In honor of our 150th anniversary in 2017 we are taking a look back at bank history and the people who have helped to shape our bank into the successful, secure institution that it is today. Read on to learn about one of our former presidents!
Aaron Will Jr. served as the second president of Vinton County National Bank, taking the reigns after the death of his uncle Daniel in 1924. While Aaron’s leadership of the bank lasted just fourteen years, his legacy is extraordinary.
Aaron Will ushered in a period of rebirth and progress, while strengthening his bank’s reputation as one of the most secure in the state. He boldly tore down the original bank building, replacing it with a beautiful new brick and marble building meant to impress the customer and to stand out in downtown McArthur. He launched the first organized marketing campaign for the bank, aggressively and consistently informing the public of the strength of his bank, the experience of his employees and the variety of the products offered.
Aaron is also remembered for hiring the bank’s first female employee, years before many of his competitors made room for women in banking. Perhaps most importantly, he navigated the bank safely through the Great Depression, exiting the Depression years stronger and more effective than ever.
Born in McArthur on May 22, 1872, Aaron was the son of Jacob S. and Rebecca Davis Will. He graduated from McArthur High School at the age of eighteen in 1890 and soon began working for the bank. Aaron was elected cashier of the bank the following year and worked as a banker for the next 48 years.
Aaron was one of the organizers of the McArthur Brick Company and was chairman of its first meeting in 1905. He was elected Treasurer and Director of this company, serving in this capacity until his death.
He is said to have taken much interest in civic affairs, supporting anything that would better the community. He was a founding member of the McArthur Rotary Club, belonged to the McArthur Episcopal Church and belonged to the Knights of Pythias. He was selected as alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1928 and Delegate in 1932 but was unable to attend because of ill health. He was again selected alternate in 1936.
Aaron died of Chronic Myocarditis on Apr. 13, 1938 at the age of 65. He left behind his wife Mary B. Will and children Mary Will Pilcher, Jean Will and Robert B. Will. His son Robert and grandson Bob Will would later follow in his footsteps to lead the bank.
Aaron’s impact continues to be felt in our 150th year as we continue to strive for the same strength and stability that Aaron insisted on throughout his career.