Frank Harrold & The Farmer's State Bank

September 23, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois


Clinton, Ill., Sept. 23—DeWitt county is shocked at the tragic death of one of its most prominent and well-known men, Frank E. HARROLD, which occurred some time Tuesday evening when he shot himself at the old home near DeWitt. Mr. Harrold had been engaged in the banking business in Decatur for the last several years but maintained a summer home on the Harrold farm, west of DeWitt, and drove out for a few days' stay and week-end visits quite often.

Mr. Harrold arrived at the farm Tuesday afternoon and talked a few moments with Homer BISHOP, who operates the farm and who was at that time getting ready to come to Clinton. It was the custom of Mr. Harrold to talk over farm and business matters with the Bishops and when they returned home they started looking for the former, as his car remained in the yard nearby.

Finally Mr. Bishop knocked on the door of the cottage and receiving no response he became alarmed and called two neighbors, E. J. LUCAS and James WALTERS, who assisted him to enter the building. It was then found that Mr. Harrold had used a gun and the bullet had entered the head, killing him instantly.

Coroner R. E. NESBIT was called and impaneled a jury which was composed of T. B. HARDIN, Homer Bishop, O. R. PRICE, E. J. Lucas, C. R. WILSON and C. S. WEBB, who returned the verdict as follows:

"Frank Harrold came to his death from a gunshot wound in the right temple, probably inflicted by his own hand, with suicidal intent."

Frank E. Harrold was born in Harp township Jan. 6, 1873, and spent his early life on the farm, moving to Clinton when he was elected circuit clerk and which office he held for twelve years. At the expiration of his third term of office he moved to Decatur, where he had since been cashier of the Farmers State bank.


September 23, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois


Surprise and Shock to Financial Community, But No Jar to Business.

Suicide of Frank E. HARROLD, cashier of the Farmers State Bank and Trust Co., on his farm near Clinton late Tuesday afternoon is one of the biggest sensations that ever occurred in Decatur banking circles.

While it was a bolt from the clear sky to the business and banking interests of the city it was stated authoritatively that depositors of the bank would not lose a cent.

It was rumored Wednesday morning that a considerable amount of bonds had been withdrawn from the bank to cover personal investments of Mr. Harrold and that they could not be secured to present to the bank examiners who came to examine the bank. His suicide was the next development.

Developments Wednesday indicated that while depositors would not lose anything, there might be a considerable loss for some more directly connected with Mr. Harrold.

The suicide was just as much a surprise to the officers and directors of the bank as to anyone else.

In other times it was known that the bank had had quite difficult financial problems to solve but there was every confidence that they would be worked out. In the last few months nothing had occurred to cause uneasiness.

When bank examiners began examination of the bank Monday evening everything appeared to be in better condition than usual and there was nothing to indicate there was to be a tragic result of the examination.

Before the bank examiners finished their work Mr. Harrold left the room. It is understood this was at a point when they asked for certain bonds. Nothing further was heard from him until his death was reported.

The bank examiners who came to the bank Monday evening were on their regular semi-annual bank examination and were not sent for. They were here last March for the regular examination and had not been here since March.

The bank was not a member of the Clearing House association and Mr. Pogue said he would rather not assign any reason for not being a member because of his relation with the other banks in the city.

"So far as my personal knowledge of the situation now is the depositors of the Farmers State Bank will not lose a penny."

This statement was given The Review Wednesday morning by J. R. Pogue, president of the Farmers State Bank as he sat at his desk while four men from the state auditor's office were beginning a thorough audit of the books of the institution.

"We are just beginning the examination and at the present time are not prepared to make any further statement," he said. "Every angle will be investigated, but at the present time I feel safe in stating that the depositors are fully protected."

At 1:30 o'clock Wednesday afternoon, J. R. Pogue, president of the bank, reiterated the statement that the depositors would not lose anything and that the death of Mr. Harrold was as great a surprise and shock to the officers as it was to the community.

Mr. Harrold was under bond to the bank for $50,000 and it was stated that this would cover a considerable loss, if there is any, which officials of the bank have not intimated there is or will be.


The officers of the bank are as follows: J. R. Pogue, president; George R. Flint, vice president; L. J. Kaiser, vice president; F. E. Harrold, cashier; W. Elmer White and L. L. Bailey, assistant cashiers; George R. Flint, L. L. Bailey, John R. Pogue, E. E. Barber, L. J. Kaiser, George W. Hughes, Frank E. Harrold, W. E. White, and Arthur Lamb, directors.


Carl H. Weber, state bank examiner and in charge of the investigation into the bank's affairs also refused to make a statement.

"Until our investigation proceeds farther, we do not feel that we can make any statement that will throw any light on the situation," he said.

"We realize the public interest that is aroused in matters of this kind and the auditor's office is always willing to make public such matters as will give the public the information that it desires. We cannot, this early in the audit, give any authoritative information."

It was understood at the bank that the audit probably would take three days to complete.


The following statement was issued by directors of the bank Tuesday evening:

"Owing to the tragic death of F. E. Harrold the directors of the Farmers' State Bank & Trust company, have requested the state auditor to make a thorough examination of the bank's affairs. A representative of the auditor's office arrived from Springfield Tuesday night. The bank will be closed until the examination is completed."


