Community History – Ludlow – Farmers and Mechanics Bank

Farmers and Mechanics Bank

The Farmers and Mechanics Bank began operation in Ludlow on June 20, 1906. In that same month, the bank purchased the Odd Fellows Hall on Elm Street from Amos Teed and Dr. R.H. Crisler for $15,000.00. The bank used a room on the first floor of this building for offices. The first cashier of the institution was T.W. Balsly. Dr. R.H. Crisler made the first deposit in the bank and Mrs. E.L. Tarvin drew the first check. By noon on the opening day, the citizens of Ludlow had made deposits of over $20,000.00.

The Farmers and Mechanics Bank was put into a state of crisis in 1926. Thomas Balsly, cashier of the institution since its inception, admitted that he had embezzled large sums of money (a later audit indicated the loss of $78,000.00). On April 10, 1926, bank officials closed the doors of the institution fearing the lack of sufficient funds. Before Balsly could be charged with his crime, he committed suicide in the basement of the bank building on April 12, 1926.

Officials of the Farmers and Mechanics Bank moved immediately to seize Balsly’s property. He owned a 935-acre farm in Boone County and a home in Ludlow. The seized property totaled $113,249.00 – enough to cover the loss.

Initially, officials of the Farmers and Mechanics Bank believed they would have to merge with another institution to cover their debts. Arrangements were made with the First National Bank of Ludlow for such a merger. The acquisition of funds from the Balsly estate, however, meant the merger did not have to proceed. The Farmers and Mechanics Bank re-opened on May 16, 1926. Robert H. Berger was name the new cashier of the institution. New directors were also named at this time, including: Frank L. Michaels of Covington, William Dooley of Ludlow and Dr. R.H. Crisler of Boone County.

The incorporators were listed as: Amos Teed, Fred P. Bert, Dr. R.H. Crisler, H.W. Robinson, Edward C. Farrell, Frank L. Michaels, George Masser and A.E. Stricklett.

On July 4, 1926, an announcement was made that the Ludlow Savings Bank would merge with the Farmers and Mechanics Bank. The new bank was named the Bank of Ludlow. The offices of the Farmers and Mechanics Bank in the Odd Fellows Hall became the home of the new institution. The first directors of the bank were: E.H. Daugherty, Charles Woolford, H.G. Chrissinger, W.H. Dooley, Frank L. Michaels, Fred P. Bert, George Masser, Robert H. Berger, H.W. Robinson, Edward C. Farrell, Joseph W. Wyatt, Amos Teed, E.A. Stricklett and R.H. Chrissler.

The new Bank of Ludlow did not survive the Great Depression. In January 1931, bank officials closed the institution. In February of the same year, state bank examiners ordered that the assets of the institution be liquidated. The bank did not have the funds to pay all creditors. Efforts began to recall all outstanding loans.

Kentucky Post, June 1, 1906, p. 3, June 6, 1906, p. 5, June 19, 1906, p. 2, and June 20, 1906, p. 5, July 17, 1922, p. 1, April 11, 1926, p. 1, April 12, 1926, p. 1, April 13, 1926, p. 1,May 8, 1926, p. 1, May 8, 1926, p. 1, May 14, 1926, p.1, July 10, 1926, p. 1, and June 9, 1931, p. 1; Kentucky; April 20, 1932, p. 1; Times-Star, August 11, 1931, p. 1

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