Frank Lander LaRue was born on February 27, 1862 in Lansing, Michigan to Franklin B. and Amelia Wells (Chapin) LaRue. His parents were each born in the Finger Lakes region of New York in the early 1800's but had come to Michigan with their families by the 1830's. He was the fifth of eight children, although only 4 survived to adulthood. The eighth child, Daisy LaRue, was born in Illinois in 1865 as the family was heading westward. The family had moved to Adams County, Iowa by 1880.

In 1882 Frank entered the office of county treasuer as a deputy treasurer. After six years he was elected County Treasurer for Adams County. He served one term. He declined the nomination for another term to accept a position as cashier at the Corning State Savings Bank.

Frank married Anna Beymer on January 1, 1887, their only child Frank June LaRue was born in October of the same year. In 1900 Frank became the President of the bank. Frank Lander LaRue died March 4, 1904 at the age of 42, leaving behind a widow and 17 year old son.

Obituary

As I have stated elsewhere Frank's obituary, pasted in the Kennon bible, intrigued me and I couldn't imagine what the "sad and tragic circumstances ... such as seldom comes to any community" could possibly have been. Click on the excerpt on the left to see the whole obituary.

In my 40-odd years of searching for family I have only paid for 3 death certificates, this is one of them. Frank LaRue's cause of death was "suicide by shooting." At some point I had learned that there had been some kerfuffle at the bank and it had either failed or come close to failure due to a number of bad loans. As his obituary outlines, Frank was "ready to grant favors," and a "friend to every man in need," he was ready to assist young men "with advice and in more substantial ways." I thought perhaps Frank had been a little too free in giving loans.

Fast forward many years and a subscription to newspapers.com; they have most, if not all of the Adams County Free Press. The news accounts that appear and continue to appear for over a year paint a full picture of the "kerfuffle." One begins to understand that whomever wrote the obituary and the community at large had no idea what was going on.

All of the following information was gleaned from "my subscription" to the Adams County Free Press.

The Bank Failure

The Corning State Savings Bank is in the Hands of the State Auditor

September 17, 1904:
The Corning State Savings Bank had indeed failed on February 15, 1904. According to the newspaper the bank did not open that Monday and the officers of the bank telegraphed for the auditor to take charge of it. The bank examiner arrived in Corning the following day. The news account of February 17 assures the public that "There is a general belief, and good grounds for it apparently, that depositers will be paid in full." The amount due depositers was estimated to be $170,000. The paper reported that at the time other liabilities could not be ascertained but said "the assets will aggregate a sum much larger than this. They went on to say "the amount of uncollectable and doubtful paper will reduce the available assets to a great extent." It was further reported that ther had been "no excitement among our people.....the general feeling in the town and county is one of sorrow for those involved in the failure and confidence that the bank will pay all claims."

Receiver

As to the causes the paper reported "The existing business conditions, which made it difficult to realize quickly on securities, together with the disasters which have inflicted such losses on the crops of the county. The immediate cause was a long and persistent run on the bank. It had been going on steadily for months and it drained the institution gradually until the closing of the doors was unavoidable, Over $100,000 was withdrawn in the past three months." It was further reported the two other banks in the town, had not been affected by the failure as they were able to weather the uncertain business climate in good order. *This should have been a clue!

Although the papers always say that depositers will be ok there is frequent mention of the stockholders. The Corning State Bank was organized February 4, 1890, by A. F. Okey, Frank, and others. In March of 1900 Mr. Okey retired and the capital stock was increased from $35,000 to $50,000, Frank and an E. A. Scholz being the heaviest stockholders. Frank owned $20,000 of its capital stock and Scholz, $10,000. The paper reported, "That the capital stock will be wiped out is almost beyond question and the portability is that the stock will have to meet a large assessment. The law makes stockholders liable to an assessment equal to the amount of stock held. The man who holds $1000 in stock will have to put up another $1000 in case the assets do not meet the liabilities. The last financial statement of the bank, issued a little less than 4 weeks prior listed assets of $319,378.64 and liabilities of $310,378.81.

FrontPage

The Awful End

Frank L. LaRue Ends the Troubles Arising from the Bank Failure by Suicide

The Bank Failure

The Business of the Savings Bank in Such Shape That Progress Is Slow and Difficult

March 9, 1904:
The same day Frank's obituary was published on page 8, page 1 contained a full report, with full detail, of the actual suicide entitled, The Awful End. That article ends by stating, "Mr. LaRue had for years carried an unusual amount of life and accident insurance. How much was in force at the time of his death is not definately known, but it was in the neighborhood of $75,000. Of this a little less than $60,000 is said to be life insurance and the policies contain no clause regarding suicide. It may be presumed that the accident policies will not be collectible."

