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History

History

WHERE OTHERS HAVE THEIR BRANCHES, WE HAVE OUR ROOTS!

The First National Bank of Brundidge was founded in 1904 by Mr. James T. Ramage. Our roots still run deep as his great-grandson, Mr. John R. Ramage, now serves as our President and CEO. As an integral part of the Brundidge business center, the Bank has grown successfully over the years to service all areas of Pike and the surrounding counties. In 2002, The First National Bank of Brundidge added another location in Troy, AL.

The First National Bank is Pike County's oldest locally owned bank. We are proud of our rich history and the history of the community in which it resides. We intend to stay an independent community bank for generations to come.

History:

Brundidge, Alabama was founded in 1851 when George C. Collier moved to town and opened a general store. For a number of years, the community and post office went by the name of “Collier Store.” The name was soon changed to Brundidge in honor of James M. Brundidge (1812-1901), a prominent Mason.

Brundidge supported the Confederacy when the War Between the States broke out, and several companies of soldiers were formed in the town. The Brundidge newspaper revealed that there was a great deal of interest in the 1880’s for a local bank. Robberies were quite common, and local citizens were beginning to demand some form of banking services. The Brundidge Banking Company was formed in 1900 and provided a great service to the community, but it was still felt by many that the services of another financial institution were needed.

The mother of James T. Ramage, founder of The First National Bank, died when he was just an infant. He came to Pike County around 1893 to live with his uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Burr Ramage. J.T. Ramage later became a partner with J.E. Helms and W.D. Lee, in a firm known as Helms, Lee, & Company. They were dealers in hardware, furniture, stoves, coffins, and harvesting machinery.

J.T. Ramage eventually left the partnership and created his own firm, which specialized in plantation supplies. He soon showed his knack for business and became a prominent businessman. He was convinced that Brundidge needed and could support another bank and began work in that direction.

The Brundidge News reported the following in its issue dated August 13, 1904, “The old wooden two-story building which stood on the east side of South Main is a memory of the past. Workmen commenced pulling it down last Tuesday to make room for the brick building to be erected by The First National Bank.

The Bank was capitalized with $30,000.00. On Saturday, October 15, 1904, The First National Bank opened its doors for business and took in over $16,000.00 in deposits on its first day. The initial directors were J.T. Ramage, J.S. Carroll, A.G. Seay, Dick Fryer, and Burr Ramage.

The newspapers from Brundidge and the surrounding area had much to say about the new venture.

The Brundidge News has the following to say in its issue for that day, “The First National Bank of Brundidge opened for business this morning. It has a good set of officers and directors. The institution will be welcomed by the people as an evidence of the growth and importance of Brundidge as a business center, and we are sure its promoters will find it a paying investment.”

The Troy Herald, in its issue on October 22, 1904, stated the following, “The First National Bank opened for business Saturday morning, and we learned that its deposits Saturday aggregated more than $16,000. Mr. James T. Ramage, who is president and has immediate control, is one of the foremost businessmen of this section, and there is no doubt but that he will get his share of the business. As soon as they get their fixtures in and furniture arranged, their quarters will be up-to-date in every respect.”
 

The City of Brundidge in 1904

There were many items of interest in Brundidge, Alabama surrounding the Bank’s founding in 1904. J.I. W. Flowers was Mayor of Brundidge and the aldermen were: J.W. Reynolds – 1st Ward; F.A. Waters – 2nd Ward; J.A. McEachern – 3rd Ward; and F.C. Bass – 4th Ward. City Marshall was Yancey L. Bryan, and City Clerk was J.F. Hightower.

There were four churches in Brundidge which included: Salem Baptist – Rev. R.A. J. Cumbie, Pastor; Baptist Rest (Primitive Baptist) – J.E. W. Henderson, Pastor; Brundidge Methodist – Rev. J.R. Peavy, Pastor; Philadelphia Presbyterian – Rev. J.C. Sturgeon, Pastor.

