and the undivided
profits are $38,947.31. The par value of its stock is $100 a share, its market value
$165, and its book value $150.

In 1853 the Citizens Deposit Bank was organized under the State laws and in-
corporated. This bank originated with the Citizens Savings Bank, organized in
1851 by Andrew McMasters, John Shipton, Francis Sellers, James Kelley, Wil-
liam Dawson and Capt. William Barker, who were the first board of directors^
Its first president was William Dawson, and James Cooper the treasurer, who wa&
afterwards succeeded by Samuel McClurkan as cashier. The bank had its ofBce
in the Masonic Building, Fifth avenue, where the capital stock was paid in in-
stallments. In 1853 the Savings Bank was chartered by the State as the Citizens
Deposit Company, with a capital of $200,000, Oliver Blackburn being chosen its
first president, and E. D. Jones its cashier. In 1857 the name of the bank was
changed by an Act of Legislature and privilege given to issue notes. In 1864 the
bank was chartered under the United States laws as a National bank, and Francis
Sellers was the first president under the new charter. He was succeeded in 1865
by George A. Berry, at this time president. E. D. Jones was succeeded by George
T. Van Doren as cashier, and he by Jasper E. Brady. In 1870 R. K. Wilson be-
came cashier, and still holds that office. In 1876 the capital stock was increased
to $800,000. The bank has paid $1,724,500 of dividends since its organization a»
a National Bank, and has a surplus of $175,000.

The Dollar Savings Bank was organized June, 1855. Geo. Albree was its first
president and Chas A. Colton its first treasurer. Mr. Albree retired on September
10th, 1869, and was succeeded by James Herdman, who is now president. Mr.
Colton died June 7th, 1881, when he was succeeded by J. B. D. Meeds, who had
been secretary from July 10, 1865, as treasurer, and he was succeeded by J. Walker
Fleniken. The bank opened for business July 19th, 1855, with thirty-nine good
men as trustees and a deposit of fifty dollars the first day, two dollars the second^


and notliing the third. That is thirty-three years ago, and on June 1st, 1888, the
total of the assets were $12,455,731.23, and the number of depositors, 29,059, av-
-eraging $399.96 each.

The Mechanics National Bank of the city of Pittsburgh was incorporated in
1855, and began business July 2d, with a capital of $450,000. On December 24,
1864, it was chartered as a National Bank, with an increased capital of $500,000.

The first thirteen members of this bank were George W. Cass, James A. Hut-
-chinson, Eobert Dalzell, W. B. Holmes, W. Butler, R. Miller, Jr., Alexander
Speer, W. J. Morrison, John Herron, W. A. Smith, Alexander Gordon, Isaac
•Jones and James P. Hanna.

The first president of the Mechanics National Bank was Reuben Miller, Jr.,
elected July 2d, 1855, declining re-election November 22d, 1855. The second
president was W. B. Holmes, elected November 22d, 1855, died May 7th, 1881
W. R. Thompson was then appointed. May 12th, 1881, on the resignation of
-whom, December 7th, 1881, William Carr, who still fills the office, was elected.

The first cashier was George D. McGrew, elected July 2d, 1855, but resigned
•June 14th, 1864. He was succeeded by John J. Martin, elected June 21st, 1864,
who served until his death, on October 7th, 1875. W. R. Thompson was then
^elected, October 15th, 1875, and on his resignation to accept the presidency. May
12th, 1881, the fourth cashier, George J. Gorman, was elected. May 23d, 1881.

The total dividends paid since the organization as a National Bank are
-$1,390,000 ; surplus, $350,000 ; the book value of stock, $90 ; market value, $96 ;
par value, $50.

The Allegheny National Bank was incorporated August, 1857, and began busi-
ness on Federal street, Allegheny City, with a capital of $500,000,

The first board of directors was Hopewell Hepburn, J. H. Shoenberger, William
Bagaley, David Campbell, Josiah King, James L. Graham, James Park, Jr., C. G.
Hussey, George W. Cass, R. I. Leech, Jr., C. H. Paulson, William M. Edgar, P.

The first president was Hopewell Hepburn, who was succeeded by William
bagaley, November 19th, 1860, and he by Joshua Rhodes, January 14th, 1867,
and he by J. W. Cook, who died January, 1883. He was succeeded by W. M.
McCandless on January 27th, 1883, who still continues in office.

The first cashier, Jacob W. Cook, was succeeded by Robert W. Mackey, Sep-
tember 18th, 1865, and he by W. McCandless on January 16th, 1871, and he by
George A. Cook on January 27th, 1883, who died October 3d, 1887. He was suc-
.ceeded by the present cashier, F. C. Hutchinson, October 8th, 1887.

The total dividends paid since the organization of the bank is $1,252,500; sur-
.plus, $160,000; book value of stock, $69 ; market value, $60.50.

