Engraved certificate from the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Los Angeles
issued in 1872. Early certifcates from Los angeles are very hard to find. This historic document was printed by Lith. Britton and Rey, San Francisco Company and has a
border around it with a vignette of a woman sitting on hay with a basket of picked vegetables on her side. This cancelled item has the hand signature of the Company’s Cashier, Isaias W. Hellman. There is some minor ledger stain on left side and overall is in fine condition. This item is over 135 years old.
The Farmers and Merchants Bank was the first incorporated bank in Los Angeles, founded in 1871 by John D. Downey and Isaias W. Hellman, a successful merchant, real estate speculator and banker, and brother of Hermann W. Hellman. The Farmers and Merchants Bank was the oldest bank in Southern California from 1871 until 1956 when it was merged into the Security First National Bank of Los Angeles. The story of the Farmers and Merchants Bank coincides with the development of Los Angeles, particularly in the formative period from 1870 to 1900.
Isaias William Hellman,b. Oct.3, 1842, Reckendorf, Bavaria; d. April 9, 1920 ; came to the US in 1859; m. Esther Newgass, of New York on April 14, 1870. He arrived in L.A. in 1859 and began work as dry goods clerk; manager and president, Hellman, Temple and Co., bankers, 1868-71; He began in banking at Los Angeles in 1868 and founded the Farmers and Merchants Bank in 1871 and was its president from 1876-1920,: In 1890, he moved to San Francisco and he incorporated the Union Trust Company, the first trust company in California.
Isaias William Hellman was president. He was also president, Bankers's Investment Co. Director: U.S. National Bank (Portland, Ore.), So. Pacific Co., many other corporations. He was also appointed to Regents of the University of California to fill unexpired term of Regent D. O. Mills, 1881-86; reappointed, 1886-1902; reappointed, 1902-18.
Isaias W. Hellman and the Farmers and Merchants Bank Book published by the Huntington Library - Available on Amazon.com
His home was located at 2020 Jackson St. office 2 Montgomery St., San Francisco, California. The bank operated from his home on Jackson Street after the main branch was destroyed in the 18-Apr-1906 Fire and Earthquake. His son and grandson were later presidents of Wells Fargo Bank.
Isaias William Hellman was also a co founder of the University of Southern California (USC). In 1879, three civic leaders, Ozro W. Childs, a Protestant horticulturalist; John G. Downey, an Irish-Catholic pharmacist who had served as governor of California from 1860 to 1862; and Isaias W. Hellman, a German-Jewish banker and philanthropist, deeded 308 lots to the Board of Trustees, located in an area designated "West Los Angeles," near the intersection of Figueroa Street and Exposition Boulevard. Sales of the lots were to create an endowment to provide seeds of financial support for the institution. A portion of the land, located within the original land grant establishing El Pueblo de la Reina (Reyna) de Los Angeles, was to be reserved for the actual campus. The university opened in 1880 with 53 students and 10 teachers.