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CHANCELLOR, T. A.
Author: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1923, Vol. II pg. 294
Pesented by Nancy Rayburn
CHANCELLOR, T. A. Back of every commercial and industrial enterprise
stands the banker, and upon his astuteness, sound judgment and wisdom in
matters of finance depend not only the success of these enterprises, but the
life of the community as well. The modern banker is not merely a man who
affords a safe repository for savings and loans money upon tangible security.
He is the vital force which animates every action of both the individual and
the Government. The sagacity, economy and soundness in money matters of the
banker has come to be so universally recognized that one of them has been
placed in charge of the treasury department of the United States Government,
and another was called by the President to Washington to give the country the
benefit of his experience and knowledge of men and affairs in planning and
establishing the budget and the drastic cutting down of the expenses of
operating the Government’s business. If a banker’s advice and good judgment
are necessary in governmental affairs, how much more are they required by the
private citizen who seeks to branch out locally by increasing his
obligations. Therefore the banker of today is called upon continually to
advise, encourage, or curtail in matters of great moment in the community in
which his financial institution is located.
Within the past few years Florida has grown in a most astonishing
manner. The almost unsurpassed climatic conditions have always made it the
ideal resort for both the sick and the well, but these advantages have not
been fully recognized until recently. The development of the different
resorts and the building of highways along which the tourists pass in a steady
stream have increased values all over the state, and brought into it men of
uncommon capabilities, who desire to share in the general prosperity. Some of
them are good financiers; others are not, and it takes a man of wide
experience in the banking business, and one of broad vision and steady
purpose, to stabilize conditions and secure the most beneficial results. Such
a man is T. A. CHANCELLOR, president of the First National Bank of St.
Petersburg, who has been a resident of the city since 1904, when he came here
to accept the position of cashier of the West Coast Bank, that in 1905 became
the First National Bank. Mr. CHANCELLOR continued its cashier until 1911, and
in that year was elected its president.
Mr. CHANCELLOR was born at Okolona, Mississippi, December 12, 1868, son
of JOHN SANFORD and MATILDA (GILLIAM) CHANCELLOR, his father a native of
Virginia and his mother of Alabama. He was the third son in a family of four
children, and his boyhood was spent at Okolona, where he acquired his early
education in the public schools and during 1885-86 attended the University of
Mississippi. He started his commercial career in a humble capacity, as clerk
in a dry goods store. He also clerked and kept books in groceries and dry
goods houses, and in 1888 became cashier and bookkeeper in the Jacksonville
freight office of the Florida Central and Pensacola Railroad, now a part of
the Seaboard Air Line. He gave up this work on account of yellow fever, and
then went back to the firm for which he had formerly worked as bookkeeper.
In 1894 he became collection clerk for the Exchange National Bank at
Tampa, an institution that was organized that year. He remained with it until
April, 1895, and in October of that year, at the organization of the Citizens
Bank and Trust Company of Tampa, he accepted the post of teller and
subsequently served it as assistant cashier until 1904.
Having in the meantime attracted favorable attention to his abilities as
a financier, he was induced to come to St. Petersburg and become cashier of
the West Coast Bank in 1904. This was a comparatively small institution with
a capital of $25,000. It became the First National Bank in July, 1905, with
Mr. CHANCELLOR still at the post of cashier, and subsequently promoted to
president. This bank is now one of the larger ones in Florida, has capital of
$200,000, surplus and undivided profits of $250,000, deposits of over
$4,000,000 and total resources of about $5,000,000. The vice president is C.
W. SPRINSTEAD, MAX FITZ is cashier, and the assistant cashiers are R. J.
McCUTCHEON, Jr., A. F. MILLER, Jr., and REX COLE.
A prominent figure in the banking affairs of Florida, Mr. CHANCELLOR is a
director in the Citizens American Bank and Trust Company of Tampa, director in
the West Coast Title Company of St. Petersburg, director in Booker and
Company, Incorporated, of Tampa. Among other interests of the sunshine city
with which he has identified himself are the St. Petersburg Country Club and
the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, in both of which he is a director, and he is
chairman of the City Library, chairman of the local School Board, vice
president of the Y.M.C.A., vice president of the Chamber of Commerce, and a
member of the Knights of Pythias. Owing to his many business responsibilities
he has never been willing to come before the public for office, since he
believes he can better serve his community in a private capacity. While he is
an exceedingly busy man, Mr. CHANCELLOR is easily accessible and gladly gives
the patrons of his bank the benefit of his advice and sound business judgment.
October 23, 1901, Mr. CHANCELLOR married MARY TRICE, daughter of Colonel
JOHN TRICE, of Tampa. They have one daughter, MARY, now attending school at
Washington. Mr. CHANCELLOR is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the First
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