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Bulloch History with Roger Allen - First Boro bank opens in 1891
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Roger Allen

    Note: The following is the sixth in a series of columns on the origin of currency in the American colonies and Georgia.
    The first bank to open in Bulloch County, the Bank of Statesboro, was chartered in 1891 but didn't actually open until 1894. The president was J.L. Coleman, vice president W.C. Parker, and head cashier S.C. Groover.
    The Bank of Statesboro set up shop inside the Simmons Building and then moved to the Sorrier & Brannen Building. It closed in 1932. The second bank to open was the Sea Island Bank in 1901.
    It set up shop in the J.A. Brannen Building on the corner of Main and Main. Its officers were John F. and James A. Brannen, Franklin D. and Solomon F. Olliff, William Preetorius, Madison Holland and Robert Donaldson.
    The Sea Island Bank absorbed the defunct privately owned Bank of Bulloch in 1917, then closed its doors in 1931 due to financial troubles. In order to reopen, the bank promised to return 20 percent of each customer's original investments.
    The bank finally opened back up in 1933, after a delay due to the suspension of banking activities in the U.S. by President Franklin Roosevelt. At this time, the bank moved to the Kennedy & Cone Building. After a while, it moved again, this time to the Statesboro Mercantile Association building.
    The third bank to open in Bulloch County was the First National Bank of Statesboro. At first, it was located in the Simmons Building. Once the old Sea Island Bank building was available, the First National relocated there. Its president was Brooks Simmons, vice president Edwin Groover, and head cashier J.E. McCroan.
    The Bank of Statesboro absorbed the First National Bank and then closed it in 1932. The fourth bank, the Bulloch County Bank, opened its doors in April 1934. It, in turn, took over the now defunct Bank of Statesboro.
    It promised that each of the Bank of Statesboro's customers would get 50 percent of their deposits back. The Bulloch County Bank's president was S.W. Lewis, and the vice presidents were R.J. Kennedy and J.L. Mathews. The liquidation agent of the Bank of Statesboro, W.L. DeJarnette, became the head cashier of the Bulloch County Bank.
    The U.S. Congress established the First Federal Savings and Loan Association in 1933, and the local branch of the association opened in Bulloch County in 1936. Its assistant secretary, Jessie Averitt, at first managed the banks' books from the family business, Averitt Brothers Auto Company.
    The bank first opened at the In and Out Gas Station on Main Street. After several years, it moved into the old Bank of Statesboro building.
    The chairman of First Federal was S.W. Lewis, president Homer Smith, and vice president James B. Averitt. Its first savings customer was young Jerry Coleman, who received a $25 check that he promptly deposited.
    Roger Allen is a local lover of history. He provides a brief look at the area's historical past. Email Roger at

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