95 Years – A Chronicle of First National Bank
THE SCOTT COUNTY BANK, forerunner of the First national Bank of Oneida, was chartered in 1904
This is the story of the First National Bank of Oneida as it must be told — as a part of the story of the economical development of Scott County, Tennessee and the area immediately surrounding it. This story will also enlighten the reader with an insight into the personalities and philosophies of the bankers who molded the bank over its 95 year history (1904-1999) and made it the leading force in the economic growth of our area.
Many Great Forces and events have shaped our society in the last 100 years. Among these are the vast timber cutting and related industries that stormed our county at the turn of the century. Farming, which had long been the mainstay of the local economy, was being supplanted by an industrial revolution. The vast coal reserves were being mined and the discovery of oil and gas opened an entirely new industry for Scott County.
The local transportation revolution began with the Cincinnati Southern (Queen and Crescent Route) Railroad’s first passenger run from Cincinnati to Chattanooga in 1880, the year that Rugby, Tennessee was formally opened and dedicated by THOMAS HUGHES, founder. World Wars I and II, the Great Depression in the 1930s, and military conflicts throughout the world were events that also have left their mark on the shaping of our society.
The formation of utilities such as a telephone company, the electrical cooperative, a gas company, water companies, new school buildings, industrial parks, clinics, hospitals, building an airport and improved highways have all been instrumental in improving where we live, as well as being critical to being able to attract industries to locate in Scott County to provide employment for our citizens. First National Bank of Oneida has played a vital role, as innovator and supporter of innovators, in all the events and developments which have shaped and influenced our county’s growth.
The Scott County Bank, operating under a state bank charter, became the first bank in a town on U.S. Highway 27 between Burnside, Kentucky and Harriman, Tennessee when it opened October 4, 1904.
Jobs were plentiful, the economy was expanding so the time was right and the need was here for a bank. Having had banking experience in Sparta, Tennessee,
W. C. ANDERSON
W. C. ANDERSON discussed with a group of reputable Scott County merchants, farmers, citizens and businessmen the desirability of organizing a bank in Oneida; subsequently, the "Scott County Bank" was chartered. The original charter for the incorporation was filed by C. CROSS, G. W. KING, S. B. ANDERSON, O. H. ANDERSON, T. K. WILLIAMS and W. B. BOYD. The first officials of the bank were C. CROSS, President; E. G. FOSTER, Vice President; and W. C. ANDERSON, Cashier. On August 15, 1905, the Board of Directors was reported as: C. CROSS, G. W. KING, E. W. SMITH, W. H. BUTTRAM, E. G. (Gayson) FOSTER, TALMON SEXTON, SANDERS FOSTER and JOHN C. LOWE.
Claiborn (Clabe) Crosswas one of the first entrepreneurs of Scott County and Oneida. He operated a general store and hotel, operated a stave and lumber business, he was civic minded and believed Oneida should be incorporated and have paved streets, sidewalks, a good water supply and have a sewer system. He was one of the early oil explorers in the area. He donated land for churches and was the first chairman of the board of the Oneida Independent School System. He organized the Scott County Bank in 1904. After a difference of opinion on who was authorized to appear as attorney for Scott County National Bank in pending litigations, on September 17, 1913, C. CROSS, President, and E. G. FOSTER, Director and Vice President, resigned from their positions. E. G. (Gayson) FOSTER was the son of JAMES L. and LUCY ELLIS FOSTER of Winfield and was a lawyer in Huntsville. In 1923, CLABE CROSS formed the Oneida Bank and Trust Company, serving as its president until his death in 1946. At Mr. W. J. JEFFERS’ death in May, 1942, Mrs. RUTH LAXTON succeeded him as cashier; and at the death of CLABE CROSS in 1946, Mr. O. E. JEFFERS became president. Mrs. RUTH LAXTON later became president of the Oneida Bank and Trust Company and served in that capacity
Having Been Open for business just over a year, in 1905 the Scott County Bank’s shareholders decided to change from a state chartered bank to a national bank charter. The bank became known as "The Scott County National Bank."
During this period of time, little towns thrived in all sections of Scott County. The Bear Creek Goal Company, managed by L. E. BRYANT, was located at Roberta near Winfield and was second only to Oneida as the largest town in Scott County.
Helenwood and New River (Homestead and South Homestead as they were first known) and High Point (Winchester as it was first known) were thriving little sidings where companies marketed their shingles, crossties, tanbark, spokes and lumber. The first "tourist court" in Scott County was located at High Point, "Cold Springs," noted for its water "if it got any better and any colder, it would have to be ICE water." The first saloon in the county was supposed to have been located at Helenwood, sometimes referred to as "hell-
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Helenwood was quite a thriving town around the turn of the century. Schools and churches were being built, hotels were in operation, a coal mine with company store and 30-40 company houses had one of the largest payrolls in the county, and such stores as R. A. MARCUM, DAN CHAMBERS and BAILY CARSON sprang up along the railroad.
The Southern Clay Manufacturing Company was chartered on August 27, 1902 at Robbins, Tennessee for the purpose of manufacturing, selling and dealing in brick, tiles, sewer pipe, clay products and byproducts of building and paving materials.
The vast tracts of timber in the county attracted large outside companies to locate here to extract the timber and manufacture lumber. In 1903, the band mill was installed at New River, Tennessee. In 1904, the New River Lumber Company acquired the famous Bird lands and located a mill at Norma, Tennessee. The Norma mill was one of the finest hardwood lumber manufacturers to be found in the country and, at one time, was the second largest lumber mill in the South. It was designed by FRANK NORCROSS and was built under his direction. The construction was begun in 1906 and completed in 1909. The mill produced 25,000,000 board feet annually of fine hardwood lumber. The town of Norma (Post Office Norcross) grew up around this big mill.
It was evident that a railroad would be necessary for proper development of the property, and the Tennessee Railroad Company agreed to construct and maintain this railroad from Oneida through the Bird land property. In order to fulfill this arrangement it acquired the railroad of the Paint Rock Coal and Coke Company and, in 1905, began the expansion. In 1906 it had completed the road as far as Norma and later extending from Oneida to Newlands, passing completely through the New River Lumber Company’s stumpage holdings. SAM BLAIR, who was a director of First National Bank of Oneida from 1941-1968, moved to Norma, Tennessee in the 1920s and in the late 1920s began work for the Tennessee Railroad Company and at the time of his death in 1968 was Vice-President and General Manager of the Tennessee Railroad Company and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of First National Bank of Oneida.
Vast holdings of valuable timberland and coal lands in Fentress and Pickett counties in Tennessee and Wayne County in Kentucky were held by some Putnam County businessmen: the ANDERSONS, SPECKS, CHRISTIANS and CARLANDS. The Stearns Coal and Lumber Company owned "The Big Survey," which lay mostly in west Scott County. Talk about a railroad linking Jamestown, Tennessee and Oneida finally became a reality and the Oneida and Western Railroad served from 1914 to March 4, 1954. With the completion of the O&W Railroad, Oneida got its first shot of prosperity. The O&W changed hands three times. The first owners were from Cookeville and Putnam County, Tennessee. They sold out to the HAGEMEYERS, who had been with the Tennessee Stave and Lumber Company of Glenmary, which operated the Verdun band mill successfully until the depression days. The HAGEMEYERS sold out to "Big Foot" DAVIDSON of Ohio, who in turn sold the operation to Dr. SINCLAIR of Chicago. After the charter was killed because the railroad declined in productivity, the steel was pulled for scrap, the engines were sold and the mill went into the hands of H. H. CANNADA, his son, ROBERT, and B. B. CHITWOOD, who ran the mill on a much smaller scale. H. H. CANNADA served as a director of First National Bank of Oneida from 1953 to 1973.
