Transcribed from A History of Meade County, Kansas by Frank S. Sullivan. ; [c1916] ; Crane & Company. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, September 2006.

1916 A History of Meade County, Kansas



Meade County has not been lacking in financial institutions. The first bank to incorporate was the Meade County Savings Bank, incorporated July 30th, 1885; Isaac N. Graves, R. R. Wells, H. H. Rogers, C. W. Adams, A. H. Heber, E. F. Seeberger, E. L. Mead, and L. E. Steele, Directors. This bank, however, never opened for business.

The first bank to do business in Meade County was The Meade Deposit Bank, a private bank, which commenced business in Meade Center in the fall of 1885: M. J. O'Meara, President; B. F. Cox, Vice-President; M. H. Ewart, Cashier. About a year later it nationalized, and became The First National Bank of Meade Center. It operated as a national bank for a couple of years, when it went into involuntary liquidation, with John C. Fry as receiver.

The Meade County Bank, Meade Center, was incorporated Feb. 26th, 1886, with a capital stock of $50,000. Directors, A. H. Heber, M. Wightman, Ed. Dool, C. S. Rockey, and Chas. P. Woodbury. It afterwards nationalized under the name of The Meade County National Bank, but in 1890 it again became a State bank under its original name and with its original capital stock; A. H. Heber, Geo. L. Stevens, E. F. Rieman, E. T. Brawley, and Chas. P. Woodbury, Directors. Soon afterwards it liquidated and went out of business, Geo. B. Cones winding up its affairs as trustee.



The Farmers and Stockgrowers Bank was incorporated Nov. 20th, 1886, capital stock $50,000, and opened for business at Meade Center, with the following Directors: Isaac N. Graves, Samuel Williams, Lewis K. McGuffin, Oscar B. Hamilton, and Ormond Hamilton. This bank was reincorporated August 31st, 1891, with a capital stock of $5,000, and with Ormond Hamilton, F. G. Hamilton, M. P. Hamilton, J. W. Hamilton and M. H. Tripod as Directors. At this time the mercury in the thermometer of business had reached to almost zero, and it continued to descend for some years. This bank was conservatively managed, but under the adverse conditions existing at that time success was unattainable, and the bank became insolvent. In 1898 Louis Boehler was appointed receiver, and remained in charge of the assets until the affairs were settled, and he was finally discharged in 1902. And it is to the credit of the receiver and of the officers and stockholders of the bank, that after paying the expense of the receivership and the preferred claims, the general creditors realized more than seventy-eight cents on the dollar, a much higher rate than is usually paid by an insolvent.

The Citizens State Bank, Meade Center, was incorporated Aug. 5th, 1887, with a capital stock of $100,000; George C. Strong, E G. Robertson, C. W. Adams, W. H. Young, Wm. K. Palmer, Coleman Rogers, and A. J. McCabe, Directors. This bank was reorganized Jan. 11th, 1889, under the name of The Citizens Bank of Meade Center; capital stock, $50,000. Directors, E. G. Robertson, Coleman Rogers, Arthur J. McCabe, C. W. Adams, and C. E. Cones. It soon thereafter liquidated.


The Bank of West Plains, West Plains, was incorporated Jan. 11th, 1888; capital stock, $50,000. Directors, B. B. Brown, W. C. Gould, C. Gould, H. B. Stone, and R. F. Crawford. This bank continued to do business until the general conditions of the country warned the Directors that a continuation would mean failure, when they closed their doors, paid depositors and creditors in full, and quit business. The officers, Brown, Gould and Stone, went to Colorado and engaged in the banking business at Lamar.

A private bank was also organized at Fowler, in the late 80's, of which Wm. Beaty was president, B. F. Cox, Vice-President, O. S. Hurd, Cashier; capital stock, $5,000. It paid out in full and quit business in 1890.

Of the banks at present doing business in Meade County, The Meade State Bank was incorporated Aug. 22nd, 1899. Directors, C. Q. Chandler, W. S. Berryman, J. W. Berryman, N. A. Berryman, and Emily Berryman. Its capital stock was $5,000, which was increased to $10,000 in 1900. In 1903 this bank was reorganized, under the same charter, with R. A. Harper, President. B. F. Cox, Vice-President, Louis Boehler, Cashier. In 1909 the capital stock was again increased, this time to $30,000. It now has a surplus, in round numbers, of $13,000, and deposits of $200,000, Its depositors are protected by the Bank Depositors' Guaranty Fund of the State of Kansas.

The First National Bank of Meade opened for business on May 2nd, 1904, with the following officers: President J. B. Buck; Vice-President, Geo. S. Selvidge; Cashier, F. W. Curl. The Directors, in addition

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to the President and Vice-President, were: E. A. Twist, Linn Frazier, B. F. Leach, J. R. Graves, and Geo. B. Cones. The present officers are: W F. Casteen, President; J. F. Conrad, Vice-President; F. W. Curl, Cashier. Its capital stock is $25,000, and its surplus and deposits, in round numbers, are respectively $25,000 and $180,000. Its depositors are protected by bond in The Deposit Guaranty and Surety Co.

