An interior view of the Calvin B. Taylor Banking Company in 1915. Pictured are (L-R), John E. Smith, assistant cashier; Calvin B. Taylor, president; Raymond Boston, clerk; Lillian Bowen, stenographer; and William L. Holloway, cashier.
Despite the depressed agricultural economy, Taylor Bank continued to grow by providing capital to those involved in farming. In 1896, crop prices slowly began to rise and mark the beginning of good times for farmers that would last into the 1920s.
Shortly after, Mr. Taylor and his wife purchased land which housed a hardware store valued at $1,500 on the corner of Main Street and Commerce Street. The building burned in 1901, but in 1902, the Taylors built the bank building that houses the main offices today at 24 Main St. in Berlin and set the stage for 90 years of tremendous growth.
It is uncertain what led Mr. Taylor to incorporate his bank.
Private banks, which chiefly provided facilities for the growing merchant class, started to decline at the turn of the century because new state banking laws required less capital and made it easier for leading citizens to start a State Chartered Bank. Also, these types of banks received more latitude in lending, especially for real estate loans.
Then, in 1907, the financial market experienced a severe panic caused by the minimal amount of cash on hand in banks and the hoarding of money.
Those factors may have played a part in Mr. Taylor's decision on Dec. 18, 1907, to incorporate the Calvin B. Taylor Banking Company as a state chartered bank. The corporation was founded with $50,000 in capital, as 500 shares of stock each valued at $100 par. Calvin B. Taylor owned 51 percent of the stock and the new corporation paid $3,000 for the land and bank building.
Upon incorporation, the first officers and board of directors were elected. They were:
- President -- Calvin B. Taylor
- Vice-President -- William L. Holloway (Cashier)
- Asst. Cashier -- John E. Smith
- Directors -- Calvin B. Taylor, John W. Pitts, Jehu D. Quillin, William R. Purnell, Ernest E. Burbage Sr., William E. Thomas, David J. Adkins, Reese C. Peters, Harry R. Ayres, William N. Burbage, Christopher Ludlam, William E. Boston
The first mortgages believed to be held by the new corporation were those of Joseph Schaefer, Sarah L. Bunting, and Rosalie T. Shreve in 1908. From 1908-1911, six more mortgages were held for Thomas E. Cross, Chester M. Gray, John W. Mumford, Guy R. Ayres, Samuel M. Quillin Sr., and Sylvester T. Truitt.
The new banking corporation began to grow and prosper by showing utmost loyalty to the community it served.
Many of the families involved in the new corpoation are still represented in the bank by third generation descendants. Local businessman J.D. Quillin III recalled that his grandfather Jehu was so conscientious about being fair relative to business loyalties, that if he stopped to buy a Coca-Cola at one soda fountain on Main Street, he would insist on going across the street to have another at that store's competitor.
The Panic of 1907 had been caused by banks not having enough cash on hand to meet customer demands during a sudden rush to withdraw their money, but bank's assets in the form of investments were more than enough to cover the demands.
Thus, under the presidency of Woodrow Wilson in 1913, the government created the Federal Reserve System to allow government money to be used in such circumstances. Although approved easily in Congress, many warned it would cause future inflation as it lowered cash reserve requirements to release cash for loans.
By December of 1915, the resources of Calvin B. Taylor Banking Company had grown to $261,734.74.