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A. Layle "Petey" Childers Oral History Interview
ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEWAUGUST 13, 1991
A. LAYLE “PETEY” CHILDERS
INTERVIEWED BY JIM WILLIAMS
ORAL HISTORY #1991-19
This transcript corresponds to audiotapes DAV-AR #4360-4362
HARRY S TRUMAN NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
NATIONAL First national bank independence mo SERVICE
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
EDITORIAL NOTICEThis is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for Harry S Truman National Historic Site. After a draft of this transcript was made, the park provided a copy to the interviewee and requested that he or she return the transcript with any corrections or modifications that he or she wished to be included in the final transcript. The interviewer, or in some cases another qualified staff member, also reviewed the draft and compared it to the tape recordings. The corrections and other changes suggested by the interviewee and interviewer have been incorporated into this final transcript. The transcript follows as closely as possible the walmart money card number interview, including the usual starts, stops, and other rough spots in typical conversation. The reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written, word. Stylistic matters, such as punctuation and capitalization, follow the Chicago Manual of Style, 14th edition. The transcript includes bracketed notices at the end of one tape and the beginning of the next so that, if desired, the reader can find a section of tape more easily by using this transcript. Petey Childers and Jim Williams reviewed the draft of this transcript. Their corrections were incorporated into this final transcript by Perky Beisel in summer 2000. A grant from Eastern National Park and Monument Association funded the transcription and final editing of this interview.
RESTRICTIONResearchers may read, quote from, cite, and photocopy this transcript without permission for ing 360 capital one login of research only. Publication is prohibited, however, without permission from the Superintendent, Harry S Truman National Historic Site. ABSTRACT
“Petey” Childers [26 December 1912—5 March 1997] owned and operated a pharmacy in Independence, Missouri, for approximately fifty-five years. As a pharmacist, he served the Trumans, Dr. Charles Allen, and many other notable Independence residents with ties to the Trumans. Childers discusses life in Depression-era Independence, Truman’s presidential inauguration, and later visits by Bess W. Truman after the Truman’s retirement from political life. Childers ends with a discussion of his brother-in-law, Paul Henning, a screenwriter, the local neighborhood, and the renovation of his home which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Persons mentioned: Arch Waggoner, George Porterfield Wallace, Harry S Truman, Bess W. Truman, Charles Allen, Buddy Childers, Jim Therkells, Wallace H. Graham, Stanley Green, Margaret Truman Daniel, Mary Childers, E. Clifton Daniel, Jr., Jim Pendergast, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Paul C. Ford, C. Roy Layland, Eugene W. Theiss, Harold V. Starr, Charles C. Bundschu, Frank W. Rucker, William Southern, Ellis Tyler, Charles D. Buckley, Nat D. Jackson, George Dodsworth, Floyd Warr, Dorsy Lou Warr, Alben Barkley, Homer Clemens, Roger T. Sermon, Robert P. Weatherford, Valeria LaMere, Grace Choplin, Eleanor Choplin, Louis “Polly” Compton, Robert Hart, Lawrence M. Proctor, Charlie Allis, Thomas G. Melton, Norine Allen, Barbara Allen Gard, Mike Westwood, Bill Bradley, George Carson, Drusilla Childers, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Paul Henning, and Bubby Ebsen.
ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW WITHHSTR INTERVIEW #1991-19
A. LAYLE “PETEY” CHILDERS
JIM WILLIAMS: This is an oral history interview with Petey Childers. We’re at his
house in Independence, Missouri, on the afternoon of August 13, 1991.
The interviewer is Jim Williams from the National Park Service, and
Leslie Hagensen from the National Park Service is running the
I’d like to thank you for letting us come by this afternoon.
Could you tell me a little bit about your background? Are you a native
PETEY CHILDERS: I was born in Kansas City, but I moved out to Independence when I
was about a year old.
WILLIAMS: When was that?
CHILDERS: In 1913, and I’ve lived here ever since.
WILLIAMS: How long has your family been in this area?
CHILDERS: First, they came from Kentucky to Cincinnati, St. Louis, and to Weston,
Missouri, then they moved to Kansas City, and my dad went to work for the
Standard Oil Company after we moved out to Independence.
WILLIAMS: Up in Sugar Creek?
CHILDERS: No, we lived in Independence, but he worked in Sugar Creek for the
Standard Oil Company.
WILLIAMS: Where did you go to school?
CHILDERS: I went to the Kansas City College of Pharmacy, which is now the
University of Missouri, Kansas City, and I attended William Jewell
[College] for a year. I bought a drugstore the following summer, and I’ve
been in the business. . My brother was a pharmacist, and so I bought a
half interest in a drugstore with my brother, and it was tough times. That
was ’32, I believe, and everybody was broke. The banks closed up. It was
a very rough time to be in business. But the following year, we started a
pharmacy in the First National Bank, exclusively prescriptions. We had no
money, but we had one drug firm that believed in us and let us have enough
stock to start the store. It was quite an experience, but we had enthusiasm,
and that’s the greatest word in the world.
WILLIAMS: Where did you live growing up here in town?
CHILDERS: You know where the Allis-Chalmers plant is?
CHILDERS: Well, it belonged to the Mormon Church, and we were members of the
Mormon Church, so we rented that property. I think there were ten or
twelve acres in it, but on the very end of it, next to Cottage Avenue, was a
plow factory—they actually made plows—and we farmed that. You know,
we had a barn, we had a cow and a smokehouse and pigs, and a little
German family lived up on the far corner, and they had a little garden. But
it was like being raised on a farm. We milked and. . I was just a little
boy, I think about four. We’d churn the butter, you know? I learned so
much. We had a cook stove, and there was always a pot east and west egg necklace beans and
potatoes, a piece of salt pork on the back of the stove, and we ate out of the
garden. It was quite an experience. But we did have a bathtub. No running
water. We had a cistern. We had to carry the water to the bathtub, and it
was made out of tin. I was a little boy, and it sloped down like this, you
know. I could get up there and slide down that, you know? But when the
bath was over, why, you went outside and pulled the plug, and it ran out
into the garden. Nothing was wasted.
WILLIAMS: So that was down on Pacific?
CHILDERS: Pacific and Pleasant.
WILLIAMS: Not far from the Bingham-Waggoner House?
CHILDERS: Just a block. When I was a little boy, on Sunday afternoons, why, I’d run
off up to the Waggoner house because they sometimes had children up
there, you know, and we’d go up and play on the front porch. I remember
one time Mr. Waggoner invited us in to hear the music box. You’ve heard
of the big music box they had? And they had to hold up each one of us 1st financial federal credit union routing number the mechanics work, you know, but it was quite a thrill.
WILLIAMS: And the Waggoner-Gates mill was still running then.
CHILDERS: Yes, it was, and when I went to. . I went to Noland School, but gradually
we moved up on South Pleasant Street by that time, and to go to school we
always went down the alley and across the railroad track, and there was the
big mill, you know, and the office on the right-hand side. And they baked
bread every day to test their flour, and occasionally Arch Waggoner would
come out and throw a loaf of bread to us kids. It was hot, you know? But
he was such a nice person.
WILLIAMS: Did you have any contact with the Gates or the Waggoner part of. . .
CHILDERS: No, not at all, except I remember that when the young Waggoner boy was
killed in World War I, Mrs. Waggoner made a gift to the Christian church, I
think it was, of $10,000. If I saw them at the Waggoner house when I was
in there, I don’t remember.
WILLIAMS: Did you know the Wallaces?
CHILDERS: No. I knew George Wallace—that’s the brother-in-law of Mrs. Truman. I
worked in the drugstore, and Mr. Wallace would come by and buy
cigarettes. A tall, handsome fellow. A neat dresser! Oh, he was a
WILLIAMS: How did you become interested in pharmacy?
CHILDERS: Well, hopping cars, and I worked in the drugstore, and then I finally got to
jerking sodas. At 2 timothy 3 1 5 sermon, I waited on the tables, and then I got to jerk the
sodas, and then I got to clerking. My brother went to pharmacy school, and
he was working as a pharmacist in one of the other stores and I asked him
to get me a job. And he said, “Get your own job.” And so one of the boys
came by the house one day, or down to the yard—we were playing—and he
said, “They’re going to hire a kid to hop cars. Would you like to try?” And
I said, “Sure.” I ran all the way up there. I was bare-footed, in overalls,
you know? No shirt. And this big, tall, blue-eyed man, curly hair—oh, he
was a handsome brute—I had to look up like this at him, you know?
[chuckling] And he said, “You can have the job.” And then he told me
about “if you’re five minutes early, you’ll never be late.” Well, being a kid,
I was halfway home before I figured it out. He also told me that if I did 10
percent more work and 10 percent better work that I’d get a raise.
[chuckling] Well, that first night I worked myself to death. I wanted that
raise. Well, I got it the second night.
WILLIAMS: Oh, that was quick.
CHILDERS: So I’ve been. . That was what I was supposed to do is. . and I’ve done it
all my life.
WILLIAMS: Was that at a drugstore?
CHILDERS: Yes, sir.
WILLIAMS: Which one?
CHILDERS: That was at the Crown Drugstore, but it was previously the Clinton
Pharmacy where Mr. Truman dusted bottles.
WILLIAMS: So they had carhops then?
CHILDERS: Not at Clintons, but they did when the Crown came in. It was a chain
organization, a young chain, and they wanted every nickel that they could
get, you know.
WILLIAMS: So the cars would just park out there in front?
CHILDERS: Angle park, you know? And I’d run out and see if I could serve them, then
bring it out on a tray and hook it on the door or the window. But I didn’t
know a chocolate malt and a chocolate malted milk were the same thing
because I’d never had one.
WILLIAMS: You didn’t spend much time in the drugstores?
CHILDERS: No. No, when my brother got paid when he worked at the confectionery,
why, I’d have a Swiss chocolate sundae when he got paid. That’s the
extent of being in a drugstore or pharmacy to know what things were.
WILLIAMS: And how old did you say you were when you started this?
CHILDERS: Twelve or thirteen. I think I was thirteen, because I had just finished my
second class in Scouts and was working on first class. I had swimming
done and first aid, but then I got this job and I went to work on the Fourth
of July. So that ended my scouting because I worked at nights, you know,
and the scouts met in the evening.
WILLIAMS: Did you work all through high school then?
CHILDERS: Oh, yes. As soon as I got out of school I ran to work, and was so thankful I
had a job.
WILLIAMS: Spirit airlines phone number usa worked at the same place?
WILLIAMS: Right there at the corner of Main. . .
CHILDERS: Until. . let’s see, until ’31, I think. I worked there until ’31. Then my
brother had this drugstore, so I worked in the drugstore, and then I went to
WILLIAMS: When did you graduate from pharmacy school?
