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Money Making In Tacoma

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Tacoma once had a inint that coined all of the money in circulation where the City of Destiny now stands, and it did not require the flat of Uncle Sam, the silver of Idaho or the gold of California to make the pieces from Tacoma's mint pass current among the Indians and the few hardy pioneers who were blazing the path of civilization thTongh the forest on the shores of Commencenaent bay, says the Tacorua Ledger. Back in the early seventies the Tacoma Mili company, not beiug able to handily seoure gold aud silver for nse in trading with and paying off the Indian laborers and early settlers, hit upon the novel plan of issuing its own currency, and to this end set its blacksmith to work to fashion for it out of scraps of iron and brass pieces of money, or, rather, tokens, which coold be used as a circulatiug medium. The pieces consisted of 40 cent and 45 cent iron tokens and brass $1 pieces. The 40 cent pieces were about an inch in diameter and the 45 cent pieces were about the size of the present silver half dollar. The $1 pieces were oval in shape, about 1J inches long, an inch wide and a sixteenth of an inch in thicknesa. These pieces were stamped with the figures showing their valne, and readily passed ourrent all over the country tributary to the mili. Nearly all of this oíd "mili" coin has passed away, but a few days ago William Hanson of the Tacoma Mili company presented a set of these queer coins to the Ferry museum. In his letter to the museum he said: "The honesty of the people and the absence of any blacksmith shop save that of the company made the use of this money possible. " Oregon has long boasted that the "Beaver" coin, minted at Oregon City in the early fifties, was the only money minted ín the northwest in the days of the pioneer, but here in Tacoma, long years after Oregon's "Beaver" mint had become a historical incident, was a primitive mint that supplied the coin to furnish the pioneers and Indians with all of tfíe necessities for their rough lives. The coins, which are still preserved, are ronghly made, jusfc suoh as any blacksmith with ordinary tools might make, and as a matter of fact during the early years of the mili company's existence formed practically the local ciroulating medium of exchange. When the Indians who were employed in the mili were paid for their labor, this coin sufficed, as all the trading they did was with the little store run in connection with the mili. The iron and brass pieces were, of course, passed among the Indians in trading with each other, aud as anything in the way of supplies was purchased by them at the mili store the pieces were fully as good to them as if they had borne the stamp of the government.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News