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Three Banks Here in Sixth Year After Settlement

Three Banks Here in Sixth Year After Settlement

Submitted by: Bob Chada

© Guthrie Register-News, Sunday, April 17, 1955

Three Banks Here in Sixth Year After Settlement
Pioneers settling in Guthrie sixty-six years ago felt the need of stable banking institutions and within the next six years saw three establishments founded in the city.
The first bank in Oklahoma territory was organized by J. W. McNeal a few months after the opening, operating under the name of the Guthrie National Bank.
McNeal was president of the institution with A. J. Seay, later territorial governor, vice-president, W. J. Horsefall, cashier and C. R. Havighorst, assistant cashier.
Prior to the opening of Oklahoma in 1889, McNeal was at the head of Citizens National bank of Medicine Lodge, Kans. In 1888 he sold his interests and in the following year moved to Guthrie to organize the territory's first banking establishment.

Second Bank Started

In 1892 the second bank was organized in Guthrie and in 1896 George E. Billingsley, of Greenville, Miss., became the president. It was known as the Capitol National bank and was established on the northeast corner of Oklahoma-av and Second-st.
Billingsley, for many years had been the American manager of an English cotton firm. When the company sold out to a cotton organization in the United States, Billingsley became the manager of the outfit's interests in Mississippi.
He was associated with the cotton firm for more than 15 years, resigning later to organize a bank in Rome, Ga. After working as an official of a water power company in 1896 to assume the presidency of the Guthrie institution after buying a controlling interest.

Dolcater Was Named

Following his death in 1899, his son, Charles Billingsley, took over the office, being promoted from the position of cashier.
Fred C. Dotcater, an Illinois man who had been attracted to the new territory, succeeded Charles Billingsley as cashier. Dolcater had worked in Texas for several years before coming to Oklahoma. Before becoming associated with the Capitol National bank he had held various responsible positions in the city.
In 1894 U. S. Guss, a Nebraska banker, established the third bank in Guthrie under the name of the Bank of Indian Territory. Officers in addition to Guss were Major L. N. F. Crozler, vice-presidnet, and Harry W. Painter, Cashier.
Directors were Henry E. Asp, attorney and solicitor for the Santa Fe Railroad, John Cattle, Jr., of Seward, Nebr., Crozier, Guss and Painter.

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