BANKING IN THE EARLY DAYS
Narratives from the
Georgetown's Yesteryears Book
A special thanks to The Georgetown Heritage Society and Martha Mitten Allen for letting us post these wonderful first person stories.
see Foreword and Preface
Esther M. Weir: Julie Hardy, Interviewer
We had two banks in Georgetown. The First National Bank had pink checks and the Farmers' State Bank had white checks. The checks were on all the counters every-where, and if you had an account, you didn't have to know the name of the bank, just the color of the checks the bank furnished. You just picked up a pink check or a white check and gave a check for whatever you wanted to get. You didn't carry a checkbook with you; you didn't need a checkbook. All the stores had counter checks on both banks, so you didn't need to carry around all that stuff. People were really basically honest, too.
When I came to Southwestern, the person who was the academic dean was Dean [Oscar] Ullrich. Dean Ullrich told a story on himself. He went to Austin and bought a suit. He tried it on and got it measured for alterations and left it to be fixed. He went back over and got it. On his way over, he realized that he didn't have a check, so he ran in a store and picked up a check and went over to Austin and paid for his suit with the check.
Two or three days later, the First National Bank President, Mr. Gene Eanes, called him and said, "You know, you wrote a check on us over in Austin to buy a suit. We honored the check, but you have never had any money in this bank, and we just wondered if you wanted to come down and put the money in to cover the check." So he decided that he'd better change his account from the other bank to that bank, and he did.
Then another story on that bank that I think is equally as funny and you really have to understand the times. There was a judge in town who lived on Olive Street. His name was Harry Graves. Judge Graves was a very staunch Methodist and he didn't believe in any of the basic sins at all. He didn't commit them, and he didn't think anybody else ought to commit them. Of course, drinking was a sin.
Judge Graves was a real bird hunter and every time he'd go back and forth to Austin, he would see this shotgun in the window of this store on the way to Austin and back. He really did like that shotgun, so he stopped by there one afternoon got off a little bit early went in, picked up the shotgun and felt it and aimed it. It was just exactly what he wanted. They had the shells right there and it was quail hunting season, so he just bought the shotgun. He had a check with him, so he wrote a check on the First National Bank, took the shotgun and continued on home.
Mr. Eanes called him a few days later and said, "Judge Graves, I think you better be on the lookout for somebody who is forging your name, because we've got a check with your name on it, but it's made out to Dan's Liquor Store and since we know you've never set foot in a liquor store in your life, we've sent that check back." Judge Graves had to make another trip into Dan's and retrieve his check and give another check for his shotgun.