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History - Morris County National Bank

The Morris County National Bank was established in the town of Station Beldon on August 15, 1893. In 1895, the U.S. Postal Service changed the name of the town to Naples. The bank, formed by a group of local merchants and businessmen, was originally housed in the general mercantile store of Gallaway & Moore. With original paid-in capital of $25,000, the local bank thrived in the growing community.

During the 1900's, Naples was a booming industrial town, boasting a large population. With lumber and agriculture as the main stays of the economy, Naples experienced rapid growth and at one time had the second largest hardwood sawmill in the world. In 1915 a great fire destroyed Naples' industrial dynasty, and soon the town dwindled and King Cotton became the basis for economic support.

The Morris County National Bank continued at its original location until 1896, when it acquired property and erected a one-story building. The last site of the bank before it moved to its present location was purchased in 1909, where it stayed for 66 years. On June 15, 1975 it moved to a newly erected building just down the street from its former location.

As Naples progressed through the years, so did the Morris County National Bank. The bank contributed to that progress by providing the financial cooperation so vital for community advancement. From the beginning it has been bank policy to select employees and elect officers who have wide interests in the community. Since 1893 the institution has had only five presidents. With such stable management the bank has always maintained a sound financial condition and is willing and able to provide for the community's financial requirements - during good years and hard ones.

It is with deep gratitude that we express our appreciation for the friendly, neighborly cooperation and confidence we have been shown over the years. We look forward with pleasure to many more years of progress and prosperity for the city of Naples and the surrounding communities.

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History - Cass County Bank

Cass County bordered by Arkansas and Louisiana on the east, is located in northeastern Texas on the state’s eastern boundary; it is one county removed from the northern boundary. Linden, the county seat, is in the south central portion of the county fourteen miles southwest of Atlanta, the county’s largest town. Cass County comprises 937 square miles of the East Texas timberlands, an area that is heavily forested with a great variety of softwoods and hardwoods, especially pine, cypress, and oak. 

Anglo settlement in the area that became Cass County began in the 1830’s. The county was formed from Bowie County in 1846. The first county seat chosen was Jefferson, but after several fiercely contested elections, in 1852 Linden became the county seat. The County was originally named Cass County in honor of Lewis Cass, a U.S. Senator from Michigan, who favored the annexation of Texas. During the secession crisis Cass, who had formerly been known as a Northern man with southern principals, resigned his post as secretary of state when President James Buchanan declined to defend the federal forts in Charleston, South Carolina. When word of his actions reached Texas, the name of the county was changed to Davis in honor of Jefferson Davis. The republican-controlled state legislature of 1871 changed the name back to Cass.

Agriculture was the foundation of the county’s economic base, though the county was never exclusively agricultural. Manufacturing provided jobs for a small portion of the county’s population. Those employed in manufacturing in 1940 was less than 8 percent of the county’s labor force.

One other important industry in Cass County was the lumber industry. The abundant forests in the county initially provided wood for houses and fences for the county’s residents. Production gradually expanded to include the production of lumber and lumber products for export. By the 1940s Cass County lumber mills were producing 75 million board feet of lumber annually. Most of this wood was softwood from the shortleaf pines prominent in the county’s forests.

The 1930s saw the birth of a new industry in the county, as the oil reserves beneath the surface were tapped, beginning the exploration of the Rodessa oilfield south of Atlanta. By 1936 over 100 wells had been drilled. Although this activity brought a new town, McLeod, and prosperity to some landowners in the area of these oilfields, its impact on the economic base of the county is hard to measure. Cass County never really became a major oil-producing county.

Profound changes also occurred in the county’s farms. The depression, which began in the mid-1920s for farmers, hit the Cass County farmers hard. Between 1920 and 1930 the value of the average farm in the county plummeted. The farmer’s initial response to the failing crop prices had been to plant more cotton. The 1929 cotton crop was the largest ever reported. In fact, 60 percent of the county’s total cropland had been planted in cotton. The number of farms fell by only twenty-six between 1930 and 1940. Later, during the 1940s and 1950s, farmers voluntarily left the land as other sectors of the economy and parts of the country provided greater opportunities. By 1959 only 13 percent of Cass County farmer’s were tenants. The trend continued until 1969, when the figure had fallen to 7 percent.

As the changes in agriculture that had begun in the 1930s continued in the 1940s and 1950s, the county began to change in other ways. The percentage of the county’s residents who lived in the four largest towns doubled between the 1940s and 1950s, as many of those who were leaving farms and moving into town. 

The decline in manufacturing in the late 1940s and 1950s, coupled with the changes in agriculture, led to a fall in the county’s population as people left to take advantage of opportunity’s elsewhere. The shrinkage continued until the 1960, when the population was 24,496. After that, the county grew slowly to a population of 29,430 in 1980. In 1982 many county residents worked at jobs beyond the county line.

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