Thursday, March 08, 2018

Merchants and Planters Bank (Milton, North Carolina)

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Merchants and Planters Bank (Milton, North Carolina)

Check/Note No. 48 drawn by on Merchants and Planters Bank (Milton, N.C.) in the amount of $17.58 for 1900 taxes, payable to John Tabb Donoho (1860-1937).

While the payee is known, the drawer of the check is not known. The first initial may be "T" or "J" or "L". The middle initial may be "M" or "W".

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Thus, one possibility is Thomas Moore Allen (1859-1926), who lived in the Semora Community of Caswell County, North Carolina.

Merchants and Planters Bank of Milton

In 1889, the Merchants and Planters Bank of Milton was chartered for operation, with up to $200,000 authorized in capital. This bank was given the option of establishing branches or agencies as its president and directors so designated. Among the incorporators were several men from Danville, Virginia, as well as the following from Milton: H. T. Riggs; W. M. Watkins; R. L. Walker; E. Hunt; George W. Thompson; J. S. Cunningham; John L. Irvine; W. T. Farley; W. W. Luck; and J. A. Hurdle.

According to Professor Powell: “The Merchants and Planters Bank flourished into the next century under the presidency of J. A. Hurdle and with J. L. Walker as cashier.” Whether this bank flourished or not is unknown; however, it apparently did exist as a banking entity until at least September 6, 1904. That is the date of the North Carolina Bank Annual Report for 1904, which included information on the Merchants and Planters Bank, Milton, as the only bank operating in Caswell County (which also was the status for 1903). However, the Report for 1905 contained no information of this bank, which presumably had shut its doors. The following from a newspaper of the time may provide the answer:

"The Merchants’ and Farmers Bank at Milton, Caswell county, a State bank, has failed. The assets in sight are about $31,000, $27,000 of this being in notes. The capital stock of the bank was $3,000."

However, unclear is the bank identified in the newspaper item. Milton had a Farmers Bank. It had a Merchants and Planters Bank. But, it did not have a Merchants and Farmers Bank; at least no record of such a bank has been found. The failure of a Milton bank around November 1904 would be consistent with the history of the Merchants and Planters Bank discussed above. Based upon the annual bank reports for 1903 - 1905, the bank was in business at the time of the 1904 report (September 6), but not when the 1905 report was prepared on May 29. Also, the Farmers Bank of Milton apparently discontinued business before 9 April 1903. Query whether the Merchants and Farmers Bank was a successor to the Farmers Bank.

An 1893 map of Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina, identifies the building generally known as the “Milton State Bank” building as housing the “Merchants & Planters Bank.” This would be reasonable as the Bank of North Carolina succumbed to bankruptcy in 1868, thus ending the use of the Milton bank building as a branch of that bank. With its builtin vault and dedicated public areas, this building continued suitable for banking activity.

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