History of the First National Bank in Graham

The history of the First National Bank in Graham began with W.C. Beckham, a native of Lanchester County, South Carolina. He moved to Graham from Florida with his wife Frances Pickett and opened a store with $7,000.00 worth of general merchandise. His commitment to Graham was realized under the name of Beckham & Son and his store opened on the north side of the town square. Hardware, dry goods, saddles, harnesses, groceries and even caskets comprised his inventory.

As time progressed and he continued in business, he began to lend money on short term to his customers. After a few years, he operated, out of his general mercantile store, what was to become known as the first bank in Graham, Texas.

In early 1890, Mr. Beckham purchased a lot in the Original Town Site of Graham for the purpose of building a large two-story building. Application for a charter for his banking business was a result of the substantial commercial growth being experienced in Graham. The local economy was prospering and a number of other communities in the area were also chartering financial institutions.

On August 4, 1890, an organizational meeting was held in the office of Beckham & Son, at which time Bank Directors were elected. The Directors took the oath of office as required by law and were duly declared the legally authorized Directors of the bank. This distinguished group of men represented a varied cross-section of the community.

At the first meeting of the official Board of Directors of the newly chartered Beckham National Bank, W.P. Beckham (son of W.C. Beckham) was elected President of the bank. The charter for the Beckham National Bank was granted by the U.S. Treasury Department on September 19, 1890.

As men of vision who believed in the future growth and after having handled many difficult financial situations of the pioneers, the newly elected directors began to shape the direction of Beckham National Bank by authorizing the purchase of the bank building from W.C. Beckham and Son in December, 1890. The bank continued to operate in this location for the next 82 years.

On March 9, 1895, Beckham National Bank formed a merge with another institution, the First National Bank. The assets of this bank were absorbed by Beckham National Bank and the number of Board Members was increased from seven to nine to accommodate this merger. The bank retained the name Beckham National Bank until January 19, 1921, when the name was officially changed to the First National Bank in Graham.

In August, 1969, the First National Bank in Graham purchased property on the southeast corner of the square. Operation continued in the original location on the north side of the town square until April, 1972, when construction of a new facility was completed. This was the first change in location since the bank began in 1890.

Much of the progress of the formative days of Graham is attributed to W.C. Beckham, and certainly the formation of what is known today as the First National Bank in Graham, can be attributed to Mr. Beckham and his son. Through the years, directors have retired and sons and grandsons of many prominent pioneer families have assumed positions as directors, yet their original purpose of community service and prosperity survives in the spirit of the Employees, Officers and Directors of the bank.

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