FREDERICK TOWN BRANCH BANK $10 NOTE, DATED 1837

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Item Code: 173-3989

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Ten dollar note is No. 395. Reads, “PAY B. AMOS CUNNINGHAM OR BEARER TEN DOLLARS / GREENFIELD MILLS, MD, JULY 4, 1837”. Signed by Thomas I. Davis.

“Scrip” is defined as paper notes issued by companies or private individuals as a temporary replacement for legitimate money. These notes were most often used in times of economic stress to alleviate a shortage of circulating money. The Panic of 1837 in the United States gave rise to a considerable amount of scrip. During the Panic of 1837, 343 of the 850 existing banks closed with an additional 62 that partially failed.

In the 1830s, Greenfield Mills was a thriving farm community, replete with its own bank which issued scrip for the use of its citizens. Little evidence of Greenfield Mills past exists today, except for the bank notes themselves. Davis' grist mill which was situated below the dam on the Monocacy River several miles upriver from the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, is prominently shown on the bank note. The fact that the mill was a large commercial enterprise for its day is attested to by the fact that the stone building consisted of six separate levels and multiple water-wheels.

This is a nice piece of history from Frederick County, Maryland.  [sm]

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