On Thursday Carolyn Bullard brought me a copy of Virginia Metzger’s will. Carolyn’s act of kindness is what prompted me to write this column.
Philip Metzger came to Plymouth in the mid 1800’s. He purchased a home, which had been built in the 1840’s shortly after Plymouth was platted, and several lots on the southeast corner of the Plymouth Square. He was a tailor by trade at that time. Eventually he opened a general store.
In 1888 Philip and his son Henry G. Metzger had built a large brick building on the west side of the Square. The south part of the building housed the Plymouth Exchange Bank. It was a privately financed, family owned bank. John Metzger, Philip’s grandson, was also brought into the banking business. (this is the building which now houses Plymouth Rock Antiques and I live in one of Henry G. Metzger’s homes.)
Henry G. Metzger lived on the north side of the Plymouth Square where the fire house now stands. That corner had also housed the Mormon Hotel run by one of Joseph Smith’s brothers. In 1905 Henry Metzger had a home built at 201 W Summer, which was designed by the Payne architectural firm from Carthage, for him and his wife Julia.
In 1916 the bank expanded into the full building and went public. The name of the bank was changed to the Plymouth State Bank. The Plymouth State Bank was the only Plymouth bank to survive the depression. It closed in 1941 and Plymouth was without a bank until the present bank was organized.
John Metzger had a daughter, Virginia, who lived on East Main Street next to the RR tracks in her parent’s home. She passed in 2017 and her will leaves a legacy to the Village of Plymouth. Though there has been a lot of speculation about the amount left to the Village, currently I do not believe anyone knows, even in general, what the amount will eventually be. There are several reasons why this is true. Virginia left some property to the person who cared for her for many years. She also left a specific bequest to the St. Mary’s Cemetery and to the Heart’s of Hancock Humane Society.
In memory of her parents, she set up a trust with Citizen’s National Bank as trustee, called the Metzger Trust. The trustee will distribute only the ANNUAL INCOME from the trust to the village of Plymouth. The distribution will not exceed 4% of the value of the trust in any one year.
Since the value of the trust is unknown, since there is no way to know how it is invested, interest is practically nonexistent right now, or whether we are considering farm income etc, there is just no idea of the value right now.
The mayor or the Village Board will pick 3-5 persons to administer the funds use once everything is set in motion. The money must be used to beautify or improve the Village in some way, to encourage business or any project that will benefit the village and all of its residents. The funds may NOT be used for schools, churches, individuals or any business owned or managed by a person or group NOT living in Plymouth.
If the population of the Village falls below 100 persons, the trust is terminated.
This was a wonderful and generous act on the behalf of Virginia Metzger. I hope that she will be remembered for her generosity to the Village and that eventually a great deal of good will be done for the Village and it’s residents because of her generosity.
Scatter Kindness, Virginia certainly tried to do that.