United States Branch Bank

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Reuben B. Heacock House

Charles Townsend

The incorporation of the Hydraulic Association took place in 1827. Its officers were John G. Camp, Reuben D. Heacock, Frederick B. Merrill and several associates. The capital of the company was $25,000.

In October of that year the company had partially completed and opened a canal from a branch of Big Buffalo Creek and Little Buffalo Creek, it being thought that important manufacturing establishments would operate there. A saw and grist mill, a woolen factory, a hat body factory, a last factory, and a brewery located in that vicinity, and so rapidly did the city spread in that direction that the filling up of the canal became a public necessity.

To met this sudden rise in prosperity, the brainiest businessmen of that period at once saw the need of further banking facilities. The establishment of a branch of the United States Bank had already been discussed at a meeting held December 16, 1826, and the following board of directors appointed: William B. Rochester, Charles Townsend, R. B. Heacock, Joseph Stocking, Albert H. Tracy, Sheldon Thompson, David Burt, Augustus Porter, David E. Evans, William Peacock, James Wadsworth and Lyman A. Spalding.

(In 1846, the Buffalo Savings Bank opened for business in a small room in a building at the corner of Main and Erie Streets. The bank ad 164 depositors with an amount of $25,000. Charles Townsend serves as the bank's first president.)

The institution, however, did not begin business at that time, and the lack of means of effecting exchanges was severely felt. Though business was greatly hampered by the scarcity of circulating currency, the village continued to prosper whilst others in the East were on the retrograde march. Village lots and village property had gradually risen. Merchants were paying their debts, and farmers were coming in with cash. The corporation had built ample side and cross walks; Main Street had been graduated and the pure water of the Cold Spring flowed into every house on Main Street.

Notwithstanding these evidences of prosperity, even as late as the 29th of August, 1829, the Buffalo Republican editorially lamented the fact that, though the population of Buffalo was about 7,000, they were without a bank.

Two months later, on October 26, 1829, the first meeting of the bank directors was held, and John R. Carpenter was appointed cashier, Joseph Salter a teller, and Charles Taintor a clerk. Heman B. Potter was afterward added to the board of directors. This bank began business on the northeast corner of South Division and Main streets and was called the United States Branch Bank.

Page by Chuck LaChiusa
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