Narragansett Bank, Wickford
Despite the name, this early Rhode Island bank was located in Wickford and not the agricultural village of Narragansett. (It’s future as a beach resort was many decades off). Its early banknotes were quite basic, but grew more refined over time.
The bank’s first president was Benjamin Fowler (1738-1818), who had previously sold “West India goods” at the corner of Fowler and Main Streets. Fowler remodeled a house built in 1768 at the southeast corner of Main and Fountain Streets (99 Main Street today) to contain both the bank and his private living quarters. It had previously been a bakery. After his death, the presidency of the bank eventually transferred to his son-in-law, Peleg Weeden. Weeden was a silversmith who had used Fowler’s former shop as his jewelry store.
An 1889 account provides these details:
“The Narragansett Bank was chartered in 1805, with a capital stock of $50,000, with liberty to increase to $300,000. November 11th, 1805, the bank elected its officers. The directors were: Benjamin Fowler, Philip Tillinghast, William Hammond, Jr., Robert Eldred, Samuel Carter, Benjamin Reynolds, Elisha R. Potter, John Hagadorn, William Carpenter, George ——, George Perry, Rowse Babcock and Samuel D. Allen. Benjamin Fowler was elected president, Samuel E. Gardiner cashier. The president and cashier were annually re-elected to their respective offices until 1818, when Mr. Fowler died, and Willet Carpenter was elected to fill out the unexpired term. In 1819 Peleg Weeden was elected president, and re-elected until 1833, when he resigned, and Euclid Chadsey was elected. He served until 1836, when he resigned and Ezra D. Davis was elected. He held the office until 1860.
“In April, 1829, Thomas P. Wells was elected cashier in place of Samuel E. Gardiner, and served about one year, when his health failed him, and Samuel Briggs was elected in 1830. In 1837 Nicholas N. Spink was elected cashier in place of Samuel Briggs, and served until the bank was closed, the charter surrendered and the capital united with the North Kingston Bank. In 1860 Ezra D. Davis resigned as president, and Joseph Spink was elected, and served until the close of the bank, in 1865.” — J. R. Cole, History of Washington and Kent Counties, Volume 1. New York: W. W. Preston & Co, 1889.