Bancroft News

Bank begins in new century, ends after 1929 crash


There was no church service on Sunday, mostly because of the cold. The Rev. Richert of Brookings was to be the speaker as well as installing the newly re-elected officers.

Those attending the 'visitation' for Larry Martens on Saturday, the 13th came from Sioux Falls, Valley Springs, Watertown, Brookings, Egan, Gary, Aberdeen, De Smet, Osceola and Bancroft.

Not much news around the town this time because of the extreme cold, but we need to be very thankful that the wind wasn't blowing like it could be. The shining sun coming in the windows really helped to warm the room, as well as making it seem warmer.

Bank history

In 1900: Wesley M. Mason came to town and built the present bank and a house for the bankers directly south of Zell Brothers Implement. The bank continued to be used until the dry years of 1931 when it closed along with many banks in the area. Anyone having money in the bank at that time could retain a certain amount by putting in a claim.

The capital of the bank was at it's highest in 1909, having in it some $50,000. After Mr. Mason left as president in 1910, Spence Eggleston went in until 1914. Dan Thompson also served as president of the bank, a short time in 1909 and again in the spring of 1913.

It was in 1914 when the first tragedy struck the bank. Mr. Severson came in as director and took all the bad notes out of the Watertown bank (which were hard to collect from people) and put them into the local bank, and took the good notes from here and put them into the Bryant bank. It was due to this that the bank went broke. W. J. Agnew, who time and again would put the town back on its feet, took over as director in 1915 and worked the assets back up to $10,000.

H. M. Best became the next director in 1917 until 1929, when the capital stood at $30,000. It was at this time the market crash hit, and W. H. Boorman, who was the final director for only a short time, lost his life. With his life, the life of the bank also went.

The building stood vacant until Ruth and Bill Austin made it a restaurant in 1935-36. On Sept. 26, 1937, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hageman purchased the building and used it for a home and restaurant until 1969. It now serves as a home for Jack Tobey.

In the April 25, 1912 issue of the Register concerning the bank when it tells us: Spence Eggleston has planted a number of fine trees around the bank building, and it goes without saying that the trees will receive all the attention due them. In a few years, the bank corner will be a thing of beauty and a joy forever. From Bancroft, South Dakota 1889-1971 by Gary Lee Jerke. The teller’s window from the bank is in the museum in Watertown.


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