As to four letters left by Mr. Harrold to the bank examiner, to Mr. Pogue and to his son and daughter, both Mr. Pogue and Mr. Weber said that at the time they could not divulge their contents.

"We realize that community interest in the contents of the letters would warrant their publication or a publication of the gist of them, but just now when we are investigating every possible angle in the case, premature publication of the letters might interfere with our investigations," said Mr. Weber.


Mr. Pogue's statement was the same. He, with the other bank officials are working under the supervision of the state auditor and must comply with their wishes.

Mr. Weber said, however, that the letters would be given for publication at the opportune time.


Frank E. Harrold has been brooding over something for several days and seemed to be worried and abstracted, said J. R. Pogue, president of the Farmer's State bank and his associate when asked Wednesday if he had noticed anything peculiar about Mr. Harrold's actions.

"He has seemed to have something weighing on his mind," he said.

Mrs. Harrold has been prostrated at her home since she learned of her husband's death. She was under a physician's care all night Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.


September 23, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois


Stretched across the bed in his summer cottage eight miles northeast of Clinton, the lifeless body of Frank E. HARROLD, cashier of the Farmers State Bank and Trust company of Decatur, who [sic] found about 7 o'clock Tuesday evening by Homer BISHOP, tenant on Mr. Harrold's farm.

There was a bullet wound in the right temple. A 32-calibre revolver lying near by and four letters in addressed and sealed envelopes lying on a stand table indicated that Mr. Harrold had taken his own life. One of the letters was addressed to his son, Francis, one to his wife, one to J. R. Pogue, president of the bank, and one to the state bank examiner.

Mr. Bishop notified Dr. R. E. NESBITT, DeWitt county coroner, and the Beekman undertaking establishment. Coroner Nesbitt on examining the body gave it as his opinion that the body had been dead three or four hours when found. Mr. Bishop did not see Mr. Harrold when he arrived at the farm and did not know that he was there until he found the body.

Dr. Nesbitt conducted the inquest Tuesday night. The verdict was that the death was caused by a gunshot wound, inflicted by himself with suicidal intent. No one was found who saw Mr. Harrold go to the cottage.

The body was brought to Decatur and taken to the Dawson & Wikoff undertaking establishment and prepared for burial.

When Mr. Harrold rented his farm he reserved the three-room cottage for the use of himself and members of his family in the summer months.

A peculiarity of the wound is that there were no apparent powder marks or burns such as are ordinarily found in a wound where the weapon is held close to the body or head. If Mr. Harrold shot himself he held the revolver too tightly pressed against his head that the gases all followed the bullet into the wound.

The absence of powder burns caused some to think that it was possibly a case of murder.

Mr. Harrold was fifty-four years old. He was born in DeWitt county. There the greater portion of his life was spent. He came to Decatur twelve years ago as cashier of the Farmers and Merchants State bank. Later when the institution became the Farmers State Bank and Trust company Mr. Harrold remained as one of the officials and has acted as cashier ever since.

Before coming to Decatur Mr. Harrold had served twelve years as circuit clerk of DeWitt county, and had been a candidate for the state legislature. He was prominent in work of the First Methodist church, was kind hearted and generous. He contributed liberally to worthy causes, but preferred that his name be not mentioned in connection with such contributions.

He was prominent in Masonry and was a member of Stephen Decatur lodge No. 979, A. F. and A. M., Macon chapter No. 21, Royal Arch Masons, Beumanoir commandery No. 9, Knights Templar, and a Noble of the Mystic Shrine.

Mr. Harrold and Miss Olive M. HAMMER were married in Columbus O., in 1899. He leaves his wife and four children; Francis, Gladys, Dorothy and Freeland Harrold. He also leaves his mother, Mrs. Mary HARROLD of Chicago, a sister, Mrs. O. B. CARNES of Bridgeport N. J., and a brother in Eldorado, Ark.

Mr. Harrold had not been feeling well for several days, according to members of his family, and only Monday night suffered an acute attack of heart trouble. When he told Mrs. Harrold Tuesday morning that he was going to visit his farm she tried to dissuade him, fearing he might have another and fatal attack.


September 23, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois


Although the news of the death of Frank E. HARROLD, cashier of the Farmer's State Bank was a general topic of conversation in Decatur Wednesday, very little concern was shown by depositors who were awaiting the result of the audit of the bank's finances.

Curious passers-by stopped at the bank's doors from time to time Wednesday morning and read the typewritten notice on the door which stated that the bank was closed for investigation and audit and was signed by Carl H. Weber, bank examiner.

There was no indication of a crowd gathering during the morning. Several persons, apparently depositors, stopped at the bank, but went away quietly on noticing that the doors were closed.

Checks on the Farmer State bank, presented to other Decatur banks, Wednesday, were refused at the request of the Farmers State bank officials. This is the customary action in the case of such difficulties arising, and does not effect the ultimate value of the checks, which should be held pending the investigation by the bank examiners.

The Decatur bank tellers are explaining that the checks are not being cashed at the request of the Farmers State bank, when the checks are presented for payment.


