Ohio History Journal

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President Huntington National Bank, Columbus, Ohio.

The early history of banking in the state of Ohio is much

obscured by want of records on the subject, but enough is known

to demonstrate the fact that banking has been an important

factor in the growth of the commonwealth from the beginning

of its existence down to the year 1912.

The first institution in Ohio to issue notes for circulation

as money was the Miami Exporting Company, of Cincinnati,

which was incorporated April 15, 1803. The act of incorpora-

tion has no reference to a bank. There is no intimation any-

where in the charter that a bank was meant, nor that the com-

pany was granted authority to issue notes to be used as money;

but it did issue them and they passed into circulation. These

notes were not all finally redeemed. In the early history of the

state, banking was practically free, and, as a natural consequence,

it was fraught with disaster to stockholders and to the public

alike. From 1803 down to the year 1845 the conditions under

which the business of the state was conducted were most de-


Between March 10, 1808, and January 14, 1818, there were

20 banks incorporated in the state, with an aggregate authorized

capital of $4,350,000; but it is, perhaps, impossible now to ascer-

tain what proportion of this authorized capital was paid up.

These banks were located in the southwestern, the central, the

eastern and the northeastern sections of the state, and often

in what were then isolated places, with only occasional com-

munication with the outside world. Most of them failed or

were closed out with heavy loss. Their charters were very

crude in form and often at great variance with each other in

their provisions, and, except that, in some cases, and under

certain conditions, the directors might be held personally respon-