Rockingham County, Virginia
VAGenWeb Project

A History of Rockingham County
John W. Wayland Ph.D.

Chapter XXII





     First, let us notice briefly the Rockingham banks that are not now in operation.

     By Act of Assembly, March 16, 1850, the Rockingham Savings Bank was chartered, being authorized to discount paper and do a general banking business.  The capital stock was not to exceed $100,000.  John Kenney, Ed. H. Smith, Robt. M. Kyle, Peachy R. Harrison, Robt. Grattan, Wm. G. Stevens, Abraham Smith, M. Harvey Effinger, Isaac Hardesty, and John H. Waterman were named as incorporators.

     In 1852-3 several Acts were passed to establish branches of certain banks at Harrisonburg.

     February 24, 1860, an Act was passed incorporating the Harrisonburg Savings Bank.  The commissioners named were Saml. Shacklett, Isaac G. Coffman [page 139], Alfred Sprinkle, L. W. Gambill, Wm. D. Trout, John D. Pennybacker [page 295], Thos. L. Yancey, Saml. R. Sterling, David Kingree.

     In the 60’s and 70’s Jonas A. Loewenbach (Dec. 25, 1828 - Dec. 22, 1907) did a good deal of banking business in Harrisonburg.

     On April 2, 1873, an Act was passed incorporating Rockingham Bank, Ed. S. Kemper, B. G. Patterson, J. W. F. Allemong [page 232], M. Y. Partlow, Chas. A. Yancey, Jos. A. Hammon, J. A. Lowenbach, Jas. L. Avis, Jacob Gassman, and Wm. Mckeever being named as commissioners.  The bank was opened for business, July 1, 1874, in a portion of A. M. Effinger’s bookstore, south side of the public square, Harrisonburg.  This was probably in the Switzer building.  Henry Shacklett was president, Wm. Rice Warren cashier; the directors were W. D. Hopkins, J. A. Hammon, C. A.



Yancey, Jas. L. Avis, E. S. Kemper, Andrew Lewis, J. S. Harnsberger, and G. M. Effinger.(1)  Mr. Warren was cashier till his death in 1883; from 1883 to 1886 Mr. W. J. Dingledine was cashier; he was succeeded by Mr. C. D. Beard.  About 1889 Rockingham Bank was succeeded by the Commerical Bank of Harrisonburg, which was in business for several years.  Messrs. J. J. Hawse, Eugene West, and Wm. Loeb were connected with these institutions during the later years of their history.

     In 1878 the Farmers Bank was organized at Bridgewater.  A building was erected for it in 1883, at the corner of Bank Street and Main.  At first the officers were:  J. W. F. Allemong, president; J. S. Loose, cashier; O. B. Loose, teller.  In 1889 S. H. W. Byrd was made cashier.  In 1891 the directors were Jas. F. Lowman, J. W. F. Allemong, and B. M. Rice.  This bank closed business in 1892.(2)

     In March, 1891, a bank was opened at Shendun (Grottoes), W. P. Roberts and James Martin, of Lynchburg, being president and cashier, respectively.  This bank was still in operation in December, 1892.

     Let us next take a glance at the nine banks now doing business in the county.

     In 1853 an Act was passed authorizing the establishment of the Citizens’ Bank of Virginia, in the town of Harrisonburg.  Robt. Gray, Harvey Kyle, and ten other gentlemen were named as commissioners.  The next Assembly changed the name to Bank of Rockingham.  In 1854 A. B. Irick was president; C. C. Strayer, cashier; A. E. Heneberger, clerk and teller.  It “commenced operation in the stone building next door to the Post Office” (the Waterman house - see page 192).  This is said to have been the first bank in the county; but if any of those projected in 1850-3, noted above, were actually started, it may not have been the first.

     In April, 1863, the Bank of Rockingham was located in


(1) Rockingham Register, July 3 and Aug. 27, 174.

(2) Information given by Mr. S. H. W. Byrd.




the Exchange Hotel building (C. C. Clapp, propr.).(3)  This was the house on the north side of the public square, built by A. B. Irick, in which Dr. Frank L. Harris till recently had his office.  In August, 1865, it was reorganized as the First National Bank of Harrisonburg, the officers continuing as named above.  C. C. Strayer was cashier from 1854 to 1888; then he was succeeded by L. C. Myers.(4)  Mr. L. H. Ott has the first safe used by the bank.  The total on each side of the financial statement published April 13, 1866, was $247,148.11.  In October, 1866, the bank was moved into its new building opposite Hill’s Hotel.  The present building was erected in 1903.  L. C. Myers is president, Geo. E. Sipe vice-president, C. H. Chandler cashier, and C. D. Beard assistant cashier.  The total on each side of the financial statement published Sept. 4, 1912, was $1,648,894.34.

     The Planters Bank of Bridgewater was opened for business February 3, 1898.  Jos. H. Craun was president; John W. Cline, vice-president; Jas. R. Shipman, cashier.  The original board of directors were J. H. Craun, J. W. Cline, John W. Wise, Robt. J. Miller, and John S. Garber.

