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Stratford centennial
(1891-1991)

Businesses of today,   pp. 222-242


Page 237

As commerce expanded and other trades developed, it
became apparent that a banking institution would be required
to handle the monetary transaction of the individuals and
merchants.
In 1908, a group of men headed by Robert Connor, H.L.
Klemme, W.F. Goetz, Jacob Wachtl, and Christ Franzen
organized to file a Certificate of Incorporation with the State
Banking Commissioner to be known as the Stratford State
Bank. It was decided to commence business on October 14,
1908. However, delays in securing the charter postponed the
starting date to November 2.
The first meetings of the group were held in the town hall
and Connor Co. office. The above five individuals were
elected to the original Board of Directors by the stockholders.
The original stockholders of the corporation were:
John D. Kissinger          E.C. Leiteritz
Henry S. Wahl              Peter Strachota
M.B. Wagner                Karl Wallner
Robert R. Quade            Win. C. Lipke
Christ Franzen             F.J. Schuette
W.R. Franzen               Jacob Wachtl
Phillip Schlegel           E.H. Maxson
Albert Huss                F.G. Reckner
Louis Klumb                Louis Spindler
H.E. Allington             Martin Casper
Win. Van Ryzin             H.L. Klemme
E.N. Allington             Peter Daul
Louis Garbish              J.A. Pennebecker
K.W. Doege                 Win. F. Goetz
Robert Connor              Charles Schultz
The first meeting of the Board of Directors was held on
September 30, 1908, and Robert Connor was unanimously
elected president; Christ Franzen, vice president; and W.F.
Goetz as secretary and to serve as cashier until a cashier was
chosen. It was decided to lease the storeroom of the building
owned by Peter Daul at a monthly rental of $12.00. The lo-
cation was Lot 5, Block 21 which was the site of the Stratford
Hotel.
At the November 14, 1908 meeting, Walter Oby was
elected as the first cashier at a salary of $900 per year.
In June, 1909, a site was purchased for a permanent bank
building, that being Lot 1, Block 19. On that site was
constructed the building that was to serve as the bank's home
for seventy years and which now houses the village govern-
ment. Building plans were formulated and as with any
construction project, decisions were required to fulfill these
plans. Original specifications called for pine lumber, how-
ever, that was later changed to hemlock as an agreement
between Mr. Connor and the contractor, Chippewa Falls
Construction, was worked out.
In 1913, Henry S. Wahl was elected to the board to fill the
vacancy left by the death of Jacob Wachtl. The stockholders
also decided to increase the capital of the bank from
$10,000.00 to $25,000.00.
In 1917, H.L. Klemme resigned as a director and was
replaced by Walter Oby who had been the bank cashier since
the bank's inception. That position was short-lived as Mr.
Oby resigned as cashier and board member in February 1918.
His positions were soon filled by Theodore W. Hoffmann. It
was also at this time that the first posting machine was
purchased from the Burroughs Corp.
During the war years, the Bank pledged reserves to the
U.S. Government to finance war expenditures. The services
of Mr. Connor were temporarily absent as he performed gov-
ernment duties in France.
In July 1919, plans were approved for remodeling and
enlarging the bank building as increased volume warranted a
new vault and safe deposit boxes.
James L. Chrouser was appointed a director in June, 1920
to fill the vacancy left by the death of Christ Franzen. In July,
1920, H.S. Wahl resigned from the board and his position was
filled by J.J. Schrieber.
At the January, 1921, annual meeting, a motion was
passed to increase the Board of Directors from five to seven
members. Directors elected at that meeting were R. Connor,
Theo. W. Hoffmann, James L. Chrouser, W.F. Goetz, J.J.
Schrieber, John Spindler and John Forman.
The annual meeting in 1926 included the resignation of
Robert Connor from the board. Since he became a resident of
Michigan, he was not eligible to serve on a bank board in
Wisconsin. His resignation ended an 18 year affiliation with
the bank, serving as president since its beginning. W.F. Goetz
was elected as the new president and W.S. Van Ryzin was
elected to the newly created position of Chairman of the
Board. Hoffmann was elected president of the bank succeed-
ing Goetz and John Spindler succeeded Chrouser as vice
president as neither incumbent desired re-election. E.C.
Brunner was elected assistant cashier.
In February, 1929, M. Mortenson was elected a director
succeeding Chrouser and in July, George H. Davel was
elected to succeed the resigned Goetz who was the last of the
original directors of the bank.
The Board approved the hiring of Harry Metzke as an
employee effective July 1, 1930.
At theJanuary 1938 meeting of the Board, it was reported
by Mr. Hoffmann "that a slow run was evident and savings
balances being withdrawn." The directors therefore adopted
the following resolution: "Be it resolved that this bank avail


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