North White Creek/Cambridge, NY, Title Conundrum
JUL 12, 2021 - PETER HUNTOON
This article will profile titles where the Comptroller’s clerks had to append the town names because the bankers failed to do so. We’ll use the Original and 1875 notes made for The Cambridge National Bank in New York state, charter 1275, to illustrate why this happened and how it was handled, not once but twice for this bank.
The official definition of a bank title as used by the Comptroller of the Currency was the name of the bank including the name of town, but not that of the state.
The bankers had to file an organization certificate that specified their title. The bankers or their attorney had to write the title between quote marks on a blank reserved for the title on that form; and then, in two succeeding blanks, specify the type of town and repeat its name.
A common mistake was that the name of the town was omitted from inside the quote marks because many applicants figured that the blank reserved for the town had that base covered. The concern in the Treasury Department was that when the titles appeared on national bank notes, they should provide sufficient information so that note holders could find the bank if they wished to redeem the note for lawful money.
The Comptroller’s office didn’t bounce the organization certificates back to the bankers for revision. Instead, the deficient titles were honored as submitted. The remedy for the missing town by the Comptroller’s clerks was that they had the name of the town engraved in script letters on the left side of the title blocks on the bank’s large-size notes opposite to the plate date. Generally, the location written in script was reserved for the postal location of the bank.
Otherwise, the banker-supplied title was treated as sacrosanct. It was placed prominently above the will-pay line in the title block exactly as submitted right down to punctuation regardless of completeness, grammatical syntax or how awkward it sounded.
The result was that the Comptroller’s clerks technically changed the deficient title by appending the town to it, but the town appeared inconspicuously in script so as not to detract from the banker-submitted title above the will-pay line.
The titles that routinely caused this problem were those that did not have a bank name connected to the town by a preposition. In contrast, having of, at or in virtually dictated that the town would follow as in The First National Bank of TOWN.
The original article and others like it can be found at https://www.numismaticnews.net/paper-money/north-white-creek-cambridge-ny-title-conundrum online