The year was 1851. Millard Fillmore was president of the United States. Much of the West was still a wild frontier. The Connecticut River, in its heyday, was the center for ship building and international commerce. Majestic sloops and schooners plied the waters of the river on their way to Long Island Sound, the gateway to the Atlantic and to the China trades.
That year, a group of forward-thinking shipmasters, businessmen and entrepreneurs gathered together seeking to form a bank that would provide a safe harbor for their fortunes and a financial resource for members of the local communities. The first meeting of the corporators of the newly named Essex Savings Bank was held July 30, 1851, and the bank opened for business one week later on August 6. The first deposit book was issued to Susan Pratt with an entry of $150.00.
The first president of the Bank, Henry L. Champlin, was one of the most accomplished sea captains of his time. He was shipmaster and owner of the first London line of packets from New York, of which he was commander for many years, never losing a vessel. After retiring from seafaring, he continued as a successful ship owner and built a beautiful home on Champlin Square in Essex.
One of the ships of Henry L. Champlin,
the first president of Essex Savings Bank, flying his “Black X" flag
Through the years, Essex Savings Bank has played a vital part in the lives of those in the communities we serve. We’ve taken pride in helping our customers build their homes, educate their children and create livelihoods that contribute to the prosperity of the Connecticut River Valley.
Today Essex Savings Bank offers a full complement of financial products and services including business banking, trust and investment services. Through the years, we’ve never lost sight of our forefathers’ goal - a commitment to personal relationships.
More than a century and a half has passed and we have never waivered from that promise. We continue our long heritage as a mutual savings bank, a non-public organization with a far-reaching vision for our customers and the communities we serve. Our Community Investment Program, which returns 10 percent of our net income to non-profits, is a testament to our commitment.
We invite you to join us in our vision, explore our services and celebrate our history of partnership and progress. We appreciate those entrepreneurs who had the foresight to create a concept in banking that has withstood the test of time. We wish to thank our customers, directors, trustees, officers and employees who support our mission to continue to provide service and trust to our community.
- Gregory R. Shook President & CEO