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The first president of the Bank of Brewton was Charles L. Sowell. He was employed in the milling and lumber business until the Civil War broke out. He took part in the bloody battles of Murfreesboro, Mission Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Chichamauga, Franklin, and Nashville. In the Nashville battle he lost his left arm when a rifle ball shattered it. The next day he was made prisoner.

He was appointed as station agent for the L & N Railroad at Brewton, shortly after his return from the war.

In 1869 he resigned and engaged in the buying and selling of timber. He built a large sawmill and employed a large work force until 1888.

Brewton residents began to talk about the need for a bank. At that time he disposed of his mills and organized the first bank in Escambia County, the Bank of Brewton.

The Bank of Brewton opened for business on Monday, January 7, 1889. Business was carried on in a building on West Saint Joseph Street. In 1912 the Bank of Brewton moved out of the small building into a construction adjacent to the Lovelace Hotel. Still a part of the Bank today, the building has become one of Brewton's landmarks, recognizable by its facade of imported, white tile decorated with a green border.The Standard Gauge

October 4, 1888
Page 3

"C.L. Sowell has closed contract for a fine brick building to be located next to H.T. Parker's, on a lot purchased from W.J. Coleman. The building will be about 35 X 80 feet with two stories; lower one for stores, upper for offices in front and fine hall at the rear. The hall will be fitted elegantly with cushioned chairs, fine stage, scenery, etc. The fact that Mr. Sowell is in charge is a guarantee that it will be built right, and will be a great addition to the city, and if not the largest building, it will be the finest in town."
The Standard Gauge
October 18, 1888
Page 3

"Work has begun on C.L. Sowell's new building. It is to be made suitable for bank below with offices and hall above."

"The front room on the first floor of the elegant brick building now being erected by C.L. Sowell will be used as a bank. The cash capital has already been subscribed by several of our monied men, and a general banking, insurance, and real estate business will be conducted."

"Copper cents will doubtless come into general use from the fact that some of the railroads in Alabama and Georgia use them to make odd change."
The Standard Gauge
November 8, 1888
Page 3

"The bank building is progressing nicely."
The Standard Gauge
November 22, 1888
Page 3

"The bank building presents an imposing appearance."
The Standard Gauge
January 10, 1889
Page 3

"Bank of Brewton is open for business. C.L. Sowell, President; O.F. Luttrell, Cashier."
"The new bank building is a model of elegance. Mr. Sowell has put in one of Diebol's large safes, a large fire and burglar proof vault, with the very best combination locks made. He has shown good taste in having his counters made of our native curled pine, oil finished and varnished, showing the beautiful texture of the wood. Taking it altogether it is another institution of which Brewton may be proud, and which marks another step in her progress as the most flourishing town between our capital and the Gulf."

The Bank of Brewton began as a result of community need. It is the oldest bank in the state of Alabama, and the first bank established between Mobile and Montgomery. Today, Jerry M. Kelly, Sr. is president, and the Bank of Brewton, still homeowned and operated as in 1889, continues to serve the greater Brewton area as a full service bank.