Heritage, Volume 02, Number 04, Fall 1985

The old Norton building located at 115 East Main
Street was purchased by the new State Bank
corporation and was thoroughly overhauled and
improved with a fine glass front, a new vault and a
burglarproof safe in the summer of 1905.
The bank has had only two locations. The original
building at 115 East Main Street was renovated for
the new bank at the time the bank opened in
August 1905. It was again remodeled in 1935,
1953, and 1965. In 1978 the bank moved to its
present location of 200 West Vulcan Street.
Photo courtesy of the Washington County State Bank.
WASHINGTON COUNTY STATE BANK:
"The Oldest State Bank In Texas"

by LaNell Arndt
Seventy-eight years of sound business
practices and dedication to Brenham,
Washington County and the surrounding
community span the history of Washington
County State Bank since its beginning.
Operating under Charter Number 5,
dated August 14, 1905, this bank actually
may be considered State Bank Number 1
since its four predecessors as state banks
have become national banks, discontinued
the banking business or merged
with other institutions, thus leaving the
Washington County State Bank as the
oldest state bank now operating in Texas.
The charter as displayed in the bank's
lobby is dated July 1927, as the documents
were not actually issued until that
time.
It was chiefly through the efforts of Mr.
James S. Giddings that stock was subscribed
and success in organizing the
bank was assured. He was the principal
booster among the group of citizens who
saw the need for additional bank facilities
in Brenham and who worked unceasingly
on the various preliminaries. The late
Miss Louise Giddings (died at age 96 in
July 1985), who is the daughter of James
18

S. Giddings and who recalled how diligently
her father worked to start the bank,
said, "My father drove through the countryside
selling fruit trees to raise money
to get the bank started."
Written history of the creation of the bank
is in the form of a letter by Giddings, who
along with Mr. H. K. Harrison worked at
First National Bank for 15 years, but a
change of ownership ended their association
with it in February 1905.
Giddings served as secretary for the first
stockholders meeting held at the office of
Mr. T. B. Botts, June 7, 1905, for the purpose
of appointing a committee to take
charge of repairs and improvements on
the building that would house the new
bank. Harrison, who became the first
president of the new bank, A. D. Milroy
and Alex Simon, Sr. were named as members
of the committee.
Another stockholders meeting was held
June 27, 1905 for the purpose of electing
a board of directors to hold office until the
regular election in January of 1906.
The new directors then met and organized.
The following officers were chosen
for the newly organized Washington

County State Bank: H. K. Harrison,
President; James S. Giddings, Cashier;
Alex Simon, Sr. and A. D. Milroy, Vice
Presidents. All were successful businessmen
and the new president had considerable
experience as a former cashier
of First National Bank of Brenham.
Attorney Cal Botts wrote up the necessary
papers. The money from the sale
of stock was placed in the two other
Brenham banks in equal amounts.
The day fixed for the legislature for filing
the charter was the 13th of August 1905,
which was a Sunday. Botts was in Austin
early Monday morning waiting at the
door of the Texas Banking Department.
As soon as it opened, he rushed in and
placed the application on the table.
"We were number 5 in placing applications,"
Giddings said. "A bank in Houston
was number 1 and there were three
other banks that worked under former
charters. These banks have gone out since
then, making us the oldest State Bank in
Texas," Giddings added.
"We named our new enterprise Washington
County State Bank," Giddings wrote.
HERITAGE * Fall 1985

Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 02, Number 04, Fall 1985. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45445/. Accessed October 1, 2014.