A Look Back at American Bank & Trust
The American Bank & Trust of Wessington Springs, Miller, Wolsey, Alpena, Mellette, Huron, and De Smet was originally the Bank of Alpena and was started in 1886 when H. S. Royer operated a bank from behind a curtain in the back of his drug store.
In 1888, L. N. Loomis opened the Bank of Alpena and operated it as a private institution until 1892, when he was joined by D. C. Wallace and H. S. Royer. They incorporated and were chartered on January 9, 1892, with $6,000 in capital stock being issued. L. N. Loomis was listed as president and H. S. Royer as cashier. The bank was located in the small building just west of the Odd Fellows Hall and remained there until 1902, at which time a new building was built on the corner across the street east of the Odd Fellows Hall. At that time, $6,000 additional capital stock was issued and a change of management took place, with O. L. Brauson being appointed president and D. C. Wallace as cashier.
In 1920, 130 shares of stock were issued to bring the capital stock up to $25,000. 1926 brought about a sad turn of events and in an effort to avoid serious disaster, the stockholders voted to voluntarily close the bank on November 21, 1926.
Reorganization was achieved February 14, 1927, with 230 shares of stock issued and the bank reopened with J. E. Schull as president and K. T. Aisenbrey as cashier. In 1929, 20 additional shares of stock were issued to make capital stock of $25,000. In 1933, Robert S. Cook was elected president and 1941 brought about a change in management as Howard H. Peters took over the duties as cashier. But the year 1943 found Peters taking leave to fulfill his military obligation in the U. S. Army. Mark Atwood took over the duties until 1946, when after being discharged from the armed forces, Peters again assumed the position of cashier, with Charles Brammer becoming president. In 1952, Peters was elected to the presidency and Roger Aye, who had been serving as assistant cashier, became cashier.
Construction of a new building was started that year and in the spring of 1953, the bank moved to its new home one door east of the old bank. In 1962, a new building was built again and a branch bank was established at Wolsey, with the capital of the bank increased to $50,000. In 1964, the parent bank was moved to Wessington Springs, with a branch bank remaining at Alpena, making a total of three locations. The name of the bank was changed at that time, also, becoming American State Bank. The capital stock was increased to $150,000.
In 1972, Peters sold the bank to Leland Steele and his son Jack Steele, both of Huron. The Steeles are the current owners and operators of the bank.
Then in 1986, the First Bank Branch in Wessington Springs was purchased and added to the operation. In 1993 Farmers State Bank in Mellette was purchased and became the fourth location of American State Bank. A new bank building was erected across the street from the old building in Mellette and opened for business in April 1998.
The Hand County State Bank of Miller was purchased and added to the operation June 1, 2000. Construction of a new bank building in Wessington Springs was completed in 2000. A new branch was opened in Huron April 1, 2002 and the bank's name was changed to American Bank & Trust.
In July 2006 American Bank & Trust opened their 7th branch location at the Huron Wal-Mart. An expansion project to the Huron Branch was also underway in 2006 and was completed in May 2007. At this time American Trust Insurance was opened in the existing bank building and the bank was moved into the new addition.
In October 2011 Peoples State Bank in De Smet merges with American Bank & Trust, becoming the 8th location.
American Bank & Trust currently has 90 employees in 8 branch locations in 7 communities including Wessington Springs, Alpena, Mellette, Miller, Wolsey, Huron and De Smet with assets of over $350 million.