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History of Belle Rive and Dahlgren, Illinois And Surrounding Territory

Prepared by Continental Historical Bureau of Mt. Vernon, Illinois
December, 1960

Page B-32

Belle Rive Baptist Church

Belle Rive Missionary Baptist Church was first organized in the late 1870s.  The first church building was a log building erected on land donated by John A. Flint north of the L & N Railroad where the old building now stands.

As the church prospered, the log building was torn down and a frame building erected.  The frame building was enlarged three times during the years.

In 1952 the church started a new brick building on South Main Street under the leadership of Elder Grover C. Dorris, now deceased, who deserves much credit for the new building.  The new building was completed in 1958, and the old church building was sold to the Free Will Baptist denomination, who now hold services there.

The church has through the years grown from a small beginning to the present membership of two hundred fifty.

Pg. 32 continued

Maurice Estes Reporting.....

Walter P. Estes, known as "The Dean of Bankers", was born January 15, 1882, in Opdyke, Illinois and has made that community his home all of his life.

Prior to entering the banking business, he was employed by the L & N Railroad, until he and other directors of the town of Opdyke, Illinois, organized on October 1, 1910, "The Security Bank of Opdyke, Illinois."

On December 15, 1912, Mr. Estes was married to Gladys Bell, and to this union was born one son, Maurice E. Estes on November 25, 1917.  Maurice is married to the former Virginia Echols.

Walter Estes served as an officer and cashier of the Security Bank as long as it operated in the Opdyke community, and during his long career he was in a position to see the fluctuations of American business.  He was the kind of banker who could and did watch the economy; and by using his knowledge and skill, he successfully operated a banking institution that withstood depressive conditions as well as periods when the economy was at an all-time high.  As the bank with which Mr. Estes was associated longest was located for the most part in a rural community and the vocation of agriculture was the chief source of income for most of the bank's business, it was Walter's business to help the farmer prosper.

When the "Great Depression" of the 1930s struck the country with such great force, many banks across the country were drive into insolvency.  The financial institution that Mr. Estes had the responsibility of managing felt the blow that struck the nation; but by closely observing the fluctuations of business and exercising great skill in the handling of the bank's affairs, he succeed in keeping his bank in a solvent condition during the crisis.

He went with the Security Bank when it moved to Mt. Vernon after World War Two, but later decided to finish his career with the First National Bank of Mt. Vernon.  For the past three years he has been associated with the First National Bank of Mt. Vernon as Business Representative.  This progressive bank saw in him a friend of the people and one who could add to their many fine services to the people they serve.

At the present time he holds the distinction of having had more than a half century of continuous banking business to his credit, and is one of the most beloved citizens of Southern Illinois.  He is known for his unselfish assistance to the problems of his fellow men over the years, and many favors were extended by him on faith in others, because he enjoyed helping those who were in need of such service; his trust was very rarely betrayed, as somehow people are better after their contacts with Walter Estes.

Mr. Estes has often been heard to say, "Without my friends it would have been in vain.  God bless them all."

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