The Farmers Bank of Liberty, IL

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The FBL Timeline

A meeting was held on June 23, 1903 on the first floor of the Masonic Hall in Liberty, which still stands today. The topic of discussion: The community's need for a bank. The new bank would commence operations from the very site of that first meeting - the Masonic Hall.

The first directors and officers were elected:

DIRECTORS: M.W. Callahan, Chairman Hez G. Henry Mrs. Mattie F. Henry Frank D. Thomas The Honorable Geo. C. Dean Seldon O. Slade James. F. Hughes

OFFICERS: M.W. Callahan, President Amos J. Linn, Vice President George D. Mercer, Cashier Lydia Schmiedeskamp, Bookkeeper

H.E. Schmiedeskamp was named general counsel

The bank was originally established as The Farmers STATE Bank of Liberty, a name many people mistakenly use today, but on July 5, 1904, the Farmers STATE Bank was technically closed, with the charter being surrendered to the state, and the depositors were PAID OFF IN FULL. However, that same day, the directors and officers established a private bank, a "co-partnership" called The Farmers Bank of Liberty, which resumed operations without any interruptions in service to the community. Records indicate that the bank had $49,356.95 in loans outstanding at this time. The bank's letterhead at the time read "$1.50 will rent a safe deposit box for one year".

Following is a timeline of excerpts from the official minutes of the meetings of the Board of Directors of The Farmers Bank of Liberty, which are still intact in their entirety. We wanted to share some of the highlights with you to show how the bank and its surrounding community have grown together through the past 90 years.

  • 06/23/03 First meeting of stockholders held, Farmers STATE Bank organized. Soon open for business in Masonic Hall in Liberty.

  • 07/05/04 Charter surrendered, The Farmers Bank of Liberty, a co-partnership formed. The word STATE stricken from the bank's name in official By-Laws and other records.

  • 07/01/05 Bank reports a net profit of $189.97.

  • 03/??/13 Board authorized plans for new building to house bank operations, with provisions for community hall above, later called the "Opera House". $800 allocated to purchase the "N.E. corner of the Austin Lot".

  • 07/01/13 $8000 allocated to erect building. Money raised by assessing current "stockholders" for an increase in their investment by the same amount. New partnership agreement drafted.

  • 01/22/14 Authorized purchase of new fixtures at a cost of $447.

  • 12/22/14 Bank Cashier Stephen G. Lawless and a Dr. Lierly employed the L.H. Richardson Co. to survey a direct route from Liberty to Quincy for an "auto interurban". "This would be graded the same as for a rail track, surfaced with concrete, but there would be no rails. Motor cars and coaches would probably have wheels with rubber tires."

  • 07/06/15 A committee of the board was appointed to "investigate an electric light plant" for the village.

  • 07/01/16 The minutes show: "After the inquiry of Mr. Sykes it was made known that the Beverly Bank was under the supervision of The Farmers Bank of Liberty, Ill." At the time, the Beverly Bank was showing resources of $15,022.71. A committee of three was appointed to "arrange and build a building for the Beverly Branch Bank of Liberty" (later still referred to as "The Beverly Bank")

  • 07/03/17 A committee of three was appointed to set up a $10,000 stock subscription for "The State Bank of Beverly", which at the time showed total resources of $28,781.50, compared to Liberty's $284,664.35.

  • 07/02/18 A motion to forego declaring a dividend "because of war" was defeated.

  • 03/23/20 Cashier Steven Lawless shot while clerking an auction in the area, he dies one week later.

  • 07/01/20 Approved motion to arrange for incorporation.

  • 07/06/20 A committee consisting of Hez Henry, Frank Thomas, George Dean, Alvin Hartshorn, and Anna Lawless authorized to secure permission to incorporate for $30,000 and to place the stock. Motion to appraise the property of the "old bank" was approved as was a motion that the name of the "new bank" be The Farmers Bank of Liberty.

  • 07/16/20 Incorporation completed.

  • 09/06/21 Authorized to rent office space to the Liberty Farmers Telephone Company for $100 per year, "including heat and light".

