Harry Scott Probasco escaped the raging floodwaters at Lawrenceburg, Ind., only to arrive in
Chattanooga in time for the deluge of 1886. He and his only child, Scott Livingston Probasco, established the American National Bank.
According to a family Bible, the Probascos trace back to a family of bankers in 16th-century Madrid. They were Protestants and had to flee to Holland during the Spanish Inquisition. The family was in Holland for several generations before making their way to New Amsterdam, now New York, in 1654.
Christoffel (Stoffel) Jurianse Probasco, son of Jurren and Catalyntje Probasco, was the first of
the name to be baptized in America. His land deed is the first recorded for Brooklyn. He was
among those in 1690 signing a petition to King William and Queen Mary protesting the tyrannical
reign of Governor Jacob Leisler, who was executed the next year. Stoffel and his wife, Iytie Strycker, lived at Flatbush. Stoffel was an elder of the Flatbush church and was a magistrate and justice of the peace in 1693. He had bought his farm at Flatbush in 1671. In 1701, Stoffel Probasco was one of a Dutch company of eight persons purchasing a thousand acres in Somerset County, N.J., where the proprietors offered land at liberal terms. In Stoffel's will, he left five pounds and a musket to the eldest son, Jurian. The second son, Jan, got three pounds and a musket. All the children at age 20 received "a good milch cow."
Jan Probasco married Ariantje Arents, daughter of Reinier Arents. He moved from Flatbush
to Jamaica, Long Island. A yeoman, he lived until 1749. He left his house, barn and homestead to his son, Reynier. The eldest son, Stoffel, was given "10 pounds in consideration of his birthright.'' This Stoffel Probasco married Sara Ammerman about 1725. She was the daughter of Paulus and Cornelia Emans Ammerman of Flatlands and Gravesend, Long Island. Stoffel and Sara Probasco moved from Long Island to Harlingen, N.J., where they were active in the Dutch Reformed Church. Their son, Reynier, was born in 1743. He married Elizabeth Warne. Their children were William, John Warne and Abigail.
William was born in 1781 at Warren County, N.J. He married Rachel Scott about 1805. She was
from Mercer County, N.J. The William Probascos lived at Quakertown, N.J. William Probasco
died in 1863 and Rachel Scott Probasco died in 1874. They are buried in Bethlehem Presbyterian churchyard near Clinton, N.J. Their children were Theodore who married Elizabeth C. Huff, Delaree who died at a young age, Elizabeth who married Jonas Rockefeller, Mary who married John H. Low, William Bloomfield who died at a young age, Sarah Ann who married Theodore Holcombe, Joseph Bloomfield who married Elizabeth Teeple and then Selinda Hice, Jolhn Warne who married Harriet Aller, Rynear who died when he was 24, Elisah Warne who died when he was 38, and Sylvester who married Lydia Craveling. Most of these Probascos lived near Quakertown, N.J.
William Jr., another son of William and Rachel Scott Probasco, was born at Quakertown in 1821.
He made his way west in 1846 "when, without means or assistance, he crossed the mountains." He arrived as a young man at the frontier at Harrison, Ohio. At first he served an apprenticeship as a millwright, then he was a contractor engaged in the construction of mills.
Then he went to Lawrenceburg, Ind., where he was in the distilling business four years. He switched to banking and became president of the Peoples National Bank at Lawrenceburg, which was organized with Peter Braun in 1875. In 1855 he had married Rachel Ella Morgan at Lawrenceburg. He was 34 and she was 24 when they wed. The William Probascos built a handsome home in the Italianate style at the corner of Ridge Avenue and Probasco Street at Greendale in 1868. The house was later owned for many years by Frank A. Ludlow and it is known as the Probasco-Ludlow House.
Their children were Harry Scott, Carrie Godley who died when she was seven, and Arthur Franklin who died in 1907 when he was 36. Harry Scott Probasco was born in 1858. He attended the Lawrenceburg schools and graduated from Moore's Hill College. Harry S. Probasco was a bookkeeper at his father's bank in Lawrenceburg, then he rose to vice president. Dismayed by the frequent floods in his home area, he visited Chattanooga in 1885 and decided to settle there. He set up an office as a broker at the Central Block, then moved to the adjacent McConnell Block. He returned in January 1889 to Indiana to marry Alice Moore, whom he had once rescued from floodwaters of the Ohio River. She was the daughter of Jesse and Frances Gray Moore of Cincinnati. Her parents died when she was at an early age and she was raised by her grandparents at Lawrenceburg. Their son, Scott Livingston Probasco, was born Sept. 6, 1890, in Chattanooga.