September 23, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois


Directors of the Farmers State Bank and Trust Co., at 2:45 Wednesday afternoon issued the following statement regarding the bank's affairs and the death of Frank E. HARROLD, cashier:

"Examiners from the office of the auditor of public accounts discovered late Tuesday afternoon a shortage in the bonds belonging to the bank. Mr. Harrold had left the bank at noon and failed to return. Tuesday night at a meeting of the board of directors word was received of his death and later in the evening the letter to the examiner in charge which he had written just before his death in which he confessed taking bonds was received.

The board of directors at once requested the auditor to take charge, make a thorough audit of the bank's affairs. This audit is now being made. Until it is completed it will be impossible to ascertain the exact amount of the loss. The bank is indemnified to the extent of $50,000 by a bond carried on all officers and employes of the bank's".


September 24, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois


Frank E. HARROLD—At 3 o'clock Friday afternoon at the family residence, 746 West Wood street. The body was removed from the Dawson and Wikoff chapel to the home Thursday afternoon.


September 24, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois


Mystery Surrounds Their Location — Auditors Still At Work.

The mystery surrounding the whereabouts of certain bonds belonging to the Farmer's State Bank, taken by Frank E. HARROLD, bank cashier, who committed suicide on his farm near Clinton Tuesday afternoon, remained unsolved Thursday morning.

Not only is the whereabouts of the bonds unknown, but the amount of the loss is also undetermined. A force of men under the direction of Carl H. Weber, state bank examiner, were still at work on a thorough audit of the books of the bank while investigations outside were being conducted based on information said to be contained in letters written by Mr. Harrold to J. R. Pogue, president of the bank and to the state bank examiner before his death.

"There have been no new developments since Wednesday," said Mr. Weber Thursday morning.

"We have been progressing with our investigation of the bank's accounts and are communicating with our correspondent banks, many of which are in the east. We have not received any information from them yet.".

In the meantime, the stir occasioned in Decatur business circles and among depositors of the bank when the bank was closed Wednesday morning, has quieted down with the announcement by J. R. Pogue, president of the bank, that depositors would not lose as a result of the bank's loss.

Further assurance was given depositors in a statement by bank examiner Weber who pointed out that the capital stock of the bank is $200,000, the undivided surplus is $45,000 and the indemnity bond which Mr. Harrold carried for the bank's protection amounted to $50,00. In addition, stockholders of the bank can be assessed ten percent of their stock holdings, if necessary. For that reason the loss would have to exceed $400,000 before depositors lose.

While state auditors are investigating leads contained in the letters left by Mr. Harrold at his death in an effort to locate the missing bonds, the contents of the letters are being withheld. That Mr. Harrold admitted taking the bonds in one of these letters is made public through the statement made by bank directors Wednesday.

Guesses on the amount involved in the missing bonds ranges all the way from $50 to $200,000. Bank directors and officers have not announced any definite figure but probably will have a statement in a few days. It is not expected that the bank will open before the first of the week.


September 24, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois


Frank HARROLD's business interests, as far as can be ascertained, were centered in the bank, the Wonder Furnace Co., his farm, and it is understood some stock in the Standard Life Insurance Co., which was merged with the International Life Insurance Co., in St. Louis a year ago.

The farm of 320 acres near DeWitt, was the farm on which he was born fifty-four years ago and it was there that he ended his life. The farm came to him from his father. About six months ago he mortgaged it for $20,000. Whether that was the start of his financial troubles is not known yet.

It is understood that he was heavily interested in the Wonder Furnace Co., which was organized in 1923 and Mr. Harrold subscribed $50,000 of the capital stock. He was president of the concern.

Last August the company moved to Decatur from Niantic and increased its capital stock to $350,000. The company spent $25,000 on repairs to the Pan-American building where it located. Mr. Harrold was heavily interested in the company's expansion.

Mr. Harrold spent the great part of his life in DeWitt county being circuit clerk for twelve years and for the last twelve years was in the bank in Decatur.


September 24, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois


Clinton, Ill., Sept. 24—Frank HARROLD of Decatur who committed suicide on his farm near DeWitt on Tuesday evening, was the owner of three hundred and twenty acres, or a half section of the best land in DeWitt County. This land has been in the possession of the Harrold family for many years, having been owned by the father, Captain J. F. HARROLD and left to the son Frank at his death.

Frank Harrold had made extensive improvements on the farm during the last few years, erecting a new and modern home for the tenants, other buildings and otherwise keeping it up in the best of condition.

Six months ago Mr. Harrold mortgaged the farm for $20,000.

According to a statement by Homer BISHOP, tenant on the farm, Mr. Harrold drove out often from Decatur to inspect the farm and talk over with him the work which was to be done and at all times a deep interest was shown by him in the affairs of the farm.

The Harrold family is one of the oldest and best known in this county, the father having served through the war of the Rebellion, entering as a private of the 41st Illinois regiment in '41 and before the close was made a Captain.

There are a number of relatives of the Harrold family who remain in DeWitt County, Ell, Jesse and John of DeWitt, Onnes?Olive?, W. E. Harrold and Grant CARDIFF all of Clinton who are cousins.

Mr. and Mrs. Grant Cardiff spent Wednesday in Decatur at the home of Mrs. Frank Harrold and children, West Wood street.


