The Credit of the
(from the Historical Booklet, Greenbrier
stronger statement can be made about any man than the old saying “his word is
as good as his bond.”
a man was Greenbrier County’s first “official” banker – Alexander Ferdinand
Mathews, of Lewisburg.
From all that can
be gathered from old records and word-of-mouth passed down through the years,
it seems likely that the original settlers in the county had no need of a
banker, although they did do business on a credit basis, when necessary, every
man knowing whom he might trust and acting accordingly. When a man’s crops failed, he received help
from his neighbors with no thought of interest due. When his neighbors needed help, he repaid them, giving full
measure running over.
As time ran
on, a central clearinghouse was badly needed.
Someone in whom the people had confidence, some place where money might
be obtained by energetic, capable citizens with laudable ambition to better
themselves, to build for their descendants – these became necessary.
Alex F. Mathews
The need was
met by one of Greenbrier’s most dignified distinguished, and respected men –
Alex F. Mathews.
He was the
second son of Mason and Elizabeth (Reynolds) Mathews. His elder brother was Henry Mason Mathews, Greenbrier’s first
Governor of West Virginia. He was born
November 13, 1838, and he died December 18, 1906, at the age of 68 years, 1
month, and 4 days.
He was educated
at the old Lewisburg Academy and the University of Virginia, graduating shortly
before the Civil War with the degree of Master of Arts. In 1861, he entered the Confederate
Army. He served on the Staff of General
Wise, and the record shows that on Aug. 11, 1861, he held the rank of Captain
and Assistant Commissary of Subsistence.
He was relieved from duty with the 59th Virginia Regiment on
June 22, 1863.
On December 28,
1865, he married Miss Laura Gardner of Christiansburg, VA. Their children were Mason, Charles Gardner,
Mary Miller, Eliza Patton, Maud, Florence, and Henry.
was the leading figure in founding the Bank of Lewisburg, which opened for
business on July 29, 1871. The
thirty-three years old banker was president or a director of the bank
continuously until his death.
Among those who
worked with him in starting the financial institution were Judge Adam Snyder
and Judge Homer A. Holt.
Judge Adam Snyder
Judge Homer A. Holt
Joseph William, was the first cashier of the bank. He held this office until his death in 1897.
For many years,
Lewisburg had the only bank between Staunton and Charleston.
National Bank of Ronceverte is the second oldest bank in the present Greenbrier
County. It was founded in 1888 and
became a national bank in 1890.