Since December of last year we have had Mr. Kelly Beattie as our Graduate Assistant to keep all of the volunteers and myself on the same track here in the Archives. So welcome aboard Kelly!
The following is an addendum to the article I authored for the “Gleanings” two issues back. It was on the 1836 Specie Circular and the depression it fostered nationally and here in the Ypsilanti area when all of the local banks failed and their currencies became worthless sending the local economy into a downward free fall.
Ypsilanti was a major wheat producing area in the 1830’s and 40’s and was able to capitalize on the value of the flour we produced when the price of eastern flour zoomed from about $5.40 to over $12.00 a barrel. Two local business people, motivated by the flour shortage in eastern US and the depression of 1837, shipped Ypsilanti produced flour via the Welland Canal to sell in New York City and bring back much needed money to this area. The local paper money they issued, with the backing of these 500 pound barrels of wheat flour, helped to alleviate the local shortage of good, hard money. This provided the local Ypsi farmers with the money they needed to pay their bills and purchase goods right here in the city of Ypsilanti. This small collection of notes issued by Julius Movius and Charles Hammond are on display here at the archives along with the $1,000 promissory note to get this venture moving. It is absolutely amazing that these have survived for more than 170 years and shows what local people can do when the local economy goes sour.
The return of a large batch of negatives of mid-century and later local Ypsilanti people has recently been given to the Archives. This is in the process or being cataloged and eventually put on line and is a great asset that was saved from destruction by Billy Zolkowski, assistant YHS archivist some 20 years ago. It is wonderful to be able to put a face with a name after so many years!