This Day in Financial History - January 7 . . .

1782 - On this day in 1782, the Bank of North America threw open its doors for business, making it the nation's first commercial bank. Based in Philadelphia, the bank was the brainchild of Robert Morris. Despite the bank's success, Philadelphia's run as America's leading home of private financial institutions was short-lived. Soon after the Bank of North America opened, the Pennsylvania legislature moved to outlaw private banks in the state, a decision that led scores of prospective bankers to set up shop in the nation's eventual financial center, New York City. Source: www.history.com

1825 - The nationís first great nonfinancial IPO is sold, as the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company goes public at $100 per share. The stock hits $112 that May, slides to $71 over the next three years, then goes on to be a stable growth stock for decades. Shares were originally sold at the Tontine Coffee House, the original birthplace of the New York Stock Exchange located at the northwest corner of Wall and Water Streets, the Middle District Branch Bank in Kingston, NY, and the Orange County Bank at Goshen, NY, county seat of Orange County. Source: www.bridge-line.org

1872 - January 7, 1872, marked the passing of one of Wall Street's more colorful and unscrupulous characters, James Fisk. Born in Bennington, Vermont, in 1834, Fisk worked at a series of jobs, including stints in the circus and dry-goods industry, before becoming a stockbroker. In 1866 he linked up with financier Daniel Drew to form a brokerage firm, Fisk and Belden. Along with Jay Gould, Fisk and Drew pulled off a scheme in 1867 to protect their controlling interest in the Erie Railroad from the acquisitive clutches of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Around the same time, Fisk was installed as the vice president and comptroller of Erie, positions he exploited to gain funds to support his burgeoning interest in Broadway shows and Broadway's starlets. In 1869, Fisk joined forces again with Gould and Drew to make a bold play to conquer the gold market. The result of their finagling was one of the worst financial disasters in U.S. history. Along with plunging America and stray parts of Europe into a depression, Fisk managed to lose a chunk of his fortune on the scheme. However, Fisk didn't have long to lick his wounds: in 1872, a squabble with his lover, Josie Mansfield, a.k.a. the "Broadway Beauty," led to Fisk's fatal shooting by Edward Stokes. Source: www.history.com





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