Digital Macksville

Macksville, Kansas

14- Macksville Banks


14- Macksville Banks


Macksville, Kansas -- History

Macksville, Kansas Centennial

Stafford County, Kansas


Section of the Macksville Centennial Book dealing with Macksville Banks


Macksville History Committee and The Lewis Press


Macksville City Library, Macksville, Kansas


Macksville City Library, Macksville, Kansas











Macksville History Committee and The Lewis Press, “14- Macksville Banks,” Digital Macksville, accessed September 21, 2023,

Macksville has had seven newspapers but apparently only one (possibly two) was published during this first decade of Stafford County newspaper history. The Times was established in 1886 and it was followed by The Telephone.
Cassady (across the railroad track from Macksville) had two early day papers. We have already mentioned the Stafford County Herald published by R.M. Blair in 1886-87. The other was The Mirage owned by William A. Potter who left the paper in charge of J.H. Hammitt when the former moved to St. John.
From the Book “Story of Stafford County”
by Frank Steele
I hesitate to write a history of my own bank because it is so closely akin to my life. A bank or banks is to a community like unto a heart pumping life giving blood into every part of the body.
Seventy-five years ago, the town of Macksville was as vigorous and stormy as any growing youngster, and it was to this community that a Mr. George Burr, of Boston, Massachusetts, came to establish a State Bank. Mr. Andrew Aitken and Howard Gray, of St. John, were also involved.
My father, A.G. English, was then a hardy blacksmith of the town, my mother, known by her legal signature as
Mrs. F.M. English, was a housewife. However, it seems that Dad was quite ‘sharp’ with figures—and everyone thought that he would make the best manager.
We do not have in our possession, the original charter which was probably destroyed in a fire which swept through the town. Of course, we all know by old photos and western movies, the people came to town in horse and buggy, the stores were of wood, the sidewalks too— one town pump. So when a fire did occur it swept the block cleanly.
Dad and others employed at the bank at that time had a few minutes in which to remove books and ledgers and legal documents. The story is told that Dad directing the salvage so to speak, gave orders, “Now boys don’t lose your heads, we don’t have much time and don’t take out anything that is not of value...” then Dad picked up the wastepaper basket and walked out into the street!
We do have a ribbon trimmed and Gold Sealed Charter, dated in the year 1895. The Directors at that time were Geo. H. Burr, Andrew Aitken, Howard Gray, J. McD. Martin, and A.G. English. There were 50 shares of stock. The stock holders were A.G. English, Howard Gray, Andrew Aitken, Geo. Burr, Frank M. Look, J. McD. Martin.
Dad and Mother, for a long time were the only managers. In order to write this history, I hauled out one of the old ledgers—dated 1906. And ‘hauled’ is the proper verb for they were long and wide and very heavy. The entree space was small, the names of the depositers were handwritten, the daily Statement showed the huge sum of $500.00 surplus. However, Dad must have been a ‘natural’— his advise was sought on
Beginning of Macksville State Bank. A.G. English and Flora English.
real estate— he loved the land and acquired a sizeable amount of acreage himself. He usually sounded his disapproval when he mortgaged property— and or times he was forced to foreclose.
Once he left mother in charge of the bank and drove by horse and buggy to a farm house. I don’t know whether the man on whom he forclosed lived alone or was just alone at the time, but he talked with him. “Sam”, we shall say, agreed it had to be done. Then he asked Dad to wait a minute. He disappeared into another room and shot himself.
Dad and Mother, after balancing would put the monies in a sack and take it home. Dad, I’ve been told, slept with a gun under his pillow. When they were a few cents, long, or a few cents short, they burned the midnight kerosene lamps! And their oldest daughter, Leila, probably went to sleep with old legers for her bed.
In 1904 the charter reveals that A.G. English, F.M. English, A. Aitken, George Burr, Fannie Look, D.B. Look, H.C. Burr, A.H. Aitken and S.M. Burr were the stockholders. In 1906 the Looks had disposed of their shares and J.H. McMorran, my uncle, and the late President, became a stockholder.
Of course, the bank building by this time had been made of brick, but it might be of interest to know that it has always been on the same site, even as does the large safe, unused now and painted gold, looking out upon the street through Venetian blinds.
Dad’s concept of good business, sound management has prevailed throughout the long history of the bank. He wasn’t so good with fire arms though. The story is told that once after banking hours, when the curtains were drawn across the large window and he was alone in the bank, he began to inspect a gun he had in the office. Without knowing that it was loaded, he raised it, pulled the trigger. I really don’t know who was the most shocked Dad or the man out on the street who had been leaning against the window talking to a friend. The bullet passed swiftly above his head, but he left town on foot and without waiting to say goodbye!