CHILDERS: I didn’t graduate from pharmacy school. This has been sixty years ago, and
if you were. . You had to attend school one year, then you were qualified
to take the state examination. And I qualified.
WILLIAMS: And your first drugstore, where was that at?
CHILDERS: On West Maple, 216 West Maple [see appendix, item 1]. Then we had
another pharmacy in 1933 in the First National Bank. My brother and I
worked there for twenty years or more, and I sold it. I retired for five years
and decided I’d go back into business, you know, but. . [interview
interrupted and tape turned off]
WILLIAMS: I guess we were talking about you retired and then came back into the
CHILDERS: I came back in business in ’56 in Englewood, and I retired last October.
WILLIAMS: Just 1990?
CHILDERS: Nineteen ninety. Yes, 1990.
WILLIAMS: So you have been a pharmacist in Independence for. . .
CHILDERS: All those years. I don’t know whether. . .
WILLIAMS: Almost sixty years.
CHILDERS: Almost sixty, about fifty-five, I’d say.
WILLIAMS: Was the First National Bank. . is that where Dr. Allen’s office was?
CHILDERS: That’s where Dr. Allen’s office was, and he was the nicest person. Gee, he
was. . and he worked himself to death, he really did. Those were the days
that the doctors made house calls, and I remember one time—it was
probably one or two o’clock in the morning—during the war, and my
brother and I. . I remember we went to work about twenty minutes to six.
The doctors had called us at home. There was an epidemic on, and the
older pharmacists who had the flu and didn’t open their stores. . and the
other one didn’t care, you know. I have to watch what I say?
WILLIAMS: It’s up to you.
CHILDERS: Yes. Anyway, Dr. Allen would be out in the stormy weather making house
calls, and he’d call in. I remember one night somebody was vomiting and
he said, “And send a bottle of ginger ale with your prescriptions.” And I
said, “Dr. Allen, I have no idea where to get a bottle of ginger ale at two
o’clock in the morning.” He says, “Damn it, get it.” And I got it. I called
one of my friends and got a bottle of ginger ale. Now, those were the days
when everybody cared, you know? Even the fellow I called got out of bed
to get it, and he said, “This is no time to party.” And I said, “No, this is an
emergency.” [chuckling] Those were the interesting things. But Dr. Allen
was. . Gee whiz, I know that he made. . Office calls were a dollar during
the Depression days, and they’d be lined up down the hall. So would the
other doctors’ [offices], you know.
WILLIAMS: How was the pharmacy business different back in the thirties and forties?
CHILDERS: Well, we did more compounding. We have these preparations today that
come already prepared, but in those days we weighed it out on the scales
and took the mortar and pestle and ground it up, and had the vehicle to
make it taste good, you know? It was quite a job. And not everything, but
just about everything. . that was about the time that things were coming
on the market that were prepared. But we did that for many years. And the
baby prescriptions, there were little powders that you dissolved in the milk
or the water, and that was all handwork. You had to grind it up and weigh
it on the scale and grind it up and mark it off in little squares so you could
get it. . And you had papers about three inches square that you’d rake off
one on each square and then fold it into a box, you know. That’s the way it
WILLIAMS: First of first financial bank texas customer service number, what was your brother’s name?
CHILDERS: Buddy Childers. That’s what he was known by.
WILLIAMS: How did you get your nickname?
CHILDERS: Well, this is difficult for you to believe, but I was raised in a Catholic
neighborhood, and I was such a good little baby that. . They had studied
about Saint Peter, and they called me Peter for a while, and then they kind
of cut it short and called me Petey. My wife doesn’t believe that today, but
that’s the story. [chuckling]
WILLIAMS: Because you were like Saint Peter?
CHILDERS: Yes, I was good.
WILLIAMS: Did your drugstore then have can i open a hdfc bank account online soda fountain and all that stuff?
CHILDERS: Oh, no, no, it was strictly. . The drugstore originally had one, but we
finally got rid of the drugstore, and we were both employed at the
pharmacy. Just prescriptions. We didn’t carry baby food. We didn’t carry
anything. . I think we carried Merthiolate or some of those first aid things,
gauze and bandages and things like that.
WILLIAMS: So it’s not like the Watt 60 up there now?
CHILDERS: Oh, my goodness sakes, no! Everything was. . it was all medicine and
things that. . Well, to give you an instance how things first national bank independence mo changed:
those liquid prescriptions, the highest price that I remember was $1.50.
Most of them were $1, $1.25, and the ointments were 75 cents to $1. And I
remember ophthalmic ointments cost us 17 cents, and we sold them for 35
cents. Now, that’s an item that was very important because it was for your
eyes. Now that same ingredient, same tube of medicine, same identical
printing and everything, now costs $4.20 a tube wholesale. So you see how
things have changed. These are things that are difficult for me to
comprehend, you know.
WILLIAMS: That’s quite a big difference.
CHILDERS: Quite a difference.
WILLIAMS: What’s your first recollection of the Trumans?
CHILDERS: Well, he was a judge across the street from our shop in the make a credit card payment capital one. The
courthouse is still up on the square, you know. But it was always. . some
of them called him Mr. Truman, but as the judge you’d say, “Morning,
Judge,” hardly say his last name, you know. But he was kind and nice and
polite to everyone.
WILLIAMS: And I guess since you worked right around there most of the time, you
would see him quite a bit?
CHILDERS: Yes, quite often.
WILLIAMS: Even as working over at the. . .
CHILDERS: Yes, but the most interesting part was when he became senator in 1933—
isn’t that what we discussed?—and he would come from the senate first national bank independence mo the
vacation and he would take his walk from 216 [North Delaware Street],
uptown and around the square, you know, and he would come in the bank
building. The lobby was open in the evening because some of the doctors
still were working, and he would say hello to the elevator man, Jim
Therkells, the colored man, and it just tickled Jim to death, you know. And
he would wave, if we were not busy, as he went out the door. But he was
always polite and friendly and never wanted you to think that he was
WILLIAMS: Did you know Mrs. Truman back then?
CHILDERS: Yes. Later when I opened the pharmacy out in Englewood, Mrs. Truman
would call for a few things. Then one day she came in the store for
something for her teeth, and I waited on her, and she had the Secret Service
with her, you know, there. They bothered the Trumans because they were
always in the road, you know? And Mrs. Truman had blue eyes and that
white hair, and she had the most beautiful robin egg blue coat you had ever
seen. It was fall, you know. Oh, she was. . could you say, a beautiful
lady or a handsome lady?
WILLIAMS: Were they customers of yours all this time?
CHILDERS: Yes. And then when Mr. Truman took ill, why, we serviced that, and when
Mrs. Truman was ill, we took care of that.
WILLIAMS: Who was their family doctor?
CHILDERS: Better cut it off while I think a minute.
LESLIE HAGENSEN: Wallace Graham.
CHILDERS: Wallace Graham, sure. Sure. Wallace has been to our house here, you
know. But he was a jolly good fellow, and he took care of them. But Dr.
Graham was the old school, you know, and I remember he called up one
day, and I think it was Mr. Truman or Mrs. Truman had some mucous in
their throat, and he said, “I’ve done everything. They’re using the bulb
syringe to pull it out.” He said, “Is there anything that might help?” He
said, “You’ve got to help me.” I said okay. Walmart money card number there was an old product
that I remembered back years ago that was called glycothymaline, and it
helped remove the mucous. But that’s the kind of doctor he was. “Can you
help me?” Wasn’t that nice?
WILLIAMS: Is that what you mean by “the old school”?
CHILDERS: Yes, he was of the old school, because he was not quite as old as Mr.
Truman, of course.
WILLIAMS: You mentioned to me on the phone about Mr. Truman coming in and
getting a prescription.
CHILDERS: Oh, yes! It was a Thursday afternoon, and it was miserable, and there
wasn’t a car on the street. It was 1933, and times were rugged, and he had
been up to see the eye and nose and throat man, Dr. Stanley Green. And he
came down, and he had a prescription and bought an atomizer, too—I
remember it so well, like it was yesterday—and he paid $3.85. But he paid
us. And then he said. . he thanked us, and he said, “You boys are doing a
nice job.” That did it.
WILLIAMS: And he gave you a five-dollar bill.
CHILDERS: A five-dollar bill. We had change for that five-dollar bill. But many times
we didn’t have change, and my brother would keep them in conversation,
you know, and I’d take the five and run around the corner to the bank. See,
we were right in the. . The lobby was just outside our door. And get the
change and come back and nobody would know that we didn’t have change
for it. [chuckling] And another thing, many times in the evening when the
doctors would go out to make a house call—it was $3, yes—and many
times they hadn’t taken any money, and they didn’t have any money, and
they’d come down and borrow $2 so they would have change for a five. I
had two or three of them do that. We were all in the same boat, and nobody
knew we were poor, you know?
WILLIAMS: So people just didn’t have cash during the Depression?
CHILDERS: No, no cash. Gosh.
WILLIAMS: How would they pay you?
CHILDERS: Well, some of them paid with chicken, butter, eggs, you know, or would
offer to do sewing. I couldn’t allow that because Mrs. Childers won a prize
in high school, you know, and that would be wrong. [chuckling] But they
were on WPA [Works Progress Administration] and all those things that
brought in a little money.
WILLIAMS: What did you do with all the chickens and butter and eggs?
CHILDERS: Took them home and ate it. That was part of our living, you know?
WILLIAMS: And I guess the Trumans never paid that way.
CHILDERS: No, they paid, but they always paid.
CHILDERS: Cash. And then when I moved out to. . when I was out in Englewood,
why, they ran a regular account if they needed a few things. But the most
interesting thing with the Trumans was when the first grandchild came. I
remember sending out some storybooks, and then as they came. christmas tree in the park san jose.. I think
Margaret had four [children], I’m not sure, and each time they’d all come
home—they were still babies, you know—I’d send out these storybooks to
them. My daughter Mary that teaches school here would censor the books
that I bought so that I wouldn’t offend anybody and they’d be educational.
WILLIAMS: We have several of those books still at the house.
CHILDERS: Oh, have you really?
WILLIAMS: And they have your drugstore name imprinted on there, and I was just
wondering how those got into the house.
CHILDERS: That’s how they got into the house.
WILLIAMS: So you would just send those along with the prescription?
CHILDERS: Send them along with the prescription, or anything that they ordered.
WILLIAMS: Would you do that with everybody who you first national bank independence mo had children?
CHILDERS: Oh, sure. That was public relations, you know, and that was important
because my smile, I don’t think, convinced very many people to come back
and come back. But when I was a small boy, I had typhoid fever and. . .
