A Brief History of the Dewey State Bank
1902 to 2006
The Dewey Bank was organized in 1902 as a “private” bank. Not much information is available about the bank prior to 1920, except that a local citizen remembers a fire occurred in the wooden frame building, which housed both the bank and the general store in 1911. After the fire, the bank’s safe was moved to Hummel’s Jewelry Store located on Dewey’s Main Street. Emory Jackson was running the bank at this time and also clerked in the general store.
On December 6, 1920, the Dewey Bank received its charter becoming the Dewey State Bank. The 1920 Charter Shareholders of the Dewey State Bank were: F. B. Vennum, Champaign, IL; C. E. Jackson, Dewey, IL; A. A. Jones, Dewey, IL; and E. M. Vennum, Findlay, IL. The shareholders held 200 shares with a total capitalization of $20,000. Throughout the years the Bank’s capitalization has grown to over $1,600,000.
The Bank’s ownership remains closely held since its 1920 charter was approved. On July 23, 1923, H. S. Capron acquired the stock of C. E. Jackson. On September 1, 1923, Jesse Guynn acquired part of the stock of F. B. Vennum. On May 6, 1944 A. A. Jones acquired the balance of the F. B. Vennum stock and later the H. S. Capron stock. Winnie’s brother Karl owned stock in the bank from June 27, 1927 until his death on August 12, 1953. On March 13, 2001, A. R. Murray joined the bank as a stockholder. Current stockholders include members of the Kay J. Horsch family and the Murray family.
The bank has suffered very few calamities during the past one hundred years. It was reported that A. A. Jones was able to stop an attempted robbery on Friday, December 24, 1937, when he locked the bank’s outer door after a tip from law enforcement officers.
On April 13, 1951, a major fire damaged the bank and the Jones General Store. A small house trailer belonging to Ernest Minks was used for the night watchman. The temporary bank was set up in Keith Drennan’s vacant barbershop, which was formerly a cream station. Most of the bank’s equipment was saved the morning of the fire and employees were able to do some business later that day. A. A. Jones often teased Cecile Cook and Mary Myrick that they had the temporary office opened before the fire was extinguished. Because of the fireproof construction, the vault remained usable for the storage of records. Employees remember using a “little red wagon” to transfer records to and from the temporary office each banking day.
On April 24, 1967, a burglary during the night occurred where access was gained through the roof. Fortunately, only minor damages were incurred. On October 3, 1978, the bank was the victim of an armed robbery. Fortunately, no one was injured and local authorities apprehended the robbers with the assistance of alert local residents.
Some employees remember time from the “old days”. Checking account customers had a “bank book” which was similar to a savings passbook. At the end of each month, the bank’s employees would summarize each customer’s deposits and cancelled checks on a form, similar to the statements of today. Customers would then bring their books to the bank where the employees would hand post transactions and return the books along with their cancelled checks. Business customers were the only ones to receive “statements” at this time.
During the winter of 1944 or 1945 the bank employees held War Bond drives. Two or three of the bank’s employees would make evening visits to the many schoolhouses located throughout the area with a supply of blank savings bonds. The bonds were issued to the customer that very night. We often wonder if we were the originators of “extended hours”.
Prior to computerization, the bank’s staff processed all transactions “by hand”. The key to this processing was our “daily sheet” which was a version of the old Boston Ledger. On this daily sheet the bank staff would hand post debit transactions on the left side and credit transactions on the right side. Checking account deposits and checks were first listed on the back of the daily sheet. The daily sheet would be balanced each day to be sure all transactions were recorded correctly.
A second posting process was then started. All loan transactions were posted by hand to the ledger sheets for each customer. The checks and deposits were hand posted to each customer’s ledger card. Initially, this posting was performed on a Burroughs sensimatic posting machine. This more modern posting machine had a magnetic “stripe” along the back of the card that contained the customer’s name, address, and balances. We thought “we had arrived” with this new machine. From February through November 1985, the bank converted to a computerized system, which was unsatisfactory and returned to the ledger card system.
