The First National Bank of Wagener, South Carolina

The First National Bank of Wagener

County:

Aiken

Charter Number:

10485

Opened:

February 1914

Closed:

February 1929

        The First National Bank of Wagener was the first of sixteen banks in the state of South Carolina to receive its national charter in 1914.  Between 1865 and 1935 the state only chartered 97 banks, so sixteen in one year is astonishing.  The bank was originally chartered as a state bank in 1907 under the name Bank of Wagener.  As a national bank this Aiken county institution was solid from its chartering in 1914 until the early 1920s.  When it opened it was the second smallest in the state at $117,000 in assets; a mere six years later it had quadrupled in size.  
        By 1928 The First National Bank of Wagener was a shadow of its former self.  It was losing deposits and customer confidence; and it was down to only $172,000 in assets.  As it was clear the bank was no longer solvent it made an attempt to sell itself to The Bank of Western Carolina, but a deal could not be arranged and The First National Bank of Wagener went into receivership on February, 2nd 1929.
        Despite the bank’s rise and fall in terms of size and success it always chose to have a circulation of just $6,250.  It issued sheets of five and ten dollar bills and it can be assumed no more than 1,000 notes were in circulation at any one time.  Those numbers aren’t good for collectors as it means odds are only one or two have likely survived redemption and destruction.
        
During the fifteen years The First National Bank of Wagener was open it had the same president and cashier, EB Jackson and WP Williams.

If you believe you have any currency issued by The First National Bank of Wagener, please contact me.

First President:

EB Jackson

First Cashier:

WP Williams

Edmund Bellinger Jackson

b. 6/29/1879 Aiken, SC 
d. 7/12/1947 Madison, GA

        Edmund Bellinger Jackson was born in Aiken County and lived there most of his life.  He graduated from The Citadel in 1901 and directly after that taught three years of school before beginning his banking career.  He was always a planter and ran several successful cotton farms.  His understanding of farming helped him feel comfortable giving other farmers loans and credit at his bank when others wouldn’t.  In reality the success and failure of The First National Bank of Wagener was due to Jackson having at least ninety percent of the bank’s loans out to farmers.  So as went the cotton crop, so did the bank.
        
In 1922 Mr. Jackson successfully ran for Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina and won by a landslide, getting over 50% of the votes against two competitors.  He would serve one term.  He was also Chairman of the Board of Trustee for Greenville’s Woman’s College (later Furman University) and a long time member of The Board of Visitors at The Citadel.

        He was an original organizer of The Bank of Wagener and its one and only president while it was The First National Bank of Wagener.

William Pope Williams

b. 7/5/1889 Aiken, SC
d. 4/4/1966 Aiken, SC

    William Pope Williams was born in the Oak Grove section of Aiken County but would move to Wagener in 1913, the same year he was married.  He joined the First National Bank of Wagener in 1914 when it nationalized.  He would be the cashier for bank's entire national life.  Despite having the title of cashier, it is fair to assume he was the bank's main management during the years EB Jackson was serving as Lieutenant Governor.  After The First National Bank of Wagener closed Williams went to work in Columbia for The Federal Land Bank.    
    In 1948 he moved back to Aiken and opened Williams Real Estate and Insurance Agency.  In addition to his banking, real estate, and insurance interests, he was also a planter.  It is likely that WP Williams would have signed all national bank notes The First National Bank of Wagener issued.

Other People Associated with the Bank: ES Redd, JW Lybrand