Muskogee, A Financial Center

For the past forty years Muskogee has been the acknowledged financial center of Eastern Oklahoma. Before any banks were established the pioneer stores, the Patterson Mercantile Co., J. E. Turner, Turner Hardware Co., S. B. Severs, Spaulding Mercantile Co. and the Maddin Hardware Co. served the community as quasi banking institutions, extending financial accommodations to the farmers throughout Eastern Oklahoma.

The First National Bank was organized August 1, 1890, it being the first bank in Indian Territory to organize under the National Bank Act of Congress. Robert L. Owen, now United States Senator, was its first president, and C. H. Warth its first cashier. This bank received the hearty support of the business men, was a pronounced success from the date of its organization, and for more than thirty years past has steadily retained its rank of being the largest financial institution in this section of the country.

The Commercial National Bank, the second largest bank of Eastern Oklahoma, opened its doors for business on December 13, 1899, at the northwest corner of Broadway and Main Street. It was the successor of the Commercial Bank of Muskogee, a private institution organized in 1897 by D. H. Middleton, George H. Williams, Ira B. Kirkland, John R. Dill and several other men. Mr. George H. Barnes, a wealthy financier from Ohio, became president of the new national bank, and David N. Fink its cashier. A few years later Mr. Barnes built the office building on Third Street which bears his name, a ten-story, fireproof structure, and the Commercial National Bank was moved to this new building. Upon the death of Mr. Barnes, the cashier, Mr. D. N. Fink, was promoted to the office of president, a position which he is eminently qualified to fill.

The Exchange National Bank
The Exchange National Bank was organized January 1, 1913, taking over the assets and good will of the Muskogee State Bank.

This bank has steadily increased its assets and has gradually grown in favor with the people from the date of its opening for business, nine years ago. One interesting feature connected with the history of this bank is the fact that no change has ever been made in its principal officers, Mr. M. Board having been its president, W. T. Wisdom its vice president and Thomas F. King its cashier, since the date of its organization.

Central State Bank
The Central State Bank, chartered under the Oklahoma Guaranty Bank law, began business in May, 1910, having purchased the business of the Night and Day Bank, which had been conducted by Mr. R H. Beard. The officers of this bank are all young men, each one of whom had acquired a practical knowledge of the banking business while in the employ of the older banks. Their extensive acquaintance and good standing assured them patronage from the beginning. Mr. J. A. DeWitt is president and C. T. Thompson cashier.

Muskogee National Bank
Early in 1901, Mr. A. W. Patterson and his son-in-law, Mr. A. C. Trumbo, arrived in the city and started the Bank of Muskogee in a little box house about twelve feet square, at the southwest corner of Second and Okmulgee streets. Three years later they erected the Iowa building, a substantial four-story brick building on the same corner, and the rapidly growing bank was given better quarters in the new building. By the way, the Iowa building installed the first elevator in the city and the natives, for many months, regarded it with feelings of awe and fear.

Oftentimes, they would climb the several flights of stairs rather than take chances in landing safely via the elevator. The business of the Bank of Muskogee increased rapidly and on February 10, 1908, it became the Muskogee National Bank. In 1916 this bank bought the five-story Mid-Continent building, at the northwest corner Of Third Street and Broadway, and in 1918 the bank moved into its new location, where it is still conducting its extensive business. Within a month after this last removal, Mr. Patterson died and Mr. Trumbo succeeded him as president of the bank.

Security State Bank
The Security State Bank is Muskogee’s newest financial institution, it having commenced business under the Guaranty Bank Act, on April 11, 1919. It, too, was organized and is managed by young men who had received good training in other banks. It has gained rapidly in the amount of its deposits and has made a good record during its three short years of life. Milton G. Young, its president, and Garland C. Jackson its cashier, had been connected with other banks in the city for several years prior to branching out into business for themselves.
The cash deposits in these several banks on the 31st day of December, 1921, were as follows:

  • First National Bank $ 4,840,927.91
  • Commercial National Bank 3,499,792.54
  • Muskogee National Bank 2,073,247.34
  • Exchange National Bank 2,046,635.17
  • Central State Bank 931,498.86
  • Security State Bank 1,390,356.98
  • Total deposits $14,782,458.80

Based on the United States census report of 1900, this shows an average bank deposit of $488.24 for every man, woman and child in Muskogee, which is certainly a remarkably good showing, especially when it is remembered that the whole nation is experiencing a season of financial depression.

In addition to these banks, Muskogee also has three trust companies and three building associations, all of which are in a prosperous condition.

Source: Benedict, John D. Muskogee and northeastern Oklahoma, including the counties of Muskogee, McIntosh, Wagoner, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair, Delaware, Mayes, Rogers, Washington, Nowata, Craig, and Ottawa. 3 v. illus., ports., facsims. 28 cm. Chicago, S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1922.

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