Biography of Oliver S. Bond
Lucas County, OH Biographies

Oliver S. Bond, as chairman of the board of the Merchants & Clerks Savings Bank of Toledo is an outstanding figure in the financial circles of the city. He has steadily developed his talents and improved his opportunities in the course of an active business career, and step by step has advanced, ever contributing to the fortunes of Toledo in the promotion of one of its foremost financial institutions. Thus there have come to him "the blest accompaniments of age, honor, riches, troops of friends." He is now one of Toledo's most venerable residents, having passed the ninety second milestone on life's journey, his birth occurring on his father's farm near Richmond, Indiana, Tune 29, 1831. His parents were William Commons and Hannah (Locke) Bond, and the former was a son of Jesse Bond, who devoted sixty years of his life to preaching the gospel as a representative of the Quaker faith and died at the age of eighty four. His grandfather in the maternal line was William Locke, who was also heard proclaiming the gospel teaching at the Quaker meeting house in Economy, also for about sixty years, and he, too, had attained the age of eighty four when he was called to his final rest. The family adhered strictly to the tenets and teachings of the church for a most extended period and Oliver S. Bond, at the age of sixteen, was serving as clerk of the meeting in the old meeting house which stood on his father's farm. His father was one of the substantial residents of that community, living quietly and unostentatiously on the old homestead, commanding the respect of neighbors and friends by reason of an upright life and fidelity to every duty. The family has always been noted for longevity. Nathan Bond, an uncle of Oliver S. Bond, celebrated his sixty seventh marriage anniversary in July, 1887, and an aunt, Ruth Nicholson, her golden wedding in 1886. An uncle, John A. Locke, also celebrated his golden wedding anniversary in 1887. All of these people lived on neighboring farms in eastern Indiana, the Bond family occupying one homestead near Richmond for more than a century. They came of English and Scotch ancestry, as did the Commons family, and on coming to America the family home was established near Harpers Ferry, Virginia. The maternal ancestors of Oliver S. Bond. the Lockes and the Mills families, likewise came from England and settled near Baltimore. Maryland. It was Jesse Bond, the grandfather, who removed west about 1800, his being the first white family to cross the Whitewater river at Richmond, Indiana, for permanent settlement.

The youthful experiences of Oliver S. Bond were those of the farm bred boy and after attending the district schools in the winter seasons for some time he supplemented his early training by two terms' study in the Whitewater College. Throughout his life he has been a reader and student and often while working in the fields he would carry a textbook with him, and when a period of rest came he would improve his time by reading.

On leaving home at the age of nineteen years he went to Peru, Indiana, where he was employed by the firm of Smith & Crowell, who not only sold to the early settlers of the neighborhood but also traded extensively with the Miami Indians, who were still numerous in that locality. Mr. Bond became quite friendly with the red men and relates many interesting incidents concerning his association with them and their habits of life and thought. In 1854 he left what was then the western frontier and went to New York city; where he spent two years in a wholesale dry goods and notions house and he also traveled throughout the western territory, making collections and soliciting trade. He took up his abode in Toledo in 1856 and for two years he was employed as a salesman and collector by the firm of Bell, Deveau & Company and its successor. On the 15th of July, 1858, as a partner of William B. Messinger, he opened the first exclusive boot and shoe house in Toledo, under the firm style of Messinger & Bond. The company's trade covered a very wide territory around Toledo and Mr. Bond had been associated with the business for twelve years when he sold out. In the meantime he had entered the field of banking by becoming a director of the Northern National Bank and during 1878 he was elected vice president and acted as president of the institution, while Mathew Shoemaker, the president, was in California. It was during this time that Mr. Bond developed a plan to open in Toledo a bank exclusively for savings. In this connection a contemporary writer has said: "The institution of which he is now the honored head was not born in a single night. It was a product of wise experience and many months of critical investigation of the principles and methods of saving institutions as conducted in New England. While in the east his arrangements for the enterprise were so far advanced that much of the requisite capital was subscribed by his personal friends and relatives. Then on returning to Toledo he brought about the organization of The Merchants & Clerks Savings Institution as it was first known, and the organization was completed on February 10, 1871. Some of the bank's history should be introduced into this sketch as quoted from a handsome pamphlet published in 1911, soon after the first bank edifice was completed and at the fortieth anniversary of the institution's history.

" 'Early in 1871,' to quote this article, the Merchants & Clerks Savings Bank had its inception. Organized as the Merchants & Clerks Savings Institution, by Oliver S. Bond, who interested a large number of his friends and citizens in the enterprise, the capital was fixed at one hundred and fifty thousand dollars; and what stock was not subscribed for in Toledo was immediately placed with about fifty of the capitalists and retired merchants of New England, of whom it was stated several years later in one of the bank's advertisements that anyone of them could assume and pay the entire deposits of the institution.

The bank was first located in the rear of the room occupied by the Northern National Bank at 99 Summit street. A small part of the room was set aside and Oliver S. Bond, the newly elected treasurer, who for the first few months was treasurer, teller, bookkeeper and messenger all in one, opened the bank for business February 10, 1871. It was stipulated that Mr. Bond was to furnish a suitable room, safe and counter for the bank's use free of all expense to the bank, and after the business was well started in July of that year, to partly repay him, he was allowed a salary of eight hundred dollars.a year.

