A FUTURE WITH A STRONG FOUNDATION
Over one hundred years ago when the Waggoner National Bank first opened its doors as the only national bank in Wilbarger County, Vernon was little more than a frontier settlement. This was a far cry from the modern West Texas city of 12,000 progressive people we know today.
At the time the Waggoner National Bank received its charter as a national bank this country was at war with Spain. The Famous Oklahoma land rush was on the calendar for that year. With a population estimated at 2,800 Vernon had two cotton gins with the capacity to process 80 bales of cotton a day. The Mayor was J.A. Lucky, and the secretary was L.C. Eakle. In 1899 Wilbarger County had thirty-two schools with thirty-two school teachers employed. The local newspaper The Vernon Guard, made the following proclamation: "Wilbarger County is on a cash basis and its script is worth one hundred cents on the dollar".
In 1893, shortly after the First National Bank's closure, Dr. R.C. Neal organized a private bank called the R. C. Neal Banking Company occupying the quarters of the ill-fated First National Bank on Main Street. Dr. Neal was President, W.T. Waggoner Vice President, and John A. Henry, Cashier.
On July 1, 1899, confident of the future of Wilbarger County, W.O. Anderson, John A. Henry Robert Houssels, Dr. R.C. Neal, W.T. Waggoner, and J.S. Wood banded together to apply to the U.S. Treasury Department for a national bank charter to serve Vernon. On July 3, 1899, The Waggoner National Bank of Vernon was officially chartered by the Comptroller of the Currency, and thus Vernon's oldest chartered national bank embarked on a career of constructive service.
The Bank opened under the chartered name, The Waggoner National Bank of Vernon. The first officers of The Waggoner National Bank were W.T. Waggoner, President, L.G. Hawkins (for whom Hawkins Elementary School was named), Vice President, C.E. Basham, Cashier, and S.C. Hogsett, Assistant Cashier.
It is evident that the Bank has grown phenomenally during the first 100 years with customers numbering in the thousands enjoying the full service bank it is today.
Mr. W.T. Waggoner served the Waggoner National Bank of Vernon as President for eight years and would be proud of the bank that carries his name today.