The Coventry Bank was organized in Anthony Village in the town of Coventry, Kent County, Rhode Island, in May, 1850. It was started by Christopher A. Whitman, who served as its president until his death, with his son Thomas A. Whitman serving as cashier. The Rhode Island Historical Society notes that,
“Christopher A. Whitman was born May 25, l795, son of Judge Elisha Whitman. According to the Biographical Cyclopedia of Rhode Island, Whitman was very industrious, starting his own business at the age of seventeen.
“He was early in his life involved with the textile industry, but was also officer of the Bank of Kent, Merchants and Weybosset Bank, and the Providence, and Warwick Institutes of Saving. He was elected to the General Assembly for Coventry for several years.”
The bank was organized with a capital of $50,000 (one thousand shares of $50 each). No one allowed to own more than 200 shares at a time. The board of directors was as follows: Christopher A. Whitman, Thomas A. Whitman, Asahel Matteson, Pardon Spencer, Amos Fiske and Isaac B. Aylesworth.
The institution was reorganized as the Coventry National Bank in 1865. The capital was listed as $100,000 at the time. As a member of the national banking system, it was given charter #1161 and issued $334,200 in denominations ranging from $1 to $20, per the National Bank Note Census.
Coventry National was liquidated on April 17, 1885. According to government records, $1,929 of the institution’s national currency was outstanding as of 1910. Only four of these banknotes are listed as surviving to this day.
Upon the death of Christopher Whitman, director Asahel Matteson became president of the bank. From 1869 to 1874, he served in this position and as its cashier from 1874 to 1877, and again president from 1877 to 1885. He was also a director of the Coventry Savings Bank from its organization in 1872 until its close in 1877, and its treasurer from 1874 to 1877.
Edward B. Williams is also listed as the cashier of the bank after the death of Thomas A. Whitman.