he Citizens' Bank of Oakland was first organized by S. S. Rust in October, 1883; succeeded by Rust and Potter in March, 1884. The bank of Oakland, organized in January, 1882, by W. H. and B. F. Freeman, continued until February, 1885, when it was consolidated with the Citizens' Bank, and called by the latter name, under the present firm of W. H. Freeman, President; S. S. Rust, Vice-President; L. F. Potter, Cashier, B. F. Freeman retiring, and with a capital stock of $30,000. They have increased their stock and real-estate loans, and in 1885 erected a fine brick block, 22-1/2 x 50 feet, and two stories high, in which they now carry on their business. They have a fine time-lock and automatic bolt-work on their safe, and also all the latest improvements that make a commodious and a thorough banking outfit. They exchange with Council Bluffs, Davenport. Chicago and New York, and have at the present time a cash capital of $36,000, with a surplus of $15,000, making a working capital of $51,000. They are live, energetic and self-made men, and by their honesty and integrity have won the high place in the hearts of their many friends, both in business and social relations. As a firm they started in their youth, and have raised their business to the enviable rank and file of their fellow bankers.
W. H. Freeman, the president, was born on a farm in the vicinity of Rockford, Illinois, October 11, 1844, the son of Daniel and Mary (Waller) Freeman, natives of St. Louis, Missouri, and Kentucky, and of English extraction. The father was a farmer by occupation, and our subject was also reared to that calling. At the age of twenty-one years he left home and came West. He was first engaged in taking contracts on the railroad until he came to Oakland, where he engaged in the lumber and grain business. He was the first Mayor of the town, and was instrumental in all of the leading enterprises. He deals quite extensively in cattle, horses hogs. Mr. Freeman started with nothing but pluck and ambition, which have won for him success.
L. F. Potter, the cashier, was born on a farm near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, March 27, 1855, the son of L. B. and Hitty (Wenzel) Potter, natives of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and of Scotch-English extraction. Our subject was educated in the Wauwatosa village schools, and completed his education in the Ripon and Beloit (Wisconsin) colleges. He taught school several terms, and in 1879 came to Oakland, Iowa, and bought a one half interest in a general store for $488, making the firm of Caldwell & Potter, which later became Potter & De Graff. This venture, though small, proved very successful, and resulted in a rapidly increasing trade. In March, 1884, Mr. Potter sold his interest in the store to his partner, and became a partner and cashier in the Citizens' Bank of Oakland, which position he still occupies. He has been the active manager of the business since his connection with it, and the prosperity of the institution is due to his untiring energy. Under his management the bank has never lost a dollar on discounts or in any other way, a record unequaled perhaps by any other bank in Iowa. He has been Mayor of the town, and takes a great interest in her prosperity.
S. S. Rust, the vice-president of the Bank, was born in Henderson County, Illinois, February 23, 1848, the son of Jacob and Eda (Palmer) Rust, natives of Kentucky and South Carolina. He was reared to the profession of his father, a farmer and merchant. He came to Pottawattamie Countv with his parents in 1855, locating in Valley Township. He left home when he was thirteen years old, and was engaged in working by the month for several years. In 1865 he married Mary N. Strong to whom his sucess in life in a large measure is due. He purchased his first land in 1872, and in 1880 came to, Oakland, and engaged in the grain and lumber business, in which he was very successful. Mr. Rust then started in the banking business, on his own responsibility, and has made the different changes until he now occupies his present place. He also has a fine farm, where he raises stock, and to which he gives a great deal of attention. He is a live, energetic and self-made man, and is interested in the advancement of the county as well as community, and is esteemed and respected by his many friends, both in social and business relations.
These men have been residents, the principal bankers, and identified with the best enterprises and improvements of the town since its beginning. The bank went through the disastrous fire of May 28, 1887, without loss, and they immediately erected a brick block, sixty-six feet front for the benefit of those who were burned out, and did not feel able to rebuild. They, have also in various other ways aided the people to recover from their losses.
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