Silver dollars left impression

Published 12:56 am Wednesday, August 26, 2009

By Staff
Lydia Grimes
Forgotten Trails
In writing about the Bank of Brewton, I ran across a story that I think you might find amusing. An article appeared in The Montgomery Advertiser on March 15, 1928.
An interesting anecdote concerning the colorful and progressive history of the bank was discussed by the bank officials. The story is true.
In 1899, ten years after the bank was founded, rumor became rampant in Brewton that the bank had been connected in a financial manner with a Florida concern which failed. Fact was that the bank itself was not endangered by the failure, but depositors clamored about the bank’s doors at the opening time, Skeptical because of the rumor’s threat.
With a heavy run started, the bank’s resources in cash were becoming exhausted by the numerous withdrawals. Notice by the bank’s officials was immediately given to their depository at Pensacola, to ship a sum of their money to Brewton at once.
The Pensacola bank, in answer, dispatched $2,000 in round, shining, silver dollars. They were placed in a barrel and unloaded from the train onto a dray and conveyed to the bank.
Inadvertently, during the unloading of the precious barrel in front of the bank, the weighty container slipped from the hands of the men lifting it from the dray. With a crash, it struck the pavement and the heavy metal snapped the barrel bands. The glittering, ringing contents showered themselves in all directions before the eyes of the rumor-stricken crowd that thronged the bank’s doors. As one official expressed it, “the mass of spilled dollars looked no less than a million.”
The effect of the incident electrified the crowd. The satisfying impression that the bank had plentiful funds to meet their withdrawals soothed their fears. “They’ve got plenty of money.” “There is no danger.” “There’s no need to take out our money.” “There is no danger.”
Such remarks had their psychological  effect and the threatened run was successfully adverted by the opportune accident. Had it been planned in detail, one bank official said, the chances are the result would not have been successful. Accidentally, however, the “coup” was strategically correct and effective.

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