Here for Our Neighbors and Friends
Since 1885 Stockgrowers State Bank has provided excellent customer service to our neighbors and friends serving the community throughout history. Stockgrowers State Bank and Meade State Bank strive to give back to the communities that we belong. We have been dedicated to serving Southwest Kansas extending across the border into Northwest Oklahoma for over 125 years, holding true to our values of doing what is best for our customers and our communities.
History of Stockgrowers State Bank and the Berryman Family
Stockgrowers State Bank has remained under the same leadership of the same family for over 100 years.
Clark County Bank was established in 1885 by George Theis Jr. with paid-in capital of $4,000. This was the first bank in Clark County, and the success of the Clark County Bank did not go unnoticed. By the spring of 1887, James A. Blair and Oliver E. Ewart of Medicine Lodge had chartered a new bank in Ashland and named it The First National Bank of Ashland. By the time they were ready to open the new bank for business, Mr. Blair and Mr. Ewart had negotiated a merger with George Theis Jr. and his Clark County Bank. The two banks merged in 1887, and Mr. Theis served as the Cashier of the new First National Bank.
The new bank prospered until the drought of 1889 and was reorganized as a State bank in 1891 due to capital limitations. The name was changed to the Farmers and Stockgrowers Bank of Ashland. Mr. Theis operated the bank until 1899, when he sold all of the assets and stock to two local businessmen, C.Q. Chandler and J.W. Berryman. In 1900, the bank was rechartered as The Stockgrowers National Bank. Mr. J.W. Berryman purchased the other interests and assumed complete control of the bank in 1907. In 1933, the national charter was relinquished once more as the bank was reorganized under a state charter and the name of the bank was changed to the current name today, Stockgrowers State Bank. The total assets of Stockgrowers State Bank today exceed $125,000,000.
J.W. Berryman was a prominent Kansas Banker and involved in many organizations. He served on the Board of many financial institutions and was the President of the Kansas Bankers Association from 1907-1908. He founded the Home Lumber and Supply Company in 1905, and this business is still headquartered in Ashland today. The Home Lumber and Supply Company currently has sixteen (16) locations throughout the State of Kansas. Mr. Berryman also represented Clark County in the State House of Representatives.
J.W. Berryman married Nancy Annette McNickle in June of 1898 and to this union they had five children: Dorothy, Jerome Charles (Jay), James Woods (Jim), Virginia, and George Albert. The bank was under the direct management and ownership of J.W. Berryman from 1901 until his death in 1940.
In 1939, James W. (Jim) Berryman returned to Ashland to work in the family bank. Upon the death of his father in 1940, Jim became President of Stockgrowers and retained this office until his death in 1974. Jim, like his father, was also very active in many organizations. At the time of his death, he was a Director of the First National Bank in Wichita, the Merchants National Bank in Topeka, Kansas Bankers Surety Company, Topeka Channel 6 KTVC, the Home Lumber & Supply Company, the Clark County Abstract Loan & Investment Company and the Stockgrowers State Bank.
The following is a brief family summary of the children and grandchildren of J.W. and Nancy Berryman:
R.V. “Tex” and Dorothy Berryman Shrewder had two daughters, Sarah Shrewder Tracy and Susan Shrewder Payne. Tex served on the Board of Directors of Stockgrowers from 1949 to 1965.
Jerome Charles (Jay) Berryman and Louise Cauthers were married in July of 1933 and had three children, Jerome Berryman II, Merilyn Berryman Johnston, and Thomas R.C. Berryman. Jerome C. (Jay) Berryman went to work for Stockgrowers in 1927, and a year later he was an Officer and Director. In 1937, Jay became the managing officer of the Clark County Abstract Loan and Investment Co. and later became the President of the Home Lumber Company. Lou also served as a Board member of Stockgrowers from 1960 to 1984. Jay and Lou’s oldest son, Jerome Berryman II, served on the Board of Directors of Stockgrowers State Bank from 1984 until 2003. Jerome also served on Stockgrowers Banc Corporation’s Board as Vice-Chairman until January of 2006. Merilyn Johnson resides in Fairfax, Virginia and has served on the Board of Directors since January 17th, 2000 for both Stockgrowers State Bank and Stockgrowers Banc Corporation.
James Woods (Jim) Berryman and Eloise Owen Berryman did not have any children and Jim served as President of Stockgrowers from 1940-1974. Eloise also served on the Board of Directors of Stockgrowers State Bank from 1974 to 1990.
Irving Philip Glen and Virginia Berryman Glen had two children: Cessna Glen Kaye and Philip Scott. Philip Glen was a member of the Board of Directors from 1949 to 1965. Philip and Virginia’s son, Scott Glen from Reno, Nevada, has been on the Board of Directors of Stockgrowers State Bank since 1984. Scott is currently the Chairman of the Stockgrowers State Bank Board of Directors, and he has also served on the Board of Directors of Stockgrowers Banc Corporation since 1992.
George Albert Berryman and Anne Clay Berryman had three children: Katherine Berryman Arnaud, George Chandler Berryman, and Anne Porter Berryman. George Albert was a Vice-President and Director of Stockgrowers State Bank. Ann Clay was a Board member of Stockgrowers State Bank from 1969 to 1977, and George Albert’s son, George C. (Chan) Berryman, was elected to the Board of Directors of Stockgrowers State Bank in 1977 and retired January 2018.
In 1992, the stockholders of Stockgrowers State Bank voted to form a Holding Company – Stockgrowers Banc Corporation (SBC). All of the shares of Stockgrowers State Bank were eventually converted to SBC stock. In 1994, SBC purchased another bank (Peoples Bank) in Coldwater, KS. Today, SBC owns two independent community banks with locations in Ashland, Meade, and Coldwater, and also three insurance agencies with locations in Meade, Ashland, Protection, Coldwater, and Greensburg.
The following statement was made on August 4, 2007 by Chuck Stones, President of the Kansas Bankers Association, during the awards ceremony when the Berryman family received the KBA “Century of Family Banking” award. “The Berryman family footprint can be seen all over Kansas banking. J.W.’s entrepreneurial banking spirit was key to the foundation and current success of many banking institutions still today. The family continues that spirit, they remain supportive of the Stockgrowers State Bank, the community of Ashland and the state of Kansas.”
Since 1899, the bank has had only seven presidents. They are as follows:
- J.W. Berryman 1899-1940
- James W. Berryman 1940-1974
- T.L. Brower 1974-1981
- John T. Fellers 1981-1996
- Keith Randall 1996-2001
- John T. Fellers 2001-2003
- Kendal L. Kay 2003-present
In 1995, the Stockgrowers State Bank established its first branch, Meade State Bank, located in Meade, Kansas.
Currently there are over 25 employees that are employed by Stockgrowers State Bank.