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Manufacturers Bank, North Providence

The Manufacturers Bank was the first bank established in Pawtucket. It was created to service the village’s growing cotton manufacturing business and was closely associated with Samuel Slater, who would later serve as the enterprise’s second president. The bank was chartered some twenty years after Slater and Moses Brown helped launch America’s Industrial Revolution by opening a factory on the Blackstone River Falls there. Initially, Pawtucket was a village in North Providence. In 1862, it was incorporated as its own city and in 1874, a large section of North Providence was annexed into Pawtucket.

As noted in 1891:

“The Manufacturers’ Bank was incorporated in October, 1813. Its stock capital is $500,000. It was first located at Pawtucket, and removed to Providence in 1831. Up to about 1847, it was located at 55 North Main street. At that time it was removed to 24 Westminster, and in 1866 to 26 Westminster, the latter being its location to the present time. Presidents of this bank have been: Oziel Wilkinson, Samuel Slater, William Jenkins, to 1847; Thomas Harkness, 1847 to 1858; William A. Robinson, 1858 to 1873; Thomas Harkness, 1873 to the present time. Its successive cashiers have been: Joseph Wheelock, Pardon Sayles, H. G. Usher, Daniel F. Carpenter, William S. Patten, more than 40 years previous to 1874; Gilbert A. Phillips, 1874 to the present time.

“The prosperity of this bank is evidenced by its growing surplus, which, during the last ten years, has increased from $209,000 in 1879 to $240,000 in 1889. The bank adopted the national character in 1865. Its directors at the present time are: Caleb Seagrave, Thomas Harkness, Jeffrey Hazard, George W. Congdon, Elisha S. Aldrich, Gilbert A. Phillips, Newton D. Arnold and Charles Matteson.” — Richard M. Bayles, ed. History of Providence County, Rhode Island, Volume I. New York: W. W. Preston, 1891.

One of the bank’s presidents, William A. Robinson, had previously been head of the Wakefield Bank of South Kingstown.

It appears that the Manufacturers National Bank was granted a state charter to form a trust company in 1898, but did not exercise that option until January 1, 1900. At the time, the bank’s president, Gilbert A. Phillips, oversaw the transition before leaving to take over the chief executive’s position at the Providence Institution for Savings, which was then the largest bank in Rhode Island.

Shortly after its formation as a trust company, the company oversaw the liquidation of the Greenwich National Bank and turned its East Greenwich offices into a branch of the Manufactuers Trust. In Providence, the business was located at 73 Westminster Street.

In June of 1907, Manufacturers Trust was acquired by the Union Trust Company. As part of the arrangement, Manufacturers’ president, J. Edward Studley, was made head of the new organization.

To read the story of Union Trust, click here.

The spurious note below bears a forgery of Samuel Slater’s signature.

* The Slaters were also connected with the Burrillville Agricultural and Manufacturer’s Bank, which was based in Slatersville, Rhode Island. Samuel’s brother John was the institution’s first president.

** The Slater Bank in Pawtucket was formed in 1855 and paid homage to Samuel Slater with its name, but was not formally connected to Samuel Slater.




Manufacturers Bank

Manufacturers Bank


Turks Head Area, Weybosset Street, Providence

At left, second floor office of the Manufactuers Bank.
Turk’s Head Area, Weybosset Street, Providence, WC1417. Rhode Island Collection, Providence Public Library, Providence, R.I. Reprinted with permission.

The Manufacturers National Bank offices in the ground floor

The Manufacturers National Bank offices in the ground floor of the Wheaton Anthony Building, 73 Westminster Street, next door to the Exchange Bank Building. Today, the 100 Westminster office tower occupies this space (formerly the Fleet Financial Building). Here and above, courtesy of the City Archives, City of Providence. Reprinted with permission.

Manufacturers National Bank check from January 9, 1900.

Manufacturers National Bank check from January 9, 1900. The bank’s address is listed as 73 Westminster Street.

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