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BY MIKE AVITT
I must begin with a correction. In the October 7, 2021 Record-News I was given credit for securing Orr Fisher paintings and sketches. Bob and Kay Sickels get credit for; I wasn’t a part of that. I was able to identify most of the photos in Fisher’s photo album, and that was my part.
In 1915, an exterior entrance was built into the basement of Iowa State Bank (the former Citizens Bank).
My feeling is after Mt. Ayr got running water (1914), the basement was fitted with plumbing and rented out for commercial purposes. Indeed, the basement served as a barber shop for the next forty years.
Also, in 1915, changes came to F. E. Sheldon Co. Frank Sheldon was promoted to Mt. Ayr State Bank President, and William Thomas Timby came aboard, as well. Clyde Lesan was promoted to manager of F. E. Sheldon Co.
Meanwhile, at Iowa State Bank, Walter Scott was promoted to cashier in 1917 and, in 1919, Clarence Palmer was hired to handle the abstract books. His office was located upstairs at Iowa State Bank.
In 1921, Bert Teale sold controlling interest in ISB to Walter Scott and Earl Hoover.
Enter William Burl Cunning. W. B. Cunning graduated from Clearfield High School in 1926 and began work at F. E. Sheldon Co. on September 1, 1927.
My research revealed on Sept. 1, 1927, Frank Sheldon was in Des Moines performing his duties as treasurer of the Iowa State Fair.
The stock market crash of October 29, 1929 changed everything.
Because both of Mount Ayr’s banks were state banks, the State Banking Institution of Iowa oversaw the merging of the banks on April 3, 1930.
Mount Ayr State Bank retained its location and name. Iowa State Bank disappeared, but the Ringgold County Abstract Co. remained upstairs in the old building. While the former officers of ISB became stockholders in Mt. Ayr State Bank, some remained officers of Ringgold County Abstract Co.
Those officers in April 1930 were: Dr. F. C. Smith, president; Attorney Frank Fuller, vice president; Earl Hoover, secretary; Walter Scott, treasurer; and C. S. Palmer, Jr. abstractor.
The last advertisement I see for Ringgold County Abstract Co. is in the January 7, 1932 Record-News.
I believe F. E. Sheldon Co. moved into the former bank building at 100 S. Taylor between April 1930 and September 1931. Ringgold County Abstract had the same officers in 1932 as in 1930.
Mary Shafer opened a beauty shop in the former F. E. Sheldon Co. building (105 S. Fillmore) in early September 1931.
So, I know Sheldon moved before that. So, now, Frank Sheldon, Burl Cunning, Clyde Lesan, and probably Clint Allyn, were located in the old Iowa State Bank building which Bill French still occupies today. We will continue next week.