Sunday, June 22, 2014

PAGE 26 - 1800s Paper Money Curiosities

My great-grandfather, James Grover "Grove" TERWILLIGER, filled his late 1800s Souvenir Album with a miscellany of ribbons, invitations, stamps, cards, tickets, cut-outs from hotel letterheads, newspaper articles, and other items from his travels and affiliations.   Page 26 shows 16 denominations of paper currency glued down forever!  Wouldn't it be interesting to see the back side? The images are in very poor shape, and are difficult to decipher...

Down the left hand side are 3 larger denominations:
1.  Saybrook Bank, Five Dollars.  Along the top can be seen "State of Connecticut"; "On Demand" below the image of a woman waiting for a sailing ship.  This appears to be a bank draft made out for $5  to "J. Hall or Bearer".  Nov. 1, 1860.  Signed by E. Redfield, Cash. and C.R. Doane, Pres.  Why on earth would my great-grandfather receive this bank draft? and why decide to glue it down? Mysteries.

2.  Confederate One Dollar.  The top left corner: "RICHMOND", top right:  April 6th, 1863.  I don't recognize the man's image in the middle.  In small italics on each side of the image: "Six months after the ratification of a Treaty of peace / Between the Confederate States & the United States of America"  In the middle, CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA / Will pay to the bearer on demand ONE DOLLAR.  Serial No. 10293.  Signed on the left, S. Bernard (for Register), and on the right, N. Semple (for the Treasury).  
Update:  The image is of Clement C. Clay, who served in the Confederate Senate as a Senator from Alabama during the Civil War. Plain back. (Thanks to Albert Riezebos for the link!)

3.  Two Dollar Bill, Bank of Washtenaw No. 42836 (or, 42876). Centre top image is of two loggers cutting down a large tree while another sits on a log watching. Bottom left image is of two young women in a circle, surrounded by "Incorporated 1835 / Michigan".  The bottom right shows a young woman carrying a small scythe and holding a sheaf of wheat over her right shoulder.  Click here for more history on this short-lived bank in Ann Arbor.  

The right hand section of fractional currencies will be briefly described, as placed in short rows from left to right; note some of the men depicted on these paper currencies are not identified.
Note that Fractional Currency was introduced by the US Federal government following the outbreak of the Civil War... in use between 21 August 1862 and 15 February 1876.  Click on this link to learn more about how, why, and by whom fractional currencies were introduced. 

4.  Fifty Cents.  Fractional Currency / United States / FIFTY CENTS / 50 /  Edwin McMasters Stanton's face on the left; he served as Secretary of War under the Lincoln Administration, 1862-1868.

5.  Ten Cents.  UNITED STATES / X CENTS /  M / Seal on the left side with Latin surrounding an image with scales. / 16    On left side, is the image of William Morris Meredith,who served as the United States Secretary of the Treasury, 1849-1950.

6. Fifty Cents.  UNITED STATES / FRACTIONAL CURRENCY / (same seal as in #5 above) / FIFTY CENTS / 40 ... L  The image on left with frilled cravat is Samuel Dexter, an early statesman who served both in Congress (different terms, 1793-1801). 

7.  10 Cents.  UNITED STATES 10 FRACTIONAL CURRENCY 10 / on each side of George Washington's face, (face circled with thick applied 'bronze' material, to stop counterfeiting) / Receivable for all United States Stamps / Act approved March 3, 1863.  Along the top (very difficult to read): Furnished only at the ...? Treasurers and Designated Depositories of the United States. 

8.  10 Cents.  Postage Currency / Furnished only by the Assistant Treasurer / and designated Depositories of / The United States / 10 / face / 10 / Receivable for US / Postage Stamps / at any / Post Office.  This also is George Washington's face  as in #7, but reversed image.

9.  50 Cents.  Postage Currency / 50 / furnished by the Assistant Treasurer / 50 / ...The rest is too challenging to read.  There are 5 heads of (I believe) George Washington as in #8, above. Update: this was Treasurer of the United States Francis E. Spinner's original design (See details at bottom of Wikipedia article, linked above #4 in this list.)

10.  Five Cents. Postage Currency / furnished only by the ?Assistant / Treasurer / and designated / Depositories of the U.S. / 5 / U.S. Postage / face of Spencer M. Clark / Five Cents / 5 /  Receivable for Postage Stamps / at any / US / Post Office  Spencer Clark was the first Superintendent of the National Currency Bureau, from 1862-1868.

11. 10 Cents. Furnished only by the Assistant Treasurer / and designated Depositories / 10 / United States / 10 / FRACTIONAL CURRENCY.  Image again of George Washington as #8 and 9.  Note has similar bronze material applied "10" in each corner of the note - again as a measure to stop counterfeits.

12. Five Cents. Along the top in small print: Act of March ? 1863.  United States / FRACTIONAL CURRENCY / FIVE / CENTS / Man's face, different from others above, big thick white beard / Furnished only by the / Assistant Treasurer / and designated Depositories /  United States

13.  25 Cents.  Fractional Currency.  This one is in terrible shape. The man's face in the middle is the same as #8, 9, 11, and with thick bronzed applied circle around his image for anti-counterfeiting purposes.  This is George Washington.

14.  Three Cents.  Fractional Currency.  Again, this one is in terrible shape. The man's face seems to be reversed as in #8.  This is likely George Washington.  

15.  25 Cents.  United States Fractional Currency / Receivable for all United States Stamps / Twenty Five / Cents / repeated on both sides of image of William Pitt Fessenden, Secretary of the Treasury under President Lincoln during the Civil War. His face is different from all others above, clean-shaven, profile, very high tight collar as in #5.

Whew!  I wish I knew who the individuals were - the images are so bad I have difficulty dropping them into Google searches - only George Washington seems familiar to me, a Canadian.  Most of the monies seem to be from 1835 to 1865, but that is an estimate only.  I have Updated the information above to the best of my ability.  See detailed Wikipedia link with images and links to faces, showing backs of currencies as well (scroll down).  

If you have any information about these paper currencies from the 1800s, I would love to be corrected, or be able to add more details about them.  Of course, they have no value currently, as they are glued down permanently to the paper stock.  I do wonder what the glue was made of...  

If you have any questions about any of the images, do contact me via calewis at telus dot net, or in the Comments below.  I'd be happy to take more photos for you, trying to get a clearer image if possible. 


  1. Celia,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Thank you so much, Jana! Listing this page means more people may become interested not just in my great-grandfather's Souvenir Album, but they may start in on their own ancestors' memoirs or letters or albums, as well. Thanks again.