On February 15, 1988, the bank converted to its next computer system of UNISYS hardware, the PCS banking software. With this new equipment, each transaction was entered through a proof module where it was balanced and posted to the appropriate account. All the daily posting was automatic, so ledger cards were finally a thing of the past. The accounts for each customer are summarized into a central information file. This enables the bank’s staff to locate all account relationships in just a few seconds. This was our first bold step into computerized operations.
In the summer of 1989, a major renovation of the bank’s lobby was completed. The teller line was oriented to face the front and a new interior was installed. Three separate teller stations were established to help provide more privacy. More modern teller equipment was installed and for the first time each teller had his or her own cash drawer.
With the beginning of the 21st century, the bank experiences changes and growth of its own. On December 26, 1997, the bank opened the first branch office in Saybrook, IL. Customers now have an opportunity to bank in two locations and at extended hours. Changes in banking and technology offer exciting challenges for the board and staff of Dewey State Bank.
In March 1999, the bank erected two radio frequency towers, one at Dewey and one at Saybrook, to allow the bank to more efficiently communicate between its two locations, both in telephone and data communications. On April 8, 1999, the bank converted to our current data processor Computer Services, Inc. (CSI). With this conversion, the bank invested substantial dollars in computers and other technologies to provide the bank the ability to meet the growing needs of its customers. This technology allows the bank to offer telephone banking, Visa Check Card, online ATM balances, along with other products and/or services, which were not available on the previous system. A frontline teller program, which enables customers checks and deposits to be temporarily “memo” posted to their account on the day they deposited or withdrew from their accounts, reflecting accurate balances for each customer on a daily basis was also added. And a local area network was put in place to provide electronic storage of customer information and to allow for sharing of information between employees.
In 2001 the Dewey State Bank experienced the need for greater lending capability to best serve the Dewey, Fisher and Saybrook communities. Since the bank is in the middle of the world’s most productive agricultural area, all options were considered. Arthur R. Murray, a prime organizer and first President of the Community Bankers Association of Illinois, an organization which exists exclusively for the benefit of Community Banking in Illinois, and his wife Phyllis formed an alliance with the Dewey State Bank and the Citizens State Bank of Milford, which they also own. The Murray’s strong and long-term commitment to community banking offers the Dewey State Bank many opportunities with their expertise in agricultural lending. This affiliation with Citizens State Bank of Milford offers combined assets of nearly 50 million dollars. Combined capital is over 5.5 million dollars, with a joint lending limit exceeding one million dollars.
To review the Bank’s history is, in many cases, to review the contribution of the Jones and Horsch Families to the Dewey, Fisher and Saybrook communities. A. A. (Winnie) Jones headed the bank’s operations for many years starting in 1919 until his death in 1972. Under his capable leadership, the bank remained open during the depression, when many other banks were forced to close. Many customers remember the fine treatment the Jones brothers gave them with Winnie at the bank and Karl and Johnnie at the store. Dewey was the “birthplace” of Johnnie’s company, the J. M. Jones Company, which is now a division of a larger billion-dollar conglomerate, Super Valu Stores, Inc. Lester Hadler, Richard Jones, Galen Horsch, John K. Jones, Craig M. Horsch and Arthur R. Murray have since provided leadership for the bank.
During 2006, the Dewey State Bank will be improving its technology and services provided to its customers by implementing check imaging technology in June 2006 and internet banking services by October 2006 along with the vast array of quality services the Dewey State Bank presently offers its customers.
The Dewey State Bank would not have a history to talk about were it not for the many employees who have served and continue to serve so faithfully during these years. For that we send a big note of thanks. We know that without the dedication of these employees we could not have provided friendly and confidential service to our customers during the past one hundred years. The Dewey State Bank is proud to continue the tradition of serving our customers during the Twentieth Century and will strive to continue the building on that foundation as we continue in the Twenty-First Century. We sincerely appreciate our loyal customers, without whom we would not have the opportunity to grow and we welcome the opportunity to serve any and all potentially new customers.
We are pleased to remain a locally owned, independent community bank. Our commitment is to provide modern day services with “old fashioned” courtesy and concern for our customers. We look with pride at our last one hundred years – they are truly our foundation for the future.
2994 CR 900 E, Dewey, IL 61840
Telephone: (217) 897-1125
Facsimile: (217) 897-6287