September 24, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois


The members of the F. E. HARROLD Sunday School class of the First Methodist church will meet Friday afternoon at 2:30 at the corner of Main and Pine streets, to attend in a body the funeral of Mr. Harrold.


October 4, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois

Expected to Assess Stockholders Soon.

St. Louis Paper Prints Feature Story.

After one week of examining and auditing and another week of negotiating, negotiations for reopening the Farmers State Bank are still in progress. That is as far as any definite statement can be made at this time.

Those handling the negotiations are hopeful and expect that a successful plan will be developed for rehabilitating the bank. One favorable circumstance is that no more unfavorable facts have been brought to light than were made public the day after the suicide of the cashier, Frank E. HARROLD.

One thing that has hindered progress in discovering the true situation in the bank's affairs has been the fact that only Mr. Harrold had the information that was needed to explain everything. Had he been alive, progress would have been much more rapid. He took to the grave much needed information, information no one else had.

It can be definitely said that there probably will be announced in a few days an assessment on the stockholders of the bank to restore the impaired capital. The capitalization is $200,000 and assessment of 100 percent can be made under the law. There have been no developments to lead to the belief that this and the other funds available for making up the loss will not save the depositors from loss.

The disposition of the bonds of the bank by Mr. Harrold is just as much a mystery as ever. What he did with the funds that are missing no definite suggestion has been made, and those informed as to his life have no idea how he could have spent or lost as much as he did.

A suggestion has been made that he had been quietly living beyond his means. That, however, and the outside business connections that he had do not begin to explain the loss of $150,000, which is so far the outside figure at which losses of the bank have been put.

It was known that one check of $15,000 life insurance arrived in the city Saturday in payment of insurance carried by Frank Harrold. This was from the Illinois Bankers Life. It is understood that he carried $40,000 collectable insurance.

The bank staff was not working Saturday. Bank Examiner Carl Weber left Thursday night and is expected back Monday.

"We are still working with the state department in an effort to save the depositors every dollar we can," said J. R. Pogue, president of the bank Saturday afternoon. "I was in hopes there would be something more definite to say but all I can say is that we are still working on the situation."



Says Harrold Lived Beyond His Means.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch in its Sunday issue today carries a full page on Frank Harrold. There is a large picture of Mr. Harrold, one of the bank building and one of the Harrold home on West Wood street.

Across the top of the page is an eight column banner line which reads, "The true life story of a bank cashier who lived quietly beyond his means." Under this is another line across the page reading, "Frank E. Harrold of Decatur, Ill., ends life after confessing theft of $125,000 in bonds."

A special staff writer was sent to Decatur to inquire into the situation. He arrived on the day of the Harrold funeral and visited the home after the funeral. The story relates the incidents of the bank examination up to the time Mr. Harrold left the bank, his failure to return after noon and the finding of his body. The same story was told in The Review the day following his suicide.

Then the writer says that Mr. Harrold coming from Clinton to Decatur to become a city banker and living in city ways lived beyond his means although his family was not extravagant. He branched out and organized the Wonder Furnace Company. The books of this company, says the writer, were found to be jumbled.

The special writer closes with his conversation with Francis HARROLD, the son, as follows:

"The correspondent asked Francis Harrold what his father had written him in that last letter. We were seated on the Harrold veranda, and the perfume of the funeral flowers was still about the house.

"'He told me,' said young Harrold, 'that he was sorry he had to leave us. He said that Brother and I were strong boys and could look after mother. He advised us to go away from disgrace and settle somewhere else.

"'But we're not going. I don't think it was a disgrace. I don't believe Daddy did anything wrong about those bonds. When the truth of this affair comes out there will be other names mentioned. I can't disclose now what my father said in the letters about the real story. But knowing it I can walk down the street and hold my head just as high as anybody.

"'My father was not himself those last few days. Monday evening the day before this happened he had a severe heart attack. The worry over business affairs wore him out. His act was entirely needless. He didn't have to kill himself. Hundreds of bankers, they tell me, find themselves in fixes like his and the affairs are hushed up. Well it is done now and we are not going to run away from it. We feel we have more friends today than we ever had'."


October 5, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois

State Examiner Expected Back Tuesday.

Harrold Denies Any Extravagance.

Monday showed no new developments in the Farmers State Bank situation. It will be two weeks Tuesday since Frank HARROLD, cashier of the bank, killed himself after admitting in letters that he had misappropriated bank securities and while those two weeks have been filled with investigations and negotiations, bank officials and state examiners Monday had no public announcement to make of the bank's condition or its plans for the future.

With Assistant State Bank Examiner Carl Weber out of the city over the weekend and not expected to return before Monday evening, John R. Pogue, president of the bank, had no statement to make Monday that would indicate when the looked-for announcement will be made.

"The efforts for reorganization are still going on and every effort is being made to reopen the bank," he said, and would add no more to the statement.

Depositors in the bank are anxiously waiting the announcement that the bank will reopen or for some definite statement as to when and how much they will be paid. So far there has been nothing develop that indicates that bank officials' promises that depositors will be paid in full, will not be carried out.


