Biography of Charles M. Branch
Charles M. Branch, a resident of Kansas since 1873, is a banker of thirty years experience and is president of the Citizens Bank of Hutchinson, one of the few institutions in the state with resources of over $1,000,000.
Mr. Branch was born at Vinton, Benton County, Iowa, September 27, 1859. His English ancestors first settled in Vermont, and his grandfather, Minor Branch, moved his family from that state to Northern Indiana in pioneer times, and died in Indiana before Charles M. Branch was born.
Phineas C. Branch, father of the Hutchinson banker, was one of the pioneer homesteaders of Reno County, Kansas. He was born in Vermont in 1825, spent part of his boyhood in his native state, and went with his parents to LaPorte County, Indiana, where he grew to manhood. He married at Galena, Illinois, and soon afterwards moved to Vinton County, Iowa, where he located on a farm. In 1861 he enlisted as a private in the Thirteenth Regiment of Iowa Infantry and was all through the war, a faithful soldier in practically every engagement in which his regiment participated. He was in many of the important campaigns of the Middle West and fought at Shiloh and Vicksburg. After the war he took up dentistry, practicing both at Vinton, Iowa, and Galena, Illinois. In 1873, coming to Kansas, he exercised his old soldier’s rights and homesteaded 160 acres near Peace in Reno County. That homestead he developed as a farm and continued to live upon it until a few years before his death. He also preempted a 160-acre timber claim and had the 320 acres as his scene of farming activities. He lived his last few years retired at Hutchinson, where he died January 2, 1912. He was for many years a republican but later was affiliated with the prohibition party. During the ’70s he served as a county commissioner. He was a very active member of the First Baptist Church and was affiliated with the Grand Army of the Republic. Phineas C. Branch married Sarah C. Chapin, who was born in Massachusetts in 1826 and died at Hutchinson September 9, 1902. There were only two children: Charles M. and Andrew, the latter a mechanic and contractor living at Sterling, Kansas.
Charles M. Branch was fourteen years of age when his parents removed to Kansas. In the meantime he had attended public school at Vinton, Iowa, continued his education in Sterling, Kansas, and remained a factor on the old home farm with his father until twenty-six years of age. For five terms altogether he taught school in Rice and Reno counties.
Mr. Branch’s first experience in banking was as bookkeeper with the Rice County Bank at Sterling, where he remained on duty until October 3, 1887. At that date he came to Hutchinson as bookkeeper for the First National Bank and was subsequently advanced to assistant cashier. January 1, 1902, he entered the Citizens Bank as cashier and in January, 1915, was elected its president.
The Citizens Bank of Hutchinson was established in August, 1892, as a state bank by J. B. Mackay. The bank occupies a substantial building at the corner of Seventh Avenue and North Main Street. This is a two story stone structure erected in 1886, with the bank on the first floor, the second floor being used for other business purposes. The Citizens Bank had a capital stock of $200,000, surplus and profits of $145,000, while its deposits, according to a recent statement, approximated $1,350,000. The present officers of the bank are: Charles M. Branch, president; J. B. Mackay, vice president; G. C. Pells, cashier; and Grover C. Harris, assistant cashier.
Mr. Branch is still interested in farming, having a place of 160 acres seven miles south of Nickerson. He owned much city real estate in Hutchinson, including a number of dwelling houses, and at 507 Sherman Avenue, East, he built his own modern home in 1911. He is a republican in politics, and as the head of the Citizens Bank is a member of the Kansas Bankers’ Association and the American Bankers’ Association. On January 5, 1910, at Topeka, Mr. Branch married Miss Lenora Scott, a native of Illinois.