Wickford National Bank
The Wickford National Bank (charter #1592) was formed by the merger the Narragansett Bank and the North Kingston Bank at the beginning of the national banking era in 1865. At first, these two state banks lobbied for individual national charters, but because their assets were relatively small ($75,000 for the North Kingston and $50,000 for the Narragansett), the banking authority required they be combined. The new bank took its president from the North Kingston, John J. Reynolds, and its cashier from the Narragansett, Nicholas N. Spink. The total membership of both boards of directors participated in the new organization, giving Wickford National 18 serving directors.
One history of the region provides additional information about the bank:
“Mr. Spink resigned in 1883 and was succeeded by the present incumbent, Thaddeus W. Hunt. Mr. Hunt is superintendent of the Baptist Sunday school, and is a grandson of Gideon Hunt, a staunch supporter of early Methodism. In an attempt December 15th, 1870, to blow open the vault of the bank, the building was burned, but the would-be robbers failed to secure any plunder. The present two-story building of pressed brick, witli freestone trimmings and slate roof, was then erected and furnished with a good substantial vault, with all protection available.” — J. R. Cole, History of Washington and Kent Counties, Volume 1.New York: W. W. Preston & Co., 1889.
While the explosion and fire mentioned above did not damage the bank’s funds, the office of the Town Clerk of North Kingstown didn’t fare as well. It was also housed in the building and lost 160 years of records in the destruction.
One of the bank’s last presidents, William Gregory, died while in office as both head of Wickford National and Governor of the State of Rhode Island. John J. Reynolds, the former bank president and ex-Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island, was asked to take over the helm of the financial institution but declined. He was 88 years old at the time and at his death eight years later, in 1908, was believed to be the oldest bank director in the country (at 96).
Wickford National Bank was absorbed by the Industrial Trust Company on February 20, 1902.