After that first day, the total of depository accounts was overdrawn $5.25! The first bank was a rock building on the northwest corner of our present bank lot. When the current bank was constructed, that rock was used for the planters. The first President was S.C. Butler. In 1906, Karnes County National elected its first of a number of women to its Board of Directors, Mrs. Josephine H. Frost. In 1909, the Bank moved to the 200 block of Calvert Avenue where it remained for 62 years.
In 1917, J. D. “Dick” Ruckman began a 53 year career with the Bank, where he later became President. In 1920, Joe E. Yeary started to work as a bookkeeper. His career as an employee and later Vice President and Director totaled 73 years and 8 months! In 1928, the Bank bought its signature chiming clock that was later donated to City Hall in 1971.
During the first thirty years, many loans were made to people from all walks of life, including minorities, to finance farming and ranching operations, secured by liens on crops, cotton bales, cattle, horses and mules. In 1932, George Haven began a 62 year career with the Bank as janitor. Mr. Haven, or “Bub”, was well known and respected for his riding, roping and cowboy skills. During the mid 1930’s, the bank repossessed a cotton gin and operated it for several seasons.
In 1942, Dalton A. Kowalik began working as a bookkeeper. In April of 1943, he was drafted into the Army Air Corps, and then returned to the Bank in 1946, eventually becoming Vice President and Director and worked a total of 58 years. In 1951, the Bank was remodeled and expanded, Tom Ruckman stepped down as President after 27 years and J. D. “Dick” Ruckman was elected to replace him.
In 1970, H. B. Ruckman, Jr. was named President following the death of Dick Ruckman. In 1971, the Bank moved into its present location and added its Time and Temperature Service. In 1985, H. B. Ruckman, Jr. retired after 14 ½ years as President; and H. B. Ruckman III succeeded him and the Bank was remodeled. The replica flags of the Republic of Texas were purchased to celebrate the Texas Sesquicentennial and Karnes County National’s continued independence. In 1993, the first armed robbery in the bank’s history occurred. About $4,400 was taken, no one was hurt and about a month later, the two outlaws were caught in Louisiana.
Throughout the years, many fine employees besides those mentioned here have helped provide the fast, friendly service for which the Bank has become known. In 2001, the Bank celebrated 100 years of service to the community with an open house and a major new scholarship program for the students of Karnes County. Obviously, the Bank’s history is a history of its people; directors, officers, employees and last, but not least, its customers… for without our loyal customers, the Bank would cease to exist!
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