The Peoples Bank   

Historical Background

Contributed by Sloan Mason

Kinstons principal black commercial district has traditionally been located along Queen Street south of King Street, and it is in this section that the firm later chartered as The Peoples Bank had its beginnings. Between 1902 and 1908 a group of black businessmen organized Holloway, Borden, Hicks and Company, to engage in the banking business. The 1908 Kinston City Directory indicates that the company's capital was $2,275. Its officers were president T. B. Holloway, a grocer; first vice-president J. H. Jones, a tinner; second vice-president C. H. Bynum, a physician; and cashier J. G. Banton, a barber.

The banking company operated in a two-story frame building which faced north on Bright Street at its southeast corner with South Queen Street; J. H. Jones and his roofing business occupied the other half of the building. Across Bright Street from that site is The Peoples Bank Building. By 1916, the name of the company had been changed to Holloway, Murphy and Company, although Murphy has not been identified. The company retained the same officers and continued to occupy the Bright Street building.

In January 1921, the company obtained a charter to operate as the Peoples Bank with capital stock of $25,000. Subscribers included T. B. Holloway, J. G. Banton, C. H. Bynum, and Holloway, Murphy and Company. The objectives of the company were listed as follows:

   (1) To conduct a commercial banking business;
   (2) To conduct a savings banking business;
   (3) To do a general trust business in all its phases, and to have all the power incident thereto;
   (4) To act as fiscal agent, factor, executor, administrator or trustee for any person, firm or corporations upon such terms as may be agreed upon.

The officers remained the same. In announcing the chartering of The Peoples Bank, the Daily Free press stated the following:

The company has been conducting a banking business a number of years, and has done much to encourage the saving habit among colored residents. White bankers of the city recommended the granting of the charter.

The peoples Bank continued to operate in the Bright Street building for about two years after its chartering.

The apparent success of The Peoples Bank soon demanded that the company move to a more substantial building which would reflect the position of the firm in the black community. The 1923 Kinston City Directory indicates the bank was still operating from the Bright Street location, but by June 1925 it had moved to a new brick-veneered two- story Classical Revival building on the northeast corner of South Queen and East Bright streets. Holloway, Bynum and Banton again appear as officers of the bank in the 1928 city directory, with grocer Starr Hicks, a long-time director, serving as one of th vice-presidents.

Unfortunately, The Peoples Bank seems to have suffered the same fate as many other banks during the Great Depression. Deed records indicate that Gurney P. Hood, North Carolina Commissioner of Banks, was forced to sell the bank's real estate in 1931, presumably after its failure. Coy Turner acquired the building in 1933 and operated a dry cleaning business there for more than twenty years. Other occupants _ have included black dentist, Dr. Richard Foy; lawyer McKinley Battle; and a branch of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, the nation s largest black-owned and managed financial institution. Henry G. Dove purchased the property in 1959 and operated a barber shop on the first floor.

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