Edward C. Stuart, starting upon his banking career as clerk in the First National Bank of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, is now the vice president of the First National Bank of St. Louis, one of the largest and strongest financial institutions of the Mississippi valley. Advancement came to him in recognition of his worth and ability in his chosen field of labor. He has ever made it his purpose thoroughly to master any task entrusted to him and as power grows through the exercise of effort he has become a strong factor in financial circles of his adopted city. He was born in Powhattan, Arkansas, March 2, 1879. His father, Pitman C. Stuart, was a native of Lawrence county, Arkansas, and was a representative of an old English family that in an early period of American settlement was established in Virginia. From that date representatives of the family went to Kentucky and later to Arkansas. Pittman C. Stuart was married to Miss Katherine Williams, a daughter of William Williams, of Cape Girardeau county, Missouri. Her grandfather in the paternal line was born in Wales and came to America in young manhood. The death of Pittman C. Stuart occurred in 1881, and the mother still survives, making her home in Cape Girardeau.
Edward C. Stuart was educated in the public schools of Cape Girardeau until he reached the age of fourteen years and he afterward attended the Cape Girardeau State Normal School, from which he was graduated in 1897 with the Bachelor of Science degree. He had also pursued business training in Eastman’s Business College at Poughkeepsie, New York.
Mr. Stuart entered upon his business career as a junior clerk in the First National Bank at Cape Girardeau in 1898 and there remained for two years, acquiring good knowledge of the business, so that he was qualified for advancement. In 1900 he went to Washington, Missouri, where he organized the First National Bank of that city of which he remained the cashier for nine years and during that period controlled the policy and generally directed the management of the bank. He next came to St. Louis and after a short connection with the First National Bank was made assistant cashier. In 1916 he was promoted to the office of vice president and so continued until 1919, when this bank was merged with the St. Louis Union Bank and the Mechanics American National Bank under the style of the First National Bank of St. Louis, and Mr. Stuart is now the vice president of this institution. While with the Third National Bank he had charge of the credits in the states of Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas and he now divides the credits of the First National Bank with Vice President Smith. He is thoroughly acquainted with every phase of the banking business and in all things tempers progressiveness by a wise conservatism that most carefully safeguards the interests of depositors.
On the 1st of March, 1906, Mr. Stuart was married to Miss Lucy Gentry, the youngest daughter of Nicholas H. Gentry, of Sedalia, Missouri. Her father is the foremost breeder of Berkshire hogs in the United States and also ranks very high as a breeder of shorthorn cattle. The Gentry family have occupied the same house in Pettis county for one hundred years and throughout all this time have been famous breeders of live stock. Mr. Gentry was a director in both the Chicago and St. Louis World’s Fairs and has been president of the American Berkshire Breeders Association. His daughter, Mrs. Stuart, is a musician of marked talent and ability. She is a graduate of the Chicago Musical College and of the Williams Woods College at Fulton, Missouri. She was at one time a pupil of Rudolph Ganz, the great Swiss pianist, and before her marriage often appeared in concerts. To Mr. and Mrs. Stuart have been born three children: Gentry Warren, Edward Pittman and Katherine Stuart, all of whom are now in school.
Mr. Stuart maintains an independent political position and has never felt that he had time actively to engage in politics. He is a member of the First Congregational church of Webster Groves and belongs to the Missouri Athletic Association and Kirkwood Country Club, while his interest in community affairs and in the city’s progress and development is manifest in his connection with the Chamber of Commerce. His life record should serve to inspire and encourage others, for his advancement has been won entirely through his individual merit and ability.