Hillsboro National Bank Issued Its Own Currency

Replica of a Hillsboro National Bank $10 bill issued in 1929.
Replica of a Hillsboro National Bank $10 bill issued in 1929.

On November 6, 1882, the day Hillsboro National Bank opened for business, the first of $22,500 of its own national currency went into circulation.

From then until 1936, when future issuing of national bank notes was outlawed, Hillsboro National Bank issued currency, backed by United States bonds. By 1932 there was $150,000 of such currency in circulation.

Today there are still a handful of these bills around in personal collections. This photo shows a 1929 $20 bill from "The Peoples National Bank of Hillsboro." They merged with Montgomery County Loan & Trust during the great depression. They've had several name changes since then. Today they are Bank of Hillsboro.

1929 $20 bill from "The Peoples National Bank of Hillsboro."
A 1929 $20 bill from "The Peoples National Bank of Hillsboro."

The Hillsboro and Montgomery News

Monday, October 11, 1982

A Century of Service

Way back when HNB had its own money

By: Tom Bliss

It was still the horse age in Hillsboro when Hillsboro National Bank opened for business and began circulating $22,500 of its own currency a century ago. The electrical and industrial ages would not turn the1county seat into a boom town until more than two decades later.

In the November 1882 issues of the Montgomery News, in which Editor Ben C. Johnson reported the opening of the bank and described the money being put into circulation, evidence of the horse age appeared in every paper.

Fred Weingand's "saddlery and harness establishment" was well stocked with hand-made harness, saddles, drovers' and other whips, horse blankets, lap and buffalo robes, sleigh bells, trunks, valises and satchels. The Grange and other harness shops also sought the patronage of Hillsboro shoppers.

O.S. Dale, August and Louis Mey, C.W. Taylor, W.R. Truesdell and C.H. Murdoch operated wagon and carriage shops while Cress Bros., implement dealers, ·advertised Studebaker wagons.

Col. Paul Walters, Dick Wilton and others operated livery stables and breeding barns while Warren Neff, Amos Clotfelter and other blacksmiths hammered out horseshoes and steel rims for wooden wheels.

Horse and stock feed were available at Hillsboro Elevator, operated by George W. Brown, Jr., who handled all kinds of grain and at the Empire Mill operated by Blockburger and File.

Glenn's Mill manufactured various types of flour, bran and feeds and operated a cooper shop for making wooden barrels and half-barrels. A. Ludwig, operator of the cooper shop, advertised for 500,000 ·hoop poles for use in binding the barrel staves together.

In the issue announcing the opening of the bank professional advertisements appeared for Dr. S. H. McLean, physician and surgeon; Dr. R. Henshie, dentist; Charles W. Springer, abstracter; J. R. Larabee, photographer and Attorneys W. A. Howitt and T. J. Rutledge. Mr. Rutledge also advertised money to loan at 7 percent interest.

Hillsboro National Bank didn't announce what its interest rates were when it opened for business for the officers were too busy signing the bank's new currency before putting it in circulation. Editor Johnson described the bank's $22,500 in national bank bills as "beauties and the higher the denomination the prettier they are. “President Charles A. Ramsey and Cashier George M. Raymond developed writer's cramps from writing their names on each individual bill and didn't have the money all signed by the day the bank opened.

For the next fifty years Hillsboro National Bank continued to issue currency backed by government bonds on deposit in the United States Treasury in Washington, D. C. In 1932 there was $150,000 of Hillsboro National Bank currency in circulation including bills issued in 1929 and signed by George H. Fisher, president and Anthony Schindler, cashier. A picture of a $10 bill, signed by Mr. Fisher and Mr. Schindler, appears in the Hillsboro National Bank advertisement in today's issue. Since 1936 national banks have not been authorized to issue currency and the money supply has been controlled by the Federal Reserve banks since then. ·

Hillsboro National's first folding money may have been used to pay for the core testings being made in search of coal that led to the sinking of the old Hillsboro Mine shaft five years later. It was on Thanksgiving Day 1887 when the vein of coal was struck to provide Hillsboro with its first major industry.

The bills soon found their way into the tills of many of the Hillsboro merchants and may have paid for a new stove at Joseph Helston's hardware store bought a shotgun at Challacombe & Ramsey's hardware, a barrel of sauerkraut at J. C. Barkley's; a boy's overcoat and boots at W. C. Miller & Co. and dry goods and groceries at Alf Sawyer's.

They could have paid for parlor suites and carpet lounges at M. M. Walsh furniture store, cloaks, shawls and dolmans at Buchanan’s, first class ladies' button shoes at Whitledge and Garflo's and new style Cincinnati custom made shoes at A. Hartline's.

Toiletries, gifts, glassware and even medicine could have been purchased at the drug stores operated by Dr. Ed Douglas, Presley Edwards and Ralston and Stubblefield.

Fred Noterman would have accepted the bills for watches, diamonds and silver at his jewelry store and also for the purchase of his wine press, wine barrels and 200 pounds of trellis wire he advertised for sale.

George Bryce would have sold fresh oysters by the dish at his restaurant or -by the pail to take home for the crisp new bills and Mrs. Kahn wouldn't have turned them down at her millinery shop.

Perhaps T.C. Warner, librarian for the N. H. & A. Society would have rented some of the society's 500 books for a Hillsboro National bill. They may have been used by the N. H. & A. Society (whatever that was) to pay for the Indian relics the society wanted to buy.

All of the national bank bills issued by Hillsboro National Bank for fifty years are still legal tender and are worth today more than their face value. Ask Mark Noyes, vice-president and cashier · of the bank, what he thinks they are worth.

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