Dorchester Illustration 2261 Dorchester and Milton Bank

2261 First Bank in Dorchester, Washington St opp River St

Dorchester Illustration no. 2261    Dorchester and Milton Bank

The subscribers to the stock of the Dorchester and Milton Bank met in April, 1832, and accepted the Act of Incorporation. John R. Chaffee, Pastor of the First Methodist Church, described some of the buildings in Lower Mills in his history of the church published in 1916. “The house opposite the head of River Street was built in 1822 by Robert P. Tolman, who had a store in the next building.  Over this store the Milton bank was organized in 1822.”  The Dolan funeral home is the Tolman house, and the bank building, which was located on its right side, was extant until about 1940.  The bank building is the house in the center of the photograph.

In Good Old Dorchester, William Dana Orcutt wrote: The town did not enjoy the luxury of a bank until 1832, when the “Dorchester and Milton Bank” was incorporated, with Moses Whitney, for its first president.  In 1850 the name of the bank was changed to the “Blue Hill Bank,” owing to the loss of some $32,000 by theft.

The Bankers’ Magazine, and Statistical Register. July, 1850. Vol. V. No. I reported:

The Dorchester and Milton Bank, at Dorchester, Massachusetts, was entered on the night of Saturday, June 1st, and robbed of about thirty thousand dollars, in the circulation of the Bank, together with the specie on hand, about $5,000, and $14,000 in blank notes not filled up. The Bank has issued the following advertisement.

The Vault of the Dorchester and Milton Bank was broken open and robbed on Saturday night last of about Thirty Thousand Dollars of the Notes of said Bank,–a quantity of Specie,–about Seven Hundred Blank Notes of the denomination of $20,– and the Copperplate upon which they were printed. Among the bills taken were a large number which can be identified at the Bank.

The Directors have therefore determined to call in their circulation, and will issue no bills of said Bank. All bills legitimately out will be redeemed at their own counter.  All persons are cautioned against receiving any notes of said Bank, unless from persons to them personally know, as the notes stolen will not be redeemed.

The first door of the vault has four locks, which had apparently been opened without force; the second had two locks, with a strong band of iron covering the key-holes, and fastened with a stout padlock. The villains must have opened the padlock with false keys, removed the iron bank, and finding that their instruments were not calculated for the work of opening the door, inserted gunpowder in each of the keyholes, and blew  off the locks.  The banking room is in the second story of the building, the lower part being occupied as a store, by Mr. J. Brewer.  The cashier of the bank, Mr. E. J. Bispham, resides in the same building.

The Bank later denied payment for a bill they determined was stolen, and the court found in their favor, but the plaintiff argued that it is the burden of the Bank to determine that the receiver of the bill knew it was stolen (Wyer vs Dorchester and Milton Bank). In 1853 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered a new trial.  We cannot find evidence of a final outcome.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.