A recent post (1/7/08) provided some details concerning the incorporation and financial operations of the Walnut Hill Bank. It also left unaddressed two questions concerning that institution:
(1) Where was the Walnut Hill Bank? I can’t say with 100% certainty, but I found some clues in the deed records of the Lafayette County Circuit Clerk. I can find only one parcel of land owned by the Walnut Hill Bank, and would speculate that was the location of the Bank. It is a very small tract, only about one-fifth of an acre (50 ft. x 165 ft.). When plotted on contemporary plats of the Walnut Hill area, that tract is located on the east side of the old Washington-to-Shreveport road, just north of where the road to the Walnut Hill Cemetery diverges off to the northwest. That tract was deeded to the Walnut Hill Bank by J. B. Herndon and Lola Herndon, his wife, on June 6, 1908 (Deed Record O-3, page 273). The consideration for the transfer of this small tract was $563.54, indicating that there was probably a building already located on the tract. J. B. Herndon was one of the incorporators of the Walnut Hill Bank, its first president, and it was in his office that the initial meeting of the incorporators was held on December 11, 1907.
(2) What became of the Walnut Hill Bank? Again, public records provide some clues.
In Deed Record W-3, at page 530, there is an interesting document, copied here verbatim:
“RESOLUTION TO DISSOLVE
At a meeting of stockholders owning a majority of the Capital Stock of Walnut Hill Bank, a corporation organized under the laws of Arkansas and having its place of business at Walnut Hill, Arkansas, held at Walnut Hill, Arkansas on March 27th 1913, the following resolution was adopted :-
‘Resolved, That, Whereas, the Walnut Hill Bank has disposed of its banking business, building and fixtures, and discharged all of its obligations in full, we hereby surrender its coporate charter and declare the said corporation dissolved.’
We, the aforesaid stockholders, hereto attach our signatures this 27th day of March, 1913.
J. F. McKnight, Pres.
J. B. Herndon
T. H. Dismukes
R. H. Duty”
The resolution recites that the Walnut Hill Bank “…has disposed of its banking business, building and fixtures….” About five months earlier, on October 5, 1912, the Walnut Hill Bank had sold its small one-fifth acre tract of land for the sum of $500.00. The buyer? None other than the “Bank of Bradley, Arkansas.” (Deed Record W-3, page 244)
I’ve heard on many occasions that the Walnut Hill Bank “became” the Bank of Bradley. The actual documents by which this metamorphosis took place are no doubt private, if they even still exist. This 1912 deed is probably the best evidence available in public records of the eventual fate of the Walnut Hill Bank.
For some historical perspective, the time between the deed to the Bank of Bradley and the resolution of dissolution would have seen the presidential election of November, 1912, a landmark three-way race between incumbent President William Howard Taft, former President Theodore Roosevelt, and New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson. Wilson was inaugurated as president on March 4, 1913, 23 days before the Walnut Hill Bank voted to dissolve.