The First National Bank of Berlin, WI (Charter 4620)

From Bank Note History
Jump to navigation Jump to search
A postcard of Huron Street, ca1900s, courtesy of Tom Snyder and a 1923 photo of the First National Bank of Berlin, Wisconsin. The bank was at 140 East Huron Street. Courtesy of Fortifi Bank
A postcard of Huron Street, ca1900s, courtesy of Tom Snyder and a 1923 photo of the First National Bank of Berlin, Wisconsin. The bank was at 140 East Huron Street. Courtesy of Fortifi Bank
A photo of the Fortifi Bank of Berlin, Wisconsin, ca2020.
A photo of the Fortifi Bank of Berlin, Wisconsin, ca2020. Courtesy of Google Maps

The First National Bank of Berlin, WI (Chartered 1891 - Open past 1935)

Town History

A 1915 photo of the vault for the First National Bank of Berlin, Wisconsin.
A 1915 photo of the vault for the First National Bank of Berlin, Wisconsin. Courtesy of Fortifi Bank.

Berlin is a city in Green Lake and Waushara counties in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The population was 5,524 at the 2010 census. Of this, 5,435 were in Green Lake County, and only 89 were in Waushara County. The city is located mostly within the Town of Berlin in Green Lake County, with a small portion extending into the Town of Aurora in Waushara County.

In 1845, Nathan H. Strong (1813–1852) became the first resident of what is today Berlin. He was joined by Hugh G. Martin, Hiram Barnes, and William Dickey. Their settlement was known as Strong's Landing. In 1848 a post office was established. It was named Berlin after the capital of Prussia, now the capital of Germany. The first school house was built in 1850 and the first church in 1851. Berlin was incorporated as a city in 1857.

Berlin had three National Banks chartered during the Bank Note Era, and all three of those banks issued National Bank Notes. Berlin also had one Obsolete Bank that issued Obsolete Bank Notes during the Obsolete Bank Note Era (1782-1866).

Bank History

A postcard from 1917 showing the interior of the bank. The president's office is behind a marbled counter with security bars framed in a dark wood. White chandeliers hang from the ceiling above the cashier's cage. A sign announces cashier above the first window and another president obove an interior office. A beautiful lamp possibly on a desk sits outside the entrance to the cages and president's office.
A postcard from 1917 showing the interior of the bank. Courtesy of Tom Snyder
  • Organized August 18, 1891
  • Chartered August 26, 1891
  • Succeeded Sacket & Fitch
  • Bank was Open past 1935
  • For Bank History after 1935 see FDIC Bank History website
  • Changed name Fortifi Bank to on December 31, 2017
  • Still in business as Fortifi Bank, Berlin, WI (August 2022)

On the evening of August 18, 1891, it was decided to organize the Sackett & Fitch bank into a national bank to be known as the First National Bank of Berlin. George B. Sackett was the president, George Fitch, vice president, and Robert A. Christie, cashier. The directors were Charles Schreiber of Oshkosh; S.W. Smith of Green Lake; and Hiram Stedman, J. Turner, F.B. Talcott, CC. Wellinsgard, Lute Carter, George B. Sacket, and George Fitch. The capital was $50,000. Another banking house to be known as the Berlin National Bank was being organized by John W. Brown, formerly of Portage. Associated with him were James H. Foster, Capt. Daniel Evans, J.L. Bellis, B.F. Clark and other men of local and state reputation.

In June 1894, George Fitch was elected president to succeed the late George Sackett.

On March 30, 1896, ex-Senator George Fitch died at an early hour. He was born on November 3, 1845 in Glen Falls, New York and lived in New York City from 1860 to 1871, when he came to Wisconsin and settled in Berlin. For several years he was cashier of the Mather bank, but in 1876 he, with George B. Sackett and others, organized the banking firm of Geo. B. Sackett, Fitch & Co. During his 25 years of residence in Berlin, Mr. Fitch was connected with the business and political affairs of Berlin and Green Lake County. He had interests in lumbering projects and cranberry marshes. In 1885 he was elected Mayor of Berlin and the following year he was chosen state senator. A few weeks before his death he was elected a delegate to the national Republican convention at St. Louis.

On Thursday, May 27, 1897, at a meeting of the directors, the contract for the building of the new bank block was awarded to Brown & Seifert of Oshkosh. When the contract was let the directors made the request that Berlin labor be employed, and Berlin material purchased as much as possible. The contractors agreed to this. Other contractors who had bids included: Rhymer & Kitz, Oshkosh; Meyer & Domke, Oshkosh; Faber & Hanley, Oshkosh; Asa Rogers and Julius Ceman of Berlin. The amount of the successful bid was not made public. There were between twenty and thirty bids for furnishing materials and doing part of the work. The contract specified that the building had to be completed by September 10th. Monday morning work began with excavating for the foundation walls. The vault would be built first.