Immediately to the right of this full length article was one entitled, The Bank Failure.This article states there is a "natural desire of the public for definite information as to the final result...but until such time as a careful and exhaustive investigation" has been conducted the amount of liabilities and assets cannot be known. At the time of printing, outside banks had "not yet furnished full and complete lists of the securities they held as collateral and that the Saving's Bank's books will not enable the receiver and his assistants to make them out." The examiner had found "that the accounts with correspondent banks, as shown by the books of the Savings Bank, do not correspond with the figures furnished by the other banks." The article went on to say, "There is a great deal of the bank's paper, its notes, overdrafts, etc., which is practically unsecured and there is also a large amount for which the security is entirely inadequate. The bank has carried men who will be able to pay nothing on their indebtedness and others for amounts greatly in excess of their ability to pay."

Click on the above news photo for the full articles.

Fair

Bank Suits Being Heard

Judge Miller Has Been Listening to the Evidence and Arguments in Bank Suits

June 1, 1904:
On the front page of this issue are two articles, among many others. One extolling the opening of "the greatest exposition in the history of the world." The Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri aka the St. Louis World's Fair. The other listing some claims against the bank that had been recently filed, such as: Iowa National Bank of Des Moines, $32000.; 1st National Bank of North America, $8739.79; Bankers National Bank, $15,156.46.
The claims also include smaller ones from depositers and this list includes several familiar names: Mrs. A. G. Kennon (brother-in-laws mother), $310.60; Edith Kennon (niece), $25.; Myra LaRue (sister), $10.62; Ruth Kennon (brother-in-laws half-sister), $10.47; Frank Kennon (nephew to Frank), $10; F. J. LaRue (son), $3.77 and Anna LaRue (wife), $5213.92.

After the list of claims is an accounting of items owed the bank by Frank L. LaRue and how he came to owe these amounts. Among them are $6,260 in credits to LaRue's account with no debits; a check in the amount of $5,260 from Squire & Annis, property of the bank, deposited to LaRue's account (more on this next).; at least 2 notes totalling $6,616.against depositers are sold to another bank and the proceeds deposited to LaRue's account.

Bank Cases in Court

Continued Causes

June 1, 1904:
On a lawsuit filed against Frank LaRue, presumably before his death, his name is removed and that of Anna R. LaRue is substituted. The lawsuit regards a real estate transaction involving a Senator Mitchell, outlined a little later.

Claims Filed

List of Depositors Who Have Filed Claims Against the Corning State Savings Bank

June 1, 1904:
the entire front page of the Adams County Union=Republican is given over to affairs of the Corning State Savings Bank.The entirety of page two is a list of claims against the bank. The left hand side of page 1 details the lawsuits that have come before the court. "The session of the district court last week were well attended. As has been stated before Judge Miller will devote all of his time to the trial of the bank cases and he has already made great progress. There are over 100 of these suits pending...."
The details of one such suit are as follows.

  • October 1903: LaRue wired Senator Mitchell of Oklahoma City that he had a chance to sell Mr. Mitchell’s farm, consisting of 420 acres for $25,260 cash, the purchaser being one Archibald White of Illinois. The offer was accepted and the deed to the land was executed and left in escrow, with LaRue, to be delivered when payment was made.
  • January 2, 1904: Mitchell, having heard nothing and receiving no payment from LaRue came to Corning and “in his vigorous manner expressed himself” as being doubtful that White existed. LaRue then produced correspondence purporting to come from White from which it seemed that the latter was very anxious to close the deal. This coupled with the statement that White had paid $1000 forfeit money and was ready to close the deal upon receipt of the abstract. Mitchell was “completely disarmed” and returned to Oklahoma to await remittances. LaRue then said if White did not take the place he would do so himself and then and there paid Mitchell $750.
  • ca January 5, 1904: A Mr. Annis of the firm of Squire & Annis of Council Bluffs was in town and LaRue informed him that he had a “great snap” for someone with a little money. He informed Annis of the Mitchell-White deal and stated that White on account of an operation for appendicitis had decided to forfeit his $1000. and the land could be had for $24,260. In addition LaRue had a man “of means and energy” in the person of W. M. Carpenter who would purchase the land and pay $2000 additional for it.
    Annis was convinced and the deal was closed. Squire* put up his check for $5,260 and Carpenter for $2000.
  • The deed for the Mitchell farm which had been placed in escrow was taken down, the name Archibald White erased and the names of J.W. Squire and Frank L. LaRue inserted. Squire took the deed and had it recorded and LaRue sent Mitchell $4000 instead of the $10,260 still due him.** The $2,000 check from Mr. Carpenter was torn up ane he “went west.”
  • When the bank crashed Mr. Mitchell arrived on the scene and was astonished to find he had sold his farm to J.W. Squire and F.L. LaRue and that he was out $6,200.*** In the meantime Squire had taken possession of the farm and LaRue had deeded it all over to the Iowa National Bank.
  • At trial judgement was against Squire for $6,400 and costs. “It clearly appeared upon the trial that there was no such person as Archibald White and that W. M. Carpenter was not a bona fide purchaser.
  • Another petition against the estate came before the court wherein LaRue was the special administrator of the estate of a Joseph Martin and that funds totalling $12,000 were deposited to the account of F. L. LaRue and all but $800-$900 were squandered.