Mrs. Frank E. HARROLD in a letter to The Review denies that Mr. Harrold lived beyond his means and also adds that she knows her husband did not take the bank's bonds for his own profit. Her letter follows:

"The suggestion in Sunday's Review to the effect that my husband lived beyond his means is one without any foundation in fact. Our family—Mr. Harrold, myself and four children, Gladys, Francis, Dorothy and Freeland—have always lived economically and within our income. Mr. Harrold, aside from his salary as cashier of the Farmers' State Bank & Trust company, had a fair income from his farm in DeWitt county, as well as some income from stock holdings. The only luxury, if it can be called a luxury, that we have enjoyed has been in the effort of educating our children.

Gladys graduated from Millikin a year ago last June. Dorothy is now a junior at Millikin. Francis has been in college one and one-half years and worked his way in part while he did attend. He has now dropped out of school, hoping that he can save enough by working to continue his education. Freeland is a senior at Decatur high school.

"Our family feel the tragedy and the burden of the great sorrow that has come to our home life too much to have any charge, or even any insinuation made, that Mr. Harrold or any of our family lived beyond his income, and that it was responsible directly or indirectly for the loss of any bonds. Such a suggestion is more than I can bear. We have lived simply. We have no extravagant habits.

"Together with the help of Gladys and Dorothy, I have done practically all the house work, and we have altogether economized wherever we could. While we have saved and stinted ourselves at every turn that our children might have an education, the statement that Mr. Harrold or his family has lived beyond his means is unjust and unfair. Any person who makes such a remark is either grossly misinformed or deliberately lying about it.

"I would like to add that the article appearing in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for Sunday must have been inspired by some one who was more interested in satisfying the curiosity of its readers than in relating the true facts. My husband's life in this community has been an open book until the trouble with the bonds arose. I know he did not intentionally take them, nor were they taken for own profit. I will go almost any length within reason to locate the bonds and have the responsibility placed where it belongs instead of solely upon the shoulders of my deceased husband.

(Signed) "MRS. F. E. HARROLD."


October 11, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois


Last Communication Made Public By Officials—Reorganization Outlook Brighter.

"Sorry, so sorry, for I did not mean to harm anyone. Oh, I can't stand it. Hell could be no worse."

Wrung by remorse over the deed that he had done and with his mind probably shaken by weeks of torture by a guilty conscience, Frank E. HARROLD, suicide cashier of the Farmers' State Bank & Trust company wrote those words to close a letter confessing misappropriation of funds from the bank, addressed the letter to John R. Pogue, president of the institution and his friend and business associate of years, and then took his life.

The suicide of Frank Harrold took place on the afternoon of Sept. 22 on his farm near Clinton. Before he took his life he wrote letters to John R. Pogue, Bank Examiner Turner and to members of his family.

The letters to Mr. Pogue and Mr. Turner have been held by bank officials and officials of the state auditor's office since that time with his promise that eventually they would be made public. On Saturday afternoon the two letters were released for publication.

The letters, publsihed herewith, confess to the appropriation of more than $100,000 of the bank's securities, absolve all other members of the bank staff from blame and state that Frank Harrold alone was responsible for the crime.

In both letters Harrold names "other parties" as the receivers of the stolen bonds and declares that they were taken by him to give these unknown persons as collateral for a loan.

The identity of the other person or persons to whom the bonds were given furnishes the key to the entire tragedy which so far has not been found. The mystery that surrounds the defalcation and suicide of the bank cashier probably will remain unsolved until the mysterious "friend" is found and there, too, will probably be found the motive for Frank Harrold's act.

LOSS $160,000.
John R. Pogue, president of the bank said Saturday that the loss in bonds and securities was about $160,000. The fact that Harrold places the figure at "more than $100,000" indicates that he had taken and further indicates that the pilfering had been going on for so long that he had lost track of the amount.

The securities taken by Harrold were all readily negotiable, and consisted of farm mortgages, mortgage bonds, railroad bonds, and industrial securities. They were unregistered and could be easily lost track of.

That is exactly what has happened, and although the bank the state and the company which carried Harrold's indemnity bond are all attempting to trace them, there seems little hope of recovering them or tracing their holder or holders.

"Harrold seemed to be in need of funds about thirty days before his death and, as his letter to me indicates, had tried to dispose of his interest in the Wonder Furnace Co." said Mr. Pogue. "I recall that fact."

"His financial condition did not seem to be more than a temporary embarrassment, however," he continued. "He was pretty heavily involved in that company, needed money for his farm and had also become interest in an oil or filling station company about three months before, but aside from these, I know of no other business connections that he had."

Although on Saturday Mr. Pogue was dubious of the prospects for reorganization of the bank and predicted that unless other parties than those now active, became interested in the reorganization it would fail. Later Saturday afternoon he declared that recent developments indicated that the reorganization plans might work out successfully.

"I believe that we are going to be able to swing it," he said. "There are new developments that have come up within the last few hours that have cheered us considerably."

Rumor was rife about Decatur Saturday that the bank was to go into receivership. Mr. Pogue himself admitted Saturday morning that receivership seemed inevitable if the plans under way failed, but denied in the afternoon that the situation was so acute as it had seemed.

"We have until Tuesday, according to auditor Oscar Nelson," he said. "That is, Mr. Nelson said that he would be back on Tuesday and see what had been accomplished. I believe that if by that time we have not completed our negotiations and there seems to be a good chance of their going through, he will be willing to give us more time."


