I've passed through Albia numerous times in the summer on the way to a family event that takes place further north in Iowa. Our route takes us past the east side of the city square. The buildings on the square are all well-maintained.
The story of the First National Bank of Albia cannot be told without providing the backstory of the Drake family.
John Adams Drake (1802-1880) and his wife Harriett came to Iowa and founded the town of Drakesville in 1846. J.A. Drake was a successful merchant, mill owner, banker in Drakesville. Two of his sons would follow his lead into the banking profession. Image of John A. Drake found on a bank check
John Hamilton Drake (1828-1900) was in business with his father and brother F.M. Drake in Drakesville. J.H. Drake was the first president of the First National Bank of Albia a position he held beginning in 1871 and concluding in 1898.
Francis Marion Drake (1830-1903) made business trips to California in 1852 and 1854. Upon returning to Iowa he engaged in mercantile trade until the Civil War started. Francis enlisted and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After the war, F.M. became a lawyer and financier. Served as President of FNB of Albia 1899 to 1903.
After Francis' death John Hamilton Drake's wife, Caroline B (Lockman) Drake became president of the bank a position she held from 1904 to around 1910.
Nancy M. (Lockman) Mabry, Caroline's niece assumed the presidency in 1911. She passed away in 1923 and her husband Jefferson Clite Mabry stepped into this role.
Nancy's brother, Thomas D. Lockman served as Cashier at the bank for over a decade in the mid-1880s to late 1890s.
The First National Bank was located on the northwest corner of the square. A view of the bank building appeared on a deposit ticket used by the bank.
Denominations printed for the bank included Original Series $1, $2, $5, $10 and $20's. Beginning with Series 1882 the bankers elected to issue $50's and $100's only. The above note is one of two #1 Original Series $5's known for the bank. Formerly held by the Higgins Museum and deaccessioned in 2012. Sold for $6,900.
While it issued over 1,500 sheets of Brown Backs $50's and $100's, the bank only issued 5 sheets of Series 1882 Date Backs for the denominations. Neither type are known.
Series 1902 notes constitute the rest of the large size population.
When the switch to small size currency occurred in 1929 the bank received 58 sheets of $50's or 348 individual notes and 2 sheets of $100's or 12 total notes. Only fifties are currently reported
June 18, 1930 was the date the bank liquidated with the succeeding institution named First Iowa State Bank of Albia.
While its currency might cost thousands of dollars an affordable alternative is available in the form of ephemera such as bank checks and deposit tickets.