*   At this point the article refers to this person as J.W. Squire, perhaps the partner of Annis.
**  The math for this scheme is very fuzzy and I can’t make it add up. I can’t figure out why $25,260 - $4,000 is $10,260.
*** Even fuzzier now, how is Mitchell now out only $6,260.

Receiver's First Report

Receiver Andrews Makes His First Report as to the Condition of the Savings Bank

June 1, 1904:
The right hand side of page 1 is taken up by the "Receiver's First Report."Mr. C. F.Andrews reports "that upon taking possession of the assets of the insolvent bank I found, upon investigation, that its business and affairs were in a confused and disorganized condition; that many of the vouchers and papers which were necessary to ascertain the true condition of the bank were missing, that the books have been kept in a careless, confused and misleading manner so that it was very difficult and practically impossible to ascertain the true condition of the estate."

As to his ability to collect notes due, he says, "Because of the distressing local conditions, occasioned by the failure of crops, storms, floods and the recent bank failure, I find it very difficult to make collections at this time. Persons, even, of good standing and credit find it somewhat difficult and burdensome at this time to obtain cash with which to pay off their obligations."

In attempting to ascertain the assets of the bank this problem is found, "In my inventory is referred to...the conveyance made by F. L. LaRue of certain real estate and personal property to the bank for the use and benefit of its creditors. Since said inventory was filed Anna R. LaRue, Administrix of the estate...has filed in this court her petition asking that said conveyance be set aside" her reasoning that LaRue was mentally incapable of making said conveyance at the time it was made.

Receiver

And this, regarding Frank Lander LaRue: It is apparent at this time, that F. L. LaRue, during his lifetime, and while acting as President and Manager of said bank, dissipated its funds and assets, embezzled and converted to his own use large amounts of the same, amounting to many thousands of dollars and, in order to conceal his embezzlements and conversions, had so manipulated the books and records of the bank, that the settlement of its affairs will be greatly hindered and delayed....

At the bottom of page 1 is a listing of assets totalling $230,064. Page 2 is a listing of claims against the bank as well as amounts collected from customers. As near as I can figure the claims total $297,279. Among amounts collected are notes and deposit box rents as well as the sale of items from the bank. The sale of rubber stamps brought in 35c., the refund on burglar insurance after the policy was cancelled, $7.45, the sale of a file case to another bank in town, $5.00 and the return of Postoffice keys, 80c. Among the notes paid by customers was a familiar name, Mira LaRue, Frank's sister, paid her note in the amount of $272.08. Mr. Andrews lists his expenses as well, among them: typewriter paper, 10c; postal cards, $1.60; laundry and toilet paper, 20c; and matches, 25c.

Monument

Court News

July 20, 1904:
Court news finds Judge Miller is again fielding 100's of cases against Frank and the bank. On note this day is that Anna LaRue has been replaced as administratrix of Frank's estate but not before being allowed to pay herself $5,586.13, proceeds from life insurance and $11,172.27 as guardian of Frank J. LaRue, minor. The new administrator is ordered to expend an amount not to exceed $150. for the erection of a monument.

Insurance Policies

July 23, 1904:
the paper prints a full accounting of the life insurance policies held by Frank and their payouts as well as a list of policies that did not pay out because they either contained a suicide clause or were accident policies. The estate received $16,600; Anna $5683 plus $250 a year for 20 years; Frank Jr. $5000 plus $250 a year for 20 years.

Turns Over To Bank

Mrs. Anna LaRue Proposes to Relinquish All Claim to Her Interest In Estate


July 23, 1904: It is reported that Anna LaRue has offered to relinquish to the all her claim in the estate of her husband, she asks only that her attorney fee's be paid out of the proceeds and that she keep her shares in the Philippine Lumber and Development Company. The items she offers to turn over include 5 shares stock in the Corning Opera House, 87 1/2 shares stock in Corning Electric Company (it notes these are probably worthless), her homestead and two and one-half lots, shares in a few other enterprises that are probably of no value, a barn, ice house, a three lots, a top buggy and Idaho mine (undoubtably worthless, the paper reports). What she is offering to give up is all the property she possesses except her life insurance. The article says she has received a little more thatn $11,000 and her son Frank, Jr. a little more than $16,000 as well as policies providing annual payments. These numbers are a little different that those reported a few days earlier. The receiver did not accept the proposition but left it to "those concerned" and the paper reported efforts were being made.