In November 1915, the directors elected Charles S. Morris, vice president to fill the vacancy caused by the death of T.H. Rumsey who was killed recently in an automobile accident.

On October 3, 1929, The First National Bank, largest in Green Lake County, was joined with the First Wisconsin banking group of Milwaukee. The Berlin institution had resources of approximately $2,400,000, bringing the total resources of the First Wisconsin group to $270,306,000.

On November 15, 1938, W.N. Crawford, president of the First National Bank of Berlin, announced that his bank would take over the Berlin State Bank on November 30th, with the merged institutions continuing business under the name of the First National. Directors of both banks approved the merger. The combined deposits were given as $2,336,000 and total resources, $2,652,000. The First National joined the Wisconsin Bankshares Group in 1929 while the State bank, organized in 1905, became a member of the Northwest Bancorporation, also in 1929.

Official Bank Title(s)

1: The First National Bank of Berlin, WI

Bank Note Types Issued

1882 Brown Back $5 bank note with pen signatures of R.A. Christie, Cashier and T.H. Rumsey, Vice President.
1882 Brown Back $5 bank note with pen signatures of R.A. Christie, Cashier and T.H. Rumsey, Vice President. Courtesy of Lyn Knight Auctions, www.lynknight.com
1902 Date Back $20 bank note with pen signatures of W.N. Crawford, Cashier and R.A. Christie, President.
1902 Date Back $20 bank note with pen signatures of W.N. Crawford, Cashier and R.A. Christie, President. Courtesy of Lyn Knight Auctions, www.lynknight.com
1902 Plain Back $20 bank note with pen signatures of J.A. Whalen, Assistant Cashier and W.N. Crawford, President.
1902 Plain Back $20 bank note with pen signatures of J.A. Whalen, Assistant Cashier and W.N. Crawford, President. Courtesy of Heritage Auctions, www.ha.com
1929 Type 1 $20 bank note with printed signatures of J.H. Pickert, Cashier and W.N. Crawford, President.
1929 Type 1 $20 bank note with printed signatures of J.H. Pickert, Cashier and W.N. Crawford, President. Courtesy of Lyn Knight Auctions, www.lynknight.com

A total of $497,570 in National Bank Notes was issued by this bank between 1891 and 1935. This consisted of a total of 49,086 notes (35,308 large size and 13,778 small size notes).

This bank issued the following Types and Denominations of bank notes:

Series/Type Sheet/Denoms Serial#s Sheet Comments
1882 Brown Back 4x5 1 - 3475
1882 Brown Back 3x10-20 1 - 1160
1882 Date Back 4x5 1 - 253
1882 Date Back 3x10-20 1 - 196
1902 Date Back 3x10-20 1 - 1200
1902 DB/PB 3x10-20 1201 - 1400 Type uncertain
1902 Plain Back 3x10-20 1401 - 3743
1929 Type 1 6x10 1 - 1636
1929 Type 1 6x20 1 - 454
1929 Type 2 10 1 - 934
1929 Type 2 20 1 - 304

Bank Presidents and Cashiers

Bank Presidents and Cashiers during the National Bank Note Era (1891 - 1936):

Presidents:

Cashiers:

Other Bank Note Signers

Wiki Links

Sources

  • Berlin, WI, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin,_Wisconsin
  • Don C. Kelly, National Bank Notes, A Guide with Prices. 6th Edition (Oxford, OH: The Paper Money Institute, 2008).
  • Dean Oakes and John Hickman, Standard Catalog of National Bank Notes. 2nd Edition (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 1990).
  • Banks & Bankers Historical Database (1782-1935), https://spmc.org/bank-note-history-project
  • The Oshkosh Northwestern, Oshkosh, WI, Wed., Aug. 19, 1891.
  • The Oshkosh Northwestern, Oshkosh, WI, Thu., Aug. 20, 1891.
  • Portage Daily Democrat, Portage, WI, Fri., Aug. 21, 1891.
  • Portage Daily Democrat, Portage, WI, Thu., June 14, 1894.
  • The Oshkosh Northwestern, Oshkosh, WI, Mon., Mar. 30, 1896.
  • The Oshkosh Northwestern, Oshkosh, WI, Tue., June 1, 1897.
  • The Oshkosh Northwestern, Oshkosh, WI, Mon., Nov. 22, 1915.
  • Wausau Daily Herald, Wausau, WI, Thu., Oct 3, 1929.
  • Stevens Point Journal, Stevens Point, WI., Tue., Nov. 15, 1938.