Bank of Jefferson (Location Key)


There are at least two different banks in Jefferson. This one - "the Bank of Jefferson," sometimes called "the old bank" - does not figure as prominently in the fictions as the bank founded by Bayard Sartoris in the 1890s (see the entry in this index for Sartoris Bank|Merchants' and Farmers' Bank). We don't know anything about the man or men who originally opened the Bank of Jefferson sometime before the Civil War, but in 1905 it is run by Lucius Priest I (The Reivers, 26). It is easy to tell the two banks apart in the last two volumes of the Snopes trilogy, where control of the Sartoris bank is a major plot element; as part of his campaign to become that bank's president, Flem Snopes moves his money back and forth between the two banks. Elsewhere identifying this bank requires an act of interpretation. In "Elly," the title character's fiance Philip is a cashier in "the bank"; we presume it's this older one (213). We make the same assumption about where Lucas Beauchamp keeps his money. In Go Down, Moses Ike McCaslin takes Lucas on Lucas' 21st birthday to deposit the thousand dollars the McCaslin family gives him as a legacy from the white slave-owner who was Lucas' grandfather. The day the two cousins - one white; one bi-racial, which is 'black' in the eyes of white Yoknapatawpha - came into the bank to deposit all that money in the Negro's account was part of "the minor annals of the town" (105), but the bank is not named. In "Gold Is Not Always" Lucas has "near three thousand dollars in the bank" (227). (See also the entry for Sartoris Bank|Merchants' and Farmers' bank.)

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