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Interesting Facts

George N. Billings:
   One of the co-founders of the bank, George N. Billings guided the Bank’s destiny for 50 years.  Born near Albion, N.Y. he served in the Civil War, then studied banking and accounting, taught business courses, and in 1867 married Grace Bedell (whose earlier letter persuaded Abraham Lincoln to grow a beard).  Lured by the West, he built a dugout sod house 3 ½ miles north of Delphos in 1870.  A Boston fern presented as a gift to George in 1913 still flourishes in the lobby of the State Bank of Delphos.

George N. Billing’s Tribute to the Solomon Valley:
  It is good for one to visit other lands, other countries, other states – to see, to observe, to learn.  After one has wandered, one returns with an increased pride in our Valley.
  We have known years of toughest grubbing this Valley has seen – droughts, grasshoppers, hot winds.  But one who has traveled much comes back with added love for this State and this Valley, its soil, its crops, and its people.
  One who has a home in this Valley had best think many times before leaving it to seek a new one in some far-away, hazy Utopia.  Our Valley is real.
  This is a favored land.  Our Valley was always beautiful, but now it is not only beautiful but good – good to live in, and none better.

Grace Bedell Billings:
   When 11-year old Grace Bedell of Westfield, New York wrote Abraham Lincoln in 1860 urging him to grow a beard, she didn't know she was making history. Lincoln replied at once, started growing a beard, and met his "little correspondent" four months later when his inaugural train stopped in Westfield. Eight years later Grace married Civil War veteran George N. Billings. They moved to Delphos, Kansas in 1870; ten years before the founding of the State Bank of Delphos. Grace Bedell Billings kept Lincoln's letter in the bank, where she often did bookkeeping for her husband and later served as a director. She found it hard to believe that her letter would be part of one of the more fascinating human-interest stories in U.S. history.

The Boston Fern:
   John Correl settled in Delphos after prospering in the Alaskan gold rush.  John became a stockholder in the State Bank of Delphos.  He bought a number of farms and hired the best architect in Salina to build a stately 3-story house on the corner of Custer and 6th Street.  John did not live to see the house completed so this task was to fall on the shoulders of his friend and neighbor, George Billings. George persuaded the late Mabel Ablard Childs to live in as a companion to Mrs. Correl.  For his efforts, Mrs. Correl gave Mr. Billings several items in 1913. One being a Boston fern of which offshoots adorn the State Bank of Delphos, Ottawa County Bank, and Glasco Branch.

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