The city of Terrell was founded in 1873. C. M. Bivens, John H. Corley, and F. A. Waters opened a private bank here in 1875. In 1878, Asa Holt replaced Waters as one of the owners. Later the enterprise became the Bivens and Corley Bank and moved to this site. A second financial institution, the Childress Brothers' Bank, was founded in 1876. Col. Jim Harris, who bought an interest in 1882, acquired the Childress bank in 1885 and the Bivens and Corley Bank in 1887, merging them as the Harris Bank. Also in that year, the town acquired a federally chartered bank, the First National. Oscar B. Colquitt (1861-1940), later to be governor of Texas, was one of its founders. At the death of Col. Harris in 1895, A. J. Childress, John H. Corley, and seven other citizens bought the Harris estate and formed Harris National Bank. One of the directors was the railroad magnate Edward H. R. Green, son of the noted financier Hetty Green. In 1903 the Harris National was renamed American National Bank. When the depression of the 1930s strained the town's resources, the two national banks were merged. As of 1976, the American National Bank is the oldest and largest financial institution in Kaufman County.
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