The O&W Office building was sold to the Plateau Electric Cooperative for office space, and the right-of-way from Oneida to Verdun went to CARL COLEMAN, along with several acres of land in and around Oneida. COLEMAN sold some of this land to the Jellico Grocery Company which moved there from its original site on the Southern Railroad.
Construction of the Brimstone Railroad began in 1890 by BILL LEAK of Cincinnati, Ohio, who had bought timberland on Brimstone Creek and its tributaries. The railroad began at New River, Tennessee and continued to the mouth of Mill Branch on up to the foot of Bowling Mountain. This railroad served such companies as the Thomas Hall Lumber Company, the W. M. Ritter Lumber Company, and the Laddy Coal Company, and is owned today by Norfolk-Southern Railroad.
As the lumber industry continued to prosper and the mining, farming and manufacturing industries enjoyed good profits, it seemed to some businessmen that one bank in the county was not enough, so the Robbins Bank and Trust Company was organized by JASPER HUGHETT, JOHN PEMBERTON, L. JEFFERS, JAMES FRY and SANDERS FOSTER on January 14, 1907.
The Huntsville Banking Company was chartered on March 26, 1909 by JAMES FOSTER, J. HATFIELD, PHILLIP LAW, L. H. BOSHEARS, R. C. JONES, A. H. DOISY, W. H. POTTER, L. JEFFERS and J. CHAMBERS.
As of September 12, 1914, the three banks in Scott County reported the following total resources: The Scott County National Bank, $187,004.84; The First National Bank of Huntsville (formerly the Huntsville Banking Company) $111,152.89; and the Robbins Bank and Trust Company, $53,886.46.
H. F. COOPER and ALFRED WEST were elected directors of Scott County National Bank on December 20, 1913 to fill the unexpired terms of C. CROSS and E. G. FOSTER, who resigned due to a disagreement over who would represent the Scott County National Bank in lawsuits.
H. F. Cooperwas the son of ELI COOPER. He was probably one of the most progressive businessmen of his era, about whom a whole book could be written. Among other things, he was responsible for bringing the chicken broiler industry to Scott County. He encouraged and underwrote the raising of broccoli, beans and strawberries as cash crops. He was a developer of the West Oneida/Coopertown section. He owned and operated a public water system in Oneida, using well water. He printed a mail order catalog for his store enterprise in Oneida. He helped form the Plateau Electric Cooperative and was supportive of many other civic, industrial and educational pursuits.
Alfred Westserved as director until his death in 1948. He was in the mercantile business for a number of years, served as Justice of the Peace and was genuinely interested in the progress of the town and county. He and his wife, Nancy, had seven children: W. O. WEST, ELMER WEST, OSCAR WEST, JAMES L. WEST, Mrs. JOHN (NELL) LAY, Mrs. ELMER (HESTER) NEWPORT and Mrs. J. J. (Erie) SHARP.
Talmon Sextonbecame the second president of the bank in 1914, a position he held until his death in 1943. His children are KERMIT SEXTON, CLIFFORD SEXTON, ARTHUR SEXTON, BELLE SEXTON, ORA MAE YANCEY, BESSIE JEFFERS and ROSA LEE BOTHEL. Although not involved with the day-to-day management of the bank, Mr. SEXTON faithfully presided over the board of directors for 30 years. He was involved with mining and farming and is fondly remembered for his keen sense of humor, witticisms and earthy philosophy. It’s remembered by his grandchildren that he admonished them to "keep their first dollar, before they spent their second one." Also, in a fracas with the Internal Revenue Service, he met with them in Knoxville and, after much discussion, TALMON said, "OK, boys, this had gone far enough. I’m willing to forget this whole mess if you all are." It must have taken them by surprise, because that’s just what happened—the case reportedly was dropped!
Enacted into law in December, 1913, the Federal Reserve Act was the most important
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and revolutionary modification of the country’s system of money and banks since the national banking legislation of a half century before.
The law created twelve regional Federal Reserve banks, each of which was expected to be relatively autonomous. Bankers were to be represented on the board of the Federal Reserve banks, but the entire system was to be supervised and coordinated by a Federal Reserve Board in Washington, whose members were to be appointed by the President. All national banks were required to become member banks of the system. As members they would be obliged to keep a portion of their required reserves on deposit with a Federal Reserve bank. These reserve deposits would furnish a medium through which check clearings could be centrally managed. Each member bank would also be entitled to borrow from its Federal Reserve Bank.
But what about all those state banks and loan and trust companies? The Federal Reserve Act, like the National Currency Act of 1863, did not make it obligatory that all banks join the system, but they were cordially invited to come in. A more immediate problem, however, was to make sure of keeping the ones already in, since national charter status was something a bank could easily discard. So the Federal Reserve Act added a number of features designed to improve the competitive status of national banks. They, were given the authority to make real-estate loans and the law provided opportunities for national banks to exercise trust powers. In the next few years, further concessions included a substantial reduction in reserve requirements in 1917, and a series of measures to permit a limited amount of branch banking by national banks.
The Scott County National Bank joined the Federal Reserve Bank system in 1914 by stock ownership and it’s successor, the First National Bank of Oneida, remains a member today.
With The Acceptance of the resignation of H. R. ANDERSON, effective October 1, 1914, B. L. SADLER was elected Cashier of the Scott County National Bank and CLIFFORD SEXTON (TALMON SEXTON’s son who retired as Cashier of the bank in 1953) was elected teller and bookkeeper.
B. L. Sadler
B. L. Sadlerwas elected to the board of directors in 1917 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1958. He and his wife, MAE, were very active in the Masonic Lodge and Eastern Star. He was very active in the day-to-day operations of the bank until he decided to move to Harriman, ‘Tennessee in 1931 at which time he went to work for the First National Bank of Harriman and worked himself into the position of president. Mr. SADLER was often in demand for speeches in banking circles and on one occasion he was asked why long-term loans secured by farm land were not being made in large numbers by First National Bank of Oneida. He replied, "Most of the land offered as collateral in Scott County is such that a rabbit would have to take his lunch with him to cross it!" One of the more dangerous duties of Mr. SADLER was riding the Tennessee Railroad train to the mining and lumber camps along its route delivering payrolls. During his banking career, he served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank in Nashville. He died in 1962 and is buried in Roane Memorial Gardens in Harriman.
Mr. SADLER had several articles published in The Tennessee Banker magazine. He was an astute banker who advocated and introduced locally the service charge on checking accounts, heralding that "all tubs should stand on their own bottom," meaning each service should stand on its own and generate income to cover its expenses.
In 1927, B.L. SADLER, Cashier, presided over the Tennessee Bankers Association meeting in Knoxville as Chairman, beginning a long succession of First National Bank of Oneida officials playing pivotal roles in helping shape banking, statewide and regionally.
World War I began on July 28, 1914. The United States entered the war on March 14, 1917. During the critical Great War months, demands for increases in coal production caused prices for coal to soar. The miners were able to accumulate small sums beyond the absolute requirement for rent, clothing and food. The washing machine, the icebox, then the refrigerator and a few "touring cars" could be seen around the camp houses.
It was reported that the Scott County National Bank dealt actively in government securities and supported by loyal clientele during the war, was able to achieve a record in the sale of Liberty Bonds that was unexcelled by any bank in the South with a capital of $25,000.
