Account with defunct Bank of Hortonville
By Scott Bellile
The Hortonville Historical Society now has in its possession a piece of history dating back nearly a century thanks to a discovery at an Appleton resale shop.
While examining a coin purse that was recently donated to St. Vincent de Paul, a store volunteer discovered a canceled check from 1921 that had been processed by the now-defunct Bank of Hortonville. St. Vincent de Paul has no clue who donated the purse, so it donated the check to the village.
“I think this might be the first time we found something this historical,” said Shannon Koloske, sales manager at St. Vincent de Paul.
The $48 check is dated Jan. 14, 1921. It was stamped “paid” in red ink on March 9, 1921. The signer was James H. Laird and the recipient was either a John Casey or John Gasey.
Today the $48 check would be equivalent to $644.21, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator.
An illustration on the left side depicts Bank of Hortonville with people riding eastbound in horse-drawn carriages on Main Street.
“We didn’t know if it was worth anything to the historical society or if it meant anything to them, so we figured, out of all people, they might like it,” Koloske said.
Hortonville Village Administrator Diane Wessel received the check from St. Vincent de Paul June 20. It’s now on display in the opera house with a couple of other old checks collected in the past.
“I wish we knew who [had owned] it, or anything,” Wessel said.
Koloske said thrift store staff felt “all really warm inside” to see the village share a photo of the check on Facebook.
“We’re really happy they appreciated it so much. We’re extremely happy,” Koloske said.
The Bank of Hortonville was founded in 1895, according to the late Press Star columnist Leona Mech.
By the early 1940s, photography shows a different business operation there, according to Hortonville Historical Society historian Julie Arendt Vanden Heuvel. She said that’s all she knows about the bank.
Arendt Vanden Heuvel asks anyone with knowledge on the check or the bank drop by the Hortonville Historical Society & Preservation Facebook page.
Bank of Hortonville was located at 213 W. Main St. The building sits vacant now, but Grace Abitz and Jane Jarvis plan to start a business there called Alley Cat Coffeehouse this year.