There are men in all communities who are recognized leaders in public life and in business circles, men who wield a wide influence and contribute in large measure to the substantial improvement, permanent development and rapid growth of their localities. Such a man was David Pierson, and Greene county benefited by his efforts in her behalf. Even his business affairs were of a nature that promoted the general welfare and his name is inscribed on the roll of honored dead.

He was born in Cazenovia, Madison county, New York, on the 9th of July, 1806, and became a resident of Greene county in the year 1821, being at that time a youth of fifteen years. He found here a pioneer district in which were many evidences of frontier life and in his youth he assisted in the arduous task of developing a new farm, the family home being established upon a tract of land north of Carrollton. Mr. Pierson conducted this farm until 1834, when he retired from agricultural life to become identified with commercial pursuits in Carrollton. He was for some time proprietor of a mercantile establishment there and he was the promoter of various other enterprises which contributed to the commercial and industrial prosperity of the city. He conducted a flour mill for some time, was also proprietor of a woolen mill and was largely instrumental in the building of the Litchfield, Carrollton & Western Railroad.

In 1864 he founded the Patriot, but perhaps became best known through his banking interests and the Greene County National Bank is a monument to his enterprise and business sagacity. The beginning of banking business in this county dates to the founding of a private bank by David Pierson, who became the promoter of financial interests in Carrollton in this way in 1854. He was at that time also engaged in merchandising, but four years later he disposed of his store in order to concentrate his energies upon the development of the banking business. In 1859 he began the erection of the large three-story brick building at the northwest corner of the square, which has been continuously occupied by the bank for over forty years. In 1874 his sons Robert and David D. were admitted to a partnership under the firm style of David Pierson & Sons, the business being conducted under the name of Pierson Exchange Bank. This institution has ever been a representative of the strongest financial integrity and its reliability has stood as an unquestioned fact throughout the entire period of its existence. When other banks went into liquidation during the great financial panics of 1857 and 1872, Pierson Exchange Bank met every reasonable demand made upon it and proved a most important factor in tiding men over this critical period in the business life of Greene county. Desiring at length to retire from active connection with banking and other business interests because of his advanced years the Pierson Exchange Bank was reorganized under the name of the Greene County National Bank, the new institution opening its doors for business on the 1st of July, 1878, with a paid up capital of one hundred thousand dollars. The first officers were John I. Thomas, president; D. D. Pierson, vice-president; Robert Pierson, cashier; and Ornan Pierson, assistant cashier. But one change has been made in this list since its organization, Ornan Pierson becoming cashier upon the removal of his brother to Minneapolis in 1882. The bank has largely followed the policy inaugurated by its founder and has never swerved in the least from the honorable methods which he instituted.

Straightforward dealing was ever characteristic of Mr. Pierson and his name was a synonym for financial integrity. He died May 8, 1891. His life record had become an integral part of the history of Carrollton and of Greene county, which in his death lost one of their most valued and loyal citizens. As the day with its morning of hope and promise, its noontide of activity, its evening of completed successful efforts, ending in the grateful rest and quiet of the night, so was the life of this honored man. His career was a long, busy and useful one, marked by the utmost fidelity to the duties of public and private life. His name is inseparably interwoven with the annals of Greene county with its development and its stable progress, and his memory is cherished by those who knew him.

Extracted 2021 Aug 02 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Greene County, Illinois, by Ed Miner, published in 1905, pages 267-271.

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