On April. 25, 1919, the Scott County National Bank’s name was changed to The First National Bank of Oneida. In a communication to customers of the bank, B. L. SADLER, Cashier, stated, "At a meeting of the shareholders on April 19, 1919, a resolution was offered and unanimously carried changing the name of this bank to ‘First National Bank of Oneida’. We are today in receipt of a telegram from the Comptroller of the Currency in Washington, D.C. approving this, and the change, becomes effective from this date.
"All communications should hereafter be directed to ‘First National Bank’ but, letters addressed to us under the former name will be received. The same check books may be used until you are supplied with new forms. There has been a feeling for a long time among the management, that this change should be made, as the people generally are more familiar with this name, and have a greater degree of confidence in that for which it stands. There is no change in any or the stock, or any of the officers and directors, on account of this, but is simply a change in name. The bank is now in its fifteenth year, has had a steady growth from the beginning and has never failed to pay a substantial dividend in any year of its existence. Its losses have been insignificant, and has had but few legal controversies. Our total resources on date of last call from the Comptroller of the Currency were $378,855.81 and surpassed all previous records. Our investments are widely distributed and carefully selected, thereby assuring the highest element of safety..
As the economy grew, there grew also the need for such public facilities as streets and roads, schools, water supplies, etc. Bond issues were made to finance these projects and the First National Bank of Oneida helped market these bonds, besides carrying substantial amounts in the bank’s bond portfolio, and some directors of the bank personally signed the bond issues as guarantors.
Approval was received from Senate Bill No. 1064 on May 17, 1915 for the Oneida Independent School District and Scott County bonds were issued in 1916 for the purpose of erecting a new building on land purchased from A. C. TERRY. This same year, the county court had taken steps to correct the crowded-school conditions at Huntsville and added a fine, three-story dormitory on the school grounds which lodged teachers on the first floor, and the boys and girls on the others. By 1920 there were four other two-year high schools, located at Buffalo, Norma, Pleasant Grove and New River, and the students finishing at those completed the other two years at Huntsville or at Robbins, which had a four year high school since 1917.
As The Town of Oneida grew, housing and lodging were in short supply. EZEKIEL HEMBREE had put up the Commercial Hotel on Main Street and in 1914-15, JOHN TOOMEY, along with his partner, JOHN R. MITCHELL, a realtor, gave Oneida another boom. They persuaded JOHN CARSON to lot off his 35-acre farm which ran with Highway 27 as the eastern and northern boundaries of the farm to the Jim Stanley line near the fairground as the western part of the farm. All lots were sold and houses were built immediately. The C. Cross Hotel was opened in 1917. The first brick buildings in Oneida went up around 1919 and included the Oneida Mills building, the Cooper. buildings, the Thompson/Chambers building, and the First ‘National Bank of Oneida.
For the first sixteen years in business, the bank’s main office was located in the building on the corner of Bank and Depot Streets on land acquired from Mr. and Mrs. CLABE CROSS. This property was sold in 1923 and later housed the Oneida Bank and Trust Company for more than 60 years and was occupied by a branch of Sovran Bank, which combined its Oneida office with the Lake City, Tennessee office in 1992 and closed its doors as a bank. Ironically, this property is now owned by SCOTT THOMPSON, great-grandson of Clabe Cross, and Executive Vice President and Director of First National Bank of Oneida.
JIM OWENS had a two-room log cabin on the corner of Main and Depot Streets in Oneida near the "town spring.’ The old house later went to RANS MARCUM, who kept boarders and travelers and the house came to be known as the "Oneida House." ELI COOPER bought the property and changed the name to the "City Hotel," Oneida’s first hotel. Management of the hotel was turned over to BEN HAIL who added a restaurant, also Oneida’s first. The City Hotel then went into the hands of a Mrs. SWAIN, a relative of the COOPERS, and she put in a taxi service, the first in Oneida. A third story was added with a "glassed-in" verandah, making it the only three-story building in Scott County. The hotel continued until 1920 when ELI COOPER, father of H. F. COOPER, sold the property to The First National Bank of Oneida as a site for its new main office. The hotel building was sold at auction on June 26, 1920 for $300 and removed from the site by the buyer, as agreed, by September, 1920.
The move to the new bank building took place on the evening of August 9, 1921 and the bank was open for business in its new quarters on August 10, 1921. This site remained the main office of The First National Bank of Oneida (for 46 years) until 1967.
In 1923, five banks were in operation in Scott County. The First Trust and Savings Bank and the Oneida Bank and Trust Company joined the three existing banks which were The First National Bank of Oneida, The First National Bank of Huntsville and the Robbins Bank and Trust Company.
Mssrs. H. F. COOPER (who was affiliated with the First National Bank of Oneida’ as shareholder and director from 1913-1933); C. C. Newport; A. C. TERRY; CLAUDE TERRY; JOHN STANLEY; and several others organized First Trust and Savings Bank in 1923. C.C. NEWPORT, brother-in-law of H. F. COOPER, managed the department store for Mr. COOPER from 1914 until 1923, when he went to First Trust and Savings Bank as President and Cashier.
The Oneida Bank and Trust Company was organized in 1923 by C. (Clabe) CROSS (who helped organize the Scott County Bank in 1904 and served as its president until 1913); N. E. (Nick) STANLEY; G. W. CROSS (its first cashier); DEXTER LAXTON; MOUNTY JEFFERS; C. C. WEST; E. G. FOSTER (who resigned following a disagreement as a director of the Scott County National Bank in 1913); and J. I. Foster.
The Emergence of the automobile coincided with the opening up of vast petroleum resources. Some early service stations and car dealerships were owned by the BYRD Brothers in Huntsville, Fred Toomey in Helenwood, the McDONALD Brothers, BILBREY Brothers, TERRY Brothers, Troxel Motor Company, Colditz Motor Company, and several other gas stations were spread throughout the county.
With more and more cars, the need for improved roads in Scott County was evident. In October of 1927 construction began on a graveled State Highway #63, which started at Helenwood on the Cincinnati-Lookout Mountain Airline Highway (Highway #27) and continued through little settlements of Buckeye, Hickey, Royal Blue, and Red Ash to Caryville in Campbell County and on to Harrogate, near Cumberland Gap. In 1930, the bank directors personally signed as sureties a $50,000 bond to the State of Tennessee to secure a special highway deposit for the state.
The National Bank act of 1863 provided that national banks could purchase bonds and deposit them with the Treasurer of the United States, which issued to the banks national bank notes. The actual printing was done by the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, thus reducing the danger of counterfeiting. Each national bank was required to accept the notes of others, and they were redeemable in lawful money at the bank of issue and at the Treasury. In 1929, $10 and $20 notes were issued by The First National Bank of Oneida and signed by TALMON
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SEXTON, President, and E. C. TERRY, Cashier. In 1935, however, the last government bond that could be used as collateral for these notes was paid off and retired, so that no new national bank notes have been issued since that date, and notes outstanding have been redeemed as rapidly as they have been turned in by the public. A few remain outstanding in the hands of collectors.
E. Chester Terrywent to work for the First National Bank of Oneida in 1918 after having taught school at Norma and then worked for the Paint Rock Coal Company as a bookkeeper. He was married to ROSA A. MARCUM and had two daughters, ADRIENNE and COLLEEN. Except for a year in 1922-23, when he was employed by a bank in Fentress County, he was employed by the First National Bank of Oneida. He served as director from 1929 until his death in 1967. He served as president of the bank from 1943 until his retirement in 1959. Mr. TERRY was a member of the Oneida School Board, Secretary/Treasurer of the Scott County Fair Association for many years, Past Master of Oneida Masonic Lodge, member of the Oneida Water Board, Treasurer of the First United Methodist Church, charter member and officer of the Kiwanis Club, and board member of Plateau Electric Cooperative.
