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Celebrating 150 Years!

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Together With You Since 1868!

Check here often for information on events and historical information about Hardin County Savings Bank.

Thursday, February 15, 2018 - Lunch and Learn

History of Hardin County Savings Bank
(and other interesting facts about Eldora!)

Christie Pence and Deb Johnson, presenters
HCSB is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2018. Come learn about the organization of the bank in 1868. See the beautiful leather-bound ledgers and some of the first entries. Did you know the first president was an interesting character from Dubuque? Did you know the bank has been led by the Brown family for over 50 years? What did we do before computers? You may learn a little about the building as well. We will welcome your stories and memories of banking and the staff so come prepared to share or just sit back and marvel at how the bank survived the Great Depression and past farm crises.  Enjoy lunch with your friends and learn some history at the same time. Lunch is included!

Reservations by February 8.
christie@hardincsb.com or call 641.939.3407

FWH Sheffield - First President of HCSB

FWH Sheffield was the first president of the Hardin County Savings Bank when it was organized on December 20, 1868, as a State Bank. He was a native of Saybrook, Connecticut. The book, “History of Dubuque County” estimates his arrival to Dubuque, Iowa in 1856 or 1857. “He was regarded as a genial, social gentleman, fond of company, good living and a good joke. For a number of years, he was engaged in the dry-goods business, as the head of the house of Sheffield and Scott. Sometime afterward, the firm name was Sheffield, Wood & Co., from which he separated upon going into the banking business.” He was also engaged in the management of the Iowa Central Railway project, and this is where he came in contact with Eldora and other railroad men who formed the Hardin County National Bank. Five of the seven men on the first board of directors were involved in the Eldora railroad, which was built that year from Ackley to Eldora.

Recently a Col. Colt Presentation Model 1851 Navy Percussion Revolver with Canteen Stock sold on the James D. Julia, Inc. Antique Auction house. The stock is engraved “FWH Sheffield with compliments of Col. Colt” This revolver appears to have been manufactured in 1857 which coincides with Mr. Sheffield’s departure from Connecticut. Given that Mr. Sheffield was in the banking business, it stands to reason that he may have been connected to Samuel Colt through his banking connections. Some history also implies they were cousins. Click here to see the revolver: https://jamesdjulia.com/item/2166-391/ 

FWH Sheffield was also president of Merchants National Bank in Dubuque which was established in 1865 and failed in 1873. He and the cashier of the bank, RA Babbage, were accused of embezzling nearly $330,000 from the bank.  From the History of Dubuque County: “In a word, Mr. Sheffield and Mr. Babbage were regarded as the leading bankers of Northern Iowa. The two charged with this disastrous calamity, (the bank failure) were the bank’s president and cashier, the former appropriating $62,188, and the latter, $267,289 of the money entrusted to their keeping.” 

It is said that Sheffield lost all his fortune and sacrificed his fine home for the benefit of the Merchants National Bank of Dubuque’s creditors. He went east that same summer, and the story is told he left Dubuque with tears streaming down his cheeks and with less than $500. 

Sheffield was president of HCSB until 1872 when LW Wisner was elected President. LW Wisner held that office until his death on August 21, 1889. 

Other interesting facts:

  • In 1868 his 10 year old son died when he fell off his pony
  • The town of Sheffield, Iowa was named after FWH Sheffield. His good friend and fellow railroad investor, CC Gilman, was the founder of Sheffield and named the town after his friend. 


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