Safety, efficiency, courteous service.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 October 1921.

“An institution organized, owned and operated by negroes for the making of a bigger and better community — consequently for race advancement.

“It is the purpose of this bank to render the best service possible. All we ask is a chance to prove ourselves worthy of your expectation. Will you grant us this institution which will be a credit to your city and race.

“In the words of the past ‘To thine own self be true.’ Don’t betray thy nature and thy name. But show to the world that you are a true-blooded Negro, proud of your race and willing to help build it up.

“Bring your earnings to the bank and build up a savings account for yourself and prepare for that rainy day that is sure to come; we are amply prepared to take care of them for you. We are expecting every Negro in Wilson and Wilson county to open an account with us during this, our first year in operation. Are you loyal or are you disloyal? Time will answer the question.”

“Join the band of race and community builders and open a savings account with the Commercial Bank of Wilson.”


Black Wilson rallied to this sharp-edged appeal and opened hundreds of accounts at Commercial Bank. The bank operated throughout the Roaring Twenties, but by 1929 the cracks were showing. A suspicious fire on September 23 led to the bank’s immediate closure and the subsequent arrest and conviction of two of its officers, J.D. Reid and Henry S. Stanback.


  • James H. Bailey, cashier — of Goldsboro, N.C.
  • H.S. Stanbach, assistant cashier — Henry S. Stanback.
  • S.H. Vick, president — Samuel H. Vick.
  • J.D. Reid, vice-president
  • F.S. Hargraves, vice-president — Dr. Frank S. Hargrave, physician.
  • J.G. Mitchell, vice-president — James G. Mitchell, a farmer near Elm City.
  • W.R. Hinnant, vice-president — a Kenly, Johnston County farmer.
  • C.D. Sauls, vice-president — Cain D. Sauls, a Greene County businessman.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

One comment

Leave a Reply