Notorious History: A Look at the First National Bank in Snyder

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SNYDER, Texas (KTAB) – The First National Bank in Snyder is not only notorious for being the first building in the Snyder square, but the backdrop for a famous Texas blood battle, plus a unique connection to Bonnie and Clyde.

“It’s one of the oldest buildings on the square,” Scurry County Museum Curator, Laurel Lamb said.

Each building that was built in the square was built around the First National Bank.

“The First National Bank,” Lamb explained, “we don’t actually know when it was built. But, we know it was sometime between 1890 and 1901. George Smith was the first president and he died in 1902. W.A. Johnson became the next president, also known as Billy Johnson.”

The First National Bank hasn’t just been a bank. It’s been the office of appraisers, lawyers, an optometrist, and the backdrop of a blood feud.

“It was the last blood feud that happened in Texas on the Snyder square,” Scurry County Museum Executive Director, Daniel Schlegel explained.

That was no mistake. We said blood feud. The famous Johnson-Sims Feud of 1916, to be exact.

“When Gladys Sims shot her ex-husband, Ed,” Schlegel explained. “Right there in front of what was the First National Bank at the time. She came out and shot him, I believe it was in the shoulder and the leg. It wasn’t fatal by any means, but if you get shot, you’re going to get stunned. So, her brother came out of the bank with a shotgun and finished him off. Later on, Frank Hamer got involved. He was the body guard for Gladys and they ended up getting married and having a very happy life together.”

If the name Frank Hamer rings a bell, then you’re probably familiar with the story of Bonnie Clyde. Frank Hamer was the Texas Ranger responsible for bringing Bonnie and Clyde to justice years later.

“The feud happened in 1916 and in the 1930’s is when they captured Bonnie and Clyde,” Schlegel explained. “So, about two decades later, he’s the one that captured Bonnie & Clyde. But earlier on, he was out here in Snyder, and he would come out and this is where he met his wife and got married. So, he was in town, and he was through Scurry County.”

For history buffs like Schlegel that have gotten the opportunity to roam the inside of the historic bank, the experience in unforgettable.

“To know that one of the most famous Rangers, not just any Texas Ranger, the most famous Texas Ranger went through there,” Schlegel said. “It’s like, this is kind of cool.”

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