History of “things” usually has a high in excitement, even as does the life of a person. In September, 1941 (and here I will quote from our newspaper) TWO ESCAPED CONVICTS KILLED HERE: Macksville was full of cars all day Tuesday and people were here from all the nearby towns. Telephones were kept busy giving information to the Associated Press and dailies, over the state. Many people viewed the remains of the two men. A.G. English, who has been President of the Macksville State Bank for forty-nine years, J.H. McMorran, the cashier, and W.J. Eichenberger, the assistant cashier, were all in the bank. Mr. McMorran was waiting on a customer, and Mr. English and Mr. Eichenberger saw the car drive up and recognized it as possibly being the one they expected. They did not know that the K.B.I. men were in town and stationed
Macksville State Bank
Macksville State Bank Employees. A.G. English was president until 1942; Mrs. A.G. English, president 1942-1953; John McMorran, president, 1953-1966.
Lois English, President of Macksville State Bank, 1966-1981.
down in town. In a few minutes, this little quiet village was thoroughly shocked when the shots attracted the attention of everybody down in town as well as many over town. The appearance of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation officers was a surprise to everybody, especially those who saw them stationed at various places.
A large crowd of spectators were here all day and rumors of all kinds were running rampant.
P.H. Zuercher, owner of the Macksville Farm Supply Store, was the only person who bore an injury. He
received a scratch on his back and a burned place on his shirt from a ricochet. Scotties Recreation across the street on the west side also received a broken window from one of the bullets. Both banks had been under surveillance for the past week.”
When Dad passed away, Mother became President and I guess this is where I came into the picture, for she thought I should learn something of an institution that I might someday possess.
Mr. Eichenberger, Mr. Beckerdite and my uncle, Mr. McMorran, were as sound and as well governed as Dad, would have wished. Mr. Eichenberger remained with the bank until his fatal illness.
When my mother passed away, we gave the Presidency to Mr. McMorran for he had served more than fifty years. Mr. Mac’s advice was sought for many times. Although advanced in years he was always ‘young at heart.’
At his death, I assumed the Presidency and I guess this brings the story of the Bank to the modern year of 1967.
Written by E. Lois English
The Macksville State Bank
Resources Liabilities
Cash & Sight Exchange $ 573,000 Capital Stock $ 76.000
Securities 4,422.000 Surplus 150,000
Federal Funds 950,000 Undivided Protits 1,285,000
Loans & Leases 7.149.OOO Deposits 11,907,000
Premises & Real Estate 109 000 Other 204 000
Other 420,000 TOTAL $13,622,000
TOTAL $13,622,000
Officers and Directors
Other Stockholders:
Verne Seibert Edna Suiter
Bud Suiter Clarence Leitner
Adrian Suiter Rodney Lyon
Donald Suiter Ethel May Page
Grace Eichenberger
The Farmers & Merchants State Bank was founded on November 7, 1906. The first president of the bank was W.M. Stark, B.F. Guizlo was the first cashier. The founding directors were D.A. Askew, J.W. McKibben, J.O. McComas, A.J. Smith, J.A. Hopley and John C. Wright. S.G. Wiles went to work in the bank as bookkeeper in 1910.
B.F. Guizlo the cashier, was the managing officer of the bank from its founding to the time of his death in 1915. S.G. Wiles followed B.F. Guizlo as cashier and managing officer of the bank. S.G. Wiles managed the bank from 1915 to his death on January 15,1965.
A lot of changes took place in the bank in 1915. A.J. Smith became president of the bank, H.B. Breneman went to work as assistant cashier, and Lester Shaw was hired as bookkeeper.
A.J. Smith served as president of the bank from 1915 to his death in 1933. J.T. Smith was president 1933 till his death in 1956. Irma I. Smith followed her husband as president of the bank. Irma I. Smith served as President till 1965, at which time she became chairman of the board, and retired chairman ameritus.
In 1965, Harry G. Wiles became president of the bank, Lester L. Shaw, Vice President and executive officer, and Dean W. Rothrock was appointed cashier. Dean Rothrock was employed by the bank June 1,1950. Lester Shaw as managing officer of the bank from March 15, 1965 until his retirement in January, 1971.
Donald K. Peterson became vice president and director of the bank in December, 1969, and became president of the bank upon Lester Shaw’s retirement. In 1971, Bryce Lamb and Harry Seibert became directors of the bank. Irma I. Smith retired as chairman of the board. Harry G. Wiles became chairman of the board upon Irma I. Smith’s retirement.
Jim VanArsdale went to work in the bank in June, 1974, as cashier of the bank. In January, 1984, Ray Cud-ney and Gary Curtis became directors of the bank. Mike Watkins joined the bank as Ag. Rep. in June of 1984.
The present directors of the bank are Harry G. Wiles, chairman of the board, Donald K. Peterson, President, Dean W. Rothrock, Vice President, James O. VanArsdale, Cashier, Harry G. Wiles II, Bryce Lamb, Harry Seibert, Ray Cudney, and Gary Curtis.
The construction of a new bank building was started in April, 1983. The new bank building opened April 2, 1984. The open house of the new bank building was held April 14,1984, with over 700 people attending.
In November, 1907 the bank had assets of $36,678.92. The founding fathers had good foresight as Macksville has proven to be a good place for them to start their bank. The bank in its 78 years has survived many changes including the great depression of the thirties. Today the bank is located in a new facility adjoining the original location. The bank has grown to over $16,000,000.00 in total assets today.
Written by Don Peterson
Jay T. Smith and Irma I. Smith, both were presidents of Farmers & Merchants Bank.
The old F & M Bank built in 1906. Torn down in 1984.

