Site Number 26. The Newmarket National Bank.
For the first 200 years of colonial settlement, there is no record of any structure on this site. By 1700, shipbuilding was the main industry of Lamprey River Village. From the Salt River up to the colonial orchards on the hillside, shipwrights and blacksmiths worked here. An 1800 map shows nothing on this site, although there were some buildings nearby. Even after the Newmarket Manufacturing Company’s arrival and land grab, it was an empty lot in 1832.
What we see today could well be the first and only building on this lot. Details of its construction are unclear, but it may have been built around 1855 when the Newmarket Bank was incorporated. This was its home, and Samuel Abbott Haley was cashier. He continued in this role when the bank reorganized as the Newmarket National Bank in 1865. Over the years, Mr. Haley had become a much-respected member of the community, and the street where he lived became known as “Haley Avenue.”
The town’s other bank had incorporated much earlier. In 1832 the Newmarket Savings Bank had set up offices on South Main Street. In 1875 Samuel Abbott Haley of the Newmarket National Bank became the cashier for the Savings Bank. And the Newmarket Savings Bank moved in here.
The 1892 New Hampshire Atlas shows the Savings Bank in the south side of the building while the National Bank occupied the north side. Mr. Haley had continued as the trusted cashier of both banks. But trouble was brewing. At some point he began making unsecured loans to himself, his sons Clinton and John, and his brother Benjamin. When Samuel Abbott Haley died suddenly in January 1892, depositors realized they had lost the savings of years, the Savings Bank closed, and a run began on the National Bank. Like a scene from the Christmas movie A Wonderful Life, the new cashier Alanson Haines had to talk down some very angry customers.
Thanks to Mr. Haines’s efforts and to the sale of Samuel Haley’s estate, the Newmarket National Bank did survive. Samuel Haley’s house eventually became the St. Mary convent. And “Haley Avenue” once more became South Main Street.
The Newmarket National Bank remained in this building until 1909 when it moved further down Main Street to the present location of the Kennebunk Savings Bank. It remained the only bank in town for decades.
Meanwhile, Giacomo Marelli moved into this building, starting a store that would last here for over 100 years—Marelli’s Fruit & Real Estate. Other businesses that have found a home here include a progression of drug stores and cafés – Dearborn’s, Turcotte’s, LaBranche’s, Mike’s Place, Johanna’s… and The Big Bean Café.
Site No. 27 is right next door.
END OF AUDIO TEXT. See below for photos and more information.
This brick structure in the center of Newmarket’s downtown may have been the first building ever erected on this site. There are indications that the Salt River shipyard of the 1600s and 1700s extended uphill to this area. Even after the decline of shipbuilding and after the Newmarket Manufacturing Company arrived and started buying land, there is no record of any building here.
In 1832 it was an empty lot. By 1857, this building appears on maps. It was said to have been constructed by local contractors Gilbert Procter and his son Walter. It may well have been built around 1855, since that is when the Newmarket Bank was incorporated; and its first location was here in this building. Nor is there any record of previous tenants. Mr. Barnard of Andover, MA owned the building.
Who’s Been Here – in a Nutshell
On the north side Newmarket’s bank was housed for about 50 years. The next tenant was Giacomo Marelli, whose family operated a store here for over 100 years, until 2017.
Somewhere on the south side of the building, the Newmarket Savings Bank took up quarters from 1870 until 1892. Dr. George I. Dearborn’s Drug Store was also there on the south side. Under new ownership in 1928, it became the Turcotte Drug Store. After 1945, drugs gave way to food with LaBranche’s, Mike’s Place, and Joanna’s Lunch. The Big Bean Café has continued that tradition, catering to townies and tourists.
In 1894, second floor tenants over the bank were Attorney W.H. Paine’s law office and several families. That was when the adjacent Durgin Grocery Store caught fire. Flames spread to the roof and rear of this building, and only after two hours of hard fighting was the fire extinguished. The building was saved, and the only smoke and water damage was to the belongings of families closest to the Durgin (north) side of the building. The books and papers of the bank were removed to safety in the Town Hall.
A TALE OF TWO BANKS:
Banking can be a rather bland and boring business. But not so in Newmarket.
The Newmarket Savings Bank, incorporated in 1832, was located on South Main Street just south of where John S. Bennett later set up his lumber business with the hayscales outside (Site No. 14: Griffin Hardware). Over its 60 years of business, it had three cashiers.
For more information on Deacon David Murray, his four wives and twelve children see Site # 47: NMCo & Zion’s Hill.
In 1855 he retired to take on a new position as cashier of the newly-incorporated Newmarket (National) Bank. Twenty years later Mr. S. A. Haley also became cashier of the Newmarket Savings Bank, which promptly moved into this building from its South Main Street location. (In this brick building remains the vault from the “Newmarket Savings Bank”.)
Beginning in 1875, both banks were housed in the same building, with the same cashier—Mr. S. A. Haley.
