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Elmer, Missouri - Early History
Henry Clay Surbeck
(Reprinted from the History of Macon County, 1910)
Two counties in Missouri have had the services and three banks have been helped to consequence and standing n the state by the business capacity and enterprise of Henry Clay Surbeck, of Atlanta, although he is now but twenty-seven years of age. This record shows that he is able, knowing and attentive to duty, and fully justifies the high standing he enjoys as a financier, citizen and business man. He began his business career early in life and has been very successful in all his undertakings from the start. The progress he has made and the triumphs he has won are also all his own, as he owes nothing to family influence or the special favors of fortune, having made his own way in the world by his own energy and ability.
Mr. Surbeck was born at Elmer, in this county, on February 4, 1882, and has passed the whole of his life to this time (1909) in this state, except during the time of his attendance at a business college outside, and the greater part of it in Macon county. His father, J. M. Surbeck, was born and reared in Switzerland, Init has been a resident of this county for many years. The son was educated in the district school near his home in Elmer and at Blees Military Academy, where he was one of the first students enrolled. After leaving that institution he pursued a course of special instruction at the (Gem City Business College in Quincy, Illinois, from which he was graduated in 1903, The next year he organized the Bank of Gifford, in the town of that name, and during the next three years was one of its stockholders and directors, and its cashier. In this position he had opportunity to aid greatly in building up and improving the town of Gifford, and he did all his circumstances allowed in that direction. Much of the present prosperity and development of the town is due to his own activity and the forces he put in motion to the same worthy end in others. The seed he sowed was good and it fell on fruitful ground. The harvest has been bountiful, what was sown producing well, some thirty, some sixty and some a hundred fold.
In 1907 Mr. Surbeck sold his interests at Gifford and accepted a position as cashier in a bank at Othello, Washington. But he was not made to occupy a subordinate position and work wholly under the direction of others. He quit the Washington b;ink in December, 1908, and organized the Bank of Atlanta, of which he was one of the original stockholders and directors, and of which he was at once chosen cashier, a position he is still filling with great acceptability to the directorate and the patrons of the bank and with decided credit to himself. The institution was started with a capital of $15,000. It has had a steady and increasing prosperity under the management of Mr. Surbeck, and is now accounted one of the soundest, safest, most progressive and best managed financial agencies of its magnitude in the state. It does a general banking business, including all the approved features of modern banking, and while its policy is liberal, it is guarded with abundant caution in protecting the interests of its promoters. x\t the same time, it is at all times ready to do what it can to advance the welfare of the community, aid in its improvement and accommodate the requirements of its people. In addition to his connection with this bank and other productive enterprises in Atlanta, Mr. Surbeck was one of the directors and the secretary of the Gifford Brick and Tile Company for some time, and is still a stockholder in the company. In politics he is a zealous working Republican, loyal to his party and effective in its service. His fraternal alliances are with the Masonic order and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in both of which he takes an earnest interest and holds an influential rank as a member.