Early Banking in Augusta
Prior to 1804, this part of the Kennebec Valley was served by banks in Wiscasset. In March of that same year, the first local bank, the Augusta and Hallowell Bank, was incorporated. Shortly thereafter, several banks subsequently formed and failed. Among them was the Kennebec Bank (unrelated to Kennebec Savings Bank), incorporated June 23, 1812; it had a banking room in the basement of what was the courthouse.
On March 2, 1833, the Freeman's Bank was chartered with a capital stock of $50,000. The first chairman (then known as president) was Benjamin Davis, who served as its president for 25 years, and who owned the Benjamin Davis Store located on Water Street. The bank reorganized on April 6, 1864 as Freeman's National Bank. As Freeman's National Bank, it later affiliated with Kennebec Savings Bank. Freeman's bank officers were Watson F. Hallett, who later became the first chairman of Kennebec Savings Bank, serving until his death in 1884; John Mulliken, Charles F. Potter, Russell Eaton, Thomas Lambard, and O. C. Whitehouse as directors; and Mr. Pike as cashier, until his death, then succeeded by Ai Brooks, Jr., J. L. Adams and Frank H. Adams. Another notable bank in the area was the Granite Bank, incorporated in April 1836. The Granite Bank (later known as Granite National Bank) occupied a grand building on Water Street. The State Bank was organized in Augusta June 7, 1854; its successor was the First National Bank.