Bromma Parnellwas born and reared at Oliver Springs, Tennessee. After high school she graduated from Knoxville Business College and her Aunt and Uncle, ELDA and JEFF CALDWELL, owners of the Commercial Hotel in Oneida, persuaded BROMMA to come to Oneida to find work. Dr. JOHNSON was the pharmacist at the Star Drug Store and stayed at the hotel and Aunt ELDA told him that BROMMA was looking for work. He told BROMMA that she could work at the drug store and meet people and try and find a job for which she was better suited. After three weeks at the drug store, she was hired by Colditz Brothers Motor Company as a bookkeeper. This was during the "Great Depression" so she only worked there a few months, because of necessary staff cutbacks.
She then went to work for WILLIAM YORK, Clerk and Master at the Courthouse in Huntsville. Returning from work the second day for Mr. YORK, BROMMA learned that B. L. SADLER, Vice President and CEO of the First National Bank of Oneida, wanted to interview her. He offered her a job as stenographer and bookkeeper in 1930 on a trial basis. She jokes today of her so-called "trial basis" job which lasted more than 50 years!
During her career with the bank, she has served as Assistant Cashier, Cashier, Vice President, Senior Vice President and has been a member of the Board of Directors since 1979. She was the first woman officer of First National Bank, as well as the first woman to hold the position of Director and she was the first Senior Vice President.
‘During BROMMA’s career with the bank she saw many changes. She saw the bank evolve from an organization run by three staff members to a computerized operation staffed by more than fifty employees. She remembers many "bank stories," but one in particular stands out. It seems Aunt KATE would walk to town from the "country" in her stocking feet, carrying her shoes. They would know inside the bank when she had arrived because she would play her "Jews harp" on the porch of the bank. She would, from time to time, have Mr. SADLER make telephone calls for her, since the bank had one of the few telephones in operation at that time. Mr. SADLER would "interpret" for her by talking with the other party and relaying the messages between Aunt KATE and them.
On one occasion, Aunt KATE wanted to have Mr. SADLER call Sheriff ESAU LAXTON because he had taken her son to Lyons View Mental Hospital in Knoxville and she was unhappy about it. Mr. SADLER decided to show Aunt KATE how to talk on the telephone, which happened to be the kind that had the earphone on a cord and the speaker was on the front of the upright telephone. He got Sheriff LAXTON on the telephone and told Aunt KATE to say "hello" in the speaker and Sheriff LAXTON would then say "hello" to her through the earphone. Speaking loudly, she said, "That’s him, alright, I’d know that old #%$@%‘s voice anywhere I heard it!" Only Aunt KATE didn’t abbreviate! After she had finished her conversation with Sheriff LAXTON, Mr. SADLER noticed her waving the earphone around in the air and he said, "What are you looking for, Aunt KATE?" She replied, "Where is that nail you had this hanging on?"
BROMMA is very involved with civic, community and professional organizations, having held regional and statewide officerships in the National Association of Bank Women’s organization and was state president and a charter member of the Business and Professional Women’s Club. She was a charter member of the Ladies Division of the Scott County Chamber of Commerce and has been active in garden clubs since coming to Scott County.
During the bank’s 75th Anniversary celebration in 1979, BROMMA PEMBERTON was named by the Board of Directors as the "Golden Girl" of the bank’s Diamond Jubilee, in recognition of her 50 years of service to the bank.
BROMMA retired from day-to-day participation in the bank activities in 1980, but remains active as Senior Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors. She is also a member of the UT Agricultural Board and Fort Sanders Foundation Council and the UT Development Council.
JUDGE W. H. BUTTRAM
Judge William H. Buttram, a director since 1904, died May 13, 1930 at the age of 70. He was the son of JOHN and MARY BUTTRAM and was married to ANNA B. McCLOUD. Their children were JOHN M. BUTTRAM, WILLIAM BUTTRAM and FAY BUTTRAM PHILLIPS.
W.H. BUTTRAM was first a teacher while studying to be a lawyer. He then practiced law for several years before becoming the attorney general for the 19th Judicial Circuit from I 900-23. In 1923 he was elected Circuit Court Judge. He served in this capacity for seven years and died while still in office. He traveled by horseback over the large circuit, rarely missing a day f court regardless of weather conditions. He was remembered for his fairness and his wit and common sense in the judging of his cases.
On March 6, 1933, two days after his inauguration, President FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT proclaimed a national bank holiday. Never in the history of the country had such utter chaos devastated our financial system. This was more than a panic. . . the very worst had occurred; before the year was out, almost 3,000 banks closed their doors, never to reopen.
All five local banks reported noticeable Bank of Oneida, First Trust and Savings Bank and Oneida Bank and Trust Company all managed to weather the turmoils of the "Great Depression" years with little scarring. However, the First National Bank of Huntsville and the Robbins Bank and Trust Company were unable to overcome the pressures imposed by the low state of the economy. The First National Bank of Huntsville closed in 1932 and the Robbins Bank and Trust Company finally succumbed to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation on April 14, 1937. Liabilities were assumed, and certain assets were purchased from the failed Robbins Bank and Trust Company by the First National Bank of Oneida.
An officer of the Robbins Bank and Trust Company, M. J. (Mitt) ROBBINS, Jr., joined the First Trust and Savings Bank in Oneida and played a key role in the success of that bank as he broadened their customer base by bringing Robbins and south Scott County customers to the First Trust and Savings Bank.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insured the depositor up to certain specified sums, resulted from the 1933 Banking Act.
HOWARD H. BAKER, SR.
Howard H. Baker, Sr. was elected to the board of directors in 1936 and served in that capacity until his death in 1964. HOWARD, Sr. started his education at the Presbyterian Academy in Huntsville and graduated from Knoxville High School in June 1918 at the age of 16. He continued his education at the University of Tennessee where he received his A.B. degree in 1922 and his L.L.B. degree in June 1924. He joined the JAMES F. BAKER law firm (established by his father) upon graduation. He was elected to the Tennessee State Legislature in 1929 and served until 1938. During 193 1-32 he was a member of the Scott County Board of Education. From September 1934 to June 1948 he served as attorney general of the 19th Judicial Circuit. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1951 to 1964. His children are HOWARD HENRY BAKER, Jr., MARY ELIZABETH BAKER WAMPLER, and BEVERLY IRENE BAKER PATESTIDES. State Highway 63 is named Congressman Howard H. Baker Highway in his honor.
E. C. TERRY
E. C. TERRY was a charter member helping form the Plateau Electric Cooperative in 1939. Serving on the original board with him were H. F. COOPER, J. W. BAKER, P. L. REAGAN, H. H. CANNADA, E. W. MEHLHORN and W. M. TODD.
On Sunday, December 7, 1941 at 7:55 a.m., the United States was shocked by the bombing of Pearl Harbor, our largest naval base in the Pacific. Congress immediately declared war on Japan, bringing the United States into World War II. The war united America. Everyone joined in the one great common purpose. Approximately 2,000 Scott Countians assisted the armed forces. Many Scott Countians corn muted daily by buses to the Oak Ridge, Tennessee plants and, unknown to them, helped make the atomic bombs which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Others volunteered for Red Cross work, bought war bonds and saved old scrap paper and rubber for recycling.
The war affected the banking industry, also. On June 27, 1942, the interest rate paid on time deposits was lowered to 1-1/2% and, on July 1, 1943, the rate was further lowered to 1%. Local loan sources had virtually dried up and other investment returns drastically decreased. Some banks entirely stopped paying interest for deposits during this time.
