Three years after Wisconsin native John Patrick Kearns graduated from Bayless Business College in Dubuque, Iowa, he traveled west to explore career possibilities in Montana. A year later, the 27-year-old entrepreneur moved his young family to Broadwater County and helped launch The State Bank of Townsend. Thus began a legacy of family-owned, independent banking which continues in its second century.
With opening capital of $25,000.00, The State Bank of Townend listed as officers on its inaugural day – June 1, 1899 – President J.E. Kanouse, Vice-President A.W. Schreiber, Head Cashier and Major Stockholder J.P. Kearns and Assistant Cashier Louis Rotwitt.
J.P. Kearns assumed presidency of the Bank in 1917, continuing his 51 year career at the State Bank of Townsend. Four of J.P and Sarah Mary Kearns’ children went on to hold positions at the Bank, the youngest son, James W. Kearns, carried on the family tradition. working more than 50 years in the banking business.
J.P. and James W. worked shoulder to shoulder at the bank, through the Depression, past World War II, and in 1950, at the age of 78, J.P. died of a heart attack. At the time of his death, according to his obituary, he was the oldest working bank president in the state of Montana.
James W. Kearns assumed the helm and ran the Bank even longer—retiring at age 84 in 1987. He died a year after he retired. In 1961, J. William (Bill) Kearns, Jr., the older of James W. and Ossia Kearns’ two sons, became the Assistant Cashier at State Bank. A year before his father’s death, Bill became president of the bank his grandfather helped create. William (Bill) Kearns and his brother David Kearns continue the tradition as two of the largest stockholders of the organization and serving as Directors.
The State Bank of Townsend offers full service community banking with a well trained and friendly staff willing to listen to your needs.
Serving Broadwater County since 1899