October 11, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois


Dear Mr. Pogue:

The deed is done. I permitted the bonds to be taken from the vault as collateral to raise money for other parties and knowing I did not dare to make a howl, would not give them back. It's too late now, I could not get them. Pogue, sorry, to bring this upon you. I did not mean to. When I saw I could not get the bonds I thought I might sell the Furnace Co. and put it back, but did not get it done. Sorry, so sorry, for I did not mean to harm anyone. O, I can't stand it. Hell could be no worse.

(Signed) HARROLD.


Mr. Turner:

You will find more than $100,000.00 in bonds missing from the vault. I took the bonds and loaned them wholly unknown to the Directors or Mr. Pogue or Mr. White. They are all perfectly innocent. I took them out of the vault myself. I could give the persons' names but it would do no good but to injure their families. To injure mine is enough. Do not blame Pogue, White or any others of the Bank, they know nothing of it. I, alone am the guilty one. Not intending to harm anyone for they were promised to be brought back in due time, but were not.

(Signed) HARROLD.


October 14, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois


Many Notes of Insufficient Security is Report—Still Work on Scheme to Save Depositors.

Oscar Nelson, state auditor and representatives of the attorney general and the Farmers State Bank and Trust Co. called on Judge J. E. Baldwin in the Macon county circuit court at noon Wednesday. They told him they were ready to offer a petition for the appointment of a receiver for the bank.

Judge Baldwin pointed out to the men that the law provides that the receiver be named by the state auditor, and that it was out of his jurisdiction.

The men left the circuit court with Mr. Nelson were Attorneys Gullet and Kadyk of the attorney general's staff.

A final decision on this step was reached Tuesday evening after a committee of five depositors, named by other depositors in the bank who were interested in reorganization, had conferred with State Auditor Oscar Nelson.

The action is being taken after several plans for reorganization of the bank have failed. Lack of knowledge of the contingent liability of the bank has been the chief reason for failure of all the schemes, it is said.

"Receivership will be necessary unless there are unforeseen developments," said Mr. Nelson. Depositors who had been members of the negotiating committee said Wednesday that there were no new developments that would change the situation.

The reason for asking receivership were outlined by a member of the depositor's committee of five Wednesday.

"We, (the committee) have decided that receivership is the only thing to do," he said. "The state has been lenient and we might have more time, but we do not think it practical to proceed.

"It would take $550,000 to reorganize. $200,000 of which might come from the bank's assets and a quick realization on paper and securities. Men entering the reorganization would have to pay $174 per $100 share of stock. Old stockholders would lose their stock and have a hundred percent assessment levied.

"We found that the contingent liability is too large and too uncertain to make refinancing practicable," he continued.

"There is evidence of bad judgement in loans."

"In addition, there are securities in lock boxes that cannot be entered and there are affairs that were handled by Frank Harrold of which we have no knowledge. The liability might be more or less than indicated. We have no way of knowing.

"Another reason for our decision is that we could not put our finger on a banker to handle the bank if it was reorganized."

There is still a chance that depositors may receive full payment on their deposits, however, it was said by bank officials Wednesday morning. The fact that the bank is to go into receivership does not remove all hope of a settlement of 100 cents on the dollar, it was pointed out.


SAY $400,000 WILL BE LOSS.
With no official statement issued, the current report on the affairs of the bank are many. The bank officials have said that the bond loss through Frank Harrold will total about $160,000. Reports of loans with insufficient security held by the bank vary, with $250,000 being the average. If this is true, $400,000 will be about the loss.


October 23, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois


One of $1000 Denomination Taken and Note Left In Its Place at Farmers Bank.

At least one safety deposit box in the Farmers State bank, the key to which is said to have been left with Frank HARROLD, has had its contents tampered with and a $1,000 bond is said to be missing. It was revealed Friday morning by John Schrott, receiver.

Thursday the doors of the bank were opened for all persons not owing the bank to remove their valuables. In all of the boxes opened this one instance is the only one in which the contents of the boxes were found to be tampered with.

The box, according to Mr. Schroll, was the property of a woman. It had contained two bonds of $100 denomination and another of $1,000. The $1,000 bond was missing and in its place a note had been left. The key, the woman said, had been left with Mr. Harrold.

Mr. Schroll would not give the amount of the note or by whom it had been signed.

In addition, it was discovered Thursday that three envelopes left for safe keeping in the bank and containing valuable securities had also been opened and contents removed.

It is possible that as box holders continue to come in to check up on the contents of their boxes that other bonds and papers may be found to be missing. It is understood that Frank Harrold had access to several safety deposit boxes in the bank.

Since the bank's doors were opened on Thursday morning there has been a constant stream of visitors to the bank to get balances, seek admittance to safety boxes and ask questions regarding deposits or loans.

So far, Mr. Schroll said Friday, there have been few demands for money on deposit, most of the people seeming to understand that there is to be no payment for some time.

Sheets for the proving of claims are expected to be completed soon and Mr. Schroll expects to be able to begin this job the first of next week.

In the meantime the pass books of depositors which have been left for balancing are being mailed out to them to save clerical work in distributing them at the windows. There are several hundred books that have not yet been left to balance and until these are turned in much of the receiver's work will be delayed.