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In 1943, a terrific blow was dealt the bank with the death of its president of more than 30 years, TALMON SEXTON. E. C. TERRY was elected to succeed Mr. SEXTON, an office he held until his retirement in 1959.
In the postwar years, a rapid economical growth occurred nationwide. American agriculture progressed technologically and the American public and the rest of the world benefited through agriculture abundance. Americans were able to enjoy the highest standards in the world in food and fiber and to have surplus products available for foreign aid and export.
The Era up into the 1960s saw tremendous development begin in motel/restaurant facilities and independent supermarkets. Locally, we had several thriving motel/restaurants and tourist courts — Shell Grove, Tobe’s Court, B&Z Motel, Scott Motel, The Glass House Court, Rock House, Cold Springs, Hicks Motel, Red Star, and Galloway Motel, to mention a few.
Supermarkets with self-service and usually combined with "strip" -shopping center stores were quickly-replacing the "Mom and Pop" groceries. The Scott Foods complex in south’ Oneida was one of the first shopping centers, joined later by Northtown Plaza Shopping Center. Most recently, the Oneida Plaza Shopping Center, with Wal-Mart as its anchor store.
It seems the pent-up purchasing restraints of the 1930s where lack of funds and uncertainty kept purchasing low and in the 1940s where scarcities inhibited purchasing, were released with a vengeance when the economy boomed after the war.
The monthly-payment plan made purchasing even more affordable and banks’ participation in the mortgage business helped make the mortgage market a highly competitive one, putting credit at the disposal of the vast majority of Americans. Consumers were buying automobiles in record numbers, homes in the suburbs were sought, appliances and all consumer goods were being bought and most often on the monthly-payment plan.
These years after the war saw an exciting upturn for the local economy. In 1956, the Scott County Chamber of Commerce was formed and the Scott County Hospital opened with 38 beds. Dr. MILFORD THOMPSON was the first Chief of Staff and MILDRED CROSS was the Superintendent of Nurses. The building committee for the Scott County Hospital was composed of W. H. SWAIN, Dr. H. H. LEEDS, Dr. M. F. FRAZIER, Judge CHARLES MARCUM, HOWARD H. BAKER, Jr., Robert Carson and C. LEE SMITH.
The Boss Manufacturing Plant, which was engaged in the manufacture of gloves, was the first to locate in the area to become known as the Oneida Industrial Park. It joined the already well-established Tibbals Flooring Company. Industrial water lines and a water tank were built in Oneida in 1957 and the Highland Telephone Cooperative was organized with W. H. SWAIN serving as its first president and charter board member.
Citizens Gas Utility District purchased the privately-owned and operated natural gas company.
Under the direction of charter board members, W. H. SWAIN, J. T. BAKER and Dan B. Walker, the Huntsville Utility District was formed. Further economical development continued into the early 1960s with the building of the Scott County Airport, Scott County’s radio station, WBNT went "one the air," and Arvin Industries, Inc., a large corporation engaged in the manufacture of electric heaters and outdoor furniture, moved to Oneida’s new Industrial Park. The First National Bank of Oneida was paying agent for the Industrial Development Board bonds that were issued for the Arvin Industries, Inc. plant.
Until March 14, 1958, the banks in Scott County had enjoyed more than 50 years of peaceful existence. At noon on this fateful day, a lanky Coast Guardsman, who said he needed money to get married the next day, robbed the First National Bank Of Oneida of $6,196. The robber was captured three hours later in neighboring Kentucky and the money was recovered, but suspense continued to mount as the robber became a suspect in the murder of a retired Straight Fork miner whose pistol the robber admitted having. The murder charges were never proven, but the robber was sentenced to 20 years for the bank robbery.
The First National Bank of Oneida was one of several banks that made up the Hamilton National Associates, headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 1959, Dr. MILFORD THOMPSON, HOWARD H. BAKER, Jr., and W. H. SWAIN successfully bid to purchase the controlling stock-in the First National Bank of Oneida and W. H. SWAIN became president of the bank, succeeding E. C. TERRY.
At that time, SWAIN, one of the founders of each, was serving on a volunteer basis as president of Highland Telephone Cooperative, the Huntsville Utility District and was a member of the Scott County Hospital Board, as well as being active in the Scott County Chamber of Commerce, the Oneida Kiwanis Club and the community industrial development effort. The suggestion was broached that, inasmuch as he was spending at least half of his time on these efforts without compensation, he could spend that time for a couple of years managing the bank and be paid something besides.
That half-time job turned out to be about time-and-a-half for a least the next ten years, because the bank grew quickly beyond anyone’s most optimistic, initial expectations, becoming the largest bank in Scott County in 1964. Profits for the bank during the first five years of SWAIN’s leadership (1959-1964) exceeded the total of profits for the previous 54 years of the bank’s existence
W. H. (Bill) Swainmoved to Scott County, Tennessee from Detroit, Michigan in 1942. The Swain Lumber Mill at Helenwood developed into a large business of buying and manufacturing lumber.
"When I became a partner in Swain Lumber Mills, the minimum wage was 35 cents an hour., which meant a weekly wage of 40 hours was $14. It soon went to 40 cents and hour. At that time, Swain Lumber mills employed 21 people, and one of my vivid memories is that every Monday morning there were at least 30, men looking for employment (hoping that someone had gotten drunk over the weekend and wouldn’t show up).
"Two well known restaurants were located at this time on the "Airline Highway," the Airline Tea Room and the Glass House Restaurant, which had a tourist court for overnight lodging. It was my practice after the mill was up and running in the morning, to run to the Glass House, some two and a half miles, for breakfast. This was long before "jogging"! I routinely had soft-boiled eggs for breakfast, which came to be known as "Billy eggs."
W. H. SWAIN continued to run Swain Lumber Mills until 1978. At one point, the Swain mill was buying from 32 different sawmills, delivering from a radius of 35 miles. SWAIN spent part of each day at the mill and the rest of the day at the bank and, at the same time, rounded out his financial education by graduating from Louisiana State University’s School of Banking of the South (in 1962), and Harvard’s Business School Advanced Management Program (in 1969).
The First National Bank of Oneida has prospered under his leadership. Total resources have gone, in 40 years, from $2,793,852.67 to $139,013,675.13.
DR. FRANK C. THOMAS
Dr. Frank C. Thomaswas asked July 12, 1962 to serve in an advisory capacity on the First National Bank of Oneida’s Board of Directors until the shareholders could officially elect him at their next meeting. He accepted and today, more than 30 years after that decision, he is Vice Chairman of the Board, serving also as Chairman of the Audit Committee and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. Dr. FRANK left his profession of dentistry to join the management of the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company in Stearns, Kentucky and is now retired.
Sites had been considered in Huntsville, Helenwood and Robbing for deposit stations and branch offices since 1958. On January 26, 1966, the Central Branch Office of First National Bank of Oneida was opened in Helenwood. This was the first branch office of a Scott County bank and featured Scott County’s first drive-in window service. An Advisory Board, composed of TASKEL WELCH, ARZO CARSON, EARL BURRESS, R. H. TROXEL, GROVER PEMBERTON, W. H. SWAIN and NORMAN ACRES, was established so input and suggestions could be gained from various perspectives as to how customer needs could best be served by the new community office.
HOWARD TIBBALS joined the board of directors in 1967 and served with distinction for seventeen years, until his retirement in 1984.
On October 4, 1967, the new main office at the corner of Alberta and Depot Streets was dedicated. The bank building on the corner of Main and Depot, which had housed the bank since 1921, was outgrown.
