An act to incorporate The Peoples Bank of Chestertown, Maryland, was enacted by the General Assembly of Maryland on April 13, 1910, and was signed by Austin L. Crothers, Governor of Maryland, who was from neighboring Cecil County.
The original incorporators were William M. Slay, eminent attorney who served as State's Attorney and later Senator for Kent County; Dr. H. Benge Simmons,(pictured) prominent physician of Chestertown; and L. Bates Russell, well-known businessman and newspaper publisher of Chestertown.
The capital stock of the new bank consisted of 1,000 shares of a par value of $25.00 each. Subscriptions to the entire amount of stock was obtained shortly from 123 persons throughout the area, and it was significant that no one person held more than 20 shares of stock. These original subscribers represented a general cross-section of men and women in the area and many of the families of the original stockholders are still represented among the present day stockholders of the bank.
The first meeting of the stockholders was held July 18, 1910. By-laws were adopted at a meeting held the following week. The first meetings were held in the law office of William M. Slay, Esq. on Court Street. The first officers of the bank were as follows:
Arrangements were then made for the lease of banking quarters and the purchase of banking equipment. A lease was entered into for occupancy of the Eliason Store Room at 233 High Street, Chestertown (now occupied by The White Swan Inn), at a rental of $30.00 per month, and banking house equipment consisting of a safe and other fixtures was purchased at a cost of $420.00 plus a time lock costing $150.00. The first adding machine was purchased from Burroughs in 1910, the same company that supplied our teller machines for our Washington Avenue office nearly 70 years later.
On September 7, 1910 a bookkeeper and general office assistant was hired at a salary of $8.00 per week, it being understood that he was also to perform duties of janitor temporarily. Advertising was obtained in two local newspapers at a rate of $25.00 per annum, telephone service was arranged at $24.00 per year, and a typewriting machine was acquired.
In spite of early adversities, the bank grew and progressed. Branches were opened at Rock Hall and at Betterton in 1911. We have continued the opening of new branches with our Washington Avenue office in April, 1979, Galena office in July, 1987, and our Millington office in March 1998. A major renovation project to the Main office on Spring and High Streets was completed in 1999, doubling the size of the current structure. With groundbreaking for our Church Hill office in Queen Annes County in August 2006, Peoples Bank was able to offer friendly community banking throughout the Kent, Queen Annes, and Cecil county area. In 2008, our Sudlersville office was opened.
We are celebrating 100 years of "Peoples" serving People in 2010.
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