- Date Founded: February 6, 1906
- Founder: Dr. J.C. Swann
- Woodland (Since 1972)
- Roanoke (Since 1997)
- Dr. J.C. Swann (1906-1951)
- John W. Carlisle (1951-1954)
- W. E. Mathews (1954-1958)
- John G. Swann (1958-1969)
- Sam W. Carpenter (1969-2000)
- Robert B. Folsom, Jr. (2000-2004)
- Roger E. Campbell (2004-2013)
- Mitch Key (2013-Present)
The Bank of Wedowee was founded on February 6, 1906, by Dr. J. C. Swann, with $25,000 in capital stock. Dr. Swann was elected its first president, at a salary of $500 per year. Two years later, his salary was raised to $750. He was the bank's president for the next 45 years, until his death in February, 1951.
Before 1906 merchants, thrifty housewives, and others who saved, used the opening under the loose plank behind the stove, a hole in the ground, or a slit in the mattress as places to "deposit" their extra cash. Periodically, they would go to banks in neighboring towns, like Anniston, Carrollton, and Roanoke.
J. C. Swann was born in Louina, educated in the public schools of Randolph County, attended Bowdon College in Georgia, and graduated from Atlanta Medical College in 1890. His life spanned the period of Reconstruction, two world wars, the worldwide depression of the 1930s, the age of the horse, the train, the car, and the airplane, and into the era of the atom. For eleven years, he practiced medicine in Wedowee, until President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him the first physician inspector of the new federal prison in Atlanta. With the job in Atlanta, there was a salary of $1,600 per year and a residence. He held that job until 1905, when he returned to Wedowee with banking on his mind.
Dr. Swann had the support of all state Republicans, its senators and congressmen, the Masons, and was said to have been a warm friend of the late President McKinley. He was president of his graduating medical class, was twice president of the Randolph County Medical Association, was on the examining board of the county, and was then senior counselor in the State Medical Association.He was a one-time Republican nominee for state auditor, served several years as chairman of the county Republican Executive Committee, helped found Wedowee Normal College, and was Chairman of its Board of Trustees.
Eight men purchased the original 150 shares of capital stock of the Bank of Wedowee. Swann, Attorney Stell Blake, and W. W. Dobson purchased 30 shares each. J. T. Kaylor of Graham purchased 18 shares. Nixon Lucas of Malone, Abner Coker the bookkeeper, and Col. W. H. McKleroy of Graham purchased 12 shares each. J. H. Kaylor of Graham purchased 6 shares. They also were elected directors, with Swann being elected chairman. Blake became the bank lawyer, Coker the cashier, and McKleroy (who was president of the Anniston National Bank) the advisor. Coker received the same salary as Swann; $500 per year.
The first deposit of $1.00 was made by a local merchant, Hoyt Enloe. For the first ten months, the bank operated in the northwest room of the old courthouse, but by December of that year it had its own building on the corner of Broad and Main Streets.
Since its founding, the bank has had eight presidents. John W Carlisle was elected to succeed Swann, and he served until 1954. He was followed by W. E. Mathews, who served until 1958. John G. Swann (son of the bank's founder) served until 1969, followed by Samuel W. Carpenter. Mr. Carpenter served until 2000. He was followed by Robert B. Folsom, Jr., who served until 2004. Roger E. Campbell served until 2013. The Board of Directors then elected Mitchell G. (Mitch) Key in 2013 as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board.
In 1966, the bank moved into new quarters one block north of its original location. The new building was on the homeplace of the county's only governor, William Hugh Smith. His house was later used as a hotel, and when it was demolished to make room for the bank, Wedowee merchant Bob Perry used the timbers in constructing his own home.
Over the years, the bank gradually outgrew this facility and, in 1989, moved into a new building situated on the homeplace of the bank's founder, Dr. J. C. Swann. The present building, an architectural masterpiece, is situated one block west of the courthouse on Highway 48.
The Bank of Wedowee also operates branches in Woodland, on Highway 48, and in Roanoke, on Highway 431. The Woodland Branch opened in 1972, with Crouch Rampy as Branch Manager. The Roanoke Branch opened in 1997, with Tommy Holmes as Branch Manager. In 1999, the bank established its first 24-hour ATM, located at the Main Office in Wedowee.
At the annual shareholders' meeting in January of 2002, approval was given by the shareholders to split the stock on a 10-for-1 basis, and to organize the bank as a one-bank holding company, with the Bank of Wedowee being a wholly-owned subsidiary. The Federal Reserve Board gave its blessing to the transaction later in the year and, on October 1, 2002, the formation of Swann BancShares, Inc. was completed. The name was chosen to memorialize the founder of the bank, Dr. J. C. Swann.