The Newmarket National Bank started out in July 1855 as “The Newmarket Bank,” a state bank with a capital of $60,000. The first president was Z. Dow Creighton. He was followed by Joseph Lawrence, a resident of Wadley’s Falls, and in succession by Hon. William B. Small and Joseph C. Burley. Reorganized in 1865 under the United States banking laws it then became the “Newmarket National Bank”.
When the new national bank laws became effective in May 1865, the “Newmarket National Bank” charter was extended, the bank reorganized, and the capital stock increased to $80,000. J. S. Lawrence became president and Mr. Samuel A. Haley continued as cashier. Through the period during and after the Civil War the bank appeared to prosper.
Then, in January 1892 the cashier of both of Newmarket’s banks, Samuel Abbot Haley died. Here are some quotes from his obituary (published in the January 16, 1892 issue of The Newmarket Advertiser).
Now it gets Dicey
The 1908 Granite Monthly states:
The “Panic of ‘93,” which startled the world of finance “like a bolt from a cloudless sky,” following close upon his [S.A. Haley] death, the bank became seriously involved and for a time its existence was precarious.
Certain individuals conspired to wreck the bank and through their influence the deposits were drawn down to $14,000 and the surplus shrunk to a paltry five hundred dollars. A. C. Haines had been appointed as a clerk in the bank in June 1883, and upon the death of Haley, Haines was elected his successor. From the first, the situation called for the best energies of the new cashier.
A systematic effort having been made to impair the confidence of depositors, it required a heroic will and most faithful and efficient service to restore the same; but, little by little, one by one, the old depositors returned, bringing new ones with them, until today the average deposit is $180,000, while the surplus and undivided profits amount to $13,000. It now pays a semi-annual dividend of 3 per cent upon a capital of $50,000.
Its present officers are president, Jeremiah Langley; vice-president, Frank H. Durgin; cashier, Alanson C. Haines; assistant cashier, Miss Ella Tuttle
That is one account, but there’s another account which explains what really caused the bank failure. It wasn’t the Panic of 1893. It was the implied embezzlement and fraudulent loans engineered by S. A. Haley to his friends and family. At the time, the bank downplayed this, but it became public knowledge years after his death. Nellie Palmer George hinted at the impropriety:
“At its incorporation in 1855 as a state bank, Samuel Abbot Haley was chosen its cashier, an office he held until his death in 1892—at which time depositors in the Savings Bank found they had lost the savings of years. NPG, Old Newmarket, p. 121.
Other evidence sheds more light on the issue. Letters from Lafayette Hall sent prior to 1892 to the bank’s Chairman of the Board Joseph Burley accuse Haley of making exorbitant loans for business speculation in mining, timber and land development in the west. This ended up in court:
Newmarket National Bank v. Lafayette Hall involving a disputed $10,000. A court suit filed previously in 1878 took until February 1887—almost ten years—for a settlement, (as in the Charles Dickens novel Bleak House written 20 years earlier, the lawyers were probably the only real winners). The court found in the favor of the bank.
On file with the New Market Historical Society are several letters from Mr. Hall to Mr. Burley. In a letter dated November 14, 1884, Hall (referring to the still-pending lawsuit) asserted that in 1878, S. A. Haley had cheated him out of the contested $10,000. He also claimed that Haley “actually embezzled $14,000 out of the Newmarket National Bank and he loaned his brother B.F. Haley $17,500 on names that you know are worthless.”
Alanson Haines was the chief clerk who became the Head Cashier upon Haley’s death. It fell to him to figure out and clean up the mess. Like a scene out of A Wonderful Life, Haines had to face the angry customers wanting to withdraw funds, asking them if they might be able to get by on a lesser amount.
For the full (and tragic) story of Lafayette Hall, see his biography on the Historical Society website: https://www.newmarketnhhistoricalsociety.org/docs/biographies/lafayette-hall-from-great-wealth-to-greater-despair/
Haines wrote Burley in Feb 26, 1892, after the Bank Commissioners audited the bank for three days and issued a court order to restrain the “National Bank” from doing any business with the “Savings Bank” account, as the auditors found $29,000 in J. J. Haley paper—more than the law allowed. Not only were many of the western loans found to be worthless, but Haines also located other Haley notes that were just about worthless, in the names of C. A. Haley, B. F. Haley, S. A. Haley and John Haley. Here are the relationships:
C. A. Haley: Samuel Haley’s son Clinton
B. F. Haley: Samuel Haley’s brother Benjamin
S.A. Haley: Samuel Abbott Haley, himself
John Haley & J. J. Haley: These could both refer to Samuel Haley’s son; or one of them may have been Samuel Haley’s nephew.
Simply put, Samuel A. Haley had used his position for his family’s financial gain; in the process he betrayed the trust of the Banks’ boards, depositors and fellow citizens.
“People have become frightened and with the closing of the Savings Bank caused depositors to begin a run on the National Bank, and in fact our depositors have been steadily drawing on us now for five weeks reducing us from between 50 & 60 down to about $2,700. We have got to raise money to meet them.
“Now in a different matter, Mr. Dorr [Bank Commissioner] finds too much Haley in the National Bank: S. A. Haley a little over $8,000; B. F. Haley $8,000; C. A. Haley 3,300; John Haley $3,500 and J. J. Haley as principle and endorser over $4,000. In all, the Haley paper or paper that has the name Haley on it in some form amounts to $72,000.
