Saturday, April 24, 2010

A new, handsome young Banker!

This is getting a bit ahead in the story, for Meeker began to amass his wealth well before having a hand in the establishment of The Philadelphia National Bank (more on that later). But I would like to focus on this part of his career, because banking (now so much in the news where "Wall St" is divided from "Main Street") is ..... such a vastly different beast now compared to banking in those days, in the young America.....
Meeker was among the first directors, I imagine this group of lesser known young men formed as they had money to lend, and new lines of credit were very much in demand. At this time there were only three banks in Philadelphia, and these three banks, run primarily by old established families, dominated Philadelphia's commerce. The new America was flourishing, capital was available and the Lousiana Purchase had opened up vast new opportunities. The entrenched barriers errected by the old Philadelphia aristocracy were about to be torn down...
The year is 1803. The year that Stuart painted Samuel Meeker. Boom times!
“There were other directors who served on the Bank’s first boards whose services were also vital. Matthew Lawler...was a former privateersman of Revolutionary experience, and, as previously noted, was mayor of Philadelphia in 1803. A leader in the Bank’s fight for a charter was Israel Israel, sheriff of Philadelphia. Another who assisted in that task and who remained for some years a most active member was Samuel Meeker, a leading merchant and owner of a renowned country estate called Fountain Green.” p 18
The Philadelphia Bank
a print published in 1828 by William Birch

"The banking room, handsomely divided into various compartments, was twenty feet high, its ceiling embellished with moldings and tracery, 'ornaments of the 14th century.' Above the door to the money vault was carved the head of a dog (emblem of fidelity) in the act of guarding a pile of dollars, upon which the head rested. Four great windows with pointed arches rich with tracery lighted the room. " p 24

excerpts from The Philadelphia National Bank 1803-1953;
by Nicholas B. Wainright
Wm, F. Fell Co. Printers Philadelphia 1953


Maureen said...

I think you are already writing a book, this blog is coming together like one.

emikk said...

Yeah, we need to see a published book!

Rouchswalwe said...

Hear! Hear!

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