     The present officers are:  J. W. Cline, president; W. H. Sipe, vice-president; J. R. Shipman, cashier; S. H. W. Byrd, assistant cashier.  The present directors are J. W. Cline, W. H. Sipe, J. Newton Wilson, J. S. Garber, G. Ed. Miller, N. B. Wise, and Ed. G. Crist.  Miss Ida Thomas has been a valued assistant in the bank for a number of years.

     Business was begun with a paid up capital of $4000.  The balanced total in the published statement of April 18, 1912, was $145,014.57.

     The Rockingham National Bank, Harrisonburg, was organized December 21, 1899.  The shareholders present elected the following directors:  Andrew M. Newman, Jr., Geo. G. Grattan, Aaron H. Wilson, Jesse R. Cover, and Jacob Funkhouser.  These directors held their first session on


(3)  Rockingham Register, April 24, 1863.

(4) Idem, Feb. 2, 1866; April 30, 1897.




January 10, 1900, and elected A. M. Newman, Jr., president and A. H. Wilson, vice-president.  They also elected W. J. Dingledine cashier and Ernest S. Strayer teller.  The bank opened for business on March 15, 1900, with a capital of $50,000.  The directors are:  Geo. G. Grattan, Samuel Forrer, Samuel M. Bowman, A. H. Long, Jno. B. Peale, J. R. Cover, Jacob S. Sellers, T. N. Haas, Jno. I. Harnsberger, F. M. Stinespring, C. G. Harnsberger.

     The officers and employees are:  G. G. Grattan, president; C. G. Harnsberger, vice-president; W. J. Dingledine, cashier; S. D. Myers, assistant cashier; C. H. Mauzy, teller; E. R. Lineweaver, A. R. Ruff, R. L. Coffman, bookkeepers; A. J. Crawn, Clerk; Miss Flavia Converse, stenographer.

     The capital of the bank is now $60,000:  surplus and profits, $65,000; deposits $600,000; loans $600,000; resources, $800,000.

     The First National Bank of Broadway was opened for business April 24, 1903, with $25,000 capital stock.  The directors were Geo. S. Aldhizer, B. F. Helbert, J. P. Miller, D. B. Sites, D. F. Geil, J. W. Grim, and T. J. Pennybacker.  Mr. Aldhizer was president, Mr. Helbert vice-president, and Mr. Grim cashier.  The following gentlemen now constitute the board of control, with organization as indicated:  D. F. Geil, president; B. F. Helbert, vice-president; T. C. Aldhizer, cashier; G. S. Aldhizer, A. R. Miller, Jos. Shank, J. M. Kline, and A. M. Turner.  The balance total in the financial statement made Sept. 4, 1912, was $104,828.28.

     The Bank of Elkton was organized in November, 1903, and opened for business February 8, 1904.  James E. Leebrick was president, C. G. Harnsberger vice-president, and I. L. Flory cashier.  The directors were J. E. Leebrick, C. G. Harnsberger, J. T. Heard, W. E. Kite, M. M. Jarman, W. J. Dingledine, and Geo. G. Grattan, Sr.  The present officers are, C. G. Harnsberger, president; J. T. Heard, vice-president; and W. H. McVeigh, cashier.  The present board of directors is composed of the following gentlemen:  C. G. Harnsberger, J. T. Heard, W. E. Kite, A. P. Yancey, and I.




L. Flory.  The balanced total in the financial report published Sept. 4, 1912, was $99,213.77.

     The Bank of Dayton was organized in 1906, by the people of Dayton, with Jno. M. Flory as principal solicitor, with a capital stock of $10,000.  This was increased to $20,000 in 1910.  Doors were opened for business March 2, 1906.  The original officers were, E. C. Ralston, president; J. M. Kagey, vice-president; N. R. Crist, cashier; directors:  E. C. Ralston, J. M. Kagey, J. M. Snell, J. M. Flory, J. Wilton, J. H. Rhodes, Jos. F. Heatwole.  The present officers are E. C. Ralston, president; J. M. Kagey, vice-president; N. R. Crist, cashier; present directors:  E. C. Ralston, J. M. Kagey, J. H. Rhodes, J. H. Ruebush, Joe K. Ruebush, L. M. Hollen, E. W. Burkholder, J. N. Shrum, Jno. T. Wright.  The balanced total in the financial statement published Sept. 4, 1912, was $89,472.27.

     The Bank of Grottoes was opened for business February 17, 1908, J. M. Koiner, J. S. Pirkey, D. E. Ham, J. D. Alexander, G. R. Root, M. D. Eutsler, W. A. Leeth, W. C. Patterson, C. L. Weast, D. H. Patterson, and J. F. Miller being directors.  Mr. Koiner was president, Mr. Pirkey 1st vice-president, Mr. Geo. M. Nicholas 2d vice-president, and Mr. Root cashier.  At present the officers and directors are the following.  M. D. Eutsler, president; E. L. Weast, vice-president; G. R. Root, cashier; Philip R. Cosby, assistant cashier; J. S. Pirkey, J. M. Pirkey, D. H. Patterson, W. a. Leeth, C. S. Craun, J. D. Alexander, J. L. Cosby, G. K. Foster.  The balanced total published Sept. 4, 1912, was $64,408.72.

