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In modern times, and to a large extent in the past, banks have constituted a vital part of the organized society, and governments, both monarchical and popular, have depended upon them for material aid in times of depression and trouble. Their influence has extended over the entire world and their prosperity has been the barometer which has unfalteringly indicated the financial status of all nations. Of this important branch of business James H. Hatch is a worthy representative, being the present vice-president of the National Bank of Seneca.

Mr. Hatch is a native of the far-off Pine Tree state, his birth having occurred in the town of Perkins, Lincoln county, Maine, on July 19, 1828, his parents being Paul and Jane (White) Hatch. The ancestry of the family can be traced back to England, whence Thomas Hatch crossed the Atlantic to the new world on the sailing vessel Mary & John in 1630, only ten years after the landing of the Pilgrims on Plymouth Rock. He settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and for many generations the family was represented in the old Bay state. The grandfather of our subject, Paul Hatch, was born in Massachusetts and married Miss Phinea. Their son, Paul Hatch, Jr., was born in Falmouth, Massachusetts, in 1876 (sic), and lived to the venerable age of ninety-seven years. He was a farmer and lumber merchant. His wife was born in Sagadahoc, Maine, in 180o, and was married in her seventeenth year. Her father, John White, was a resident of Bowdoinham, Maine, and wedded Elizabeth Thorn, whose father was an English officer in the war of the Revolution.

James H. Hatch, whose name introduces this review, spent the first eighteen years of his life in Maine, where he was afforded the privileges of a common-school education. Later he became a student in the home academy and on putting aside his text books he went to sea, spending three years on the water. In 1850, attracted by-the discovery of gold in California, he made his way to the Pacific slope around Cape Horn as second officer of the vessel, where he remained for a number of years. He built a saw-mill at the foothills in Mariposa county and entered into partnership with a Mr. White, under the firm name of White & Hatch. There they engaged in the manufacture of lumber for a period of twenty-three years, the enterprise being continued with a fair degree of success. In 1873, however, Mr. Hatch left the Golden state and came to Kansas, establishing a home in Seneca, where he engaged in the lumber business. In 1882 he purchased an interest in the State Bank of Seneca, which was afterward merged into the National Bank, and since its organization he has been vice-president. He continued in the lumber business, however, until 1898, when he sold out. His active connection with commercial pursuits extended over many years and brought to him a handsome competence.

On the 24th of November, 1859, Mr. Hatch was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Drusilla Tallman, of Maine, in which state she was born and reared. Four children graced their union: Minnie L., at home; Nellie J., now the wife of Henry Stephenson, a farmer of Nemaha county; Elizabeth J., wife of William Anticks, a resident of Chicago; and Lester Paul, who is a student in the high school of Seneca. The family have a pleasant home in Seneca and in addition to this property Mr. Hatch is the owner of a good farm of two hundred and forty acres, which is rented and which adds materially to his income. Socially he is connected with the Seneca Lodge, No. 39 F. & A. M. He belongs to the school board and for several years has been its treasurer. He is a man of fine social as well as business qualities and stands high as a citizen. He has witnessed the marvelous development of the western section of this country and can relate many interesting incidents of pioneer life in California when that state was largely settled by miners. Since coming to Kansas he has manifested a deep interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of his community and has withheld his support from no measure which he believes will prove a public good. His official record is creditable, his business record honorable and at all times he has merited the confidence and resident which is given him.