Am I boring you?
WILLIAMS: No, not at all.
CHILDERS: Well, these are things that. . I’ve got to have a drink of water.
WILLIAMS: Okay. [tape is turned off] Where is that in Colorado?
CHILDERS: At Estes Park, nine miles up in the mountains at 9,200 feet, and it’s in a
little valley, and behind us is Long’s Peak. It looks like it’s in the backyard,
but it’s eight miles. And across the street, just immediately across the
street, is this Twin Sisters Mountain. It’s 11,000 feet high, and the most
beautiful view in the world. Flowers everywhere. Flowers everywhere.
But knowing you all work for the National Park [Service], we have some
acreage. . We have two forties that border the national park.
WILLIAMS: Rocky Mountain National Park?
CHILDERS: Yes, and we’d like for the park to have it, even free food festival nyc a gift or something. We
talked to Mr. Thompson out there several times, but when the Reagans
went in they killed everything.
WILLIAMS: Yes, I know the rest of that story. They probably said they didn’t want it or
couldn’t take it or something.
CHILDERS: Well, I guess they couldn’t get a rake-off or something, I don’t know.
You’re always suspicious, you know? But that’s Colorado.
WILLIAMS: So you offered it to the park?
CHILDERS: Yes, we offered it to the park, but they said they could not maintain it
because they did not have any money. And it’s a natural place. It has three
small streams on it, beaver ponds, moose, elk, deer. You can see all of
them. And I have a salt lick in the yard out there, and you can just see them
there all the time.
WILLIAMS: It sounds like a really nice place.
CHILDERS: And those elk are huge animals!
WILLIAMS: How long have you owned that?
CHILDERS: Forty-five years, I guess, something like that.
WILLIAMS: Is that before the park was there?
CHILDERS: Oh, no, the park was there in 1926 or 1927. But this was some acreage that
ran along Number 7 Highway, but the park is just directly behind us.
WILLIAMS: Well, what were we talking about? Oh, the storybooks and things.
CHILDERS: Oh, yes. Well, I went to one of the Truman Awards. I was on the Truman
Award committee, and we were up at the library, and Mr. Daniel I had
never met. But he’s such a handsome fellow, I didn’t forget him, you
know. And we walked down the hall, and I ran into him and I said, “I’m
Petey Childers, Mr. Daniel. I’m pleased to meet you.” [He said,] “The
storybook man.” Wasn’t that nice?
WILLIAMS: That’s how he recognized you.
CHILDERS: That’s how. . I’m the storybook man, I’m not the pharmacist, you know?
[chuckling] But that tickled me, really.
WILLIAMS: So apparently he’d been reading some of your books.
CHILDERS: Well, I think that he probably had read to four kids the stories. [chuckling]
WILLIAMS: What did you think when Mr. Truman became president?
CHILDERS: I think it was the most wonderful thing in the world. I believed in him.
Why I believed, he didn’t take money when it was offered to him. With the
contractors on the road construction in eastern Jackson County—you’ve
read the story, seen it on television, but it was a true story. Mr. Pendergast
wanted to give it to his henchmen, or friends, you might say, and Mr.
Truman said there was no way. I think it was a Kansan construction
company that he awarded it to, because we wanted roads, not for somebody
to take the county for money. So that was most admirable of Mr. Truman.
And when he became president. . He was vice president, and they said if
something happens to Mr. Roosevelt, he becomes president. Well, it
happened. Well, everybody was in a shock, but we believed that he was a
natural-born leader, and we knew that he would do a good job. First national bank independence mo think the
almighty God had a part in his decisions and things like that.
WILLIAMS: Do you know when this picture was taken? Can you explain it [see
appendix, item 2]?
CHILDERS: No, and this is something I’d like for you to do, because I have the best
intentions in the world, you know, but I don’t follow through. Every photo
that’s taken should amery wi restaurants a date on the back of it, and it should be put on
when they’re processed. Now, can you get that moving? [chuckling]
WILLIAMS: You want a law passed or something?
CHILDERS: Well, they don’t necessarily have to have a law passed. If we get one
company to do it, like Eastman [Kodak], the rest of them would follow suit.
WILLIAMS: Yes, that’s a good idea.
CHILDERS: It’s so beneficial, you know? But this picture. . .
WILLIAMS: Do you know all the people in this?
CHILDERS: Yes, sir.
WILLIAMS: Can you go from left to right here in the back row?
CHILDERS: Yes, sir. That’s Paul Ford, he was with the Gas Company; that’s Petey
Childers; that’s Roy Layland, the banker at the Chrisman Sawyer Bank; this
is Dr. [Eugene] Theiss, he was a veterinarian; that’s Mr. Starr, he was
secretary of the chamber of commerce; this is C.C. Bundschu. The
Bundschu family had a big department store here—wonderful people. And
this is Mr. Rucker, who was editor and partner with Mr. Southern in the
Examiner; and this is Ellis Tyler, who had a gift shop; and this is Mr.
Buckley, he was an insurance man; and that’s Nat Jackson, he was
secretary of the chamber of commerce and treasurer, I think; and that’s
George Dodsworth, who was president of the chamber of commerce at that
time; and of course Mr. Truman. And that’s just the way he was.
WILLIAMS: And you were sitting in his backyard?
CHILDERS: We were sitting in. . It’s the side yard, isn’t it?
WILLIAMS: Well, the side, yes. Off to the side of the back porch.
CHILDERS: Yes, on the north side, isn’t it?
WILLIAMS: On the north, yes.
CHILDERS: Yes, I remember, and the grass wasn’t too long or too short either.
WILLIAMS: Was he president then?
CHILDERS: He was vice president. I believe he was vice president, but I’m not sure.
He could have been a senator, but I thought he was vice president.
WILLIAMS: So you were involved in the chamber of commerce?
CHILDERS: Yes, I was a vice president of it.
WILLIAMS: Was he involved? How did you get to their house that day, do you know?
CHILDERS: Well, we were invited. The chamber called and told us to be there, and we
were there. That’s a nice-looking straw hat. [chuckling]
WILLIAMS: Did you have much contact with the Truman family when he was president,
when they were home? Did you ever go to Washington or anything like
CHILDERS: Well, we went to the inauguration. But I was trying to remember, one of
the boys that worked for me, Floyd Warr, married one of Margaret’s friends
WILLIAMS: Dorsy Lou. . .
CHILDERS: Dorsy Lou Warr. And we were invited to the wedding at the Baptist
Church. They had it at the Baptist Church, and Margaret sang. Her voice
was very sweet and enjoyable.
[End #4360; Begin #4361] [Continuing story from gap between tape changes]
CHILDERS: He tapped on the window with his cane—a walking stick, I guess it was—
and invited me in to inspect the Buicks. Well, they had a trunk in the back
with leather straps on it, you know, and he put me in the front seat.
[chuckling] Of course, I couldn’t see over the dashboard, you know. It had
vases in the back, and I remember looking up at him, and I said, “Someday
when I get rich, I’ll buy a Buick.” And I’ve bought them, and I’ve driven
them ever since. [chuckling]
WILLIAMS: Really? Just Buicks, huh?
CHILDERS: Yes, sir.
WILLIAMS: Well, we interrupted you in the middle of a story about Dorsy Lou Warr’s
CHILDERS: Yes, we were invited to the wedding, and Margaret sang at the wedding,
and she had a very sweet voice, the kind you like to listen to. It wasn’t too
strong. It was just what you like to hear.
WILLIAMS: You said you went to the inauguration?
WILLIAMS: What was that like?
CHILDERS: Well, that was a dream. . A dream.
WILLIAMS: Was that the inauguration when he was vice president or president?
CHILDERS: When he was president. There was a group from Independence, and I’ve
got some pictures I’ll show you after while. We were the youngest people.
Can you imagine us young? We were young. And we went along with
them. Fortunately, and unfortunately for a friend of ours who couldn’t
make the inauguration, so we got to get his ticket to go. Judge Curley, he
had a case in federal court and just could not attend, so we filled in. We
had a sleeper, you know, not a compartment. The compartments were filled
with Independence people. I might say people of means, you know?
WILLIAMS: And that wasn’t you?
CHILDERS: First national bank independence mo. But I learned such a lesson. Sears home repair customer service phone number were so nice to us. They would
have us in their compartments, and we played poker. We did a little
nibbling every once in a while. But they didn’t treat us as fellow travelers.
We were treated as guests. Quite a lesson.
WILLIAMS: What was the inauguration ceremony and all of that like?
CHILDERS: Oh, it was wonderful. It was as cold as it could be. It was really cold, and
we, I think, were four or five rows back from the big platform, and we
listened to every word. And it really was cold but we were dressed pretty
WILLIAMS: Was there a reception or anything?
CHILDERS: Oh, yes, they had dinners for Mr. Truman and for Mr. [Alben] Barkley.
You know, they called it the “Truman dinner” and the “Barkley,” the vice
president. The dinner was $35 each, and Mr. Barkley was $25 because it
was a less expensive hotel, because they were all filled with celebrities, you
know. I remember the president’s dinner just like it was yesterday. We had
eight at the table, and we had two waiters, and we had champagne. You
didn’t take a taste out that it wasn’t filled again. I’ll tell you, they were
most generous and kind to us all, you know. That’s one time I kind of
chickened out. I went down on the dance floor, and I wanted to dance with
Margaret, and I didn’t have enough spunk to intervene because there were
several handsome fellows around her, you know, and I. . I kind of
regretted that, you know? But we had a nice time, and we had two or three
receptions while we were there. One was at the Seiferts’ apartment at the
Mayflower. Now, Seiferts make candy, you know, and they were most
generous. I think they lived across the street from the William Chrisman
High School when she was going to school here. Very nice people, very
nice. Another one was Judge Bundschu. Now, he was a Republican, you
know, but he and Mr. Truman were buddies, and they had a reception there,
and somewhere else I can’t recall. But those were the most. . .
WILLIAMS: Did you get treated any differently because you were from Independence?
CHILDERS: No, I don’t think we did. But we were recognized, I’ll tell you that. It was
quite a deal. And going up on the train, we were up in the mountains or
somewhere in Virginia or somewhere, maybe. . Do you go through
mountains or something?
CHILDERS: I think we did. Anyway, the train broke in two, and it scooted on down a
couple of miles or so. It was quite a grade, but it was stopped. We were in
the front compartment, you know, front part of the train, and we stopped at
this station, and it was smoked up. It was terrible. We thought we’d get a
cup of coffee, but, gosh, it was like eating soot because it was all over you.
