More than 125 years ago, we began to assist the people of our communities with financial services and products. We started out small and our growth has been steady, stable, and measured over the years. We changed with the times, embracing technology and trends, but only if those changes facilitated better products and services for our customers.
Take a trip back in time and chart the beginning and growth of the financial institution that is now Clear Mountain Bank.
From Past to Present
In 1891, Terra Alta, WV, had a population of about 500. There were no paved streets or sidewalks, no automobiles, and crude oil lamps lit the town’s streets. Few people had bank accounts as most folks carried their money in their pockets. A group of leading businessmen, however, recognized the value of a bank and chartered The Terra Alta Bank on October 21, 1891.
In 1903, just down the road from Terra Alta in Bruceton Mills, WV, a group of community leaders applied to the Department of Banking of West Virginia for a charter to be issued in the name of The Bruceton Bank. Business began in an office formerly occupied by McGibbons Saddle Shop.
The Terra Alta Bank and Bruceton Bank continued to grow and operate separately for nearly 100 years. Each bank earned a reputation for offering excellent financial products, friendly service, and a commitment to the local communities. In 1987, the stockholders of The Terra Alta Bank elected to become part of State Bancorp, Inc., a locally owned and managed company in Bruceton Mills, which also owned Bruceton Bank. Although both banks worked together as part of State Bancorp, Inc., each bank continued to operate under separate names. Eighteen years later, in 2005, The Terra Alta Bank and Bruceton Bank officially combined, keeping the same ownership and management, but changing the name of both banks to Clear Mountain Bank.
Through more than 125 years of growth and changes, one thing has remained constant, a friendly and professional hometown service and a dedication to helping the local communities grow. We may have a new name, but we guarantee that our commitment to serving our customers won’t change, even in the next 125 years!
1921 Robbery Attempt
In 1921 four men got a ride in to Bruceton Mills with a local farmer on a wagon coming from Morgantown. They asked the farmer many questions about the bank. The farmer, being suspicious, called the bank cashier at the time, Jeremiah Thomas, and told him that the four men might try to rob the bank. Two of the men hid behind a church while the other two men, (Named Moore and Madden), stopped at a house owned by the Benson family and stole some food and guns. While they hid in the woods the men ate the food and then proceeded to the bank. At the bank a group of men including Dr. DeFoe was waiting for them. Moore, the smaller of the two, stood behind Madden and took a shot at Dr. DeFoe but missed. Dr. DeFoe returned fire and shot Moore, who died soon after. The same bullet snapped the suspenders off the pants of Madden. Constable Benson then went to the church and arrested the other two men, one of which was carrying a bottle of liquid later determined to be nitroglycerin.
In 1923 a second robbery attempt was made. The robbers entered the bank by forcing a window open, but once again the attempt failed because they couldn’t get the vault open.