The state law covering the amount that may be loaned to officers, salaried employes or firms in which bank officials hold offices sets the limit on such loans to fifteen per cent of the capital stock of the bank and fifteen per cent of the bank's surplus which does not include the undivided profits.

The law also states that such loans cannot be made until application is made to the board of directors of the bank and approved by them. Such approval must be as to both security and amount.

There have been many questions asked as to the law in such cases since it was announced in the receiver's report that more than $140,000 had been borrowed from the bank by its officers and directors and members of their families.

The capital stock of the Farmers bank was $200,000. Fifteen per cent of this would be $30,000.


October 26, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois


Former Official In Statement—Declares $33,000 Was Substituted to Cover Shortage.

Bonds amounting to $43,000 said to have been found missing from a safety deposit box at the Farmer's State Bank in a statement made public Saturday, are not missing from the bank and never have been.

A statement to that effect was issued Monday by a former official of the Farmers' State Bank to correct the erroneous impression given by the statement of Saturday.

"Although there was a condition discovered by the examiners involving some $33,000 in securities and not $43,000, it was not the case that these bonds were missing. The recent audit disclosed that $33,000 had been removed from the safety box unknown to other bank officials and placed in the securities listed as the bank's during the March examination of the bank, and then returned to the box," said the official.

"The securities were owned by a man who was planning a trip. Before leaving he turned both keys to his safety deposit box over to Frank HARROLD with instructions to clip the coupons as they came due and to send him the interest," the former officer explained.

Continuing with his statement, he said that the man had heard nothing from Mr. Harrold and was becoming concerned when word reached him of the closing of the bank. He immediately came home to look into the situation and to find if his securities were still intact.

It was discovered when he opened his box that the securities were still there. On the examiner's statement for the March exam, however, it was discovered that these $33,000 in bonds had at that time been listed with the bank's securities. It was evident that after the examination they had been returned to the box.

The substitution had very apparently been made in an effort to cover a shortage in the bank's accounts at the time of the state examination, the former official said.

In addition to the $5,000 in securities discovered missing from among valuables left in safe keeping with the bank, it has been revealed by the receiver that another $4,000 in securities is also missing. These were the property of a woman living in Clinton and had been left at the bank and receipted for by Frank Harrold. When she came to the bank to get them they were found to be missing.

The receivers contend that securities left in safe keeping of the bank and not in safety deposit boxes do not throw a liability upon the bank if it is discovered that they are missing.

In all of the instances of reported losses of this type, the conditions under which the securities were left must be established.

At the bank where the receivers are taking payments on notes set offs are being allowed between the value of the note and the amount of any deposit that the maker of the note may have had. C. R. Mertens, assistant to the receiver said Monday.

When such set offs are allowed, it eliminates a necessity for the depositor to file a proof of claim.

Many people are coming to the bank and are paying off their notes, Mr. Mertens said Monday. Notices have been sent to makers of notes whose obligations are due and these are coming in and making payments. The receivers were satisfied with the attitude that is being taken by the debtors of the bank although it was remarked that "they might come faster."



October 28, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois


Rumors current in Decatur for the last week that Frank HARROLD had been murdered and was not a suicide were denied as having no foundation by Francis HARROLD, his son, when asked to make a statement as to the grounds for any such theory.

"So far as I know the rumors have no foundation in fact," he said. "Aside from the fact that the pistol used was of a "bootleg" type, sold promiscuously by mail order houses, I, personally know of nothing that would be grounds for such a statement."


December 28, 1925
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois


Examination Shows Money Charged to Bond Account But None Were Bought.

Bonds amounting to approximately $157,000 and commonly supposed to have been missing from the vaults of the Farmer's State Bank & Trust Co. following the suicide of Frank HARROLD, the bank's cashier, on Sept. 22 were never in existence.

A sum of money equivalent to the $157,000 had been charged to the bank's bond account, but the bonds were never purchased.

Instead, it is believed that Frank Harrold charged the bond account with sums of money from time ti time, credited the money to his own account and at examination times, "borrowed" securities from safety boxes to which he had access to cover his defalcation.

It is also believed that he had been practicing this deception for years and in the end the misappropriation of funds reached $157,000.

This startling revelation has just been made public by John Schroll, receiver for the bank. It has been known for some time, but due to the fact that the announcement of the fact might have had a detrimental effect on some phases of the receivership, it has not been announced to this time.

The belief that Frank Harrold had appropriated $157,000 worth of the bank's bonds to his own use or, as stated in his letter of confession written just before his suicide, had "loaned them to a friend," has been the foundation for dozens of rumors that have cast suspicion on the integrity of firms and individuals in and around Decatur.

It has been responsible for extensive investigation by private detectives and police officers and has caused persons in Decatur and in other cities to be held under surveillance.

It has trapped persons whose names have not been revealed to make offers to the receiver to make restitution of certain of the supposedly missing bonds "for a consideration."

The revelation of the fact that there never have been bonds missing from the bank is the most startling one that has come out of the entire bank tangle since the night of Sept. 23 when Frank Harrold committed suicide and a hasty check-up of accounts gave cause for the closing of the bank's doors.

How the idea was gained that $157,000 in bonds was missing is easily explained.

