Murray Hill, Mt. Morris

Laura Page Smith (1817-1886)

 Possibly the first woman bank president in the United States.

Numerous credible sources cite Maggie Lena Walker, an African-American, as the first woman to establish a bank and serve as bank president in the United States. Walker opened the Saint Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond, Virginia in 1903.

In 1866, however, Laura Page Smith, who resided on Murray Hill, Mt. Morris, became the owner and president of Smith’s Bank of Perry, Wyoming County, upon the death of her husband, Anson D. Smith. Although Laura did not act in this capacity for very long, she nonetheless stepped into a realm that women of her era did not enter.

Smith’s Bank of Perry later became known as the First National Bank of Perry. Laura eventually moved to Rochester to live with her daughter, where she was very active in charitable and philanthropic activities. She served as one of the mangers of the Home for the Friendless and as President of the Ladies’ Society of St. Peter’s Church.