As The Bank grew and prospered, W. H. SWAIN’s involvement in the overall bank community continued to expand and evolve. In 1968, he was appointed director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Nashville for a three year
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term. This turned out to be a stimulating learning experience for him where he made many friends and contacts. One of those with whom he served was Dr. EDWARD J. BOLING, at that time president of the University of Tennessee. Possibly as a result of the joint service on the Federal Reserve Board, he asked Mr. SWAIN to serve on an advisory panel to the Graduate School of Business at UT Knoxville. Then he later appointed Mr. SWAIN to the UT Development Council, of which he became Chairman in 1973 and 1974, and of which he is still a member. Mr. SWAIN went on to serve UT in various other capacities; namely, as a member of the Chancellor Search Committee; a member of the Board of National Alumni Association; a member of the Athletics Board; he served as National Co-Chair (with WILLIAM STOKELY) of the Tennessee Tomorrow Campaign (one of the most successful fundraising campaigns in the history of the university), as well as, a member of the President’s Club.
HOWARD H. BAKER, JR.
Howard H. Baker, Jr.requested that his resignation as chairman of the board be accepted because his duties as U.S. Senator prevented him from regularly attending board meetings. He served as a board member of First National Bank of Oneida from 1956-70. He served in the United States Senate from 1977-81 and was Majority Leader of the Senate from 1981-1985. On March 1, 1987, he was appointed White House Chief of Staff by President RONALD REAGAN. Sen. BAKER and his wife, Senator NANCY KASENBAUM, enjoy homes in Huntsville and Kansas.
DR. MILFORD THOMPSON
Dr. Milford Thompsonsucceeded Senator HOWARD H. BAKER, Jr. as chairman of the board in 1970. Having joined the board in 1956, Senator BAKER helped purchase controlling stock of the bank from Hamilton Associates in 1959. Dr. MILFORD and his father Dr. M. E. established the Thompson Clinic, the first licensed hospital in the area, in 1942. The clinic was primarily for the delivery and care of obstetrical patients and remained open until the Scott County Hospital opened in 1956. In 1962 the clinic was sold to Dr. H. M. LEEDS. Dr. MILFORD continued to practice medicine from the office at his home until he died in December 1980. Dr. MILFORD was married to RUTH MASSEY THOMPSON, granddaughter of C. CROSS. Their children are ROBERT MILFORD and THOMAS SCOTT THOMPSON. ROBERT (Bob) served as a director of First National Bank of Oneida from 1975-80, RUTH served as a director from 1981-86, and SCOTT is Executive Vice President of First National Bank and has been a director since 1980.
Growth in the field of secondary education in Scott County took a leap forward in 1972 with the completion of the new Scott High School building, just off State Highway 63 and U.S. Highway 27 in Helenwood. The new four year institution represented a consolidation of long-established but small community high schools in Robbins, Huntsville and Norma.
Jack D. Walzjoined the bank in 1972 as Executive Vice President, Cashier and Chief Operating Officer. His background in bank examination, his accounting acumen, his knowledge of banking systems and his attention to detail proved invaluable as he and W. H. SWAIN led the bank into the era of automated banking systems. His reputation for interpreting financial data quickly spread. Soon businessmen in the community called on him to aid them in making business decisions. He gave of himself unselfishly and was a profound impact on the bank, as well as the community. At his retirement in 1991, Mr. WALZ was Vice Chairman of the Board. He and his wife, RUTH, moved to Waverly, Kentucky, where he died in 1992.
On October 31, 1973, the Huntsville Office was opened in the building which had housed the First National Bank of Huntsville, Tennessee. The original fixtures of the earlier bank, combined with other turn-of-the-century furniture and fixtures that have been added, make this office of the bank truly unique. A drive-in facility with Scott County’s first pneumatic (underground) tube transaction carrier was added for customer convenience. This office is on the National Register of Historic Buildings.
The 1970s saw an increase in oil and natural gas exploration in Scott County, and the "West Oneida Fields" discovery brought an oil boom into focus. Coal mining was still under way and the development of two industrial sites in Helenwood attracted several manufacturers, including Tennier Industries, Inc., contractors for government sewing projects; Cumberland Wood Industries, manufacturers of industrial wooden spools; Thuerer, Inc., which manufactured trailers; Fruehauf a trailer manufacturer ultimately purchased by Wabash National Corporation; and Team Apparel, a sewing company.
In addition, this beginning of rapid industrial growth in Scott County has brought with it the development of several other related industries, which include tool and die makers and machine shops. The county also serves as national headquarters for Barna Log Homes.
One of the most momentous events for the future of Scott County came in 1974 when an Act of Congress created the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. The area comprises 123,000 acres of extraordinarily scenic mountain land in and around the age-old gorge of the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River. It lies in Scott, Morgan and Fentress counties in Tennessee, and McCreary, Wayne and Pulaski counties in Kentucky. The park headquarters is located near the entrance to the Leatherwood Ford recreation site west of Oneida in Scott County. -
Tourism and the inherent service jobs to accommodate visitors to this scenic attraction are impacting the economy of Scott County. The Bandy Creek Recreation Area, featuring modern camping facilities with a swimming pool and horse stables, draws large numbers of visitors from early spring to late fall. Hiking, one of the main attractions to the park, is enjoyed year round. Canoeing and rafting on this scenic whitewater river is heralded as one of the South’s best.
On July 12, 1975, the bank donated property it owned in Elgin to the Highland Health Center, Inc., on which a regional health clinic was built and is in operation, serving the health needs of the south end of the county.
In Keeping With an earlier established policy to bring the service of the bank conveniently close to its customers, the Winfield Office opened in October 1975. With the opening of this office, the bank had furthered its goal to have an office located in close reach to its customers and the developing business centers of the county.
Certain risks came with the establishment of banking offices in outlying communities, as was evidenced by the burglary of the newly opened Helenwood Office. These risks came to bear again when the Winfield Office was robbed by a group of masked gunmen, not once, but on three separate occasions. Providing convenience to our customers-has not been without hazards, and these risks were taken into consideration before the community offices were established. Still, it was determined that the benefits far outweighed the risks..
Less than 10 years after moving into the new main office building that was supposed to adequately house the bank for a number of years, the quarters had been outgrown. The "old bank building" property on the corner of Main and Depot Streets was renovated and the bank’s Bookkeeping Department moved back to the location which had housed the entire operations of the First National-Bank several years earlier, plus the offices of the Tennessee Railroad occupying the entire second floor. This became the Operations Center into which all banking transactions were funneled daily and processed by a state-of-the-art computer system.
In 1979, two pneumatic tube facilities expanded the drive-in lanes at the main office to accommodate three vehicles simultaneously and customer business hours at these windows were extended to 6:00 p.m.
In 1976 W. H. SWAIN was elected to the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Banker Association and subsequently served as President of the Tennessee Bankers Association in 1982-83, remaining on the board until 1986.
Dr. Roy McDonaldserved as director of First National Bank of Oneida from 1968 to 1981. A highly regarded surgeon, Dr. ROY built a thriving practice in Oneida. He and his wife, GERRY, were very active in civic, church and school functions and raised their children, STORMY and CARTER, in their picturesque homeplace on Cross Street in Oneida, which is still home to GERRY. Until ill health incapacitated Dr. ROY, he faithfully discharged his duties as a director of the bank — rarely missing a meeting.
Senior Vice President and Director MICHAEL B. SWAIN and Executive Vice President SCOTT THOMPSON assumed responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the bank in 1983.
