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Mike Watson: Melvin Alvah Traylor

This favorite son of Adair County was born in Breeding, KY, taught school in Adair County, KY, for time, went to Texas where he became a lawyer and a banker. His career in finance soared to the highest international levels. In 1932, he was a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. - CM
A short talk on the life and works of M.A. Traylor (28 Oct 1978 - 14 Nov 1934 will be presented by Mike Watson at the Adair County Genealogical Society's monthly meeting on December 7, 2015, at the Adair County Public Library, 307 Greensburg Street, Columbia, KY. - Phone 270-384-2476

By Mike Watson, Adair County Historian

Adair County, Kentucky has produced many individuals who have left indelible marks on this earth. One of those was Melvin Alvah Traylor, born at Breeding in 1878, the first of seven children of James Milton Traylor and Kitty Frances Harvey Traylor.


Melvin gained a moderate education in the schools of Adair County and taught school for a time before leaving for Texas in 1898. He studied law and was admitted to the bar at Hillsboro, Texas, in 1901. After practicing law for some time, he entered upon the business of banking, in 1908, and was made vice president of a bank at Ballinger, Texas. After a banking merger the yext year, he became president.

As a banker, Mr. Traylor advanced in his chose career and was overseer of various banking institutions in the United States and was chose President of the American Bankers' Association in 1926. By 1931 he was leading Chicago's largest bank, the First Union Trust and Savings Bank. He was a strong supporter of the World Bank and was a member of the U.S. delegation when the Bank of International Settlements was created.

Mr. Traylor understood the ramification of poor banking practices and was outspoken on the financial causes of the Great Depression and for his views gained national attention. Largely due to this, he was a hopeful for the Democratic Party's nomination for President of the United States in the months leading up to the national convention of 1932. Franklin D. Roosevelt secured the nomination for President that year and went on to serve into his fourth term.

Melvin A. Traylor, farmer, teacher, and banker from Adair County, Kentucky, devoted much of his life to the betterment of the nation. He was Trustee of the Newberry Library, Chicago; Northwestern University; and Berea College; as well as president of the Shedd Aquarium Society; and president of the American Bankers' Association. The Time magazine issues of 30 July 1928 and 21 November 1932 featured Mr. Traylor on the cover and numerous Time articles referenced his influences on financial circles over the years.

He battled pheumonia at the end of his life and died in Chicago, Illinois on 14 November 1934.


This story was posted on 2015-11-30 08:28:46
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