J.S. Ware

”BRANCH COUNTY BANKS AND FINANCE.

The history of banking in Branch county goes back to the days of  ‘wild-cat’ currency and reckless speculation, which set in shortly after Michigan was admitted to statehood. The old Coldwater Bank began its existence in December, 1837, when it was organized under the provisions of an act of the legislature passed in the preceding March. Some of the most prominent men of that day were directly concerned in its organization, the stockholders being Hanchett & Holbrook, William A. Kent, L. D. & P. H. Crippen, James H. Hanchett, Robert Baker, R. J. Champion, William Reynolds, H. Cowles, Ed Sloan, B. Crippen, Lewis Goddard of Detroit, John J. Curtis, Loren Marsh, John Conley, Martin Olds, Harvey Warner, Lot Whitcomb, J. S. Ware, Enoch Jones, L. Taylor and E. G. Fuller.

The bank was opened in a little one-story building on the north side of Chicago street, east of Monroe, where Sloman’s and Flandermeyer’s stores are located. L, D. Crippen was the first president. The directing spirits of the institution, however, were two men from outside the county, Goddard and Ware, whose business it was to organize banks and to manipulate the clever financial schemes of that day. Their theories as to banking and finance were so elaborate, yet so plausible, that the other stockholders and directors submissively put away practical opinions and every-day business methods and followed their lead almost without question. The bills of the bank were issued to the amount allowed by law, with no specie in the vault to redeem them. The two promoters soon after carried away with them about fifty thousand dollars of these bills for the purpose of turning them into cash and, as they said, ‘creating specie.’  They did dispose of most of the bills, but they never returned with the proceeds to Coldwater, and the honest pioneer stockholders who remained behind were left to> pay the incoming bills as best they could. The Crippens struggled hard to maintain the integrity of the institution, becoming personally responsible to the amount of twenty thousand dollars, but without avail, for the bank failed utterly within a year after it was founded.”

Reference Data:

A Twentieth Century History and Biographical Record of Branch County, Michigan, by Rev. Henry P. Collin, M.A., 1906, page 124


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