The Zanesville Canal and Manufacturing Co. at first blush seems to
fit the mold for many early Ohio businesses involved in banking.
The company was chartered by the state legislature on Feb. 24,
1816. The firm accepted the terms of its charter on Aug. 29, 1816.
The company had originally been chartered by the state in 1812 to
construct a dam and canal on the Muskingum River. The dam was
completed in 1815, the same year that the company’s founder, John
McIntire, passed away.
McIntire was also the founder of Zanesville. The city was founded
as the town of Westbourne in 1797 on land McIntire acquired from his
father-in-law, Col. Ebenezer Zane. Westbourne’s postmaster changed the
town’s name to Zanesville in 1801, two years before Ohio attained statehood.
Banking activities unsuccessful
The short canal was not completed until 1818. The company’s
banking activities were not particularly successful, with the bank
failing during the hard financial times of 1820 and 1821, which caused
the death of many of Ohio’s undercapitalized banks.
At this point, one might wonder, “Oh well, what else is new?”
After all, bank failures were the norm during these turbulent
financial times. Banks that survived were the real exceptions.
But in doing some further research, I came across the startling
fact that the firm, in a sense, still lives on due to the philanthropy
of John McIntire, via the John McIntire Educational Fund. In his will,
McIntire funded scholarships for “the poor youth of Zanesville.”
Today, the fund has assets of more than $5 million and the name of
the Zanesville Canal & Manufacturing Co. still appears on
corporate donor lists. The “company” is still administered to this day
by trustees and annually awards scholarships to college students who
reside within the city limits.
Notes from concern rare
Notes from the concern are rare, with but a few fractional scrip
notes and a lone $3 note representing the enterprise.
It would be interesting to research other banks to determine if
the founders established similar funds that keep the names of the
company or the founder alive long after their demise.
My discovery was made quite by accident poking around Google, so
you might want to give it a try, to see if any of your local bankers
were well known benefactors.
You just never know what might pop up.
Wendell Wolka has been a paper money collector and educator for
more than 40 years. If you have questions or suggestions, you can
reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail at
Box 1211, Greenwood, IN 46142. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope
if a written response is required.