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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:51 pm 
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Here's what my Leonard M. Owen had to say about Western Exchange Fire and Marine Insurance Co. in his book Territorial Banking in Nebraska:

The Western Exchange Fire and Marine Insurance Co. received its charter from the Legislature on March 16, 1855. This was during the first session of the Legislature and this was the only “bank” to receive a charter at this session. The charter was a permit to receive deposits and issue certificates therefor, so their notes were certificates of deposits.

The incorporators were: R.W. Latham, William Kempton, James S. Izard, J. McNeale Latham, W. E. Moore, Thomas R. Benton Jr., and associates. Leroy Tuttle was the cashier of this bank and A. U. Wyman was the teller. The signatures on the signed notes of this Omaha issue are Tuttle, secretary, and Benton, president. This bank went bust on September 23, 1857. The bank was owned by Greene, Weare, and Benton of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who had other banks in Iowa.

More of the notes of this bank were in circulation in Iowa than of any other bank. After the failure of this bank in September 1857, Mr. Olof Johnson of Galva, Illinois, purchased a charter from Mr. Benton for a reported price of $9,500. Mr. Johnson was an officer and a member of the Bishop Hill Colony.

A new issue of notes was ordered with the following added: “deposited by Bishop Hill Colony”, and with a printed date of November 2, 1857. The Bishop Hill issue was an Illinois issue and had nothing to do with the earlier Nebraska issue. Mr. Johnson continued to redeem the earlier issue along with his own issue until the money ran out and the bank went bust again. The Bishop Hill issue of notes were signed by Tuttle and Johnson.

Few of the Bishop Hill issues were put into circulation, and crisp notes as well as uncut sheets of this issue are quite common today. All issues of notes of this bank were printed by Danforth, Wright & Co. The sheets were of the four note variety with the denominations of $1, $2, $3, and $5. $10 and $20 notes of the Omaha issue are known but the sheet lay out is not known for these denominations.

All of the Omaha issue are of the notes of this bank are scarce and the notes of the $10 and $20 denomination are extremely rare.

As we seen from this narration, the Bank of Nebraska and the Western Exchange Fire and Marine Insurance Company were the only two institutions that operated with a charter, although some of the non-chartered institutions redeemed their notes remarkably well.


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