And they finally backed down and made the connection and pulled them
back on. They had the Gutenberg Bible on the train, and they had two
bodyguards—Mr. Rucker was one, and Homer Clemens—Mr. Clemens
just died here recently, he was ninety-some-odd years old—and they took
turns. One would go to lunch. The other would stay with the Bible,
because it was a very expensive thing. Once I got to hold the Bible while
Mr. Rucker relieved himself, I think it was. [chuckling]
WILLIAMS: Were you ever at the White House?
CHILDERS: Half of Independence, on the south side of the square and South Main
Street, caught fire and burned up. And the next morning we were to go to
the White House for a tour by Mr. Truman. Well, the mayor was so brokeup,
that killed it. That man actually cried.
WILLIAMS: When was this?
CHILDERS: While we were at the inauguration.
WILLIAMS: So there was a big fire here in Independence?
CHILDERS: Independence, yes. And I know that our son was at home, and we got a
telegram from him. [chuckling] It said, “It was a hot time in the old town
WILLIAMS: So did you all rush back here?
CHILDERS: No, we finally soothed him down. It took quite a bit of soothing, but we
missed the appointment at the White House.
WILLIAMS: Who was the mayor then?
CHILDERS: Mayor Sermon. He was mayor here for thirty years or more.
WILLIAMS: The first Roger T.
CHILDERS: Roger T., yes.
WILLIAMS: When the Trumans came back from the White House and retired here, how
were they different as people?
CHILDERS: They weren’t any different than when they left.
WILLIAMS: That was a trick question.
CHILDERS: Why, it was a trick question, but they were just the same people. Gosh,
they weren’t the kind to change. Mrs. Truman, I think, was kind of bored
with all the finery and put-on, I think, is probably what she would say, you
know, about all of Washington and all the stuff that went on up there. But
she was just the same. She did have her bridge club up there one time,
WILLIAMS: To the White House?
CHILDERS: To the White House, yes, and very nice.
WILLIAMS: What kinds of contact did you have with Mr. Truman when he retired?
CHILDERS: Well, one night he was invited to Sertoma Club, and I was the greeter, you
know. Mr. Truman was one of those punctual people, too, if you recall, and
he was there among the first. And I shook hands, and we walked into the
bar, and I said. . I don’t know whether I said, “Mr. Truman.” I probably
did, instead of “President Truman.” I don’t remember. But I said, “Can I
buy you a drink?” He said, “You sure can.” He had bourbon and water,
and I had scotch and water. But he was a down-to-earth fellow.
WILLIAMS: Would you see him around town at other events like that?
CHILDERS: Once in a while. Not too often. I think he enjoyed resting and working on
his book, but he always had time to stop and shake hands with people.
Always had a kind word for everybody.
WILLIAMS: Were you involved with the Truman Library, it’s building or. . .?
CHILDERS: No, but my friend Mr. Weatherford, who was mayor at that time, and he
and Mr. Truman decided where to put the library—recommended, you
know. And you’ve probably read the story many times, but Mr. Truman
wanted it in Independence. And I think it’s a beautiful site. Not flashy.
It’s their personality, you know?
WILLIAMS: And how much contact would you have with Mrs. Truman?
CHILDERS: Only to wait on her when she came in the drugstore and call on the
telephone to order something.
WILLIAMS: So she would come into the store sometimes?
CHILDERS: Oh, yes, she’d been in the store several times. But I remember that one
instance with the blue coat.
WILLIAMS: Was she a good customer?
CHILDERS: Yes. Never asked for any service that anybody else wouldn’t ask for, and
never, “Can I have it right away?” It was always, “Thank you, Mr.
WILLIAMS: When they would call up and ask you to deliver. . .
CHILDERS: Well, you knew to deliver. That was my business to know my customers,
you know, and to know their voice.
WILLIAMS: How would you deliver it to the house?
CHILDERS: Well, we had delivery cars. We had three delivery cars.
WILLIAMS: Would you drive up to the front door or around to the back?
CHILDERS: Well, Mary, our daughter—I wish she was here because she made a
delivery for me. See, Mary was teaching school—not at the private school
where she is now, but public school—and whenever I’d get in a jam or
anything, if one of the delivery boys didn’t show up or something columbia national bank nj Mary
was out of school, she would help me. And she took a delivery one night.
We were so used to going in the driveway, you know, off of Truman Road,
and I think that that was about the time that they installed the burglar alarm
and television or something. And that was quite a shock to Mary because
she had never run into it before, and the Secret Service man came right to
the car. Then I had another delivery boy that was acquainted with the
Secret Service, and he took him through the house. Mrs. Truman was ill
upstairs, but somehow or other, he had made so many trips, and this fellow
took a liking to him, I guess, and said, “Would you like to see the Truman
WILLIAMS: Did you ever have to call ahead to the Secret Service or anything when you
were making a delivery?
CHILDERS: No. No. No.
WILLIAMS: They knew you were coming?
CHILDERS: They knew we were coming, or I presume that they had a listening device
on the telephone or something. They always knew we were there. Many
times they’d meet you, and then take it across the street for us.
WILLIAMS: So you wouldn’t always deliver it to the home yourself?
CHILDERS: No. No, after they were ill. . After they put in the alarm and television,
we would deliver it across the street to the Secret Service.
WILLIAMS: On the phone you were telling me about Mrs. Truman keeping track of the
CHILDERS: Oh, yes. Mrs. Truman called up one day and she said, “Mr. Childers, a man
is trimming the trees and he has poison ivy, and he’s scratching so much he
can’t get much work done. Would you send me something for him?” And
of course, knowing that Mrs. Truman was watching her pennies—she
wanted a day’s work for a day’s pay, you know—and so I sent something
out for him. The first of the month rolled around, and Mrs. Truman called
and she wanted to talk to the bookkeeper, and it was my sister. And she
said, “I don’t understand my bill.” She said, “What’s this item down here?”
And my sister spoke to me, and I said, “Tell Mrs. Truman that that was the
medicine for the tree trimmer that had the itching.” “Oh,” she said, “I’m so
embarrassed. I’m so embarrassed.” But she was watching those pennies.
WILLIAMS: So was that the standard practice? You’d send her a bill every month?
CHILDERS: Oh, yes, and it would come back in one of those envelopes that said “Bess
Truman” on it.
WILLIAMS: And this one is addressed to Petey Childers Drugs.
WILLIAMS: 10900 Winner Road, Independence, Missouri 64052. On the inside. . .
CHILDERS: I don’t know whether there’s anything on the inside or not.
WILLIAMS: Somebody has written “Received 2/8/73.” So she’d just have a check
CHILDERS: Have a check inside there.
WILLIAMS: There’s another envelope, while we’re at it. Can you explain. . .?
CHILDERS: Oh, yes, that’s. . A friend of mine gave me a first edition with Mr.
Truman’s stamp on it. The first day of issue.
WILLIAMS: What kind of medications or things would they order, typically?
CHILDERS: Well, they were all prescription medications. Mr. Truman had a skin
problem, and Mrs. Truman. . They were old people, you understand, and
those things happen when you get old and your skin gets dry, you know.
WILLIAMS: I guess later on, when Mrs. Truman was so ill, you would send quite a lot of
CHILDERS: Oh, quite a lot, even the fortified cans of protein, you know, a lot of that.
But as far as saying what kind of medicine they got, I don’t do that.
WILLIAMS: I understand. Who would take care of the business in her last years?
CHILDERS: Well, I think her companion did. And I was trying to think of her name the
other day, who lived down on West Maple, and if you haven’t interviewed
her, find out who it was.
WILLIAMS: Was that Valeria?
CHILDERS: Valeria, yes.
WILLIAMS: We interviewed her several years ago. I didn’t do it, but someone else. . .
CHILDERS: She was very nice.
WILLIAMS: Would Dr. Graham always be the one to call up and say, “Send something
out,” or was it. . .
CHILDERS: Well, if it was a new medication he would call, yes.
WILLIAMS: But typically who would give you the call in those last years?
CHILDERS: It would be a refill on the prescriptions that they were continuously using,
and Dr. Graham would call from the home. If he was at the home, he’d call
from the home to the pharmacy.
WILLIAMS: Would the nurses there ever call?
CHILDERS: No, they might call and order refills or something like that, but new
prescriptions, Dr. Graham took care of it. Dr. Graham was over here on
that tour when we had that ’84 dinner, you know? And he was in uniform
and wanted to go upstairs. He had been to a reception or something and
wanted to go upstairs and change clothes. So he took care of that, and he
lost a little medal of some kind. Mrs. Graham called me the next day and
said, “Did you find any. . .” I said, “No, but we’ll go home and look.” So,
when I got off work, we came and we combed that bedroom—I mean, on
our hands and knees. It wasn’t very big, but it was some medal that he had.
I never did find it. I think he probably lost it in the car or somewhere. I
didn’t hear from her again. But they were very nice people.
WILLIAMS: Another story you told me on the phone was about Mr. Truman and long
CHILDERS: Oh, yes. You know, he had those grandchildren, boys. They were all boys,
CHILDERS: Yes, and it was the time of the long hair. Well, Mr. Truman didn’t care for
that, but there wasn’t anything Mr. Truman could do about that. He could
order the army out, but he couldn’t control cutting the kids’ hair, you know.
[chuckling] And that just stuck him, you know, that he couldn’t do
anything about that. And to get back to the story about Mr. Truman, he was
over to the podiatrist for his feet. He’d walked so long and so much, you
know, he needed a little attention now and then. And this young salesman
was walking down the hall, and he had. . It was the time of the long hair,
so he had this long hair, and he got about. . oh, just about three or four
feet from Mr. Truman, and recognized him, because Mr. Truman was
getting very thin, you know. And he said, “Good morning, Mr. President.”
And Mr. Truman, always good manners, he said, “Good morning.” He
said, “Boy, you need a haircut.” Well, he was young like you are, you
know. He came across the street from the medical building and [asked],
“Can I use your telephone?” Oh, he was all aflutter, you know.
[chuckling] And he said, “I just said ‘Good morning’ to Mr. Truman,
President Truman, and he said, ‘Boy, you need a haircut.’” He said, “I’m
going to get a haircut.” I thought that was funny.
WILLIAMS: I had a question, and I’ve forgotten it.
CHILDERS: No, you must remember to remember.
WILLIAMS: I will eventually, but in the meantime I’ll ask you, did you deliver to
neighbors around there on Delaware Street?
CHILDERS: Oh, sure. I had a booming business. And I never felt like that I worked, I
had so much fun.