Also in 1983, the Helenwood Office was expanded to accommodate an additional loan office, another drive-in facility and "FIRST BANKER", a 24 hour automated terrier machine. The first automated teller machine in Scott County had just a few months earlier been installed at the main office of First National Bank in Oneida.
A hodgepodge of bank logos have been used over the years. Seeing the need for the bank to be easily identifiable and projecting the desired image, a new logo was introduced in 1984 and coordinated outdoor signs at all offices were among the first places the new logo appeared.
The 1980s saw record numbers of bank failures nationwide. Close to home were the "Butcher Banks" in the Knoxville area and then soon to follow was an even closer bank failure, the Oneida Bank and Trust Company, which had been in business since 1923, was closed by state regulatory authorities in 1984. Energy bank of Oak Ridge purchased the Oneida Bank and Trust Company from the Federal Deposit Insurance Agency. Bank mergers and acquisitions escalated as stronger banks sought out weaker banks to acquire, or equal banks agreed to merge to form a stronger bank. This era saw scores of banks in Tennessee close their doors. Savings and Loan Institutions were Undergoing considerable strife also, much of which was due to inept management, coupled with loan portfolios facing insurmountable problems in a weakened real estate market and with slackening of oil production. With so many bank and S&L failures, the FDIC and FSLIC both faced serious shortages of funds, which required federal government bailouts and increased premiums on financial institutions for Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) coverage. First National Bank’s FDIC premium tripled.
W. H. SWAIN served as State Chairman of the Small Business Administration’s Advisory Council from 1981-85.
In 1984, Governor LAMAR ALEXANDER asked Mr. SWAIN to serve on the new State Board of Education which had been created by the Comprehensive Education Reform Act of 1984. On May 13, 1993, Resolution No. 319, sponsored jointly by Representative LES WINNINGHAM and Senator ANNA BELLE O’BRIEN, was unanimously passed. "On the occasion of his retirement from the Tennessee State Board of Education. . . it is fitting that this legislative body recognize the years of work, remarkable dedication and unprecedented devotion by W. H. SWAIN, who has served for nine years...
"Whereas, Mr. SWAIN served well in this demanding position and during his tenure, many steps were taken to improve life in the classroom, including: development of a kindergarten through grade 12 Master Plan which details long-term educational goals and how they can be accomplished; revision of the State Board regulations so those closest to the classroom can make more decisions on their own; development of curriculum frameworks for all subjects; adoption of statewide uniform student testing; reform of the teacher education program in Tennessee universities so our teachers will be well prepared; development of a straight-
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forward, common sense evaluation procedure for Career Ladder candidates and, most recently, he chaired the board’s Education Committee on Funding and played a major role in the development of the Basic Education Plan.
The Board Of Directors underwent major changes in 1985 due to ROSS FAIRES choosing not to stand for re-election because of increased business demands on his time that prevented him from attending board meetings regularly. Another blow was dealt the board with the death of board veteran LAWRENCE KLINE, who had served faithfully for 26 years. RON PARKINSON, Vice President with Tibbals Flooring Company, was elected to the board of directors, bringing his expertise in marketing and broad background in manufacturing management to further strengthen a well-rounded board.
A new vault was added to the Helenwood Community Office to accommodate the needs of an ever increasing customer base. The new vault allowed safe deposit boxes to be offered to our Helenwood customers for the first time.
The newly incorporated Town of Winfield adopted a theme for its community with a log municipal building which was built next door to our Winfield Community Office. In keeping with the theme for the town, the board voted to add a "log" facade to the Winfield Office in 1986.
Dr. GEORGE L. KLINE, son of long-time director LAWRENCE KLINE, was elected to the board of directors in February 1987.
The board was stunned with the death of HAROLD CROSS. "Harold truly believed the bank was an instrument of the community, and aside from his family, this community was his first love. No individual in Scott County had a better feel of the pulse of this area than did Harold. He was always most conscious of the common man." (Quoted from the board resolution memorializing HAROLD CROSS’s 28-year term as a director of First National Bank of Oneida.)
AMonumental Step for the bank was made April 27, 1987 with the formation of the First Bancorp, Inc., one-bank holding company. Being owned by the holding company allowed the First National Bank of Oneida opportunities otherwise not afforded, such as being able to offer a broad spectrum of insurance to our customers through establishment of an insurance agency. First Insured Agency, housed in the main office of First National Bank of Oneida, opened in 1989, offering a full range of property and casualty insurance.
To keep pace with the ever-increasing document processing requirements, the in-house computer was upgraded in 1987 from an IBM System 34 to an IBM System 36. The broadened computer capabilities allowed for more efficient and expanded customer service.
New business hours were introduced in 1988 with the closing of the bank offices on Saturdays. Even with no Saturday hours, the new hours allowed for more hours each week that our customers could conduct their banking business. Office lobbies are open from 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. Drive in customers at the main office can bank from 7:45 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. every day, Monday through Friday. ATM (Automated Teller Machine) customers can bank at the main office and Helenwood office machines 24 hours every day, even on holidays.
The Fruehauf plant, manufacturing tractor trailers, expected to employ 400, opened in the industrial park near Huntsville, and First National Bank of Oneida accepted trusteeship of the Fruehauf Series 1988 bonds.
In 1989, the first motor coach trip of the newly-formed "Prime Time Club" of First National Bank for customers 65 years of age and older, or retired, was taken to Crossville, Tennessee to see a play at the Cumberland County Playhouse. These trips have proven to be popular among retirees, as well as, all ages who like group travel and not having to worry about driving and travel arrangements. Destinations have included Canada and New England in autumn; Branson, Missouri; Chattanooga Aquarium; Opryland Hotel, and Nashville NOW; the U.S. Virgin Isles; Hawaii; Alaskan Cruise, Switzerland, England, and many trips to Knoxville for plays and concerts.
Charter Advisory Board member EARL BURRESS passed away in 1989. He was a community leader and a devoted member of his church where he served as deacon and choir leader. He served on the bank’s Advisory Board for 23 years, much of that time as chairman.
In January 1990, Chairman W. H. SWAIN was elected as Class A Director of the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta.
In The Fall of 1989, to commemorate the bank’s 85th anniversary, it was decided to give our customers and friends a gift on our birthday. The FNB Chronicle, a quarterly tabloid focusing on local historical data, was introduced. Now in its eleventh year of publication, the FNB Chronicle is a tremendously popular communication vehicle for the bank.
The year 1990 saw a six-to-one vote margin passing the Oneida Special School District’s bond issue referendum. Coupled with private pledges, this brought to fruition new school facilities for Oneida Elementary, Middle and High Schools. The large sum of private donations toward these facilities and curriculum are unparalleled and have resulted in state-of-the-art educational programs, using the latest technological media, and has set these schools up as models for future schools.
The death of DONNA JEFFERS in 1990 came as a tremendous shock to staff, as well as the community. Although in ill health for several months prior to her death, she kept up her normal schedule at work and also remained actively involved in the Financial Women International organization and local volunteer work, which included tutoring illiterate adults. DONNA was held in highest esteem by co-workers, customers and the community as a whole. Her friendly, courteous manner endeared her to everyone with whom she came in contact. She faithfully served First National Bank of Oneida for 24 years.
After a long struggle, the straightening and widening of U.S. Highway 27 from New River to Oneida finally began in the fall of 1991. The narrow, curvy, two-lane highway, dubbed the "Airline Highway" back in the 1920s, claimed many lives on its "dog-leg" curves and narrow underpasses and was inadequate to carry the ever increasing number of vehicles traveling it as the main corridor from the north and south ends of Scott County.