The Iron City Bank, of Pittsburgh, was incorporated 1857 and began business
August 27th, 1857, in Burke's building on Fourth avenue. It had a capital of

The first board of directors was, — James McAuley, J. L. Schwartz. James Mc-
dully, John Watt, Daniel Euwer, Andrew D. Smith, Richard Hays, Wm, Walker,


James Herdman, John Floyd, Thos. L. Shields, John B. Semple and Robert
Dunlap, Jr.

The first president was James McAulej, who was succeeded upon his death,.
January 9th, 1871, by Richard Hays who came into office July 11th, 1871, and
died October 2Qd, 1877. He was succeeded by the present president, A. M. Byers,.
October 6th, 1877.

James McAuley was born in Mercer, Mercer county, about 1812 or 13, his-
father was a bricklayer, at which business Mr. McAuley worked for some time..
He came to Pittsburgh about 1830-2 and became a clerk with James Gormly, who-
carried on the dry goods business on Market street. After the Savings Bank from
which the Farmers Deposit Company originated was organized he became its-
clerk. He resigned that position to become a clerk with H. S. Spang & Son, the
iron manufacturers, subsequently becoming a partner in the firm of Spang & Co,
When the Iron City Bank was organized he was elected its president which office
he held until his death. He was for many years a member of the City Councils^
and chairman of its finance committee, also a member of the executive committee
of the Committee of Public Safety, as elsewhere noted, during the war. Through
that period he was active in many of the movements of the day, and assisted large-
ly in a financial way in raising and equipping the 155th Regiment from Allegheny^
county. He was a director at various times in the local insurance companies of
the city, and at all times gave liberally to the promotion of benevolent institutions,.
in many of which he took an active interest, and was in all respects a representa-
tive man, and a public spirited citizen.

The first cashier was John Magoffin who died July 12th, 1871 and was suc-
ceeded by George R. Duncan, who served from July 15th, 1871, to his death, which
occurred September 29th, 1887, and was succeeded by Oliver Lemon, the present

The Iron City Bank Company became a national bank in 1864.

Total dividends paid since its organization $1,283,000. Surplus $850,000. Par-
value of shares |50 ; book value of shares $90. Dividends as State bank $267,000..
Dividends as National bank $1,076,000 to April 30th, 1888. Total $1,283,000.

The Second National Bank of Pittsburgh was organized as Iron City Trust
Company, July 5th, 1859, but reorganized as Second National Bank December
11th, 1863. Began business at the same date. The first banking room being;
under the Academy of Music, Liberty street, with a capital of $300,000.

The first board of directors was, — G. E. Warner, Washington McClintock,.
Henry McCullough, Jake Hill, John Heath, Wm. Siebert, Rob't Anderson, Alex..
Forsythe, and John Moorhead.

The first president was Judge Griswold E. Warner who was succeeded by Geo..
S. Head, and he by Wm. Cooper, who was succeeded by James H. Willock, the
present president.

Robert C. Schmertz, Esq., the first cashier was succeeded successively by Johrt
E. Patterson, Chas. H. Riggs, Robert J. Stoney, Jas. H. Willock, and Thos. W
Welsh, Jr.


Since organization as a National bank it has paid forty-four dividends amount-
ing to $531,000. Surplus $150,000. Par value of shares $100 each. Market
value $165 each ; book value the same. Undivided profits remaining $40,379.26.

The Union National Bank of Pittsburgh, originally called the Union Banking
Company, commenced to do a regular banking business September 1st, 1859, and
continued up to February 1st, 1865, at which time it became the Union National
Bank, which organized December, 1864, and commenced business February 1st,
1865, at the corner of Fourth avenue and Market street, with a capital of $250,000.

The Union National Bank had its origination in what was styled the Diamond
Savings Institution, which was projected about 1857 by a number of business men
doing business in the Diamond and on Market street. The subscribers to the in-
stitution paid in a fixed sum weekly, and its office was at 74 Market street. About
1858-9 the original contributors to the Diamond Saving Institute associated them-
selves as the Union Banking Company, John K. McCune being elected president.
On September 5, 1859, the first statement of the banking company was made,
showing a capital of $56,500, a deposit line of $8,500, and earnings to the amount
of $2,800.

The German National Bank, organized from the German Trust and Saving
Company, which was organized in 1860 for a savings bank, as a co-partnership,
and had a capital of $100,000 to be paid in installments.

The first board of directors were, — Augustus Hoeveler, Joseph Lang, Springer
Harbaugh, Anthony Meyer, Christian Seibert, E. Hilleyers, John F. Havecotte,
Adam Reineman, John S. Dilworth.

Augustus Hoeveler was president and John Stewart cashier. Mr. Hoeveler
resigned and Adam Reineman succeeded him, for one year, when Mr. Hoeveler
was again elected president and remained president until after the company was,
in 1863, organized as the German National Bank, with a paid up capital of $250,-
000. Par value of shares $100.

The first board of directors of the German National Bank was composed of the
same persons as in the German Trust and Savings Company.

In 1868 Mr. Hoeveler resigned, and Mr. Groetzinger was elected president, and

Online LibraryGeorge H. (George Henry) ThurstonAllegheny county's hundred years → online text (page 35 of 43)