WILLIAMS: If I mention some names, could you tell me what comes to mind, like the
CHILDERS: The Choplins, yes. By the way, she died the other day. And there was a
preacher across the street, Proctor. And let’s see, the Twymans lived down
the street. And I’m trying to think, the Sappers on North Delaware. There
was a colored family that lived way down on Delaware. I remember
delivering to her. Or the Burruses, you know.
WILLIAMS: How about the Comptons?
CHILDERS: No, I never did get to sell to Polly, but he would tarrant county college job postings in the store and buy
something, you know. But he had a. . he could get it cheaper somewhere
WILLIAMS: I’ve heard that, that he was that way.
CHILDERS: Yes. But he did take the Reverend. . Proctor? Not Proctor.
WILLIAMS: The Baptist minister?
CHILDERS: Yes, the Baptist minister.
CHILDERS: He would take him to lunch, and I’ll bet he didn’t leave a tip. He was a
nice person, don’t misunderstand me. He was nice, and he did a lot of nice
things at Christmas time. He had a little shop in his basement, and he made
ornaments and things like that. If you were a very special friend, he made
ice cream, you know. Delicious. I never did get any of it.
WILLIAMS: I think he was good friends with Reverend Hunt.
CHILDERS: Reverend Hunt, that’s who it is. But I never called him Reverend Hunt.
My dad came from Kentucky, and everybody was Preacher Jones or
Preacher Martin or something like that. So, as I grew up, you know—that
was before this doctor stuff came to be—it was always Preacher so-and-so,
and to this day, Preacher Hunt. He would come in on a Monday morning,
and he would have two or three cigar boxes full, and I’d say, “Hi, Preacher
Hunt. How’s the flock?” And he’d say, “Mighty generous, my boy.
Mighty generous.” [chuckling] See I have fun. Do you understand me?
WILLIAMS: That’s great.
CHILDERS: I was up at the Presbyterian church not long ago. Charlie Allis had
celebrated fifty years in scouting, and I just. . It comes out of my mouth
sometimes—it happens to you, I’m sure—without even thinking. I said,
“Preacher Melton, how are you?” [chuckling] Just like I was supposed to.
And he’s got a couple doctorate degrees, you know, but it was Preacher
WILLIAMS: And of course you know Mrs. Allen who lives. . .
CHILDERS: Oh, Mrs. Allen. I’ve talked to her. . if I said thousands of times, that
wouldn’t be enough. Because Dr. Allen, you’d have to get permission on a
prescription, or Dr. Allen didn’t phone it in when he was supposed to phone
it in, and I’d call Mrs. Allen. “I’ll have Doctor call you as soon as he
comes back.” Or, “Doctor left a note,” and she would read it for me, you
know. She’s a dear lady. She had four daughters, or five daughters?
CHILDERS: Four. See, I’m slipping just a little bit, just 20 percent.
WILLIAMS: Well, I’m going to get to talk to Barbie, the youngest daughter. She’s
coming out in a few weeks.
CHILDERS: Oh, is she really? I hope to get to see her.
WILLIAMS: So that’ll be fun.
CHILDERS: Oh, yes.
WILLIAMS: And we’ve already interviewed Mrs. Allen.
CHILDERS: Let’s see, yes, Mrs. Allen. . .
WILLIAMS: And I guess the Watson Methodist Church was across the street on
CHILDERS: Yes, it was. I was trying to think who was the minister at that time. It
wasn’t Shoengert, was it? I don’t remember.
WILLIAMS: Did you go to William Chrisman High School?
CHILDERS: Yes, graduated from William Chrisman High School in 1931. And we’re
planning our sixtieth reunion the twenty-first of September. You know,
most of them have it in the summertime, May or something like that, but
these people are getting old, and they’ve got grandchildren and greatgrandchildren
that are graduating from. . I guess high school or
something, and we thought, well, you’ll never get a crowd together.
They’ve got to take care of all these grandchildren and such. So we moved
it up to September, and we’re going to have it over at the Chiefs banquet
room. It should be nice. We have a nice committee that’s working on it.
And the fact is, we’ve got a meeting coming up Thursday to send out
another letter. We’ve heard from twenty-nine, so that’s pretty good so far,
you know. We expect probably seventy-five or more, and maybe a
WILLIAMS: How big were the graduating classes then?
CHILDERS: Well, I think it was. . I always said 277, but it might have been a little bit
more than that. But as I remember, it was. . Now, why would that stick in
my mind all these years? And people would ask me and I’d say, “Yeah, I
think it was. . .” “No, Pete, it was a little more than that.” And I thought,
“No, I wouldn’t remember 277 if that wasn’t right.” Bullheaded, too, you
know, Irish. Couldn’t give in on that.
WILLIAMS: Well, looking back on your association. . Well, first of all, you were never
actually in the Truman home when they were alive. Is that right?
CHILDERS: No, I was there the first day they opened it.
WILLIAMS: So I guess I can’t ask you what it was like inside back then if you were
never in it.
CHILDERS: No, but I’ll bet it was neat and clean. Yes, it was nice. I was trying to think
of something else that I wanted to tell you about. Oh, Mr. Truman central bank of utah online banking poker over at Polly Compton’s and would always get Mike
[Westwood] to. . You know, we had those dollar bills in packets, you
know, that you just peel off like a checkbook. Have you ever seen them?
CHILDERS: My checkbook’s bangor daily news advertising there. You know what a checkbook is?
CHILDERS: You tear them out just like you. . Well, Mr. Truman always had a packet
of one-dollar bills, and he would sign “Harry S. Truman,” you know. Tear
it out, a souvenir.
WILLIAMS: I never heard that.
CHILDERS: Well, goodness sakes. You’ve never seen me before either. [chuckling]
WILLIAMS: Oh, I wanted you to tell us about getting those pictures while we have the
tape running, the autographed pictures that you have.
CHILDERS: Oh, yes. Mary got hold of Mike Westwood. . These people we’ve known
all our life because we were raised here, you know, and Mike used to be a
policeman, so we knew him very well. We said, “Mary would like to ask
Mike for a picture of Mr. Truman for her schoolhouse,” the private school
that she has. And she was delighted because it’s an eight-by-ten, just like
the one for Mr. Truman, and signed, “To Mary Childers.” She was
delighted. Oh, I mean, way high, you know? And about two weeks later, it
was cold weather. Mr. Truman drove pnc online banking account login and. . Mike was driving, of
course. Mr. Truman was in the car, and Mike said, “Now, boy, this is going
to cost you,” because it wasn’t in a frame, you know, it was rolled up. He
said, “This is going to cost you. You’ve got to get it framed, and that’ll be
$50 at least.” He said, “You’re stuck now.” Plain-talker, you know. So I
knew what it was. He said, “Mr. Truman didn’t think that small picture
was adequate for a schoolhouse. He wanted her to have a nice size one.”
So it was cold weather, and then I went out. I didn’t want Mr. Truman to
lower the glass. It was very cold. I didn’t want him to lower the glass, but I
knocked on the window, and he turned, and I said, “Thank you,” and he
said, “You’re welcome.”
WILLIAMS: And you also have one of Mrs. Truman.
CHILDERS: Oh, yes. I just thought that having served Mrs. Truman and Mr. Truman,
too, it took a little guts for me to mention that, because that was kind of
delicate to me, you know? The housekeeper or companion called up and
ordered some medicine, and I said. . when she finished, I said, “We have
a picture of Mr. Truman, but we don’t have one of Mrs. Truman. We’d
very much like to have one.” She said, “I’ll call you back in a few
minutes.” And it wasn’t but just a minute or two, and she said, “Mrs.
Truman wanted to know what size you wanted.” Now, how nice, you
know? And I’m just. . I’m nobody, you know, just a pharmacist.
WILLIAMS: So you have an eight-by-ten of Mrs. Truman?
CHILDERS: Yes, and it says not “To Petey Childers,” but “For Petey Childers.” Now,
that goes back quite a ways in how people address things, I think.
WILLIAMS: That just reminded me of the question I forgot way back when.
CHILDERS: Great. I’m proud of you.
WILLIAMS: Did she ever send you Christmas cards or did you send her Christmas
CHILDERS: No. No, storybooks was all I ever sent to the house. [chuckling]
WILLIAMS: And you never got any kind of gift or anything?
WILLIAMS: A reward for all those deliveries you made?
CHILDERS: Oh, no, but there was always. . When we’d deliver it to the house, there
was always a “thank you” whenever you handed the package, even to the
Secret Service. It wasn’t not saying anything. They always thanked you.
They were taught nice manners. You know, it’s so important to have nice
manners. It doesn’t cost anything. Gee, you make somebody feel good.
WILLIAMS: I can see why you were a successful businessman. All these things you
CHILDERS: I had fun. I had fun. I made it fun, you know, because the difficult people
that some of the other people didn’t get along with very well or were. . .
they didn’t click, you understand? Those were the kind of people that I
thoroughly enjoyed serving them. I’d make them smile.
WILLIAMS: Well, looking back, how do you think your life would have been different if
you hadn’t known Harry and Bess Truman?
CHILDERS: Well, I would have certainly missed a lot of interesting things. It would
have been sad. Really. Because I had a successful business and maybe I
could have done it without the Trumans, but. . .
[End #4361; Begin #4362]
WILLIAMS: I’m surprised at the things people have that I haven’t seen.
CHILDERS: That was the inauguration.
WILLIAMS: You have a ticket to the Truman-Barkley Club Dinner, on January 18,
CHILDERS: [reading] “Missouri delegation to President Truman’s inauguration.”
WILLIAMS: So you were part of the Missouri delegation.
CHILDERS: Yes, sir. Now, this is the group from Independence. That’s Bill Sermon,
and that’s Mr. Tice—he was an attorney. And if I can remember all these,
that’s Mayor Sermon there, that’s Mrs. Sermon, that’s Mrs. Childers.
Where am I? I’m somewhere in there. That’s Congressman Randall, Bill
Bradley, his wife, and that’s. . I believe that’s Colonel Brady and his wife.
And that was Judge Bundschu’s housekeeper. And I don’t know who this
is. Maybe that’s me back there, I don’t know. But anyway. . .
WILLIAMS: You had to wear tuxedos, huh?
CHILDERS: Oh, yes. Let me tell you another story. Am I wasting your time?
WILLIAMS: No, go right ahead.
CHILDERS: Mrs. Childers had to have a little jacket, a fur jacket. Now, we never had
money, you understand, but we had enough for this trip. It cost $525, total,
and I think that included some of the clothes. But I had to have a silk hat.
Well, if you’ve never bought a silk hat, it’s quite an ordeal. They have a
wooden thing that fits on top of your head, and it has screws all around it,
wooden screws. And they set it above your ears like this, you know, and
screw it in. Is this interesting enough to talk about?
