Biography of Seymour B. Titus of Grand Forks North Dakota

Seymour B. Titus, born June 3, 1851, in Oak Grove, Minnesota, was a successful banker in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He began his career in the First Bank of Shakopee in 1872, later working for a banker in Sauk Center. In 1879, Titus co-founded the Bank of Grand Forks, the first bank in the Red River Valley. This institution grew rapidly, becoming the First National Bank in 1881. Titus served as its cashier, contributing to its status as a leading financial institution. He married Annie L. Stabler in 1880, and they had one surviving child in 1908, Marion E. Titus.

S B Titus
S B Titus

Seymour B. Titus, who has attained success by faithful, persistent work, is a native of Minnesota. He was born at Oak Grove on June 3, 1851, and is a son of Moses S. and Jane L. Titus, natives of Connecticut, who settled in Minnesota in 1844, where the father was engaged in business for many years.

Our subject acquired his education in his native state and grew to manhood there on a farm. In the fall of 1872, he became a general helper, without wages, in the First Bank of Shakopee, and he continued in that role until the winter of 1874. During the next five years, he was employed as a bookkeeper and clerk for Mr. Andrew J. Smith, a banker at Sauk Center, Minnesota. In June 1879, with the intention of finding a permanent settlement location, Mr. Titus went on a prospecting trip to Grand Forks and the adjacent regions. He was so pleased with the outlook that he returned and closed his affairs at Sauk Center. On August 29, 1879, he, along with Mr. J. Walker Smith, opened the Bank of Grand Forks. This was the first bank in that part of the Red River Valley, and compared to today’s standards, it was modest. At that time, the population of the town was about 100. The bank building, measuring eighteen by thirty-six feet, was located on Third Street, between Bruce and Kittson Avenues, and cost approximately $400. It was later moved to a site in the rear of the Keder and Stewart block, where it is currently used as a smokehouse. Those were days of small beginnings. The first deposit of forty-six dollars and eighty-four cents was made by Mr. Thomas Collins. Elias Rice granted the first loan of seventy-five dollars, and the first draft, for the same amount, was issued to Mr. W. G. Woodruff. This bank continued to grow with the town’s development until October 31, 1881, when the deposits amounted to $234,233.71, and the total business conducted by the bank up to that time aggregated $14,203,096.94.

On October 31, 1881, the Bank of Grand Forks was succeeded by the First National Bank, with Mr. J. S. Eshelman as president, Mr. J. Walker Smith as vice president, and Mr. Titus as cashier. Under the careful, conservative, and wise management of these insightful individuals, the bank experienced phenomenal growth and became recognized as one of the strongest financial institutions in the Red River Valley and the Northwest.

On April 5, 1880, Mr. Titus married Miss Annie L. Stabler of Maine. Of the three children born to them, Marion E. alone survives.


C.F. Cooper & Company, History of the Red River Valley, Past And Present: Including an Account of the Counties, Cities, Towns And Villages of the Valley From the Time of Their First Settlement And Formation, volumes 1-2; Grand Forks: Herald printing company, 1909.

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