“There are some other things that do not speak very well of Mr. S. A. Haley. I do not think I will put them on paper. The fact is Mr. Haley ran the bank in the interest of the Haley family.
If we can raise the money to meet our depositors, we will be all right. We have got notes coming due in a few days that would set us all right if they can get paid – but they are mostly Haley.
I think I will close as you will be tired of reading such unpleasant news.
Respect Yours, A. C. Haines. At Close of business Feb 26, 1892, Balance was $2,236.61
Joseph Burley had been Chairman of the Bank Board of Directors since 1876; now in 1892 he was tired, he was ill, and he just wanted to retire and go to Florida. But first he had to clean up the mess: keep the bank solvent, stop any further litigation, and keep any more notices like the following from appearing in print.
The Honorable Joshua G. Hall of Dover has been appointed receiver for the suspended Newmarket Savings Bank and will file his bonds and enter upon his duties at an early day when the condition of the bank will be definitely ascertained. (12 Mar 1892).
Gentlemen’s Rules — Be an Effective Negotiator
Mr. Burley did head south that year—but not until certain conditions had been met.
It just so happened that Newmarket businessman Benjamin F. Haley was Vice Chairman of the Newmarket National Bank Board of Directors. He was also the brother of S. A. Haley; and his name was on many of the questionable loans.
And it just so happened that Benjamin F. Haley was the executor of his brother S.A. Haley’s estate.
And it just so happened that S.A. Haley had owned a great deal of real estate—primarily from foreclosed mortgages in Newmarket, Durham and Lee.
After consultations with Joseph Burley, Benjamin Haley (AKA Mr. B.F. Haley) informed the Bank Auditors and Judge Joshua G. Hall of Dover that as soon as the sale of the Late S. A. Haley’s estate was finalized, the bank would have the “Haley” paper covered.
And finalized it was—all in the month of August 1892 (a minor miracle in itself). Once the estate was finalized, the bank was reimbursed for the questionable outstanding loans. Having achieved a solvent bank from which to retire, Mr. Burley resigned his position as Director of Newmarket National Bank.
See more about Alanson Haines in Alanson Haines — Savior of the Bank (attached to this site)
New Building, New Tenants
By 1905 the Newmarket National Bank had acquired property on the west side of Main Street across from Water Street and by 1909 had built a new building there. Sylvia Getchell’s notes say that in—-“1909, 15 Sep. (Wed.) The safe of the Newmarket National Bank was moved to their new building.”
In 1909 Italian grocer Giacomo Marelli moved into 114 Main Street, the part vacated by the National Bank. His family did business under the name of Marelli’s Fruit and Real Estate for the next 100 years, closing October 2017.
When Giacomo Marelli went into business he leased or rented the part of the building that was formerly occupied by the Newmarket National Bank from Jacob Barnard.
Mr. Barnard was a building contractor, who it just so happened was part owner of the bank property. He had negotiated with Mr. Benjamin F. Haley back in 1892 and purchased 25 shares in the bank when Haley was selling shares in the National Bank to buoy up its holdings. To his credit, Haley wrote to Mr. Burley, that while he quietly sold shares in the bank, he turned down an offer and stopped the sale of 193 shares to “some fellows from Lawrence that he didn’t quite trust” as he wanted to keep local control of the bank.
Today Keslar Insurance is working out of the old Marelli Storefront.
Dearborn’s Drug Store occupied The South side of the building from 1860 until 1928. After completing his education and receiving a diploma to practice medicine, Doctor George Dearborn (1824-1902), decided to engage in the drug business. He came to Newmarket in 1860 and opened a drug store which he ran for 42 years. He was the oldest merchant in town at the time of his death. He had been town clerk, town moderator and member of the school committee as well as trustee of the library. For several years, he was the organist at the Congregational Church and for the Masonic Lodge.
Dearborn Drug was then run by George’s son Arthur (1866-1928) who came to Newmarket with his parents when he was six years old. He graduated from Massachusetts School of Pharmacy in 1877 and then worked in the store and became the proprietor upon his father’s death. When Arthur died in January 1928, the business was purchased through his estate by Joseph Oscar Turcotte who was a pharmacist and had been working in the store since 1915.
In 1924 Joseph married mill worker Nelda LaBranche (1894-1976). After purchasing the business, he changed the name to Turcotte’s Drug and News Stand, and Nelda quit working in the mills to clerk in the store. Joseph (1889-1945) owned and operated Turcotte’s Pharmacy for 30 years until his death in May 1945. (See more information on the Turcotte family at Site No. 46 –the location of the Turcotte family home on Spring Street.)
(1924 photo of Joseph and Nelda) Nelda eventually sold the business to her brother “Dick” Philip LaBranche, Jr. and his son Charlie LaBranche. Charlie operated LaBranche’s Lunch Counter and Newsstand until he retired. No longer a pharmacy, other eateries soon followed—Mike’s Place, Johanna’s, and today, the The Big Bean Cafe.