WILLIAMS: Yes, it’s fascinating. It sounds painful, too.
CHILDERS: And they screw that down, you know, until it’s just right, and then they can
flip a thing and there’s a piece of paper. . Of course, I had an egg-shaped
head—you know, egghead? Well, I bought the hat. It was $35. Now, that
was over and above anything else, you know? Because you could rent the
suit for. . I think it was $10 or $12, maybe $15, and the gloves, and I had
black shoes and brown shoes, but black shoes. And then I had these
homburgs—they were the style. I had a brown one and a black one. I’ve
still got them. Still first national bank independence mo the silk hat, too.
WILLIAMS: How many times have you worn it?
CHILDERS: That’s the only time.
WILLIAMS: That’s what I thought.
CHILDERS: It was. But they put it on display once in a while union savings bank com they have
something down at Mr. Truman’s. Do you want to look at something else?
CHILDERS: I think that we were at a dinner or something. . [reading] “Three of the
faithful party from St. Louis.” That’s me and Drusilla. And George Carson
was there, too. Here’s Mayor Sermon.
WILLIAMS: So your wife’s name is Drusilla?
CHILDERS: Drusilla. It’s mentioned in the Bible. I know you’re a Bible reader, just the
one time. [reading] “Truman is in.”
WILLIAMS: What’s her maiden name?
CHILDERS: Drusilla Emily Henning Childers.
WILLIAMS: Is that an Independence family?
CHILDERS: Yes. Now, I don’t know whether you’re old enough to remember “Beverly
WILLIAMS: Oh, very much.
CHILDERS: “Green Acres”?
CHILDERS: “Petticoat Junction”?
WILLIAMS: All of them, yes.
CHILDERS: What’s the boy from Joplin’s name that had a series? You know of George
CHILDERS: Gracie Allen?
CHILDERS: Well, Paul wrote for those people.
WILLIAMS: Who is Paul?
CHILDERS: Drusilla’s brother. And he wrote and produced those, you know. George
Burns, I think, and Paul, I think, and somebody else had a company or
something. But he wrote and produced those films.
WILLIAMS: Did he model those after Independence?
CHILDERS: Well, yes. “Beverly Hillbillies,” we had a Beverly Hills edition out here
years ago, you know. On Paul’s show, when the pretty little girl—I’ve
forgotten what her name was [Ellie May]—had chickens, or Granny had
chickens out in the barnyard, you know, and they were all named after his
sisters, Florence, Rose, Drusilla, all that. [chuckling] And then the banker
would be named after his. . .
WILLIAMS: Mr. Drysdale.
CHILDERS: Yes, Mr. Drysdale. Well, Mr. Pendleton was the banker here, and every
once in a while you would have Mr. Pendleton’s name mentioned. His wife
taught school to Paul, and he thought she was everything else, and he even
flew them out one time to entertain them. But such a gracious fellow! Gee,
you never asked questions, whether he’s in this or in that or other. You
keep your mouth shut. And it’s hard.
WILLIAMS: Did you ever get to go out and watch the taping?
CHILDERS: No, but I had them all here periodically. They did some filming down at
Branson, you know, at Silver Dollar City.
WILLIAMS: Yes, I remember that.
CHILDERS: And Drysdale. . Well, they had an opening of a bank here, and it just kind
of coincided, and we had them over for dinner afterwards, and Drysdale
WILLIAMS: Was Buddy Ebsen?
CHILDERS: Buddy Ebsen. And he could walk through the doors and not bump his
head, and he said, “Gee, this is nice! I don’t have to duck.” He had the
raggedest pair of shoes on I’ve ever seen, but he was so nice. And then we
had Granny one afternoon when they were flying back home, for about
three or four hours, and there was somebody else, two or three of the others.
But Granny was our favorite because she was a little like Mrs. Childers,
you know, and she was an antique bug. She’d go around, “Mrs. Childers,
what did you pay for that?” Mrs. Childers would say, “Well, you know we
can’t think over a couple of hundred dollars.” You know, our kind of
people. And maybe if you went to $225, that was. . you overstepped.
And she said, “And we paid $225 for the cabinet in the dining room there.”
“Well,” she said, “you know I bought one much smaller than that, and I
paid $750, and I wouldn’t have gotten it for that if I hadn’t been Granny.”
But she thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon, and we did, too. But Drysdale,
Paul used to tell us about Mr. Drysdale. He said, “He really made us more
money than any of the other stars, because not once did we have to make a
retake on him.” He knew his lines. He knew the expression. He knew
everything. He said he was perfect. But it’s been interesting to have these
people here, you know? And then at Thanksgiving time. . I’ve got a
cutout of Granny that was put out by Upjohn Company—you know, they
put out a cough syrup—and it’s life-size, and I bring it down from up in the
hall there. It’s got a box in front of it. That’s where you used to put the
cough syrup, you know, to sell it. And Mary has decorated it up with muddaubers
and this, that, and the other, you south florida state college panther central. At Halloween I put it up by
the front door, and the kids come in, you know? We have a ball. That’s
one night I get to answer the door.
WILLIAMS: Oh, Halloween.
WILLIAMS: So the Trumans aren’t the only celebrities you’ve known in your life.
CHILDERS: Oh, no, no. Paul is a celebrity, a super celebrity, really, because he did so
much. Well, he had three shows going at a time. Now, that borders on
being a genius, you know? And he had these competent writers working
for him, but they were from back East, and it was difficult to keep sex and
nastiness out. So, when Paul went down to shoot down in Silver Dollar
City, he sent them down a week ahead of time and he said, “I want you to
go to the different kinds of restaurants all over, no matter how big it is or
small, but learn how the people talk and see if are organic apples good for you talk the way that you
want to write.” That took care of it. Then Paul would stay up all night
rewriting to shoot the next day. A wonderful person and most generous.
Jumpsuits[pointing at the one he is wearing]—he’d send me three every
year. I’ve got sixteen up there and I give them away, you know. I smoke a
pipe, and I burn them up, you know? But he is so generous, and he expects
nothing in return. It’s fun for him to be that way. Do you understand?
We’d all like to be that way, wouldn’t we?
WILLIAMS: Yes. Well, you got up to find a book about Independence, but I guess you
didn’t get it.
CHILDERS: Wait, I couldn’t find Mrs. Childers. Where did she go? [tape turned off]
WILLIAMS: We’re looking at the book Independence, and there’s your picture [see
appendix, item 3].
CHILDERS: Oh, yes.
WILLIAMS: You and Mrs. Childers.
CHILDERS: Yes, and it said. . Reading from the book Independence, that was put out
by Barbara Potts, the mayor’s office, it said, “Boy, it was a wild day after
that 1948 presidential election. It really was. Nothing was done. Nothing.
We had a parade. I couldn’t believe it. Well, I believed that the results
would be that way, but the rest of the people couldn’t believe it. But then
they were enthused because Mr. Truman was from Independence. . I had
$30 at 15 to 1”—that’s the way it was—”with one of the pharmacists. That
was $450. The next day. . he brought the money in, in cash, and I bought
a phonograph-radio combination. . .” It’s of mahogany, up in the attic. It
doesn’t match the wood down here, see? [chuckling]
WILLIAMS: So that’s what you did with your $450?
CHILDERS: That’s what I did with that $450. I wasn’t going to spend that money. I
wanted something I could look back and say, “That’s what I did with it.”
WILLIAMS: Thanks to Mr. Truman’s election you won, you got that money.
CHILDERS: That’s right. This picture here. . .
WILLIAMS: Is that in the room. . .
CHILDERS: Done right here.
WILLIAMS: Oh, here, okay.
CHILDERS: It took a couple of hours, but it’s an excellent picture of two old people, you
WILLIAMS: It is.
CHILDERS: We’re not handsome, but it brings the features out very well.
WILLIAMS: And you’ve lived in this house for 99 cents only stores national city ca years?
CHILDERS: Twenty-five years, yes, but in the same neighborhood fifty-four years, I
guess. We lived across the street, then we moved up two doors. We like
the neighborhood, you know? We used to walk our babies across there
when the Gregg family lived here—they’re all gone now—and Mr. Gregg
would always have stick candy in his pocket, always had stick candy in his
pocket. You know those little ones? And the girls, my two daughters,
couldn’t wait to come over to see Grandpa Gregg, they called him, you
know, but he was no relation. But he was such a nice [man]. And we
admired this house because it was so hot over here in the summertime and
so cold in the wintertime. We lived there next-door here, two doors north, a
nice home. It was only ten years old when we bought it. We paid $10,000
for it. My brother and Mr. Thomas that is how to open navy federal business account with us said, “You’ll
never live long enough to get it paid for.” [chuckling] Isn’t that
something? Then, when the house came for sale here, why, Mrs. Childers’
. . My mother-in-law was living next door, and she was seriously ill, and
so we took care of her. We weren’t interested because we had our hands
full, you know? Then she passed away, and then the house. . somebody
bought it and lived here four or five years, and they were going to make a
nursing home of it, you know. And the neighbors objected. We didn’t
object. We don’t believe in that. That was their business. They invested
and. . So they were turned down for a nursing home. So they put it up for
sale, and we bought it. And it was $26,500. Do you want to know what the
$500 was for? That was for the dining room furniture, the table and the
chairs and the sideboard, this table here, and the big piano, the square piano
in the parlor. He said, “That’s what we paid for it. That’s what you’re to
pay for it.” Wasn’t that nice?
CHILDERS: And you know, several years went by, and we got a big bundle in the mail.
I think it cost $4 or $5 to mail it, and we didn’t have any idea what it was. It
was addressed to the family, and we opened it up. It was the original plans
of the house. Now, we have them upstairs framed, you know. And one
side is the room size and then the other is the exterior. So we felt 1st financial federal credit union routing number that the people thought that much of us that we should have it, you
WILLIAMS: Did you have to do much work on the house?
CHILDERS: On the house?
WILLIAMS: Fix it up?
CHILDERS: Well, when we moved over here we didn’t have any. . I had $10,000
saved up, and along in the fall we had rains. It was in December. . late in
the winter. We had rains out of this world, and one night I was sleeping up
there in the big bedroom and I heard water hitting the hearth. So I alerted
the girls, and we all went up to the attic, and there were thirteen pans
catching water. So we had to have a new roof put on, and new guttering. It
came to $9,500. Well, we didn’t have any furniture except what you see,
you know, what we’ve got. So, anyway, I wasn’t going to borrow any
WILLIAMS: There went your savings.
CHILDERS: Yes, there went the savings. Well, that would have been enough to paper it,
you know, and clean it up. And then little by little, why, we bought the
dining room rug first, I think, and then the hall runners. Get one paid for,
get another one, you know.
