Central Trust Company

The Central Trust Company organized on April 9, 1891 at Read’s Hall, a building which later housed the Camden Daily Courier newspaper. After receiving its charter on May 8, the Central Trust commenced business on May 11, 1891. The bank was located at 324 Federal Street until April 1, 1892, and then at 323 Federal Street. The Central Trust Company bank building at 4th & Federal Streets was opened on October 31, 1900. The first president was Abraham Anderson, R.F. Bancroft the first vice-president, and Charles C. Pine the first treasurer. Thomas Nekervis was made secretary-treasurer on April 14, 1892. Montreville Shinn was made assistant Secretary-Treasurer on June 16, 1908, and C. Chester Craig was made trust officer on December 17, 1900.

When the bank celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary, the officers were Dr. H.H. Grace M.D., President; John B. Clement, Second Vice-President, Secretary -Treasurer; Montreveille Shinn was made Assistant Secretary-Treasurer; and C. Chester Craig, trust officer. The board of directors consisted of Alpheus McCracken, Chairman of the Board; Casper T. Sharpless, A.J. Fullmer, Fithian S. Simmons, Jesse W. Starr III, W. Leonard Hurley, Killam Bennett, Eli Sharpless, Dr. H.H. Grace M.D., H.N. Munger, John B. Clement, Andrew B.F. Smith, Philip Wilson, and Richard C. Schwoerer. by 1919 Casper T. Sharpless had been raised to the position of Vice-President. George VanSciver and Frank J. Hineline had joined the Board of Directors, while Alpheus McCracken was no longer a member.

Philip Wilson later became president of the Central Trust. He was the son of H.B. Wilson Sr., for whom the H.B. Wilson Elementary School is named, and the brother of Admiral Henry B. Wilson Jr., the namesake of the famous Admiral Wilson Boulevard.

The Central Trust was quite successful during the first two decades of the 20th century, growing from a mere $50,000 in assets in January of 1901 to $2,500,000 by 1916. The Central Trust had over 10,000 depositors in the spring of 1916.

The Camden Board of Trade Journal published a list of then-deceased leading citizens of Camden, who had played a role in the affairs of the Central Trust. The list included Abraham Anderson, Charles Helm, David D. Helm, William C. Kean, Richard F. Smith, Charles H. Knowlton, George A. Munger, Frank H. Burdsall, Carlton M. Williams, Thomas S. Nekervis, R.F. Bancroft, Charles Bosch, George G. Felton, Conrad Schwoerer, Thomas I. Gifford, Mahlon F. Ivins Sr., D.G. Langedorf, and Charles Watson. Other principals through the years at the Central Trust included Volney G. Bennett.

The Central Trust Company was absorbed by the Camden Safe Deposit & Trust Company in 1927. After the merger, the Central Trust building became the home of the Equitable Beneficial Insurance Company, and remained as into the 21st century. The building was put up for sale in late 2003. In 1938 the Camden Safe Deposit & Trust Company shortened its name to that of Camden Trust. By the time America became involved in World War II, the Camden Trust had acquired two other banks, the American National Bank at Broadway and Amber Street in South Camden, and the East End Trust on Federal Street in East Camden. by 1948, the Camden Trust was the largest bank in South Jersey, and seventh largest in the state, with branches in Camden, Gloucester City, Haddonfield, and Blackwood.


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