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Morrill & Janes Bank

The History of Morrill & Janes Bank and Trust Company


In 1857 E.N. Morrill, a native of the state of Maine, organized a group known as The Maine Colony to settle in Kansas which had just been opened for settlement. E.N. Morrill represented this section of the USA in Congress 26 years after arriving in Hiawatha. And 12 years after that, he became governor of Kansas.

Going by rail to St. Louis, then by boat and wagon to St. Joseph, Missouri, the Maine Colony members loaded their belongings on a pack pony and came into Kansas on foot. They found the country fertile, grassy prairie land with rolling hills and creeks with patches of timber both beautiful and inviting for a place to become their home. The inhabitants were members of the Pottawatomie, Sac and Fox, Iowa and Kickapoo Indian Tribes and a few early settlers living in shacks, cabins and soddys along the creeks or in embryo settlements. This was a period of adventure and excitement in N.E. Kansas. On October 5, 1857, control of the newly organized Brown County passed into the hands of the Free State voters, giving impetus to new progress.

MJB 1870On January 2, 1871, Mr. Morrill, Mr. W.B. Barnett and Mr. Lorenzo Janes organized the banking house of Barnett, Morrill & Janes in a room over the stone drug store near the corner of Sixth and Oregon Streets. Capital for the venture was $1,500.00 provided by Morrill (who had profited from the sale of some Brown County land to the railroad), by Barnett (who was a wealthy man in his own right), and by Janes (who had been a merchant and a director of the First National Bank in St. Albans, Vermont).

In 1872 the total deposits of the bank were $32,000.00. W.B. Barnett and Lorenzo Janes retired from the bank in 1877. Barnett went back to Jacksonville, Florida where he organized the Barnett National Bank and Mr. Janes sold his interest to his son, Charles Janes. In 1887, the Morrill & Janes Bank, with capital stock of $100,000.00 received the very first charter as a state bank in Kansas, under which it continued through the century and into the 21st century to where we are today.

In 1900, the total deposits of the bank were $400,000.00 and in 1917 the Morrill & Janes Bank became a member of the Federal Reserve System.MJB 1950

In 1962, the present Hiawatha Morrill & Janes Bank building was erected only a block and a half away from the bank’s original site. By a remarkable coincidence, it stands on the spot where Lorenzo Janes built his home when he first came to Hiawatha 153 years ago.

We are proud to say that the pioneer spirit that was our beginning is still going strong and we will continue with that spirit with the strength of more than $600,000,000 in assets.

We are proud of our growth and consider it proof that we enjoy the patronage of the finest employees, friends and customers in the world! We thank you for making this history and commitment to the future as a strong independent community bank possible. As we enter our newest era of service to our communities (Hiawatha, Onaga, Sabetha, the Kansas City metropolitan area, and Lee's Summit, MO), we anticipate the greatest growth in our history and the ability to continue to provide solid and innovative banking products and quality services, which customers both demand and expect in today's marketplace.MJB 2010

These photos show the growth of our presence in Hiawatha, Kansas from our beginning and into the 21st century. The first photo shows a remembrance of our first home in the 1870's in a watercolor by Tom Palmerton. The second photo shows our bank in the same location in the mid 1900's. This last picture shows our home in Hiawatha today. Over 140 years, and still going strong!