WILLIAMS: These are beautiful Oriental rugs.
CHILDERS: Oh, yes. But I’ve got to tell you the story about the parlor rug. That’s the
prettiest one and the most expensive, too. I wanted a new station wagon.
That’s when a station wagon would have been $5,500 instead of $23,500
now, and I wanted that station wagon real bad, but I only had 45,000
[miles] on it. Mrs. Childers said, “No, we need a parlor rug.” Well, we got
our parlor rug. It was a little bit more than that. So every time I walk in
there, I think of that Buick. [chuckling] Really, I do! It just seems like that
the lights come on when I go in there. Oh, it’s been fun! And then we’d
buy a piece of furniture. We had a man that was an antique man, and he
would call us and say, “I found a piece of furniture I think you would like.
Come by and look at it. Now,” he said, “take your time about paying for
it.” We’d go by and it would amazon prime login free, oh, a hall tree or something like that.
CHILDERS: Can I take this off now?
WILLIAMS: Yes. Thank you.
END OF INTERVIEW
Small Business Lenders in Independence, Missouri
Getting a business loan in Independence, Missouri seems challenging at first, but we're here to help you get started.
If you are planning on applying for a small business loan and your business is based in Independence, Missouri, we've put together a list of local small business banks that you should contact.
Local Independence Banks
To assist you in finding a small business banker, here's our list of small business banks in Independence.
|Small Business Bank||Recent SBA Loans|
|American Home Mortgage|
|American Sterling Bank|
|Banc Of America Investment Services- Inc|
|Bank Of America|
|Blue Ridge Bank and Trust CO|
|Commercial Federal Bank - Missouri Locations- Independence|
|Community America Credit Union|
|First Federal Bank FSB|
|First National Bank - Missouri||6|
|First National Bank of Missouri|
|Liberty Savings Bank|
|M&i Marshall & Ilsley Bank||1|
|Midwest Heritage Bank|
|North American Savings Bank FSB|
|Northstar Bank NA|
SBA Lenders for Independence Businesses
Banks outside of Independence will often lend to entrepreneurs in Independence, MO. Here's a list of out-of-area banks that have recently made loans to Independence entrepreneurs. Some of these banks may have local branches but underwrite the loans from an out-of-area banking location, either from another city in Missouri or from out of state.
|Small Business Bank||Recent SBA Loans|
|1st National Bank - Ola|
|Bank Of America|
|Bank Of Belton|
|Bank Of Blue Valley|
Overland Park, KS
|Bank Of The Prairie|
|Bank Of The West|
|Business Loan Center, LLC|
New York, NY
|Cit Small Business Lending Corp|
Kansas City, MO
|Community Bank Of Missouri|
|Country Club Bank|
Kansas City, MO
|Country Club Bank|
Shawnee Mission, KS
|Enterprise Bank & Trust|
North Kansas City, MO
|First National Bank - Missouri|
Blue Springs, MO
|First National Bank - Missouri|
Lee's Summit, MO
|First National Bank Indep|
|M&i Marshall & Ilsley Bank|
|M&i Marshall & Ilsley Bank|
|Missouri Bank & Trust Co.|
Kansas City, MO
|Morrill & Janes Bank & Trust|
|National Bank Of Kansas City|
Overland Park, KS
|Platte Valley Bank Of Missouri|
Platte City, MO
Kansas City, MO
|Small Business Loan Source LLC|
|Stillwater National Bank & Trust|
|U.S. Bank National Association|
|U.S. Bank National Association|
San Diego, CA
|United Bank Of Kansas|
|Wells Fargo Bank|
San Jose, CA
Business Loan Advice for Independence Businesses
When your business is growing, it's going to happen.
"I need a small business loan!" you'll say.
Maybe you need a $30,000 small business loan to cover payroll. Perhaps you need a $250,000 business loan to buy more inventory.
It's time to talk to a small business lender in Independence.
Sure, there are other options: borrowing money from investors, private equity deals, and merchant credit card advances, to name a few.
But, when all is said and done, obtaining a small loan from a nearby banker is often the easiest way for a small business to secure capital to fund growth plans.
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Get a Business Loan in Hazelwood
Get a Business Loan in Jackson
Browse All Business Loan Sources for Missouri
Second Bank of the United States
This article is about the early 19th-century federal institution. It is not to be confused with the First Bank of the United States, the early 20th-century corporation the Bank of the United States, or the modern corporation Bank of America.
National bank in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1816–41)
The Second Bank of the United States was the second federally authorized Hamiltoniannational bank in the United States. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, it was chartered from February 1816 to January 1836. The bank's formal name, according to section 9 of its charter as passed by Congress, was "The President Directors and Company of the Bank of the United States". While other banks in the US were chartered by and only allowed to have branches in a single state, it was authorized to have branches in multiple states and lend money to the US government.
A private corporation with public duties, the bank handled all fiscal transactions for the U.S. Government, and was accountable to Congress and the U.S. Treasury. Twenty percent of its capital was owned by the federal government, the bank's single largest stockholder. Four thousand private investors held 80% of the bank's capital, including three thousand Europeans. The bulk of the stocks were held by a few hundred wealthy Americans. In its time, the institution was the largest monied corporation in the world.
The essential function of the bank was to regulate the public credit issued by private banking institutions through the fiscal duties it performed for the U.S. Treasury, and to establish a sound and stable national currency. The federal deposits endowed the BUS with its regulatory capacity.
Modeled on Alexander Hamilton's First Bank of the United States, the Second Bank was chartered by President James Madison in 1816 and began operations at its main branch in Philadelphia on January 7, 1817, managing 25 branch offices nationwide by 1832.
The efforts to renew the bank's charter put the institution at the center of the general election of 1832, in which the bank's president Nicholas Biddle and pro-bank National Republicans led by Henry Clay clashed with the "hard-money"Andrew Jackson administration and eastern banking interests in the Bank War. Failing to secure recharter, the Second Bank of the United States became a private corporation in 1836, and underwent liquidation in 1841.
The political support for the revival of a national banking system was rooted in the early 19th century transformation of the country from simple Jeffersonian agrarianism towards one interdependent with industrialization and finance. In the aftermath of the War of 1812, the federal government suffered from the disarray of an unregulated currency and a lack of fiscal order; business interests sought security for their government bonds. A national alliance arose to legislate a national bank to address these needs.
The political climate—dubbed the Era of Good Feelings—favored the development of national programs and institutions, including a protective ally bank locations pa, internal improvements and the revival of a Bank of the United States. Southern and western support for the bank, led by Republican nationalists John C. Calhoun of South Carolina and Henry Clay of Kentucky, was decisive in the successful chartering effort. The charter was signed into law by James Madison on April 10, 1816. Subsequent efforts by Calhoun and Clay to earmark the bank's $1.5 million establishment "bonus", and annual dividends estimated at $650,000, as a fund for internal improvements, were vetoed by President Madison, on strict constructionist grounds.
Opposition to the bank's revival emanated from two interests. Old Republicans, represented by John Taylor of Caroline and John Randolph of Roanoke, characterized the Second Bank of the United States as both constitutionally illegitimate and a direct threat to Jeffersonian agrarianism, state sovereignty and the institution of slavery, expressed by Taylor's statement that ".if Congress could incorporate a bank, it might emancipate a slave." Hostile to the regulatory effects of the national bank, private banks—proliferating with or without state charters—had scuttled rechartering of the first BUS in 1811. These interests played significant roles in undermining the institution during the administration of U.S. President Andrew Jackson (1829–1837).
The Bank of the US was a national bank. However, it did not serve the functions of a modern central bank: It did not set monetary policy, regulate private banks, hold their excess reserves, or act as a lender of last resort.
The BUS was launched in the midst of a major global market readjustment as Europe recovered from the Napoleonic Wars. The national bank was charged with restraining uninhibited private bank note issue—already in progress—that threatened to create a credit bubble and the risks of a financial collapse. Government land sales in the West, fueled by European demand for agricultural products, ensured that a speculative bubble would form. Simultaneously, the national bank was engaged in promoting a democratized expansion of credit to accommodate laissez-faire impulses among eastern business entrepreneurs and credit-hungry western and southern farmers.
Under the management of the first BUS president William Jones, the bank failed to control paper money issued from its branch banks in the West and South, contributing to the post-war speculative land boom. When the U.S. markets collapsed in the Panic of 1819—a result of global economic adjustments—the national bank came under withering criticism for its belated tight money policies—policies that exacerbated mass unemployment and plunging property values. Further, it transpired that branch directors for the Baltimore office had engaged in fraud and larceny.
Resigning in January 1819, Jones was replaced by Langdon Cheves, who continued the contraction in credit in an effort to stop inflation and stabilize the bank, even as the economy began to correct. The national bank's reaction to the crisis—a clumsy expansion, then a sharp contraction of credit—indicated its weakness, not its strength. The effects were catastrophic, resulting in a protracted recession with mass unemployment and a sharp drop in property values that persisted until 1822. The financial crisis raised doubts among the American public as to the efficacy of paper money, and in whose interests a national system of finance operated. Upon this widespread disaffection the anti-bank Jacksonian Democrats would mobilize opposition to the BUS in the 1830s. The national bank was in general disrepute among most Americans when Nicholas Biddle, the third and last president of the bank, was appointed by President James Monroe in 1823.
Under Biddle's guidance, the BUS evolved into a powerful banking institution that produced a strong and sound system of national credit and currency. From 1823 to 1833, Biddle expanded credit steadily, but with restraint, in a manner that served the needs of the expanding American economy.Albert Gallatin, former Secretary of the Treasury under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, wrote in 1831 that the BUS was fulfilling its charter expectations.
Jackson's Bank War
Main article: Bank War
By the time of Jackson's inauguration in 1829, the national bank appeared to be on solid footing. The U.S. Supreme Court had affirmed the constitutionality of the bank under McCulloch v. Maryland, the 1819 case which Daniel Webster had argued successfully on its behalf a decade earlier, the U.S. Treasury recognized the useful services it provided, and the American currency was healthy and stable. Public perceptions of what do i need to open a trust bank account national bank were generally positive. The bank first came under attack by the Jackson administration in December 1829, on the grounds that it had failed to produce a stable national currency, and that it lacked constitutional legitimacy. Both houses of Congress responded with committee investigations and reports affirming the historical precedents for the bank's constitutionality and its pivotal role in furnishing a uniform currency. Jackson rejected these findings, and privately characterized the bank as a corrupt institution, dangerous to American liberties.