  • 04/04/22 A $5000 loan was approved for the incorporation of Liberty Motor Co., L.B. Hessert.

  • 11/08/22 Two weeks of vacation with pay was approved for each employee.

  • 08/06/23 The cashier was instructed "to place as many of the mortgages in the Farm loan bank as possible".

  • 10/07/24 A $500 "donation" was authorized towards a power line to be built from Payson to Liberty.

  • 11/06/24 Motion passed to close the bank each day from 12:00 noon to 12:45 p.m.

  • 06/02/25 A motion was passed to "buy coal for bank from Beringer Bros. at 25 cents per bushel delivered to the cellar".

  • 08/06/26 A resolution was adopted asking for priority in construction of Route 105 (now Route 104).

  • 11/01/27 The Chief Examiner requested that the bank's employees be bonded.

  • 12/04/28 Bank authorized to sign a three-year membership in the Farm Bureau of Adams County.

  • 05/09/29 Bank authorized to participate in the Adams County Bankers Federation.

  • 10/07/30 The Bank's "Road Committee" sends a letter to "Mr. Cleveland of the State Department, thanking him for the complete construction of Route 105 (now 104) this year."

  • 01/06/31 Representatives from the board sent to a meeting for establishing an "intermediate credit bank" in the county. Meeting was held at Farm Bureau offices.

  • 12/28/32 The minutes reflect that the bank had some farmland under ownership, and they agreed "to sell corn for 18 cents at the crib, or 20 cents delivered".

  • 03/13/33 A telegram was sent to Edward J. Barrett, State Auditor "for application to open our bank at the earliest possible date". It is assumed that the bank, like all others was temporarily closed to prevent a bank "run" at this time of President Roosevelt's declared "Bank Holiday". Application was also being made at this time for membership in the Federal Reserve System.

  • 10/03/33 A motion was made to accept Home Owners Loan Corp. bonds in exchange for mortgages "where possible or requested."

  • 11/07/33 Board requested that application be made "for membership in the Temporary Federal Deposit Insurance Fund in accordance with the provisions of the Banking Act of 1933 (the Glass-Steagal Act) and regulations of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation." Also mentioned at this meeting was a motion to purchase a Diebold Safe for $75 and a time-delayed lock control for the safe at a cost of $90.

  • 12/02/33 The directorship assessed themselves $5000 "to maintain solvency".

  • 02/20/34 Management was asked to "send instructions to our State representatives and senator to use their efforts in defeating Senate Bills 20 and 21, and House Bills 11 and 30".

  • 03/06/34 The Board authorized the exchange of mortgages for Federal Land Bank bonds or Home Owners Loan Corp. Bonds.

  • 09/24/34 Officers agree to take a 5% reduction in salary for the year, providing the net profits of the bank did not exceed $500.

  • 05/28/35 Authorization was received to "assign U.S. Bonds" (sell savings bonds).

  • 06/25/35 The board authorized a stock purchase in the FDIC.

  • 01/07/36 A motion passed to rent the "Dentist's Office" to Dr. Davidson for present rate of $3.00 per month, reserving Mondays for the Dentist.

  • 11/02/37 An itemized list of the expenses of the month totalling $293.25 was read.

  • 12/07/37 A motion was made to pay 1% on time deposits.

  • 10/04/38 A motion on a request to "turn part of the Bee office into a sleeping room" was denied.

  • 11/01/38 The Board authorized the signing of a right-of-way easement for the Rural Electrification Corp.

  • 07/11/39 A motion was made to "carry anticipation warrants on (lend money to) Liberty, Burton, Beverly and Richfield townships during the coming year".

  • 11/07/39 A motion passed "to purchase $1800 par value Liberty School District #204 school bonds 4-1/4% with maturities starting December, 1940 and each December thereafter".

  • 12/12/39 FDIC Examiner C.W. Lee requested the bank charge off the sum of $1999.74 on notes "that he designated".

  • 04/02/40 Moved to purchase $2800 par value of Beverly 4% school bonds.