State bank examiners were conducting a regular examination of the books of the Farmers State Bank & Trust Co. of Sept. 23. The books of the bank had been checked and found in good shape. The final task of checking the securities came next.

It was shortly after noon when the examiners stated that they would check the securities and "call it a day." Then, Frank Harrold put on his hat and walked out of the bank.

The subsequent check showed a large discrepancy in the bank's securities. The directors of the bank were called into consultation. Mr. Harrold was not present. While the directors were in session, word came that his body had been found on his farm near Clinton.

Harrold had left letters to the bank examiner, Mr. Turner, to J. R. Pogue, president of the bank and to members of his family. In the letters to Mr. Pogue he declared that he had "permitted the bonds to be taken from the bank as collateral to raise money for other parties." IN the letter to Mr. Turner he stated that "you will find more than $100,000 in bonds missing from the vault. I took the bonds and loaned them wholly unknown to the directors, Mr. Pogue or Mr. White."

The fact that there was a shortage in the bank's securities coupled with the confession from Harrold that he had taken bonds made a solid link that indicated without question of a doubt that there had been bonds and that they had been appropriated for other uses. That idea has persisted until now.

Investigators were secured by the state, by the bonding company which held a $50,000 bond on the bank's employes and by individuals who were interested in the bank. All clues led to dead ends.

Then, after the receivers had taken over the bank's books and a systematic check of the bank's affairs had been started, it is understood that the discovery was made that there had been no bonds purchased with the $157,000 charged to that account.

Investigation of the books of the bank led to the theory that Harrold had systematically taken the bank's funds, charged them to the bond account and then transferred the cash to his own personal account. This had apparently been going on for years.

How Mr. Harrold got by the periodical examinations by state examiners without discovery of his defalcation may also be explained now that the fact is known that the bonds never existed.

In the course of the receivership, it was discovered that bonds were missing from safety deposit boxes and trust funds to which Harrold had access. In one instance, bonds amounting to $33,000 had been taken from a safety deposit box and were later found listed with the bank's securities.

It may be supposed, then, that Harrold, anticipating the visits of the bank examiners, had collected bonds from safety boxes and trust funds before the examination, placed them with the bank's securities, passed the examination, and then returned the bonds to their proper boxes to away the next examination.

On the day that Harrold shot himself it is probable that the examination caught him unprepared, he was unable to accumulate sufficient bonds for the examination and he walked from the bank and took his own life.

Why he should have stated that he had taken bonds and loaned them to friends as he did in his dying statements, can only be conjectured. The only explanation is that in this way he hoped to make his act seem less criminal and attach a tinge of martyrdom to the deed that he had done.

The belief that there were $157,000 worth of bonds somewhere that had been taken from the bank by Harrold has been the foundation for some strange proceedings and for a host of rumors.

"We have had hundreds of inquiries as to whether there have been traces found of the 'missing bonds,' said John Schroll Monday.

"The most startling thing that occurred in that connection was the offer from one individual to return to us a portion of the missing bonds for a consideration," he added.

Mr. Schroll did not state what action was taken at that time or whether it was known then that there were no missing bonds. Certainly that individual has laid himself open for suspicion, however.

It is known that the recent shake-up in the police department was an indirect outcome of the missing bond theory. George Geer, police officer, dismissed with Ben Perkins and later reinstated, had been detailed to act for the state auditor to investigate the whereabouts of the missing bonds.

So far as is known there were no arrests in the case, although it is known that during the last few weeks there have been persons taken up and held for investigation on the theory that they knew where the missing bonds were.

Some faint hope that some of the bonds might be recovered and the loss to depositors of the bank might be lessened, has persisted since the bank closed its doors. This hope is completely dissipated since the announcement by the receiver.

The total amount of bonds charged to the bond account at the time the bank closed was 310,925. Of that amount, $158,075 in bonds and securities were actually on hand and $5150 in government bonds had been sold.

According to Mr. Schroll the approximate loss on the bonds held by the receiver will be $78,878. On bonds on hand that have been sold there has already been a depreciation of $17,071. The bank must stand the shortage and the depreciation also.

"The depreciation figure indicates the class of securities that the bank held," Mr. Schroll said Monday. He stated that in many cases depreciation on bond values had amounted to fifty per cent or more.


December 23, 1926
Edwardsville Intelligencer
Edwardsville, Illinois


Decatur, Ill., Dec. 23—Sensational disclosures have been made which reveal ti is charged that the defalcation of Cashier Frank E. HARROLD, the cashier who committed suicide when bank examiners started their investigation, was not the underlying cause of the failure of the Farmers' State Bank here.

It is now charged that the policy of investing the stocks of doubtful value and of making bad loans was responsible for greater losses than those charged to the cashier.

It has been computed that total losses to depositors will aggregate $70,000 and that the maximum dividend that can be paid will be 50 cents on the dollar. The third and last dividend that can be paid for two or three years may be only 10 cents on the dollar. The total misappropriation of the cashier was declared to aggregate $247,100 but those investigating the affairs of the institution charge that losses otherwise will total $428,661 of which $348,661 is represented by notes found to be worthless while the remainder is credited to buying bonds and securities of little if any value.

Submitted by Sheryl Byrd