     The Peoples Bank of Harrisonburg was chartered in 1907, and opened its doors for business April 20, 1908.  The incorporators and original board of directors were:  James E. Reherd, Isaac N. Beery, John N. Mohler, James O. Stickley, Thomas J. Martin, Eugene X. Miller, Thomas P. Beery, and A. P. Eiler.

     The business has increased steadily during the four years of the bank’s existence, until it now has total resources of




nearly $400,000.  The capital stock is not held in large blocks, but is distributed among over 250 share-holders, who, with few exceptions, are residents of Rockingham County.  The present officers, who have held their respective positions from the first, are:  Jas. E. Reherd, president; I. N. Beery, J. N. Mohler, A. S. Kemper, vice-presidents; T. P. Beery, cashier; D. B. Yancey, assistant cashier.

     The Farmers and Merchants Bank of Timberville was organized in March 1908, with John H. Hoover, president; E. M. Minnick, vice-president; J. A. Garber, cashier.  It as opened for business Aug. 24, 1908.  The directors are John H. Hoover, W. C. Hoover, F. H. Driver, J. A. Zigler, D. S. Wampler, W. E. Fahrney, E. M. Minnick, E. E. Jones, M. F. Garber, Geo. E. Sipe, Wm. A. Pence, E. A. Andrick, and R. S. Bowers.  The balanced total in the financial report published Sept. 4, 1912, was $142,061.74.

     All of the Harrisonburg banks, probably some of the others in the county, have savings departments.

     It is deemed appropriate, in closing this chapter, to present a few facts regarding local insurance companies.

     In the early 50’s several Acts of Assembly were passed chartering and amending the charter of he Rockingham Mutual Insurance Company.  In 1854 the Rockingham Mutual Fire Insurance Company was granted the powers and privileges of a savings bank.  E. T. H. Warren (page 139) was secretary.  In 1868-9 the Rockingham Insurance Company, capital stock $100,000, was in operation.  A. M. Newman was president; G. F. Mayhew, secretary; R. N. Pool was general agent for the State; Jos. H. Shue was agent for Rockingham County.  It was a fire insurance company.

      In January, 1869, the General Assembly chartered the Rockingham Home Mutual Fire Insurance Company, to do business in a circle radiating seven miles from Cross Keys.  The original officers and directors were:  Wm. Saufley, president; Ed. S. Kemper, secretary and treasurer; Jos. B. Webb, Saml. Good, Jonathan Miller, Peter Showalter, Isaac Long, Geo. W. Kemper.  In 1881 G. W. Kemper was president; Geo. B.




Keezell was president-elect, and J. B. Webb was secretary and treasurer.  The number of members was 432; amount of property insured, $615,000.  At present (1912) there are 1442 members and the amount of insurance is $3,010,000.  G. B. Keezell is president; John G. Fulton, vice-president; C. T. Callender is secretary and treasurer.  The plans and methods of this company have attracted wide attention.

     On January 6, 1872, the West Rockingham Mutual Fire Insurance Company was organized, with David A. Heatwole (page 224) president, J. W. Minnick secretary, A. Andes treasurer.  The directors were B. M. Rice, John Geil, J. H. Ralston, David Garber.(5)  In the Act of incorporation, March 22, 1872, Saml. Firebaugh, Geo. Chrisman, Saml. A. Long, Jos. Click, Hugh Swope, Jas. C. Heltzel, and John H. Ralston, Jr., were named as directors.  In 1886 D. A. Heatwole and H. A. Heatwole were president and secretary, respectively, and the amount of insurance was $800,000.  At present John S. Funk is president and H. A. Heatwole (Mt. Clinton) is secretary-treasurer.

     In January, 1874, R. H. Spindle, secretary called a meeting of the Farmers’ Mutual Fire Insurance Company at Conrad’s Store.  Nothing further is known of this company.

     In 1897 the Cross Keys Home Mutual Fire Insurance Company was chartered and organized under the state laws of Virginia, with the following directors:  C. T. Callender, T. P. Yager, G. B. Keezell, W. H. Long, J. R. Filler, A. B. Miller, and J. R. Bowman; C. T. Callender (6) being president and T. P. Yager secretary.  The purpose of the company is defined in the charter as follows:

     “To make insurance upon the contents of dwelling-houses, stores, barns, and all other buildings, except mills, against loss or damage by accidental fire.”

     This company supplements the Rockingham Home Mutual; the one insuring buildings, the other, contents of buildings.


(5)  Rockingham Register, Jan. 11, 1872.

(6)  C. T. Callender died Oct. 27, 1912, aged 53.