  • 01/07/41 Salary of Cashier set at $160 per month, Assistant Cashier at $100 per month.

  • 06/03/41 Public Liability insurance first taken out on the bank building.

  • 11/10/42 A used "posting machine" was purchased from the Neat, Condit and Grout National Bank in Winchester, Ill.

  • 06/01/43 The board approved the "war loan account resolution" with the Federal Reserve Bank.

  • 01/03/44 A letter from the Liberty Telephone Exchange was read which thanked the bank for building a sidewalk and entrance at the South side of the bank building.

  • 06/06/44 The "War Loan Account" with the Federal Reserve Bank was increased to $75,000.

  • 01/02/45 The rate on savings accounts was changed to 1/2%, effective February 1st.

  • 10/29/46 After an examination by the FDIC, the examiners met with the board and stated that in their opinion the bank was in excellent condition and no discussion of loans was necessary.

  • 02/08/49 A committee was appointed to "find out about details of Nationalizing the bank", in other words, applying for a federal charter, rather than the state charter currently in effect.

  • 08/06/49 At the annual stockholders meeting, bank attorney Henry Schmiedeskamp gave a short speech on the history of The Farmers Bank of Liberty.

  • 05/02/50 A $10 ad space was purchased in the new plat book being put out by the Rural Youth of Adams County.

  • 06/06/50 Moved "to rent, for the sum of $5.00 for one night or the sum of $9.50 for two nights per week to Picture Show Operator, the Opera House."

  • 10/03/50 Safety precautions for the employees was discussed concerning the possibility of them being locked in the vault. Also, the Lion's Club offered to fix up the chairs in the "Opera House".

  • 11/06/50 500 pamphlets were ordered to explain the increase in FDIC coverage from $5000 to $10,000.

  • 01/02/51 Each employee was to receive $10 for a Christmas bonus.

  • 08/06/52 "The directors of The Farmers Bank of Liberty have decided to put a buzzer in the vault which will ring at the telephone office in case that is needed".

  • 09/07/54 A loan was approved to start up a stockyard in Coatsburg.

  • 08/06/55 Moved to purchase a one-ton air-conditioning unit from Buskirk Hardware.

  • 12/06/55 The U.S. Air Force contacted the bank to request to place a lookout tower on top of the bank building "to watch for planes". Motion was tabled.

  • 05/31/56 A special meeting of the board was held to discuss the purchase of a F211 Bank Sensimatic Posting Machine, Stand Style 91A, costing $3216.59 including tax.

  • 09/04/56 Bank purchased a steer at the Junior Livestock Sale at Mendon to be sold at a profit for the 4-H club.

  • 01/08/57 The rent was set at $50 per month including utilities for William Hartsfield, Liberty Bee.

  • 10/08/58 A motion was made "to install stool and proper fittings and drain for bank's use". (Note: restroom for other building tenants was not installed until after 5/03/60)

  • 08/06/60 The annual stockholders meeting included a dinner at the Legion Hall, hosted by the Legion Auxiliary.

  • 04/03/61 The bank goes "on record as being opposed to branch-banking".

  • 04/02/63 Moved to purchase the "Ora Diehl home behind the bank building" for $2500.

  • 05/04/63 A night depository was "to be investigated further", and TV ads were placed.

  • 09/03/63 Interest payments on certificates were changed from annual to semi-annual.

  • 01/04/66 The board approved the purchase of a night depository at a cost of $1350.

  • 02/07/66 Workers Comp. Insurance was taken out at a cost of $77 FOR THREE YEARS.

  • 04/05/67 Authorized a pledge to the Blessing Hospital Building Fund.

  • 06/18/68 Authorized purchase of a Recordak microfilm camera "with proper equipment".

  • 06/03/69 An interest-free loan was made to the Township to build restrooms in the park.

  • 10/06/70 The board requested to obtain estimates on installation of a burglar-alarm system.

  • 01/05/71 Hours set at Monday-Friday 9-2:30 reopen Fridays 4-6:30

  • 02/17/72 Special stockholders' meeting held. Decision to sell bank stock to Ronald A. Sablick of Olympia Fields, IL.