Biddle made repeated overtures to Jackson and his cabinet to secure a compromise on the bank's rechartering (its term due to expire in 1836) without success. Jackson and the anti-bank forces persisted in their condemnation of the BUS, provoking an early recharter campaign by pro-bank National Republicans under First national bank independence mo Clay. Clay's political ultimatum to Jackson—with Biddle's financial and political support—sparked the Bank War and placed the fate of the BUS at center of the 1832 presidential election.
Jackson mobilized his political base by vetoing the recharter bill and, the veto sustained, easily won reelection on his anti-bank platform. Jackson proceeded to destroy the bank as a financial and political force by removing its federal deposits, and in 1833, federal revenue was diverted into selected private banks by executive order, ending the regulatory role of the Second Bank of the United States.[a]
In hopes of extorting a rescue of the bank, Biddle induced a short-lived financial crisis that was initially blamed on Jackson's executive action. By 1834, a general backlash against Biddle's tactics developed, ending the panic, and all recharter efforts were abandoned.
In February 1836, the bank became a private corporation under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania law. A shortage of hard currency ensued, causing the Panic of 1837 and lasting approximately seven years. The bank suspended payment in 1839 and was liquidated in 1841.
The bank maintained the following branches. Listed is the year each branch opened.
- William Jones, January 7, 1817 – January 25, 1819
- James Fisher, January 25, 1819 – March 6, 1819 (Acting)
- Langdon Cheves, March 6, 1819 – January 6, 1823
- Nicholas Biddle, January 6, 1823 – March 3, 1836
Terms of charter
The Second Bank of the United States was America's national bank, comparable to the Bank of England and the Bank of France, with one key distinction – the United States government owned one-fifth (20%) of its capital. Whereas other national banks of that era were wholly private, the Second Bank of the United States was more characteristic of a government bank.
Under its charter, the bank had a capital limit of $35 million, $7.5 million of which represented the government-owned share. The national bank was required to remit a "bonus" payment of $1.5 million, payable in three installments, to the government for the privilege of using the public funds, interest free, in its private banking ventures. The institution was answerable for its performance to the U.S. Treasury and Congress and subject to Treasury Department inspection.
As exclusive fiscal agent for the federal government, it provided a number of services as part of its charter, including holding and transfer of all U.S. deposits, payment and receipt of all government transactions, and processing of tax payments. In other words, the BUS was "the depository of the federal government, which was its principal stockholder and customer."
The chief personnel for the bank comprised 25 directors, five of whom were appointed by the President of the United States, subject to Senate approval. Federally appointed directors were barred from acting as officials in other banks. Two of the three BUS presidents, William Jones and Nicholas Biddle, were chosen from among these government directors.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, the bank was authorized to establish branch offices where it deemed suitable, and these were immune from state taxation.
BUS regulatory mechanisms
The primary regulatory task of the Second Bank of the United States, as chartered by Congress in 1816, was to restrain the uninhibited proliferation of first national bank independence mo money (bank notes) by state or private lenders, which was highly profitable to these institutions.
In this capacity, the bank would preside over this democratization of credit, contributing to a vast and profitable disbursement of bank loans to farmers, small manufacturers and entrepreneurs, encouraging rapid and healthy economic expansion.
Historian Bray Hammond describes the mechanism by which the bank exerted its anti-inflationary influence:
Receiving the checks and notes of local banks deposited with the [BUS] by government collectors of revenue, the [BUS] had constantly to come rbc usa sign in online banking on the local banks for settlements of the amounts which the checks and notes called for. It had to do so because it made those amounts immediately available to the Treasury, wherever desired. Since settlement by the local banks was in specie i.e. silver and gold coin, the pressure for settlement automatically regulated local banking lending: for the more the local banks lent the larger amount of their notes and checks in use and the larger the sums they had to settle in specie. This loss of specie reduced their power to lend.
Under this banking regime, the impulse towards overspeculation, with the risks of creating a national financial crisis, would be avoided, or at least mitigated. It was just this mechanism that the local private banks found objectionable, because it yoked their lending strategies to the fiscal operations of the national government, requiring them to maintain adequate gold and silver reserves to meet their debt obligations to the U.S. Treasury. The proliferation of private-sector banking institutions – from 31 banks in 1801 to 788 in 1837 – meant that the Second Bank faced strong opposition from this sector during the Jackson administration.
United States historic place
The architect of the Second Bank of the United States was William Strickland (1788–1854), a former student of Benjamin Latrobe (1764–1820), the man who is often called the first professionally trained American architect. Latrobe and Strickland were both disciples of the Greek Revival style. Strickland went on to design many other American public buildings in this style, including financial structures such as the Mechanics National Bank (also in Philadelphia). He also designed the second building for the main U.S. Mint in Philadelphia in 1833, as well as the New Orleans, Dahlonega, and Charlotte branch mints in the mid-to-late 1830s.
Strickland's design for the Second Bank of the United States is in essence based on the Parthenon in Athens, and is a significant early and monumental example of Greek Revival architecture. The hallmarks of the Greek Revival style can be seen immediately in the north and south façades, which use a large set of steps leading up to the main level platform, known as the stylobate. On top of these, Strickland placed eight severe Doric columns, which are crowned by an entablature containing a triglyphfrieze and simple triangular pediment. The building appears much as an ancient Greek temple, hence the stylistic name. The interior consists of an entrance hallway in the center of the north façade flanked by two rooms on either side. The entry leads into two central rooms, one after the other, that span the width of the structure east to west. The east and west sides of the first large room are each pierced by a large arched fan window. The building's exterior uses Pennsylvania blue marble, which, due to the manner in which it was cut, has begun to deteriorate due to weak parts of the stone being exposed to the elements. This phenomenon is most visible on the Doric columns of the south façade. Construction lasted from 1819 to 1824.
The Greek Revival style used for the Second Bank contrasts with the earlier, Federal style in architecture used for the First Bank of the United States, which also still stands and is located nearby in Philadelphia. This can be seen in the more Roman-influenced Federal structure's ornate, colossal Corinthian columns of its façade, which is also embellished by Corinthian pilasters and a symmetric arrangement of sash windows piercing the two stories of the façade. The roofline is also topped by a balustrade, and the heavy modillions adorning the pediment give the First Bank an appearance much more like a Roman villa than a Greek temple.
Current building use
Since the bank's closing in 1841, the edifice has performed a variety of functions. Today, it is part of Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. The structure is open to the public free of charge and serves as an art gallery, housing a large collection of portraits of prominent early Americans painted by Charles Willson Peale and many others.
The building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987 for its architectural and historic significance.
The Wall Street branch in New York City was converted into the United States Assay Office before it was demolished in 1915. The federal-style façade was saved and installed in the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1924.
In popular culture
The Bank of the United States building was described by Charles Dickens in a chapter of his 1842 travelogue American Notes for General Circulation, Philadelphia, and its solitary prison:
We reached the city, late that night. Looking out of my chamber-window, before going to bed, I saw, on the opposite side of the way, a handsome building of white marble, which had a mournful ghost-like aspect, dreary to behold. I attributed this to the sombre influence of the night, and on rising in the morning looked out again, expecting to see its steps and portico thronged with groups of people passing in and out. The door was still tight shut, however; the same cold cheerless air union savings bank com and the building looked as if the marble statue of Don Guzman could alone have any business to transact within its gloomy walls. I hastened to inquire its name and purpose, and then my surprise vanished. It was the Tomb of many fortunes; the Great Catacomb of investment; the memorable United States Bank.
The stoppage of this bank, with all its ruinous consequences, had cast (as I was told on every side) a gloom on Philadelphia, under the depressing effect of which it yet laboured. It certainly did seem rather dull and out of spirits.
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- ^Hammond 1957, p. 359.
- ^ abWilentz 2005, p. 401.
- ^ abHammond 1947, p. 157.
- ^Hammond 1956, p. 10 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFHammond1956 (help).
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- ^ abWilentz 2005, p. 181.
- ^Wilentz 2005, pp. 204–205.
- ^Hammond 1947, p. 149.
- ^ abDangerfield 1966, p. 10.
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- ^ abcdHammond 1947, p. 150.
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- ^Hammond 1947, p. 153.
- ^Hill 2015, online.
- ^ abcWilentz 2005, p. 206.
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- ^Remini 1981, p. 28.
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- ^ abDangerfield 1966, p. 84.
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- ^Wilentz 2005, pp. 207–208.
- ^ abDangerfield 1966, p. 89.
- ^ abcHammond 1947, p. 151.
- ^Remini 1981, p. 229.
- ^Hofstadter 1948, p. 62.
- ^Killenbeck 2006, pp. 98–109.
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- ^Schlesinger 1945, p. 77.
- ^ abWilentz 2005, p. 362.
- ^Hammond 1947, pp. 151–152.
- ^Remini 1981, pp. 228–229, 303.
- ^Hammond 1957, pp. 377–378.
- ^Hammond 1957, p. 379.
- ^Hofstadter 1948, pp. 59–60.
- ^Schlesinger 1945, p. 81.
- ^Remini 1981, pp. 301–302.
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- ^Remini 1981, p. 365.
- ^Wilentz 2005, p. 369.
- ^Remini 1981, p. 343.
- ^Schlesinger 1945, p. 87.
- ^Remini 1981, p. 361.
- ^Remini 1981, p. 374.
- ^Schlesinger 1945, p. 91.
- ^Schlesinger 1945, p. 87.
- ^Wellman 1966, p. 132.
- ^Remini 1981, pp. 382–383, 389.
- ^Remini 1981, pp. 375–376.
- ^Wilentz 2005, pp. 392–393.
- ^Schlesinger 1945, p. 98.
- ^Hofstadter 1948, pp. 61–62.
- ^Wilentz 2005, p. 396.
- ^Schlesinger 1945, p. 103.
- ^Wilentz 2005, p. 400.
- ^Schlesinger 1945, pp. 112–113.
- ^PhiladelphiaFed 2021, p. 7.
- ^Hammond 1947, p. 140.
- ^Wilentz 2005, p. 364.
- ^ abcdHammond 1947, p. 149.
- ^Wellman 1966, p. 92.
- ^Wilentz 2005, p. 365.
- ^Hammond 1957, p. 9.
- ^Wilentz 2005, pp. 74–75.
- ^Hofstadter 1948, p. 56.
- ^Hammond 1956, pp. 9–10 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFHammond1956 (help).
- ^Hammond 1947, pp. 149–150.
- ^Wilentz 2005, p. 205.
- ^Hofstadter 1948, p. 56.
- ^Hammond 1947, p. 153.
- ^NRIS 2006, online.
- ^Gallery 2004, p. 35 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFGallery2004 (help).
- ^ abNPS 2017, online.
- ^NPS 2009, online.
- ^Independence Hall 2020, online.
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