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Peoples Bank, North Providence

Peoples Bank was established in North Providence in June of 1843. C.F. Manchester was its first president, and Jesse S. Tourtellot, cashier. (There were several Tourtellots in Rhode Island banking, most descended from Glocester’s first permanent settler. Jesse also served as a director of the Butchers & Drovers Bank and may have been the same man who was the president of the Franklin Bank in Chepachet in 1818.)

In 1853, Tourtellot was replaced by Olney Arnold. Arnold was descended from an old Rhode Island family and had previously been cashier of the Citizens Bank of Woonsocket. As S.K. Whitfield explains in the Winter, 1973 issue of Paper Money, Olney Arnold became an industrious player in Rhode Island’s political and business life. He was a candidate for state governor, U.S. senator and U.S. representative. He formed the Pawtucket Electric Lighting Company. In addition to his work at Peoples Bank, he served as the treasurer of the Providence County Savings Bank and the Cumberland Mills Company. He was president of the Dr. Seth Arnold Medical Corporation of Woonsocket. (Dr. Seth Arnold was his father. Click here to see an example of the company’s advertising notes). When the Suffolk Bank of Mutual Redemption was being formed, he was offered the cashier position there, but turned it down to remain at Peoples. During the Civil War, he was superintendent of the draft in Rhode Island and was promoted to the rank of Major General of Militia.

In 1863, Arnold organized the First National Bank of Pawtucket and in 1865, the Peoples Bank was folded into this national institution. First National was one of three banks in Pawtucket absorbed by the Industrial Trust Company beginning in 1900.

(This bank should not be confused with the former Peoples Savings Bank of Providence (1851), which later became the Peoples Bank of Johnston, which was then acquired by Hartford National Bank and then Boston’s Shawmut in 1987. Also, Peoples United Bank currently has branches in Rhode Island, but this institution originates in Connecticut, begun as the Bridgeport Savings Bank in 1842.)

Both issued notes below were signed by Olney Arnold.



Peoples Bank



North Providence Bank note


The Peoples Bank building is visible at right in this illustration from 1855. “Views in Pawtucket, Rhode Island” from Ballou’s Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion,, June 30, 1855.

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