By Frank Clark
The beginnings of Farmersville stretches back to 1845 when John Yeary and his family moved a few miles west from Hunt County into Collin County. This established the small community of Sugar Hill. In 1854, most of the inhabitants of Sugar Hill moved a few miles southwest to the hamlet of Whitehall. Shortly thereafter, Whitehall was renamed Farmersville in recognition of the occupation of most of its citizens. Farmersville became a trade center for the surrounding farms and smaller communities as it was located on the main road from Jefferson to McKinney. Later on Farmersville was at the junction of two railroads that help cement the town as a shipping point for cotton and cattle.
W.S. Aston, Jim Aston, Sam Hamilton, K.M. Moore and E.H. Pendleton established The Exchange Bank in 1885. It was a private bank that started with $12,000 that was borrowed from a McKinney bank. The bank was in the rear of the Aston Brothers store and the president was Jim Aston.
A need for a national bank in town was on the horizon, so a group of investors led by Dr. A.H. Neathery raised the $50,000 needed for capital plus a $5000 surplus. National bank charter number 3624 was issued on January 17, 1887. The bank opened its doors on March 12, 1887 with Dr. Neathery as president, Francis Emerson as vice president and L.E. Bumpass as cashier. Mr. Emerson was a founder and an officer of the nearby First National Bank of McKinney, charter number 2729. Soon thereafter, the directors of The Exchange Bank voted to merge their institution into the new national bank.
Dr. Neathery retired as bank president and member of the board in 1916 due to failing health. The second president was W.S. Aston, a founder of the old private bank in town. He would retire in 1921 and be succeeded by J.E. Pendleton. Mr. Pendleton would serve as president until 1932, when Colonel M.E. Singleton took over until his death in 1938.
In the meantime, the bank would go through several changes. On August 6, 1930, the First National went into receivership. The bank would come back as charter number 13277 as the First National Bank in Farmersville. The bank absorbed the other national bank in town, the Farmersville National Bank charter number 13048, which was the reincarnation of charter number 6011, the Farmers and Merchants National Bank. The F&M had passed from the banking scene on April 12, 1927. The First National would also absorb the First National Bank of Nevada, Texas on February 20, 1934. This version of the First National Bank would be liquidated on January 28, 1935 and come back for a third time as charter number 14212. On September 19, 1986 the bank converted to a state bank charter and changed its name to the First Bank at Farmersville. On July 3, 1989 it became a member of the First Bank holding company.
The First National Bank only issued notes under the 3624 charter number. The bank issued $10 and $20 denominations for the following types, Series 1882 Brown Backs and Series 1902 Red Seals, Date Backs and Plain Backs.
Trompe l’oeil is French for “deceive the eye.” This phrase has its origins from the Baroque Period, approximately 1600 – 1700, when it refered to perspectival illusionism. However, earlier examples from Greek and Roman times are known. This style of painting was and is still used today for murals. Also, this style can be used to feature realistically rendered paintings of every day items that are left accidentally lying around. This is where the inclusion of that most ubiquitous of items steps into the picture, paper money. Starting In the latter half of the Nineteenth Century, several artists in America and Europe embraced the painting of paper money within their trompe l’oeil works. This has continued on to today as it certainly catches the eye of viewer, who then begins to ponder on the subject matter.
One of the first established trompe l’oeil painters was William Michael Harnett (1848-1892) of Philadelphia. In 1877, he painted a work entitled “Five Dollar Bill.” This painting brought him to the attention of the Secret Service as the “Five Dollar Bill” was so realistic.
Luckily, the Secret Service of today is not so stringent on their counterfeiting interpretations. This allows art mavens to bid on two lots in our upcoming May 15, 2012 Signature American & European Art auction.The first lot is number 64472 and is a painting by Nicholas Alden Brooks (American 1840-1904) and entitled “Two Dollar Bill.” It shows a Series 1886 $2 Silver Certificate with the portrait of Union Civil War General Winfield Scott Hancock. The second lot is number 64474. It is a painting by Robert Kulicke (American 1924-2007) and its title is “One Dollar Bill.” It shows the back of a $1 Silver Certificate that was in circulation from the late 1930s up until the early 1960s.
We are pleased to offer both these paintings to our art and paper money collectors.