  • 03/16/72 Bank closes at 11:00 a.m. to mourn the loss of Cashier Raymond Longlett.

  • 05/16/72 New board explores possibilities of moving bank to a new location.

  • 08/02/72 Motion approved to move the banking house from corner of Main and Hannibal Streets to the corner of Main St. and Liberty Road (now Lierle St.).

  • 09/30/72 Total resources of bank now exceed $3,000,000.

  • 10/27/72 Board becomes "more stringent" on overdrafts, with total being less than $100.

  • 11/15/72 Board first approves Bank offering a "Christmas Club Account".

  • 02/12/73 Target date for new building to be open.

  • 07/08/74 It was reported to the board that "operations of the bank had been put into Data Processing, except for Demand Deposits which will be on by the end of 1974".

  • 06/30/76 Controlling interest purchased by Kurt Schaffer.

  • 08/31/76 Board approves sale of former bank building to Mr. & Mrs. Edward Clark.

  • 10/29/76 Bank's fiscal year changed from 6/30 to 12/31.

  • 07/14/77 First discussions held on bank being open on Saturday mornings.

  • 01/12/78 The minutes reflect that "the Farmers Bank of Liberty is the only fully-computerized bank in the entire area" and monies were allocated for the purchase of a new "proof machine" and teller machines. Also, the Garden Club donated a flag and pole to the bank.

  • 03/08/79 Plans are reviewed for bank building expansion. A conference room, lunch room and one office would be added.

  • 05/30/80 "A masked man entered bank with a drawn gun" and robbed it. John Larry Ray arrested shortly thereafter, and much of the money is recovered.

  • 11/13/80 The board authorizes the addition of Negotiable Order of Withdrawal (NOW) Accounts to the line-up of quality services available.

  • 05/14/81 A discussion was held to consider going "in-house" with the bank's computing needs.

  • 07/09/81 Bank purchases computer system for $43,000 which is to be operational by October 1st.

  • 10/08/81 A resolution is drafted endorsing the completion of the Central Illinois Expressway (CIE).

  • 05/03/84 Control of bank turned over to Robert Field. Field named President and Vice-Chairman.

  • 05/19/85 Mark Field joins his father on staff as Loan Officer.

  • 05/19/85 First personal computer put into service, being used for word processing and spreadsheets.

  • 08/08/85 Board authorizes investment in common stock of the Independent Bankers Bank of Illinois in Springfield.

  • 03/13/86 Reported to board that the computer system had been expanded to include the "proofing" function, and management disposed of the proof machine.

  • 7/14/88 Motion accepted to construct storage facility on bank property.

  • 04/12/90 Board authorized construction of new roof for building.

  • 09/04/90 A FAX machine is installed for facsimile transmissions over the phone lines.

  • 1991 New sign constructed using bell that reportedly came from the "Prairie School" schoolhouse near the airport.

  • 01/21/92 Bank installs computer-based connection with the Federal Reserve Bank to process automated clearing house (ACH) items electronically.

  • 02/16/93 Computer link established to receive all "in-clearings" (checks submitted by the Federal Reserve for payment) electronically.

  • 06/23/93 Bank hosts community picnic to thank area folks for making the first 90 years in business a success!

1993-1998 Much innovation and GROWTH takes place! (This history will be expanded soon!)

As you can see, the bank has touched on many different aspects of community life over the years, to help make Liberty and other nearby communities develop. Many folks have counted on The Farmers Bank of Liberty to help their families with financial needs for generations, and the bank now has customers scattered all over the country, from Florida to Arizona, from Michigan to Texas, as the level of service provided here at home cannot be matched elsewhere. But these fine people do not still bank in Liberty because of the brick and mortar located here. It is the PEOPLE IN THE BANK that are the drawing card. They are the ones that are mostly responsible for the success the bank has enjoyed over the years. Who were they, and who are they today? We will now attempt to provide a listing of all those who have worked in the bank over the years, as best we could, given the information in the official minutes of meetings and in payroll records that are still intact.