Seeing the need for input from high school students on how the First National Bank of Oneida can best meet the needs of its customers, as well as giving this age group "hands-on" experience in the management of a bank, a Junior Advisory Board was established in l990. Through an application process, high school juniors and seniors from both local high schools can be selected for an annual seat on the Junior Advisory Board.
In An Effort to establish the Roane State Community College satellite in a permanent facility, Chairman W. H. SWAIN donated 37 acres of his property in Helenwood (valued at $135,000) to the college as a site for the facility. This spawned a tremendous outpouring of private donations, including $1,000,000 from EARL McDONALD, a native Scott Countian, and the beautiful building, nestled in a tranquil wooded setting and equipped with the latest in teaching technology, was formally dedicated in the spring of 1994. Having this facility for higher learning in Scott County has opened doors of opportunity for hundreds of students who, prior to the opening of the temporary satellite facility here in 1988, were unable to achieve college educations. The average student age is 29, which indicates that parents are taking advantage of the center to get the degree they postponed to start a family.
Because of Mr. SWAIN’s contributions to the establishment of the facility in Helenwood, the drive leading into the campus is named W.H. Swain Boulevard.
After Having Served only three years on the bank’s board of directors, Dr. KLINE understood the needs and desires of the people in this area. He was their friend and advocate and was quick to see the good in his fellow man. His untimely death was a terrific setback to the entire community and left a tremendous void.
With Mr. WALZ’s retirement and the death of Dr. KLINE, this left two board vacancies and
PAUL McGRAW, Vice President of Tibbals Flooring Company, and Danny Cross, local pharmacist and son of long-time board member HAROLD CROSS, were elected to the board of directors.
Attorney ALLYN LAY was hired as Vice President and Trust Officer, responsible for compliance, as well as acting as legal counsel for the bank.
In 1992, the board was increased to 11 members when District Attorney General William Paul Phillips and General Sessions Judge JAMIE COTTON were elected by the shareholders.
In keeping with the bank’s commitment to education, the FNB Mini Grant Program was introduced in 1993 for the 1993-94 school year. Through this program, classroom teachers in both local school systems can apply for a mini grant ranging from $25 to $500. This allows the teachers to put their creativity to work and plan learning projects for their students that heretofore they were unable to do because of a lack of funding. The first year’s FNB Mini Grant Program was introduced with funding of $10,000 from First National Bank. Response was so great and the projects so deserving that the amount funded was raised to $20,000! Since FNB Mini Grant Program was introduced in 1983, more than $186,000.00 has been awarded by First National Bank to Scott County and Oneida Teachers. The bank feels this is money well spent in providing our children learning experiences above and beyond the regularly funded curriculum.
In the 35th anniversary year of Chairman W. H. SWAIN (1993), the presidency and duties of chief executive officer were bestowed on MICHAEL SWAIN. Chairman SWAIN remains active in the bank and presides over the board of directors.
Up until 1995, the two automated teller machine located at the main office and at the Helenwood office only allowed First National Bank customers access to their accounts. With tourist visitation to our area increasing, the need was apparent for visitors to be able to access cash through our ATMs from their accounts at out-of-town banks. Also, our customers wanted to be able to access cash from their First National Bank accounts from regional and national ATMs. Therefore, our ATMs went online with Money Belt Regional ATM network and in 1999, Pulse and Plus Networks were also added. A cash dispensing ATM was installed in the Oneida Wal-Mart.
To Allow Our Customersaccess to information on their loans and hank deposit accounts, a 24 hour phone line was installed, 569-BANK. Not only can they check balances, but also deposits, current interest rates, maturity dates of C/Ds, and funds can be transferred between accounts right over the phone. The Community Message Center feature of the 569-BANK, is used extensively by teachers to record messages concerning lesson assignments, athletic practice schedules, and class trip plans. Over 42,000 calls come in to 569-BANK each month.
First Bancorp, Inc., the one bank holding company through which First National Bank operated, was formed in 1986, among other reasons, to enable the bank to borrow and consolidate bank stock, as well as, to expand business offerings, not then available to banks. In 1997, when those reasons wee no longer concerns and due to eliminating double taxation with Sub Chapter S status, it was agreed this was the best route to pursue. In addition, shareholders would save 6% Tennessee State Tax as dividends on banks are not taxed but holding company dividends are. Thus, in October 1997 the First Bancorp, Inc. holding company was dissolved and First National Bank became a Sub Chapter S Corporation.
Always Trying to keep abreast of changing technology so service delivery to our customers can be "what they want, when they want it and where they want it," an informational WEB site for the bank was installed on the Internet — http://www.fnboneida.com.
The bookkeeping operations department of the bank had occupied the "old bank building" on Main Street since 1977 and was quickly running out of space, especially in light of future growth of the bank. The Helenwood Community Office, the first bank branch office of any bank in Scott County, was built in 1966. Being the second busiest office of First National Bank, the Helenwood Office became too little to serve our customers in the fashion they
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deserved. After much deliberation and consideration, it was decided to solve two problem situations with one building. Thus the decision was made to build an office on the site that had been home to the Helenwood Office for 33 years that would house the bookkeeping/data processing/operations center and the teller and loan operations of the Helenwood Office. The original name for the office. when it opened in 1966 was Central Office, due to the fact that it sits almost exactly in the center of Scott County. Design Build Concepts, Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia was engaged in 1997 to design the building and subsequently, to oversee the construction of the building to completion, including coordination of interior decorations. The new Central Office of First National Bank of Oneida opened for business September 7, 1999 and was dedicated September 21, 1999.
A security device referred to as the Thumbprint signature program to deter counterfeit and stolen check fraud was implemented by First National Bank in 1998, in conjunction with other Tennessee banks. The thumbprint from non-deposit account holders placed on the front of the check when it is cashed, can be used by law enforcement agencies of fraud claims made by account holders. It has proven to be a deterrent to fraud and banks have averaged a 63% reduction in fraudulent checks passed by non-deposit account holders.
America’s Promise, a national crusade chaired by General COLIN POWELL has a mission to help endow our children and teens with the character and competence they need to be successful in life. First National Bank of Oneida was among the first 1000 banks in America to enlist as "Banks of Promise" to partner with General POWELL to help Point a Kid in the Right Direction.
The year 1999 marks the 95th anniversary of First National Bank of Oneida. Strength, stability, confidentiality, and service to the community characterize our first 95 years.
As we look to the future with enthusiasm and optimism, we salute our fine staff for their loyalty and dedication, and we express heartfelt thanks to our customers because it’s through their trust in our strength that has made First National Bank of Oneida the leading bank in our area.
FOOTNOTE — Much of the information, contained in this article was originally published in "The First National Bank of Oneida, Tennessee: A Chronicle," a magazine format publication produced in observance of our 90th anniversary (1994). At that time we extended our appreciation to the people who had provided the photographs, some of which are reprinted with this updated version of the bank’s history. Those so recognized were: WILDA SPECK (now deceased), BILL HAMILTON, BRUCE BUTLER, IRENE BAKER, PAUL ROY, BROMMA PEMBERTON and LOUISE CARSON. Also, much of the research and historical data used in the compilation of this article was found in Dusty Bits of the Forgotten Past by H. CLAY SMITH (1985); Financing American Enterprise — The Story of Commercial Banking, by Paul B. Trescott (1963); Scott County, Tennessee And Its Families, compiled by the Scott County Historical Society (1988).
FNB Chronicle, Vol. 11, No. 1 - Fall 1999
First National Bank
P.O. Box 4699
Oneida, TN 37841
(p1, 4-9, & 11)
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