Contributed by Mr. Smith
It was chartered and organized Jan. 11, 1873, by the removal of the old Chelsea Bank to this place, effected through the influence of Hon. B. W. Bartholomew, of Washington, Vt., and Dr. Braley, of barre. Dr. N. W. Braley was chosen President of the first board of directors, and William G. Austin, Cashier. Mr. Austin died of typhoid fever in the autumn of the same year, and was succeeded by Chas. A. King till 1877.
On the night of the 5th of July, 1875, an attempt was made to burglarize the bank by compelling the Cashier to disclose the combination of the locks, which was foiled by a chronometer lock that had been placed upon the safe only a few days previous.
By the prompt and courageous action of Mr. King, who was, on the departure of the robbers left with his family, bound in his house, nearly half a mile from the village, but who soon slipped his bonds, and alarmed the officers of the bank. A pursuit was instituted, which resulted in the capture of one of the burglars near Rumney, N. H., the next day, and subsequently two others of the gang were arrested in New York city. One was delivered up to serve out an unexpired term at Sing Sing; one, Geo. Miles with numerous aliases, was brought to Montpelier, tried and sentenced to 15 years in the State Prison. The one first arrested, called Peter Curley, turned state’s evidence, and was discharged.
Mr. King resigned his position as cashier June 11, 1877, and was succeeded by E. D. Blackwell, who resigned Feb. 26, 1881, to become cashier of the National Bank of Montpelier, F. L. Eaton being chosen to succeed him.
There have been chosen 11 directors of the bank since its organization, of whom only two have died in office: Hon. Luther M. Martin, of Williamstown, died in 1874, and Dr. Braley in 1880. The capital stock of the bank was at its organization $200,000, but by a vote of the stockholders in 1880, it was reduced to $100,000. The board of directors chosen at the annual meeting in 1881, were L. F. Aldrich, Josiah Wood, Willard S. Martin, B. W. Braley and J. M. Perry. These elected L. F. Aldrich, president, B. W. Braley, vice president, F. L. Eaton, cashier.
See also: Biographical sketch of Norman W. Braley, M. D.