Owen A. Barrett
Owen A. Barrett was a Pittsburgh chemist who had a decades-long career working in drug stores. Barrett was trained in his profession by druggist B.A. Fahnestock, a fatherly figure who raised Barrett from childhood, according to African American physician and soldier Martin Delany, a contemporary of Barrett's. Barrett came up with the formula for a best-selling antiparasitic treatment that was sold under the label B.A. Fahnestock's Celebrated Vermifuge. Barrett opened his savings account with Dollar Bank in March 1857.
Rev. Jesse S. Cowles
When the Battle of Williamsburg came to James City County, Virginia in the fall of 1862, Jesse Sumner Cowles had not yet turned 14. Nevertheless, he made his way to Union lines, where soldiers from the North found him and sent him to Connecticut. After living there about a year, he enlisted in the 29th Connecticut Regiment, United States Colored Troops. He was wounded during the Battle of Darbytown and New Market Roads in October 1864. After a month in the hospital, during which he experienced a religious conversion, he was honorably discharged.
Cowles learned to read and write at an AME Zion school in Hartford, Connecticut. He went on to earn a degree from Wesleyan University and was ordained in 1872. He spent six years in Pittsburgh in the 1870s, serving at John Wesley AME Zion Church, established in the Hill District in 1836, and Avery Mission Church in Allegheny City (now North Side).
He opened a savings account at Dollar Bank in 1876.
John Paul Golden, M.D.
Just one month before he opened his savings account at Dollar Bank in April 1888, John Paul Golden, M.D., became the first African American to graduate with a medical degree from Western Pennsylvania Medical College, forerunner of University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Read more about Dr. Golden.
William E. Hance
William E. Hance (1873-1941) was publisher and president of the Pittsburgh Courier
from 1924-1936. A successful businessman with blue-collar roots, Hance was part of the team of leaders who grew the Courier
from a hometown start-up enterprise to one of the most widely read and influential African American newspapers in the United States. On politics, culture, advocacy and ground-breaking journalism, “America’s Best Weekly” made Pittsburgh voices heard across the nation.
Read more about William E. Hance.
James E. Hughes
Pittsburgh police officer James E. Hughes opened his savings account at Dollar Bank in December 1907. Just four months later, he was wounded in the line of duty, shot in the chest while apprehending a thief in Squirrel Hill. An object in Hughes' vest pocket deflected the bullet and saved his life.
Hughes had a 24 year career on the City of Pittsburgh police force. He served as a patrolman for 14 years and made detective in 1919. His bravery was tested many times during his years of service. Unfortunately, just as he was being considered for promotion to lieutenant, Hughes was killed in the line of duty, shot by a trio of robbers in December 1929. More than a thousand people attended his memorial service at Ebenezer Baptist Church. His name is inscribed on the Allegheny County Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
Samuel A. Neale
In 1856, music and mathematics teacher Samuel A. Neale, age 26, was appointed principal of School House No. 6, Allegheny City's school for African American children. He held this post for more than 20 years. Neale opened a savings account with Dollar Bank in 1866.
A resident of Sandusky Street, he dedicated himself to improving the lives of his students through education and culture. He was editor of two journals for African Americans, the Elevator and the Commoner, served as secretary of the Allegheny Teachers' Institute, and was known for organizing musical and literary festivals showcasing the talent from his school. Among the students he inspired was future physician John Paul Golden.
Jennie Margaret Proctor
A granddaughter of Lewis and Caroline Woodson, Jennie Margaret Proctor was the owner and proprietor of Proctor's Hair Shop, a ladies' beauty salon founded by her mother, Virginia Woodson Proctor, in 1867. For nearly 100 years, the business was run by successive generations of Woodson-Proctor women, and was the oldest ladies' hair salon in downtown Pittsburgh.
Understanding the customers' needs as women and mothers, Jennie Proctor started a doll hospital on the same premises as the hair shop, to engage and delight the children of her clients while their hair was being done. A figure of elegance and dignity, Proctor taught beauty classes for young black women at the Y. She was a member of Bethel AME Church and the Aurora Book Club, a supporter of both the Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A., and was one of the first local secretaries of the NAACP.
Jennie Margaret Proctor opened her savings account with Dollar Bank in 1890 at the age of 16.
James T. Whitson, M.D.
A sharecropper's son, James T. Whitson was raised on a farm in Guilford Township, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, where his father, Thomas, worked the land for two elderly sisters, Ruth and Ann Beatty. Harassment by Confederate raiders during the Civil War induced Thomas to move his family to Pittsburgh. Educated in Catholic parochial schools, James T. Whitson became one of the first two African American students admitted to Pittsburgh Central High School. (The other was George G. Turfley, who also went on to become a physician.) After graduation, Whitson became a teacher. Around 1876, he took a position as principal of a school for African American students in Ripley, Ohio, a post he held for five years.
Whitson resigned as principal in order to start medical studies at Western Reserve Medical College in Cleveland. Working his way through college by barbering, he graduated in 1885. A devout Roman Catholic, in 1886 he helped Daniel A. Rudd launch the American Catholic Tribune, a weekly newspaper for black Catholics. In the late 1880s, Dr. Whitson returned to Pittsburgh, where he established a medical practice. He remained in the Pittsburgh region for the next five decades, practicing medicine in Brownsville, Uniontown and Monessen.
He opened his savings account at Dollar Bank in August 1888.