The Fowler State Bank, Fowler, was incorporated April 3rd, 1906, with a capital stock of $10,000, and with the following Directors: R. A. Harper, J. C. Hall, Leo P. McMeel, Louis Boehler, W. P. Bunyan, and F. D. Morrison. Its present officers are: R. A. Harper, President; T. V. Pinnick, Vice-President; F. D. Morrison, Cashier; John F. Sweet, Assistant Cashier. Its present capital stock, surplus and deposits are, respectively, $25,000, $12,500, and $100,000. It is under the protection of the Bank Depositors Guaranty Fund.

The First National Bank of Fowler commenced business Jan. 3rd, 1910, with the following officers: President, John F. Conrad; Vice-President, J. C. Hall; Cashier, D. B. Mitchell; Directors, John F. Conrad, J. C Hall, Linn Frazier, John Boucher, and J. M. Dowell. Its present officers are: Linn Frazier, President; J. C. Hall, Vice-President; Geo. D. Hall, Cashier. Its capital stock, surplus and deposits are, respectively, $25,000, $15,000, and $115,000. Its depositors are protected by surety bond.

The Plains State Bank, Plains was incorporated July 7th, 1906, with the following Directors: J. A. Collingwood, D. A. Collingwood, Joe G. Collingwood,


S. G. Demoret, Ella Demoret and J. H. Collingwood, the last named of whom has been Cashier since the bank's organization. Its present capital stock and surplus are $35,000; its deposits are $150,000.

The American Mortgage Trust Company was chartered August 15th, 1887, with an authorized capital stock of two hundred thousand dollars. Its purposes were to negotiate loans on farm and city property, to purchase securities, and to own and sell real estate. The Directors were: A. H. Heber, Willis G. Emerson, L. S. Sears, L. W. Brown, Edward Pool, R. P. Brown, Geo. L. Stevens, D. W. Higbee, and L. D. Rogers,—all of whom were residents of Meade County, save the last three. This company flourished for a time, but finally became involved. Geo. S. Selvidge was appointed receiver, and at a receiver's sale in 1899 R. W Griggs purchased the entire assets of the corporation for three hundred dollars.



Meade County is the rock that has wrecked the hopes and shattered the dreams of many newspaper men. In the early days almost every boom town "sported" but did not "support" a newspaper. The result was that these papers were published with more or less regularity as long as the editor could get credit for white paper and printer's ink, and then died a natural death. I use the expression "natural death" advisedly, because it is but natural that these early-day newspapers, under the economic conditions that then existed, should come to an untimely end.

The first paper published in Meade County was The Pearlette Call, by Bennett & Lowery, the first edition appearing April 15th, 1879, and the last bearing date May 8th, 1880.

In May, 1885, C. K. Sourbeer issued the first number of The Spring Lake Hornet, which continued to appear monthly until the summer of 1889.

In June, 1885, E. E. Henley commenced publishing The Fowler Graphic, and continued until 1891.

The Carthage Times was published from June, 1885, to January, 1886.

In July, 1885, Cannon Bros. issued the first number of The Meade Center Press. In December of the same year this paper was sold to Mechler Bros., and the name changed to The Press Democrat. In March, 1886, Mechler Bros. sold to H. Wiltz Brown, and in 1890 Brown unloaded on Sam Lawrence, who published the



paper under the name of The Meads Democrat until 1894, when he sold to C. G. Allen, and publication was suspended in 1895.

In the spring of 1887 T. J. Palmer (referred to affectionately by his friends and derisively by his enemies, as "Toe-jam") issued The Meade Republican, which existed until 1894.

In the summer of 1887 H. L. Bishop published The Mertilla Times, but the times were too hard and this paper lived but a few months.

In 1887 Len Whorton issued the first number of The Mead Center Telegram, and the last number was issued the following year.

The West Plains Guardian was published from 1887 to 1889.

The Fowler Advocate was published for about a year, commencing in 1887.

The Meade County Globe was established in July, 1885, by J. Malcolm Johnson. In August, 1886, this paper was purchased by Frank Fuhr, and by him published for twenty-seven years. Mr. Fuhr witnessed the rise and fall of practically all of the newspaper ventures, and it is chiefly from him that the information in this chapter is obtained. In November, 1913, Mr Fuhr sold the Globe to W. S. Martin, who has since been its publisher.

In 1900 John Wehrle established The Meade County News and continued to publish it until in 1909, when it was sold to The Meade Publishing Company, a corporation organized by the business men of Meade. John Innis was placed in charge as business nanager and E. D. Smith as editor. After a few months Smith


retired, and was succeeded by John Miller, who edited the News for about a year. Miller was succeeded as editor by Agnes Wehrle, who conducted the paper a while for thecorporation, and in July, 1912, Miss Wehrle purchased the plant, and the corporation went out of existence.

In 1906 I. J. Stanton established The Fowler Gazette, and published it until 1914, when he sold out to W. R. Bond, who, after a brief experience, sold to Perry Bros., who changed the name of the paper to The Fowler News.

Maurice McDonald established The Plains Journal in 1907. After about a year he sold to E. B. McConnell. Mr. McConnell published it for three or four years and then sold to F. W. Calvert, the present owner and editor.

In addition to the regular newspapers there is published during the school year The Tattler, published by the Meade High School students and The High School Life, published by students of the Fowler High School.

It is not recorded that the publisher of any Meade County newspaper acquired great wealth by his enterprise. But that is neither a reflection on, nor a criticism of, Meade County. For the most part these papers were established in the early days, the "boom" days, the promising days, and the newspaperman, like the merchant, the banker and others, simply followed the light that failed.

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