FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

Survey number:      Owner:      Date of discovery:

R. T. F. Smith — Bank of Johannesburg

The First Bank of Johannesburg was located in the building in which the Foursquare Church now resides. It was not the first bank for the Rand Mining District, as reported in the local newspaper at the time of its anticipated opening in late October of 1922, however it was the first and only bank to operate in Johannesburg.

Letter From The First Bank of Johannesburg to Pittsburgh and Mount Shasta Gold Mining Company Dated December 14, 1923.

Mr. Smith was the president, Joe Catlick of the American National Bank of San Bernardino was to be a director and C. R. Bell Vice President of the Commercial Trust and Savings Bank or Los Angeles was to be the vice-president of this bank also.   F. H. Smith an Attorney from Johannesburg was a director and the Cashier was Paul T. Ratliff of Johannesburg who had formerly been associated with a bank in Calexico.

Report of Superintendent of Banks, on The First Bank of Johannesburg for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 1923

The Bank was a much-needed institution in the area.  There had not been a bank in the area since approximately 1898 when The Bank of Randsburg seems to have folded its tents.  Stores such as Illingworth & Dunnell of Randsburg and the Rand Mercantile served some as safe deposits, but did not provide other banking services. In 1924 the Johannesburg bank moved to Randsburg and changed its name to The First Bank of Randsburg.  It folded six months later.

December 26, 1923: “RANDSBURG , DEC. 26.—AT REGUAR MEETING OF THE DIRECTORS of the First Bank of Johannesburg, a resolution accepting the offer of C. C. Jewell to build a substantial building, for banking purposes, adjoining the Jewell block, was passed.  The bank has been established for more than a year – since October 29, 1922—and its dealings with the local business and mining interests have been most satisfactory.  To the miner and workingman it has been the means of their splendid thrift, for, instead of carrying a lot of loose money, the “hardrock” now draws his check for his settlements.  In the list of officers of the institution there is no harder worker than the bank’s chief official, Robert F. Smith, who is in touch with every proposition that comes up for the good of the entire community.  Paul T. Ratcliffe is the efficient cashier.  The bank’s connections are with the H. W. Hellman interests of Los Angeles.” –Bakersfield Californian

Personal Check on The First Bank of Johannesburg

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