The Peoples National Bank of Prosperity, South Carolina

The Peoples National Bank of Prosperity

County:

Newberry

Charter Number:

6994

Opened:

October 1903

Closed:

July 1925

        The Peoples National Bank of Prosperity is one of the more heralded national banks of South Carolina.  The intrigue with the bank likely comes from the town’s interesting name, Prosperity; and the simple fact that many people are shocked to find that the small town of Prosperity would have a national bank.  One of the organizers of The Peoples National Bank of Prosperity was HC Moseley.  It is rumored that Moseley and his brother went into business together with a capital of $2 between them.  Their businesses included The Brown and Moseley Bank of Prosperity which would reorganize and nationalize in 1903 to become The Peoples National Bank of Prosperity.  Just as the town name would suggest, the bank was indeed prosperous.  In the first twenty years of its life it grew tenfold; however, in 1921 the boll weevil decimated cotton crops and ultimately in 1925 The Peoples National Bank of Prosperity would be the first bank in Newberry County to close its doors.  The same year it reorganized as The Citizens National Bank of Prosperity.  The bank lasted only six years with its second title and did not issue any national bank notes under the Citizens moniker.
        As a state it is tough for a national bank note from South Carolina to get much recognition on the nationwide collecting scene.  However, that nonchalant attitude towards our state changes when it comes to notes from Prosperity.  Despite becoming a half million dollar bank, The Peoples National Bank of Prosperity always chose to keep its circulation at $6,250.  This tiny number and the fact the bank issued only $10 and $20 notes means that there were never more than 500 notes from Prosperity circulating at any one time.  In fact, over its twenty-two year life, the bank issued less than 8,000 notes.  We also know that by 1931 there was likely less than $670 in face value worth of Prosperity notes that had not been redeemed and destroyed by the treasury.  The fate of that $670 is much debated.  There are rumors of notes existing in a handful of private collections.  Fortunately for collectors the bank had many signers and there were so few printed that some may have been saved by interested banking families or by people of the day with a keen eye for rarity.  The exact number of surviving bank note specimens from The Peoples National Bank of Prosperity has been cloaked in a veil of secrecy for years – which only adds to the appeal of notes from this tiny Newberry hamlet.

        If you have some currency from Prosperity, please
tell me about it.  Whether it is for sale or not, I still always like hearing about notes.

First President:

MA Carlisle

First Cashier:

WW Wheeler

Milton Anderson Carlisle

9/07/1841 – Union, SC
3/11/1920 – Newberry, SC

        Milton Anderson Carlisle was the first president of The Peoples National Bank of Prosperity.  In 1898 he was elected as president of The National Bank of Newberry and held both positions concurrently until HC Moseley replaced him at Prosperity.  He attended South Carolina College; however, after serving in The Civil War he never went back to get his degree.  Outside of banking, MA Carlisle passed the Mississippi Bar Exam in 1868 and would be an attorney in Okolona, MS for six years with his brother before moving back to SC to continue his practice.  In addition to his banking presidency he also was president of Carolina Manufacturing Company.
        Sadly Carlisle's banking career ended unceremoniously after he was convicted of violating banking laws.  He would spend three years in prison but was pardoned by Woodrow Wilson in 1913.

William Walton Wheeler

8/22/1871 – Prosperity, SC
6/07/1932 – Atlanta, GA

        Unlike other small one national bank towns, The Peoples National Bank of Prosperity saw a handful of different officers.  However, throughout its entire national life there was one constant, William Walton Wheeler.  Like many young men of his day, Wheeler got his start in the business world with a position in a mercantile firm.  After his mercantile days he did two years with Hawkins Brothers as a book-keeper.  
        This accounting experience made Wheeler a prime candidate to become the first cashier of The Peoples National Bank of Prosperity.  He would have that position until 1908 when HC Moseley left the bank and Wheeler became the president.  WW Wheeler ran the bank until it closed in 1925.

Other People Associated with the Bank: HC Moseley, RT Pugh, LW Bedenbaugh