The History of Bloomfield State Bank
A successful bank is mirrored by the success
of its customers. Since 1873, when the Bloomfield State Bank first opened its
doors for business, the community prospered through the success of its
businessmen and the hard work and thrift of its citizens. This financial
institution has been in continuous operation ever since. It has experienced
sorrow, joy, disaster, and success ingredients which have built stamina into the
The town of Bloomfield has an exciting history that has strongly influenced the
success of the Bloomfield State Bank. History can take us as far back as 1849,
when Chauncy Rose came to the area and established a grist mill, smelting mill
and a small bank called the Bank of Indiana. This bank was located on the shores
of Richland Creek near Chauncy’s Furnace Mill. In 1856, Rose sold his holdings,
receiving 200,000 dollars in cash, and moved to Terre Haute.
During the same period of time, another bank was established in 1856, called the
Indiana State Bank. This bank was located in town, away from the industry on
Richland Creek. Everyone in the community was excited over the fact that the
discovery of iron ore in the area was going to make them rich overnight. Creek
bank furnaces were built for the smelting of the ore and rafts were built to
transport the refined product to New Orleans. All of this was vital for the life
of the riverside bank; but sooner than expected, the iron ore deposits were
exhausted and the transportation costs turned out to be astronomical. The
furnaces went out-of-business and so did the Bank of Indiana. However, the
Indiana State Bank continued to exist
After the Civil War in 1863, President Lincoln signed a bill into law known as
the National Currency Act. This bill probably produced the most significant
change in banking history. This law required all currency to be uniform
throughout the nation. Incidentally, the very first Comptroller of the Currency
appointed was Hoosier, Hugh McCulloch.
In October of 1873, the owners’ interest in the Indiana State Bank was bought
out and reorganized by a man named Marcus H. Shryer. Shryer changed the name of
the bank to Bloomfield Bank, appointed himself president and his son cashier.
In 1887, a family dynasty commenced. William Mack Haig began working at the bank
as assistant cashier. To this day there is a person related to the “Haig” family
or a direct descendant of the “Haig” family affiliated with the bank.
In 1894, the Bloomfield Bank experienced it’s first robbery. In the early
morning hours of October 4, the bank was the victim of the Rivers Gang,
counterparts of Jesse James. They used dynamite to enter and blow the bank’s
safe and escaped with $4,000, almost all the money in the vault. The town was
flabbergasted. Never before had there been such a flurry of chatter and
excitement. Businesses were practically suspended, school children talked about
everything but their lessons, and depositors inquired immediately upon the
whereabouts of their money. Fortunately, the bankers were able to appease their
The turn of the century brought a new kid in town. The Citizens State Bank was
chartered in January, 1900, with $30,000 in capital. Even though the Bloomfield
Bank now had some stiff competition, the deposits of the bank were still very
On July 1, 1907, the controlling interest of the Shryer’s bank was purchased and
the bank reorganized as a state bank under Elmer Elsworth Neal. This
reorganization changed the bank’s name to its present title. (Bloomfield State
Neal was known by everyone in the entire southern portion of the state, holding
stock in nearly every local enterprise. His business ventures and activities in
community affairs made him a very well-known and liked gentleman. Neal was
unanimously named president; Cyrus Davis, vice-president; William Haig, cashier;
and William’s brother, Alpha Haig, was assistant cashier. The members of the
Board of Directors were the same as the officers except for one addition, C.L.
1907 was the beginning of one of the most important eras in Bloomfield’s banking
history. For the following seventeen years, William Haig, cashier at the time,
watched the $150,000 deposit figure grow to nearly half a million. The Haig
brothers quickly became the dominating force in the bank. They firmly
established a reputation for efficiency and courtesy to their customers. This,
along with their character and personal integrity, soon had the Bloomfield State
Bank known as the “Haig Bank” throughout Greene and the surrounding counties.
The pseudo name for the bank died out in the late 30’s, when William and Alpha
Black Tuesday arrived without warning and then a deluge of failing banks and
businesses saturated the newspapers and air time on radio. In 1933, Franklin D.
Roosevelt closed all banks for a mandatory “Bank Holiday” in order to evaluate
their stability. Bloomfield State Bank survived the depression and the Bank
Holiday, fulfilling the expectations of their depositors. The conservative and
high quality leadership within the bank enabled the bank to endure those adverse
The long, grueling depression finally came to an end, and on January 1, 1940,
the Citizens State Bank in Bloomfield merged with the Bloomfield State Bank. The
officers of the consolidated bank were Leland S. Barkley, president; Cyrus E.
Davis, vice president; and R.B. Smith, cashier. Capital increased to $50,000 and
deposits totaled over $780,000. 1961 brought about a ribbon cutting ceremony for
the new main building.
Assets today top 375 million, ranking the bank in the upper third in the state.
If you were to ask Mark Barkley, son of Stanley Barkley and current Chairman of
the Board, what the bank prides itself on today; his answer would be heritage,
lineage, customer relations and most importantly, serving the community
throughout the years. He is the fourth generation of the Haig/Barkley clan to
lead the bank into the 21st century.
The Chairman is anxiously awaiting the future, for he sees it as a period of new
opportunities for the bank. Barkley heads a very progressive and competitive
bank that will actively seek opportunities and challenges that will meet the
financial needs of counties around Greene County. Barkley concludes by
confidently stating, “With our way of thinking, we can only grow.”
The courageous and determined leadership which started with Shryer and was
perfected by the Haig brothers has been brought to a new level of achievement by
the Barkleys. We can only say that the outstanding success of this bank in its
first century will be exceeded in its second.