JAMES G. WHITNEY, ATLANTIC.
It is very seldom that a man of early middle age has earned such an honored record, not only for ability but for steadfast faithfulness to heavy responsibilities placed upon him, as James G. Whitney, now cashier of the Citizens Savings Bank, of Atlantic. He is the son of Franklin H. Whitney, who was so many years pre-eminently the leading man of Cass county, and was born near Whitneyville January 20, 1864. He received his schooling in Atlantic, when fourteen years of age was taken into his father's bank, and after a strict and thorough training in financial and business methods was admitted to partnership upon reaching his majority, becoming at that time a member of the firm of F. H. Whitney & Son, proprietors of the Bank of Atlantic.
Franklin H. Whitney died in 1894, being, at his demise, recognized as one of the most enterprising men of the West and, par excellence, the founder of new cities and towns. Although endowed with wonderful vitality and a prophet's vision of developing communities, the general financial conditions were against him and during the last years of his life he suffered great financial losses. His bank was compelled to close, and undoubtedly the keen disappointment over the outcome of his enterprise hastened his death. His son, James G., was appointed receiver of his estate and nobly has he acquitted himself in that position.
Two years after the senior Whitney's death, a number of prominent business men of the city and substantial farmers of the contiguous territory, organized the Citizens' Savings Bank, as successor to the banking house of F. H. Whitney & Son. In May, 1896, at the first election of officers, J. H. Marshall was chosen president, James G. Whitney, cashier, and Thomas H. Whitney, assistant cashier, of the new institution. These officers have been retained ever since and under their conservative, yet energetic and able management, the institution has been brought to the position of one of the most prosperous and substantial banks in the county, with a reputation and standing in the State second to none of its class.
When James G. Whitney assumed the indebtedness of his father's estate, there were 587 claims against the bank aggregating nearly $700,000. He handled the property left by his father with such masterly skill and mature wisdom that this large sum has been paid in full, the young man simply asking an extension of time on the interest. By 1904 he had paid thirty percent of the interest, and at the present time the entire indebtedness has been discharged. This achievement represents a decade of splendid work--splendid because it was not only eminently successful, but was also a labor of filial love. As remarked by one who justly admired him: "He was working to make good the name of his father, whose boast through life was always that he could pay one hundred cents on the dollar. The young man modestly claims no credit for his work, saying that it is enough for him to know that the people have received their money and that his father's name is vindicated. This is a splendid record of energy and honesty. Those who knew Mr. Whitney, Sr., also knew the love he bore his son, and will feel some of the spirit of enthusiasm and satisfaction which the son now feels. The people of Cass county always had faith to believe they would get their money. On the ruins of his father's bank, and in the same building, James Grant Whitney established and became cashier of a new bank which during the past ten years or more has gained and retained the confidence of the people. Probably the instances are rare where a son has been able to establish a new and successful bank, in the same community and in the same building where his father failed."
Mr. Whitney was married February 12, 1889, to Nellie M. Milner, a natieof Wisconsin, and they have one child, Elinor M.
From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pp. 545-547.