A reporter, upon hearing of this interviewed Mrs. LaRue; "She was very pleasant and said during all the litigation she was acting under the advise of her attorneys, that she never had any business experience and this placed her in an akward position, and the fact that she knew very little about court business renderred it necessary for her to rely wholly on the advise of others, which she had done, and was now convinced she had not taken the proper course, and against their advice she had elected to take the step which she now proposes. The amount will not be large bin in doing as she has done Mrs. LaRue has shown an appreciation of her moral obligations, regardless of legal responsibility, and the lady is to be commended for the position she has taken." The reporter closes with, "Every day something new turns up in the muddle and when it is all settled and the creditors get what is alloted them they will breathe a sight of relief."

More Complications

Sept. 14, 1904:
The paper announces there has been yet another complication surrounding the bank failure. A Harry Blackburn of the Iowa National Bank sued the Aetna Life Insurance company to recover on a policy on the life of LaRue in the amount of $2000. Apparently LaRue had assigned the policy to Blackburn before his death. Aetna did not pay out on the policy because the manner of death was a suicide but Blackburn maintains that the policy is good in his hands even though there is a question as to the manner of LaRue's death.

Important Decision

LaRue Deed Conveying Property to Bank Held Good by Judge Miller

Oct. 12, 1904:
Judge Miller held that the deed by which LaRue conveyed his farms and other real estate to the bank was valid. The property is valued at about $35,000. Anna LaRue had tried to have the conveyance overturned because her husband was insane and insolvent at the time. The paper reports "The decision leaves the estate with only a few town lots as assets, while the claims against it will amount to over $300,000." During the same court calendar a T. J. Vidler of Pana, Illinois was established as a depositer. He claimed he sent $3,125. to LaRue for investment but it was converted by LaRue to his own use."

Property Sale

Oct. 22, 1904:
Notice appears in the paper advertising the sale, the following Friday, of the personal property of F. L. LaRue. It will include the LaRue farm 2 miles north of Corning, as well as all real estate that has come into his hand which consists of over 1000 acres, several residences and town lots in Corning, the bank building, etc.

The Square Thing

January 18, 1905:
Anna LaRue, sends to the Receiver one hundred shares in the Philippine Lumber and Development Company with instructions to apply the proceeds from their sale for the benefit of the depositers. The shares cost $2500 and it was thought that given time they would be of considerable value. The news article commends Anna LaRue saying the stock was 'but another indication of the disposition Mrs. LaRue has shown from the first to do the right thing in the difficulties growing out of the failure of the Savings bank. She has done everything in her power to make things easy for the receiver and has done far more than the law could demand of her. She relinquished all claims in the estate of F. L. LaRue and before leaving Corning she deeded to Ralph Newsomb, treasurer school district the homestead in this city. She has acted in a most commendable spirit throughout and the things she has voluntarily done have added appreciably to the dividends which will be paid depositers."

District Court

June 14, 1905:
The Courts section lists some "income" and expenditures against the estate. The sale of stock in the Corning Opera House netted $27.50 and the guardian of Frank J. LaRue, minor, was allowed $1,000 to expend of schooling of the ward.

Original Notice of Final Report

March 13, 1907:
There is a small legal notice in the paper announcing the final report to be given in the estate of F. L. LaRue.

Notice of Final Report and Settlement of the Affairs of the Corning State Savings Bank

May 4, 1910:
On the front page of Adams County Free Press it is reported that Halley's comet is now visible to the naked eye; buried on page 10 is a legal notice given by Receiver C. F. Andrews that he has fully discharged his duties in the matter of State of Iowa vs Corning State Savings Bank and requests that his bond and bondsmen be exonerated.

Minidoka



Anna Beymer LaRue and her son Frank June LaRue

left Iowa for Rupert, Idaho in about 1905, she moved with her brother Arthur Beymer. They first settled at Minidoka and then homesteaded three miles south of Rupert when the Minidoka Project opened. After her brother married in 1909 she moved into the town of Rupert.

Frank June LaRue died exactly 14 years, to the day, after his father on May 4, 1918 at the age of 30.

Anna died November 23, 1951 at the age of 85.

For more on them click on the picture on the left.