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George Lawrence

Indiana Lawrence

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This is a private banking house, established on the 15th of March, 1882, by George W. Lawrence, who is still its President and Manager. The bank is situated in the west front room of the mercantile house of George W. Lawrence & Co., and is elegantly fitted up for the purpose to which it is devoted. It is supplied with a fire and burglar-proof vault, of the Hall patent, and in all its appointments is complete and convenient. Mr. Lawrence, its proprietor, is an enterprising gentleman, and his well-known integrity and business sagacity have secured for his bank the public confidence so essential to its prosperity and perpetuity. He is engaged in a general banking business, receiving deposits, discounting, issuing bills of exchange, etc. He is in correspondence with the leading banks of the Union, and the Eel River Valley Bank is known as one of the solid and substantial institutions of Northern Indiana, while it enjoys the advantage of being centrally located in the midst of a populous and wealthy region.

 Source: Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette, August 16, 1973

Just the name, “Indiana Lawrence Bank and Trust Company” suggests one or more mergers back along the line. Today’s Bank is the sum consolidation of the Lawrence National Bank, Indiana State Bank, and the Union Trust company.

“Eel River Valley Bank is the name of the Banking House now getting in the furniture, putting down carpets, and arranging things generally preparatory to opening for business this Thursday morning. This bank will loan money, receive deposits, buy notes and mortgages, buy and sell exchange, make collections and do a general banking business. The name of the president, G. W. Lawrence will suffice to give the bank a high financial standing throughout the valley, and August C. Mills, the cashier is a young man of very good business qualifications, affable and obliging. This Bank will start under very favorable circumstances and no doubt will receive the patronage it merits.”

The above appeared in Thursday, March 16, 1882, edition of The Journal to herald the new Eel River Valley Bank.

It was a private banking house, established on the 15th day March, 1882, by George W. Lawrence, who was its president and manager.

The bank was situated in the west front room of the mercantile house of George W. Lawrence & Co., and was elegantly fitted for the purpose to which it was devoted. It was supplied with a fire and burglar-proof vault.

Lawrence, also owner of a thriving dry goods store, selling everything from groceries to clothing that was “the finest in Wabash County”, traveled all over the country, making stops in Chicago and New York to buy merchandise. He was a wealthy and influential member of the community, and all early accounts used the Lawrence name with respect.

In 1886, it became a National Bank with Lawrence as president, A.C. Mills, vice president, and H. Mills, cashier. The Lawrence National Bank first had a capital of $50,000.

The Banking rooms of the first Indiana State Bank were on the site of the building used until 1951, where the Moose Lodge is now. It was organized in 1901 with a capital stock of $25,000. The organization was formed with Dr. W.H. Shaffer as president.

A merger between the two natural enemies came when a state law took away rivalry for funds. It used to be the banks, churches, election campaigns, and other civil politics divided the town populace almost equally.

The late twenties and early thirties ushered in an era of more understanding and a wish for more practical operating procedures in place of the old feuding days. It being expensive to operate two small banks when one would work better, all interests merged into the Indiana Lawrence Bank in 1929.

First day deposits exceeded $70,000, a substantial amount then. Before December, the newly-consolidated bank needed more space than either former building could offer. A room next to the Indiana State building was purchased from Jesse Tyler for $7,000. The two rooms were made into one, used as such until the present new building was constructed.

In November, 1963, Indiana Lawrence Bank and Trust Company held the open house that marked their occupancy of the then new building they are using now.

At present, Bank staff includes President and Trust Officer, Robert Hoover; Vice-President and Trust Officer, Jerry Moore; Assistant Vice-President and Auditor, Paul House; Vice President and Secretary, Lindy Lybarger; Vice President, Don Koeneman; Assistant Vice President and Farm Director, Lee Davis; cashier, Grover Archer; Assistant Cashiers, Isabelle Beck, Vivian Weller, Vera Garber. The Bank also employs seven secretaries, two note tellers, seven tellers, five bookkeepers, a safe deposit attendant, switchboard operator, custodians and persons in charge of auditing and collections.