In 1888, H.S. Probasco and Fernidinand. F. Wiehl opened a private banking business - Wiehl, Probasco and Company. Steadily growing, the firm moved to the northwest corner of Sixth and Market, where it was known as the Bank of Chattanooga. The firm took over the assets of the
Fourth National Bank when it failed during the Panic of 1893. The Bank of Chattanooga moved
to the southwest corner of Eighth and Broad, and its banking business was taken over by the American National Bank with H.S. Probasco as president. This was absorbed by the First National Bank in 1910. During an extended tour of Europe, H.S. Probasco had a discussion at a sidewalk cafe in Heidelberg with his young son, Scott, who proposed starting a trust company. The result was the organization of the American Trust and Banking Company in 1912. Some other former Ohio residents, including Ben Thomas and E.Y. Chapin, helped set up the trust company, which opened at the Milton Building at Eighth and Broad. It moved in 1915 to 734
Market, then a handsome marble headquarters was erected for the bank at Eighth and Market in 1928.
H.S. Probasco helped a number of businesses reorganize after the 1893 Panic. He was president of the Union Cotton Mills at LaFayette, Ga. He "possessed marked ability as a designer and erector of buildings'' and was chairman of the committees that built the
Mountain City Club, the clubhouse at the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club, the First Presbyterian Church on McCallie Avenue, and buildings at the University of Chattanooga.
The Probascos lived in a frame house at 218 High St. It was torn down during construction of a widened Third Street. Harry Scott Probasco died in 1919 shortly after a visit to his former home in Ohio. He had stopped over in Cincinnati and, upon reaching home, had complained that he was not feeling well. He was soon forced to take to his bed. The funeral was held at the family home on High Street. Active pallbearers were Linus Llwellyn, C.A. Raht, C.F. Milburn, E.Y. Chapin, J.P. Johnston, Gaston Raoul, Jo Conn Guild Jr., M.M. Hedges and W.O. Jones. Honorary pallbearers were Z.C. Patten, H. Clay Evans, D.H. Griswold, W.F. Hutcheson, D. G. Henderson, C. E. James, Reese Parry, W.A. Enloe, H.F. Temple, Henry Rose, J.P. Hoskins, Charles Hardie, J.J. Maloney, L.L. Fischer, Fenton A. Gentry, Frank A. Nelson and W.P. McBroom. H.S. Probasco was "a splendid type of broad, public-spirited citizen; and modesty, generousness, dependability, ability and unswerving loyalty characterized him. He was a man of high ideals, of kind heart and noble emotions, and, with the interest of Chattanooga always at heart, he was a moving spirit in activities that tended toward the growth, betterment and development of a Greater Chattanooga. Young men found in him a friend whose words of advice, financial help and encouragement started them on successful careers." Alice Moore Probasco died at her summer home on Walden's Ridge at the top of the W Road in August 1934.
Scott L. Probasco, who was born in 1890, married Margaret Williams, daughter of the attorney Robert H. Williams and Margaret Sharp Williams, in 1926 in New York City. The William family lived across the street on High Street. Scott L. Probasco long led the prosperous bank, which in the mid-1960s replaced its former headquarters with a 20-story complex. During the Depression when there were runs on many banks, he put $3 million in cash on public display with rifle-toting guards stationed nearby. The theory was that "if people see their money is here, they won't want it.'' The ploy worked.
A daughter, Alice Moore Probasco, married John T. "Jack" Lupton. Another daughter, Margaret Williams Probasco, married Robert Cannon Jones III. Scott L. "Scotty" Probasco Jr. was one
year old in 1929 when the family moved to a handsome new home on 13 acres on Edgewood Circle in Riverview. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1950, then took further studies at the University of Pennsylvania prior to joining the bank. He married Betty Zane "Sparky" Rowland of Lexington, Ky. in 1953. He met the talented golfer at a tournament in Chattanooga. Scotty Probasco for many years led the bank, which is now a part of SunTrust Bank. Known for his upbeat attitude and his encouraging "Great work!", his civic involvement includes the Benwood Foundation, the Hunter Museum, Bethel Bible School and Changed Lives. He long served as an elder at First Presbyterian Church. His son, Scott L. III, continued the family tradition as an officer at First Presbyterian. He married Alexis Efthiamiou, and their sons are William Scott and Walker.
Another son of Scotty Probasco, Benjamin Rowland Probasco, was a leader in saving the Walnut Street Bridge. He married Susan Barcliff, and their sons are Phillip and Cartter. Daughters of Scotty and Sparky Probasco are Betty Zane who married Greg Brown, mayor of Lookout Mountain, Tn., and Ellen Moore who married Dr. Chris Moore.