" 'The Toledo of forty five years ago was a little city with great expectations. The federal census of 1870 had given it a population of nearly thirty thousand, or about the present size of Lima or Lorain, and after the usual fashion of properly ambitious American towns by the time the bank was opened Toledo was chiming at least five thousand more. The period of history of the Merchants & Clerks Savings Bank between 1871 and the present day (1916) is reflected by the history of the city during that time. The bank grew and its influence for sound and conservative business methods were stamped on the community. The panic of 1873 was a test of strength and endurance of all the banks of the United States. Fortunately this young institution, fortified with real capital and guided by men of courage and determination, withstood the shock of that year and came unscathed through the six depressing years following.

" 'Matthew Shoemaker, then president of the Northern National Bank and a man with a wide reputation for business experience and conservatism, was made the bank's first president. He continued in office and the bank prospered, moved to a larger room of its own at 78 Summit street, and accumulated deposits of over two hundred thousand dollars; when, in 1884, after thirteen years of service, during which, thanks to his fidelity and sound advice, the bank had been placed on a firm foundation and was already gaining for itself the reputation of a conservative and safely Managed bank, Mr. Shoemaker retired, owing to advancing age, and was succeeded by John A. Moore.

" 'Mr. Moore remained its president until 1888, when Oliver S. Bond, who had been treasurer of the institution since its foundation, was elected president, and continues in that office at the present time. Mr. Bond thus has the enviable distinction of having acted as an executive officer of a bank for the longest period ever served by such an official in Toledo. He is the only one of the original incorporators and the only member of the first board of directors now living.

" 'E. Louis Schomburg succeeded Mr. Bond as treasurer (title changed to cashier in 1891). Mr. Schomburg entered the service of the bank as messenger October 1, 1872, and has occupied at one time and another every position of trust in the bank except that of president. His energies have been directed to building up the institution, and in appreciation of his long and faithful service, the directors elected him vice president in 1903 (a position he still retains in 1916).

" 'Mr. Schomburg continued to hold the two positions of vice president and cashier until January, 1905, at which. date Walter C. Bond, who had heretofore held the office of assistant cashier, was chosen cashier, and although at that time the youngest bank official in the city, he proved his executive ability and to him is due the credit for the new building into which the bank has just moved. Persistently presenting before the board of directors the handicap under which the bank was working in its cramped and uninviting quarters, he persuaded them to remodel the old building into an up to date banking room, and in less than nine months after the demolition of the old building had been started, the new quarters were completed and the bank had moved into them.

" 'In 1891 it seemed that the time had arrived to widen the scope of the bank's business. The city had increased in population and was enjoying the prosperity that came to northwestern Ohio through discovery of oil and natural gas. The institution surrendered its old charter and changed its title to The Merchants & Clerks Savings Bank. The building at 338 Summit street was purchased by the bank and so remodeled that, according to a newspaper clipping of that time, it was the finest building on Summit street. Here the bank moved in the fall of 1891, and in its new location opened a commercial department and prepared to do a general banking business, having heretofore restricted itself entirely to saving accounts. The spring of 1893 found the country in the throes of a financial panic, during which the banks were tested as to their real strength and foundation; labor was thrown out of employment, and the general depression was aggravated by short crop years. These trying times showed conclusively how solidly and with what conservatism the affairs of this bank were being managed; and the years of prosperity which followed the depression proved that the community was appreciating its safe and careful policy.'

"Some figures taken from the different bank statements in the past forty five years will graphically illustrate its progressive growth and widening influence. In its first year, 1871, its deposits aggregated about twenty seven thousand dollars. Five years later the deposits reached more than a hundred thousand dollars, and in 1881 they stood at a little more than two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Fifteen years later, in 1896, in spite of the several years of financial panic just preceding, the deposits were more than six hundred thousand dollars, and in 1902 the deposits passed the one million dollar mark." On January 15, 1923, the deposits were two million, two hundred eighty one thousand, nine hundred thirty dollars and seventy two cents; the capital stock one hundred and fifty thousand dollars and a surplus fund of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Mr. Bond remains in association with the bank as chairman of the board, although for a number of years he has left active management and control to others.

On the 23d of December, 1863, in New York city, Mr. Bond was married to Miss Clara A. Raymond, the only daughter of Hon. John Raymond. Six children have been born to them, three of whom are living: Harry, residing in California; Eva R., the widow of the late Judge J. W. Schaufelberger; and Mabel. A great blow came to the family in the death of the son, Walter C. Bond, who passed away April 10, 1913, at the age of thirty years. He had been made cashier of The Merchants & Clerks Savings Bank in 1905, being at that date the youngest bank official in the city, and at the time of his death was still the youngest bank executive in Toledo.

Mr. Bond has traveled extensively in America and Europe, gaining that broad and liberal culture which travel brings. He is a life member of several charitable and benevolent organizations, was one of the organizers of the Toledo Humane Society and has been its treasurer for many years, and also for many years he was a trustee of the Toledo Library Association, before it was merged with the Toledo Public Library. He has ever been interested in those forces and projects which make for intellectual and moral progress and his life has always been an influencing force for good among his associates. There are few men who arrive at his position and at his years. The nine decades which make up the period of his earthly existence have been filled with a useful activity, helpful to his fellowmen and to the city at large.

Toledo and Lucas County, Ohio
BY: John M. Killits, A.M., LL.D.
S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago and Toledo

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