Brundidge boasted of having four resident physicians: Dr. Colin McSwean; Dr. R.C. Dickerson; Dr. J.W. Robertson; Dr. J.W. Reynolds.

The only school was the old two-story “Academy,” then known as Brundidge High School. The principal was Professor B.H. Boyd, and the school graduated three students that year. They were Fannie Fleming, Oscar Peavy, and Henry Pierson.

The only newspaper in town was the Brundidge News, founded in 1893 by J.E. Graves.

The 1900 census of Brundidge showed the population of 537 within one square mile of the center of town.

Firms doing business in the town of Brundidge during 1904 were: W.A. Smith Monuments and Tombstones; P.T. Turner Photographer and Jeweler; Wood & Bryan (Frank Wood & Smed Bryan) Grocers; Dr. W.C. Ferrell & Dr. H.E. Peach Dentists; Hightower & Dinkins Drug Company; City Market (Ed. L. Pierson, Prop.); E.A. Butler Brundidge Furniture Company; Pierson House Hotel; Ballard House Hotel; Brundidge Banking Company; J.E. French & Son General Merchandise; City Restaurant T. A. Graham Prop.; E.B. Seay Hardware Company; Charles W. Helms Fresh Produces; B.H. Lightfoot & Company Milliner; James K. Gibson Dry Goods; J.H. Lawson General Merchandise; Gus Hicks General Merchandise; Abbie Watkins Fancy Groceries; W.E. Fleming Tailor; M.W. Britt Drug Store; Ramage & Gilmore (Kyle Ramage & Willis Gilmore) General Merchandise; James T. Ramage Plantation Supplies; Peoples Restaurant W.A. Metcalfe, Prop.; McEachern & Dickinson Surgeons; Jackson & Haisten Hardware Company. There were two blacksmiths in town: J.E. Helms and D.I. Helms. Charles Henderson of Troy owned and operated the town’s cotton gin, and cotton was selling for 91/2 cents per pound. Ben Andrews, master carpenter, was still building many fine homes in the area. Dr. Colin McSwean was Worshipful Master of the Brundidge Masonic Lodge, and Dr. R.C. Dickerson was in charge of the Knights of Pythias.
 

The State of Alabama in 1904

In the State of Alabama, William D. Jelks of Barbour County was serving as Governor. Birmingham became the leading industrial center in the south. Pike County, Alabama had 65 schools within its boundaries. Helen Keller, a native of Tuscumbia, Alabama, received national acclaim from the publication of her autobiography and quickly became an inspiration to millions of other handicapped people. Alabama’s state constitution (still in use in 1984) was three years old. Booker T. Washington was President of Tuskegee Institute.

The United States in 1904

  • There were 45 states in the Union.
  • Teddy Roosevelt became President after the assassination of William McKinley.
  • According to the 1900 census, the population of the United States was 75 million.
  • Construction started on the Panama Canal by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • Henry Ford began assembly line-production tactics for his newly formed Ford Motor Company.
  • The richest man in America was Andrew Carnegie, followed by John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan
  • Orville and Wilbur Wright became famous after their historic airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and silent movie theaters became popular all over the country.
  • Jack London was considered the most popular American author, and his Call of the Wild was a best seller.
  • The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years.
  • Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.
  • Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
  • A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.
  • There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads.
  • The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
  • Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.
  • The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
  • The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents an hour.
  • The average U.S. worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
  • A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
  • More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at home.
  • Ninety percent of all U.S. physicians had no college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard."
  • Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
  • Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
  • Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
  • Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason.
  • The five leading causes of death in the U.S. were:
    • 1. Pneumonia and influenza
    • 2. Tuberculosis
    • 3. Diarrhea
    • 4. Heart disease
    • 5. Stroke
  • The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.
  • The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was 30.
  • Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hasn't been invented.
  • There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
  • Two of 10 U.S. adults couldn't read or write. Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated high school.
  • Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."
  • Eighteen percent of households in the U.S. had at least one full-time servant or domestic.