Read's Bank, Winfield, Kansas

Brief Historical notes Read's Bank

This is an original check from M. L. Read's Bank, now owned by Bruce Hedrick who grew up in Winfield. Bruce is a collector of "old paper" and while he has good working knowledge of the field he refers us to Bill Youngerman out of Fla. as the recognized expert on National Bank notes.. He has kindly supplied us with several images of his collection relative to Cowley County, Kansas.

This check was written April 21, 1875 for the amount of $29.42 to A. L. Sleeth Esq. It was signed by Robinson for M. L. Read, but it could have been either of his nephews, W. C. Robinson or M. L. Robinson. It was routed to the German American Bank of New York City and the 2 cent stamp, was placed on the face of the check to pay for postage through the U. S. Inter. Rev. (whatever that is???). The stamp is dated 4/21/75 with the initials MLR.


The pictures on the face of the check are filled with interesting hints about life in Winfield in the spring of 1875. The two stairways entering the building cross the sunken walk that goes to the basement of the building. The stair on the right goes to the upper floor. Upstairs one window is open for ventilation. The two windows at each side are cracked open, but only the one on the left distinctly shows the window frame on the upper glass. The one at right is just barely visible in the right hand pane. This etching was most likely made from a photograph, so that this detail is a measure of the accuracy of the artist making the image.

The stairs down to the lower lever descend from the left side of the building, as shown by the handrail. The opening behind the handrail is a window and the door would be the other opening at the bottom of the stairs. Thus we are looking a building with three seperate entrances such that three seperate business could be operating from this same address. (which we are still trying to pin down).

The image in the upper right corner of the check is also very interesting. The near wheel of the impplement is connected to a rod that drives a fitting on the cutter that causes the sickle to cycle back and forth cutting the grain in the forground. The arm that extends out to the farmers right is obviously very rigid to resist the motion of the operating rod. This arm is lifted by the chain attatched to the lever by the farmers right hand. This is the high-tech method of farming in 1875. The horses power the whole process of cutting. The farmer must still pick up the grain and seperate the wheat from the chaff, but he doesn't have to use a manual scythe in the manner of the previous two thousand years.

Read's Bank building was the first brick business building in Winfield. The building was on the west side of Main Street, a few doors south of 9th. Approximately where the Graves Drug Store is today. In 1884 Read's bank became the First National Bank of Winfield and in 1885 it moved across Main Street to take up its present location on the South - East corner of Ninth & Main.

The building to the right of Read's brick building is Fuller's Bank, which was the first bank in Winfield, established in 1871. Fuller did well and built a fine brick house by 1878.

Fullers new brick house. Later Col. J. C. McMullen built a house with the same plan and started a furor between the two men.

Some things going on in Winfield about the time this check was written.
From the Old Newspapers of the 1870's

The New Brick Courthouse courthouse
The New Brick Methodist Church
The New Brick Prespyterian Church
The New Brick Store of Sam Myton
Pryor & Kager Move to Read's New Brick
Black Hills Fever
Joe Jim, Kaw Chief in Town
George Miller
Myton - Read Wedding
Citra (Quanna) Son of Cynthia Ann Parker Looking For Mother
No-pa-wal-la, Chief of the Little Osage Band Is Gone
The German Girls Are Rescued
War Is Coming In The Black Hills
The Brewery
Flat Boat to the Indians

City Maps of Winfield in the 1870's
Twenty Dollar Bank Note from Cowley County National Bank Winfield 1911

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