|The origins of this bank go back to 1832 with the formation of the Pittsburgh Savings Fund Company. In 1841, the company's name was changed to the Farmers Deposit Bank.
In 1902, the bank was reorganized under national charter as the Farmers Deposit National Bank. The company's headquarters were located at the corner of Fifth and Wood Streets in Pittsburgh.
Prince the Dog
Prince was bought for the Farmers Deposit National Bank in the summer of 1889 from Henry Kramer, a traffic officer at Fifth Avenue and Wood Street, the banks' present location. The late Mr. T. H. Given, an ardent fancier of dogs, was then President of the bank and directed the purchase of Prince. Mr. Given personally owned a number of fine, pedigreed dogs, which he kept in his private kennels, but admired Prince most of all.
Prince, however, had no pedigree. He was a commoner in the the canine realm. No family coat-of-arms was handed down to decorate the leather collar he wore. Instead, a small name-plate on top was simply engraved, "Prince." Below was the plebian license tag. He was named Prince before acquired by the bank, perhaps because his intelligence and other fine qualities suggested him worthy the crown of the canine kingdom.
When Prince was bought, the Farmers Deposit National Bank was at No. 220 Fourth Avenue, where he made his home for the next nine years. He liked the bank and appeared thoroughly to enjoy the surroundings. He was cared for from the beginning Chatam Gilbert, colored janitor, who is still with the bank and who, incidentally, is the oldest employee, both in years and length of service. It was part of Chatam's duties to feed Prince twice daily, to keep him scrupulously clean at all times, and to see that he got exercise.
Watch Dog of Treasury
Prince had his own quarters in the basement, but he usually slept at night on a cushioned seat by the big window that looked into Fourth Avenue. Here he was in plain view of passers-by. During a good part of banking hours he lay on guard upon a rug by the entrance to the vault. At times, however, he broke the monotony by strolling through the lobby. There he gave friendly recognition to some depositor by rubbing against him and looking up with a cordial murmur.
Prince loved children with kind affection. It is recalled by many that he often gave them special attention. If a child toddled away from its mother while she was transacting business, Prince would walk along to let the child lean on him and otherwise looked after its safety. With the business finished, Prince would follow them to the door and stop, in the manner of saying, "We are glad to have seen you. Come again."
In contrast to his devotion to children, he was vicious at night and fought without mercy when necessary. If robbers had gotten into the bank, he would have attacked them ferociously. He was not quarrelsome, however, and was never known to bite anyone. Chatam, his faithful custodian, says that, while he often fought other dogs, he never picked a fight; also that he was never whipped. There were times, of course, when victory was won slowly and painfully, but he managed tenaciously to hold on without a thought of quitting.
As a mascot, he played hard, was full of life and mischief, and even made his presence felt in athletic games where the bank's various teams were contestants.
Helps Win Ball Game
It is recorded that on one occasion he was partly responsible for the winning of a baseball game by the Farmers Bank team. The score was tied in the last half of the ninth inning, with the Farmers at bat. A long fly was driven to center field. Prince made a dash for the ball, while the fielder, thinking Prince was after him, took to his heels, the ball dropped safely and the runner went home with a winning tally.
Besides being present at the bank's baseball, football and hockey games, he also went to the gymnasium, which in those days was in the basement of the banking house. At the punching bag, Prince took his turn by jumping up and punching it with his nose. He enjoyed the experience so thoroughly that the bag had to be removed every day to keep him from over-indulgence in the exercise.
Known as he was by many of the bank's customers and friends, "Where is Prince" became a frequent question, if he was not on duty. Being a favorite alike with men, women and children, it is small wonder that he found new friends and was enticed to other congenial surroundings. Indeed, he was lost or stolen on four occasions. The expense of advertising rewards for his return and the payment of them to his finders amounted to several times his original cost. It is believed that he was deliberately taken once or twice and kept until the reward was publicly offered.
He was always a great friend of the soldiers. He liked their playful, manly ways and enjoyed watching them maneuver. When the Spanish-American War began in 1898, a Pittsburgh regiment, in which some members of the bank had enlisted, marched away to battle.
About that time Prince disappeared and for the last time. Another reward was offered, several dogs were brought and claim made for the reward; but Prince was not one of those returned and the bank never heard of him again. Perhaps the bugle call, the fluttering flag and the marching soldiers lured him away as a mascot. Who knows but that he gave his life gallantly, like a good soldier, on the battlefield? If he did, those who remember him would say he died, facing the enemy.