The Pioneer Bank
The Exchange Bank of Lanark was founded April 2, 1878, by Lanark
farmer and businessman, John Wolf, with a capital stock of $50,000.00.
In today's market that amount of money might start up a small service
station - not including the building. But money was scarce in 1878
and the buying power of a dollar was at least 10 times greater than
today's currency. In fact, just 20 years before, government land
in Carroll County was selling for $1.25 an acre. (That's a buck
and a quarter an acre for prime farm land.) So founder John Wolf
started building his bank with a sound financial foundation. That
same financial solidarity existed throughout the bank's history
and still continues today.
The Exchange Bank was not the first in Lanark. A newspaper ad from
April, 1870, read: "Von Vechten and Co. Bank - Transacts general
banking. Collections by mail or express receive prompt attention."
In December of that year, papers were filed in Washington to form
the First National Bank of Lanark; Giles Van Vechten, Cashier; R.
G. Shumway of Milledgeville, President. Directors were Van Vechten,
Shumway, Emanual Stover, John Wolf, Alex McConnell, and Z. B. Kinkade.
Banking began on Jan. 1, 1871; offices were located on the Northeast
corner of Broad and Locust. During this same period the Compton
& Fry Bank was in business, just across the street.
John Wolf became president of the First National Bank in 1877 and
was succeeded by Robert Paley the following year. In April, 1878,
Wolf formed the Exchange Bank which opened for business at the same
spot where the present bank stands, formerly the site of Welch's
In 1908 the bank was incorporated under its present name, the Exchange
State Bank, Lanark, with the Wolf family very much in control. Their
statement of condition would have included this lineup:
Amos R. Wolf (son of the founder), President and Director
Guy Wolf, Cashier
Millard S. Weary, Assistant Cashier.
Other directors were David Wolf, Bennet Trout, Edward W. Puterbough,
George Dampbell, and Francis X. Newcomer.
During the first third of the century, the Exchange State Bank
grew slowly but steadily and retained its strong financial condition,
even during the darkest days of the depression when bank closings
were commonplace. On March 4, 1933, when President Roosevelt declared
his famous "bank holiday," the Exchange State Bank - along
with all other banks in the nation - was ordered to close. The proposed
4-day holiday became 10 days - for big city banks. Country banks
took longer before getting the green light. The Exchange State Bank
was allowed to reopen - with no restriction - in April. No customer
lost a penny. Nowadays, of course, deposits are insured by the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Lanark's other bank, the First National, which was founded a few
years before the Exchange Bank, didn't reopen at all, but on September
8, 1934, The National Bank of Lanark was started. All customer obligations
of the original First National were met. On Jan. 2, 1968, the Exchange
State Bank assumed the assets and liabilities of The National Bank,
and Lanark, since then, has been served by one bank.
Interior of the Exchange Bank probably before the turn of the century.
We have no identification of the officers shown here, but the gentleman
to the right could be Millard Weary, Assistant Cashier.
This picture was taken behind the teller's cage at the Exchange Bank
in April, 1906, for our 28th birthday. M. S. Weary, Assistant Cashier,
is counting money at the left. Amos Wolf, President, is at the safe
and Guy Wolf, Cashier, is seated on the high stool working on the
JOHN WOLF was listed in the 1878 "History of
Carroll County" as "capitalist." He was also a farmer
& stock raiser in addition to being the founder of the Exchange
AMOS WOLF, son of the founder, was President of
the bank until 1913. He is listed in the 1878 History of Carroll
County as: "farmer and stock raiser, Sec. 9; P. O. Lanark.
Born in the Co. in 1845; owns 380 acres; has sold 177 hogs in one
shipment of his own raising, netting him $4,828.00. Married Miss
Susan Sword in 1867.