Merchants Bank Building
The Merchants and Mechanics Bank was established as a branch of a bank in Wheeling in 1860, and was originally housed in a storefront of the Despard Block. In 1894, the Merchants Bank Building was constructed and housed three storerooms, all of which are still in their original state today. In 1961, Merchant Bank’s assets were purchased by Union Bank, and the building was then purchased by its present namesake, Community Savings and Loans.
Backstory and Context
J.G. Jackson of Clarksburg, then Virginia, was the attorney for the Muskingum Bank in Zanesville, Ohio in 1814, and also owned stock in the Bank of Marietta in Marietta, Ohio. Jackson was aware that a charter to establish a bank in Clarksburg would be in the files of the assembly in Richmond due to the salt works in the area. The Virginia Saline Bank was established by Benjamin Wilson Jr. and John Webster in a stone building on the south side of West Main Street between Water and Second Streets in Clarksburg in 1812. Jackson joined Wilson and Webster to promote his investment in salt works in Clarksburg, and to strengthen a bank that was 300 miles away from the state capital. The Virginia Saline Bank served as a wildcat bank, a bank that was chartered by state law without any federal oversight, for a few years, and was eventually sued by the United States because the bank had no funds.
When a bank in Wheeling received a charter from the Virginia Assembly, a branch was established Clarksburg in 1860 under the name of Merchants and Mechanics Bank. Nathan Goff served as the Merchants and Mechanics Bank with Luther Haymond as the cashier. When Clarksburg was threatened with invasion by the Confederate Army, Luther himself carried assets and records of the bank to Grafton for safe-keeping.
Merchants Bank has existed on the same block in Clarksburg since its establishment in 1860; the first location of Merchants Bank was in a storeroom in the Despard Block. The Merchants Bank Building was established in 1894 on the corner of the Despard Block, at the corners of West Main and Third Streets. The Union Bank purchased the assets belonging to Merchants Bank in 1961, and the building was sold to Community Savings and Loan.
NRHP Nomination Form. Accessed February 01, 2017. http://www.wvculture.org/shpo/nr/pdf/harrison/82004794.pdf.
Community Bank & Trust, Clarksburg, WV. Accessed February 01, 2017. http://www.thinkalphafirst.com/artwork.php?art_id=8.