Directors and employees of Farmers & Merchants Bank April 2, 1984. Back row • Don Peterson, President, Ray Cudney, Director. Middle row • Janet Hudson, Marcia Johnson, Dean Rothrock, Vice President, Harry Seibert Director, Harry G. Wiles Chairman of Board,
Bryce Lamb Director, Gary Curtis Director, James O. VanArsdale cashier. Front row • Mildred Prescott, Carol Gingrich, Irma I. Smith retired Chairman Ameritus, Barbara Deighton and Karen Spencer, Custodian.
It was a beautiful fall day and school had just convened this September day in 1941. The night before, members of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation had gathered under the guise of oil scouts, tobacco salesman and other varied pursuits, their rendezvous the old Crescent Hotel in a little Kansas town. It’s lobby was filled with strangers, a prelude to big things to come the following day. One townsman was roughly questioned when he arrived late to his hotel room at 1:00 A.M. in the morning (he had been checking some oil acreage with a friend with a magnotometer which he had in the rear of his car).
The KBI’s under-cover man, an ex-convict, had managed to get into town and report an important hour and date, and left as unnoticed as he had arrived. The next morning, the quiet autumn air exploded with a staccato of shots at 9:15 A M. fifteen minutes after the two town banks had opened for business. I knew it had happened, for six weeks previously, we of the bank forces were called from a Lions Club picnic and secretely furnished with the facts incident to a planned holdup of the two banks. Little credence to the rumor was given at the time, but as the days passed, things began to shape and times and schedules were given and changed as the
fateful hour drew nigh. The under-cover man was finding it increasingly difficult to meet the KBI and made trips under the subterfuge of the completion of the casing of the job, leaving information at such times as he was not accompanied, as to the plans and dates of the robbery and holdup.
I rushed to the door of the bank where I had worked for twenty-one years. As pieces of glass and bullets flew through the air, terror struck, as several frenzied citizens vainly tried to gain entrance to the bank by way of a screen door, which seemed to resist all efforts to open it. A Ford V eight slowly coasted down main street, with a dead bandit slumped over the wheel, and a second slumped in death at the right of the driver, he was the trigger man. His draw had been late and the reflexes of the driver slow, as death crashed in on them from the front and either side of the car in their split second of indecision. An excited townsman jumped on the running board of the car and steered it to a halt at the far end of the block, where a fear stricken crowd had gathered. Morbid curiosity lead them to view the spattered, bloody bodies of Jack Slade and Jim West. In the rear of the bandit car was a vertible arsenal of ammunition, sawed off shot guns, automatics and a large
The car the robbers used the day they planned to rob the bank. Both were killed, Macksville, Kansas.
caliber hunting rifle. They were "loaded for bear” in western parlance. Little did these notorious gunmen realize that a reception committee of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation under the able leadership of Lou Rit-cher, would be awaiting them that morning. Their six weeks of planning had ended in failure and death.
Employees and heads of both banks of this small Kansas town had worked under the protective cover of the KBI, their homes and children were always under close surveillance. Every day before the attempted holdup, a KBI man was on top the vaults of each bank, closely scrutinizing each person who entered it’s doors, obscured by a wide border of black material atop the vaults. All this after the plot to rob the banks was first revealed by the ex-con undercover man, who worked with the bandits under instructions from the KBI. His life would have mattered little, had Jack Slade and Jim West suspected him of infidelity to their cause. The price for his cooperation with the KBI, freedom! A chance to establish himself again in American society. The bandits’ front, was a coffee shop near the Arkansas river bridge in South Dodge. Could there be a more colorful location than near the site of erstwhile Marshall Ham Bell’s old *elephant barn?
From a stairway in the Post Office building stepped Jim Nelson, gun leader of the KBI, who rushed in front of the bandit car which had come to a virtual stop. Had Jim Slade sensed danger as he glanced across the street at the two banks and slowed his car in hesitation? Jim Nelson lacked nothing of raw courage and guts as he drew his riot gun across the windshield and barked the order “Halt”! The order was not obeyed. Slade was in the act of running the officer down as his foot hit the accelerator and West reached for his automatic, all in
the split second that spelled disaster, as their car was riddled with a fusillade of lead from a dozen guns, whose handlers were stationed on the roof tops of buildings that lined main street. Now it was over. Six weeks tension that shrouded the local banks, their executives, employees and families had ended, and a bloody episode was spared the citizens of this small Kansas town, by timely action of the KBI, it’s leader and courageous ex-con collaborator.
*The word elephant barn of Ham Bell’s was used because the barn was so huge it could accomodate large number of wagons and horses. All names used are fictitious to protect the innocent; Lou Ritcher was the real name of the KBI’s chief (he is now deceased).
Written By L.L. Shaw shortly after the robbery attempt.
Wegele mowers lined up in front of W.S. Fred & Son Mower Co. Left to right, Carroll Fred, Bernice Suiter and Fred Hopley.