“The Union Bank of Everest, Kansas, was chartered last week with a capital stock of $6,000. The directors are T.C. Honnell, George Andrews, F.F. Honnell and H.M. Means. Everest is a wide-awake, business little place, and her citizens are enterprising.”
– The Everest Enterprise, August 7, 1901
Over one hundred years ago, a group of Everest citizens pooled their resources to create the Union State Bank. The name was chosen by Mr. T.C. Honnell, a former Union soldier, who was particularly fond of the maxim ‘in union there is strength.’
Mr. Honnell was the bank’s first president, and his tenure lasted until 1919, when Frank F. Honnell assumed leadership for a brief four-month period. Then, H.M. Means, a former teacher and school principal, as well as one of the original investors in the bank, took over the helm and navigated the bank through the next 25 years.
Just like all the other banks in the United States, Union State Bank was compelled to close its doors on March 6, 1933, by order of the president. Unlike many of the other banks, Union State Bank was able to successfully reopen and continue business without loss to any patrons.
Mr. H.M. Means continued as president through the Great Depression and World War II, ending his tenure in June 1944. He was followed by Mr. Frank Todd, who merged the bank with the State Bank of Everest and moved the base of operations to the current Everest location.
“Old age is for man the sunset of life; but for a business enterprise it may be accumulated strength and experience that begets longer life. Such, we believe, is the commendable case with The Union State Bank of Everest…”
– The Everest Enterprise, July 26, 1951
Mr. Todd continued as president through the 50th anniversary of the bank, which coincided with one of the most prosperous decades in United States history. More Americans than ever before were finding it possible to own both a home and an automobile.
While the speed and mobility of society was rapidly increasing, Union State Bank’s core values of honesty, sincerity and friendliness remained the same and continued to serve the people of the community well.
“A good bank is the backbone of any town. Everest has been fortunate in having continuous banking facilities through the years.”
– The Everest World, May 4, 1972
In 1955, a long-time employee of the bank, Mr. Roy A. Ruth, became president. It was a family affair, as his wife, Emma, served as vice president and their son, Robert Ruth, was elected to the position of cashier at the same time. The Ruth family faithfully owned and operated Union State Bank until 1976, when it was sold to Everest Bancshares, Inc., which is composed of businessmen from Everest and the surrounding area.
“The crew at the Bank of Atchison certainly deserves a valentine from me. They always give me a friendly smile … For their understanding nature alone, they deserve something.”
– Neal Combs, The Atchison Daily Globe, February 1, 2003
Under the ownership of Everest Bancshares, Inc., Union State Bank has solidified and expanded its operation. The current president, Steve Handke, has been at the helm since 1990. In 1993, the Bank of Atchison was added to the fold. In 2002, the Union State Bank-Horton Branch opened and in 2009 we added Bank of Gower in Gower, MO. In September of 2011, we welcomed Bank of McLouth in McLouth, KS. Most recently, we added Bank of Oskaloosa in Oskaloosa, KS and Bank of Plattsburg in Plattsburg, MO as our newest branches. Still dedicated to the original principle “in union there is strength,” Union State Bank in Everest & Horton, Bank of Atchison, Bank of McLouth, Bank of Oskaloosa in Kansas and Bank of Gower and Bank of Plattsburg in Missouri all share in a rich tradition of progressive teamwork and community involvement —a tradition which helps enhance the business and personal capacity of each and every customer.