W. Earl Allen and Elise M. G. Allen
W. Earl Allen always tried to help the people of his community. Understanding the importance of a hometown bank, he helped to preserve the bank through the Depression years and set an example of community service throughout his life. He began his career in 1919 as a bookkeeper with Chatham Savings Bank and was president of the Bank of Chatham when it was acquired by First & Merchants National Bank, a predecessor of Bank of America.
In 1998, through Mr. Allen’s will, an endowment fund was established with The Community Foundation, The W. Earl Allen and Elise M. G. Allen Fund, in memory of Mr. Earl Allen and in honor of Mrs. Elise M. G. Allen. A bequest from his estate of 5,000 shares of NationsBank stock was given “to benefit the people of the Town of Chatham, Virginia, and Pittsylvania County, Virginia, at large.” His widow, Elise M.G. Allen, who herself worked at the bank for more than 25 years, was the advisor to the fund. The principal of the fund remains intact and invested, continuing to provide benefits in perpetuity for those whose lives Mr. Allen wished to improve.