In 1914, in a tribute to Tom Yates, Gov. A.M. Dockery told how Yates brought him to Galatin in 1874. In that tribute, Dockery wrote the following record of how they got together to start the Farmers Exchange Bank in Gallatin:
“I first made his (Mr. Yates) acquaintance as a senior member of the drug frim of Yates & Dillon in Chillicothe and as a director of the Chillicothe Savings Association… our relations during the six years of our residence and association at Chillicothe were as they have always been (during the past 46 years) — very close along busienss, social and farternal and other lines of activity.
“In January, 1874, I had practically completed arrangements to remove to Milan and engage in the banking business at that place… Hearing of this contemplated removal, Mr. Yates induced me to abandon it and aid him in the organization of a bank at Gallatin.
“As a result of this understanding, on March 4, 1874, we bought the banking business of (Mr. G.) Amstrong and (Mr.) Thompson and on the 20th of that same month organized the Farmers Exchange Bank with Mr. Yates as president and myself as cashier.”
The Farmers Exchange Bank was opened for business on March 20, 1874, with subscribed stock of $50,000. THomas Booten Yates was elected president, Gabriel Feurt, Judge of the county court, was vice president; and Dr. Dockery was cashier and secretary. Others on the first board of directors were Capt. John Ballinger (postmaster), B.F. Dillin, Moses Brown, B.G. Kimball, Capt. N.B. Brown, A.L. Buzzard, J.P. Drummond, A.W. Gay, W.M. Brostaph (drugist), and D.H. Davis (drugist).
In 1881, the bank was the only bank in Gallatin and had paid in capital and retained profits of $14,000. Deposits increased from under $40,000 to nearly $200,000 (roughly $5 million in today’s economy). New directors included Hadley Brown, Jacob Poage, William Ray, R.M. Barnett, R. Downing and the governor’s grandfather, Alexander Dockery Sr.
In about 1888 the bank moved into a new building that it rented across Jackson Street to the south. The old office became the Stephens Farm Loan Company, with Tom Yates as president.
In 1892 Yates moved to organize the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Jamesport (later known as the Commercial Bank). He operated it for about 10 years. Yates continued to run the Stephens Company and kept his residence in Gallatin. Milton Ewing and John Meade took over the Farmers Exchange Bank that year. The original subscribed stock was not reported as all paid in until 1899 when John Meade became president.
In 1910 the Exchange Bank’s deposits were down to $134,000. A new building was constructed across the intersection northwest and was home fo the bank in 1913. The bank owned its first home. THis building became the Bank of Galatin in 1927 and the post office was also resident there from about 1918 to 1942.
When the Farmers Exchange Bank closed in March, 1926, it had $540,000 in deposits, capital and surplus of $110,000 and $800,000 in loans outstanding. The Jameson banks closed the next week with deposits of $120,000. The Bank of Jameson was largely owned by stockholders of the Farmers Exchange Bank of Gallatin, which lasted 52 years.
FARMERS EXCHANGE BANK OFFICERS:
1874 — T.B. Yates, president; A.M. Dockery, cashier
1892 — Milton Ewing, president; J.W. Meade, cashier (since 1886)
1899 — J.W. Meade, president; E.D. Mann, cashier
1910 — J.W. Meade, president; Homer Feurt, cashier
1915 — Homer Feurt, president (to 1926); cashier (unreported)
Research by David Stark