The rise and fall: Bank of Oakwood
Ed. H. Wilson served as cashier and secretary for the Bank of Oakwood, and later as special deputy commissioner for the state of Missouri. Photo contributed by Mr. Wilson’s grandson, Edwin J. Wilson, Milwaukee, Wis.
MARY LOU MONTGOMERY
Along Market street in the Hannibal, Mo., neighborhood known as Oakwood, two brick buildings stand today which represent the business prosperity of Oakwood and its agricultural neighbors during the first three decades of the 20th Century.
On the northwest corner of Market and Price avenue is the original building which housed the Farmers Bank of Oakwood, established in 1909.
On the northwest corner of Market and 35th street is the new bank building, which was occupied in July 1928.
The new bank’s stockholders met on Jan. 8, 1909, and announced the board of directors:
William E. Brown, Rensselaer
J.A. Muldrow, Rensselaer
W.Z. Link, Oakwood
Hugh G. Priest, Oakwood
J.L. Glascock, New London
John O’Keefe, Spalding
Richard T. Clark, Oakwood
T.L. Nolin, Oakwood
Dr. Abe McFarland, New London.
These board members in turn elected the following officers:
W.Z. Link, president
Hugh G. Priest, vice president
Richard T. Clark, cashier.
Investors included 65 farmers in the surrounding area.
The bank’s first audit, in September of 1909, uncovered an irregularity that warranted investigation.
The state bank examiner found that the Oakwood bank’s cashier, 20-year-old Richard T. Clark, was short on his accounts by $9,938.28. The bank’s investors initially made up the shortfall, and the surety company ultimately settled the debt.
In May 1910, Judge David H. Eby paroled Clark, who was originally from Ralls County.
John A. Owen of Ralls County, was named cashier following Clark’s departure.
Wilson as cashier
When John A. Owen resigned the post in 1915, he was replaced as cashier by Ed. H. Wilson. Wilson, who grew up at Spalding, Mo., married Lucille Brown Wilson, a nurse employed at Hannibal’s Levering Hospital, on Aug. 25, 1910. His first job in Hannibal, in 1901, had been with the Hixon Hardware Store, 106-108 N. Main.
New bank building
In July 1928, the Oakwood bank moved into new quarters on the northwest corner of 35th and Market streets. The one-story building was constructed of brick and concrete, and measured 25x60 feet. The Ralls County Record newspaper at New London congratulated Cashier Ed H. Wilson for saving the bank enough money to construct the new structure.
The building’s cost: $10,000.
In 1928, bank officers were W.Z. Link, president; Henry Reidel, vice president; Ed. H. Wilson, secretary and cashier. The directors were W.Z. Link, Henry Reidel, Ed. H. Wilson, John O’Keefe, Charles Loetterle, C.K. Gillum and Henry Mithoeffer.
Two Hannibal-area banks, hard hit by the 1929 stock market crash and recent bank failures, were closed in December 1930, and placed in the hands of the Missouri State Finance Department.
The first to close, the Hannibal Trust Company, had total resources of $1.5 million. The second bank was the Farmers Bank of Oakwood. The Union Savings Bank of Monroe City and the First Savings Bank at Palmyra also closed.
Mr. Wilson, who up until the time of the bank failures had been secretary and cashier of the Oakwood bank, now wore a new hat. Appointed special deputy commissioner for the Missouri Commissioner of Finance, Wilson was put in charge of liquidating the Oakwood bank’s assets, and later the banks in Palmyra, Monroe City and Hannibal.
It would take some eight years to settle the affairs of the banks and to repay, at least in part, depositors.
In an auction in May 1938, the five-story building on the northeast corner of Broadway and Third in Hannibal, was purchased by the Marion County Mutual Loan and Building Association for $38,000, the firm of Plowman and Greenville representing the purchasers.
The Bank of Oakwood building was purchased by Henry Reidel for $2,300. He had served as the bank’s vice president.
The First Savings Bank building at Palmyra sold for $10,000. The purchaser was the city of Palmyra. C.E. Robey purchased the Union Savings Bank at Palmyra for $6,400.
During the years following the Oakwood bank’s closing, some of the men associated with the bank’s operation remained close friends, particularly W.Z. Link and Ed. H. Wilson.
During January 1941, Mr. and Mrs. W.Z. Link were guests of honor at a celebration marking their 50th wedding anniversary. Guests included Mr. and Mrs. Ed. H. Wilson and their son, Edwin S. Wilson.
On Feb. 19, 1946, W.Z. Link gathered with other friends at the home of Ed. H. Wilson, 3306 St. Charles, Oakwood, to celebrate Wilson’s 71st birthday.
W.Z. Link died March 7, 1950, at the age of 90, and is buried at Holy Family Cemetery. He has no living direct descendants.
Ed. H. Wilson, widowed, died May 6, 1950, at the age of 75. He was buried at Grand View Burial Park.
This is a page taken from an auction flyer held in Steve Chou’s vast collection. After the Hannibal Trust Company closed in 1930, its assets, including this building, were sold in order to recover funds for depositors.
The former Bank of Oakwood building is pictured in 1938. The bank closed in 1930. Henry Reidel purchased the building at auction for $2,300. It has been constructed two years prior for $10,000.
This advertisement was published in the 1909 Hannibal city directory, accessed online via the Hannibal Free Public Library’s web site.
Mary Lou Montgomery, retired as editor of the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post in 2014. She researches and writes narrative-style stories about the people who served as building blocks for this region’s foundation. Books available on Amazon.com by this author: "The Notorious Madam Shaw," "Pioneers in Medicine from Northeast Missouri," and "The Historic Murphy House, Hannibal, Mo., Circa 1870." She can be reached at Montgomery.firstname.lastname@example.org Her collective works can be found at www.maryloumontgomery.com