Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Colonial Maryland Currency Printed by Anne Catharine Hoof Green

Benton County Historical Society Exhibitions Curator Mark Tolonen suggested the item below as the subject for the blog saying, “there are probably a lot of stories that could be learned from this one note.” He was certainly correct.

This tattered paper is a two-thirds dollar note issued by the colonial assembly of Maryland. British policy kept the American colonies chronically short of money which made transactions difficult. Colonists resorted to using native wampum and tobacco and tobacco notes (certificates of inspection). Finally, in 1733, the colony began to issue paper money, denominated in shillings and backed by tobacco and securities of the Bank of England.  In 1767, Maryland began issuing currency in dollar denominations instead of shillings. Although the term “dollar” was in common use, this was the first official dollar currency. Two-third dollar seems like an odd amount but it was chosen because it equaled 3 British shillings. The note shown above was issued in 1774, the last time colonial Maryland printed any currency.  The note is tattered because currency was still scarce in the colonies so each bill was kept in circulation for a long time.

The front of the note says “Two Thirds of a Dollar. / [No. 10365 / This Indented BILL of Two thirds of a DOLLAR shall entitle the Bearer thereof to receive Bill of Exchange payable in LONDON, or Gold or Silver at the Rate of four SHILLINGS and SIX PENCE Sterling for the said Bill, according to the Directions of an Act of Assembly of MARYLAND.” If you look closely at the image, you can see a caret under the “h” in first appearance of the word “Third.” This was one of many “secret” marks the official printers use to try to discourage counterfeiting. There are several others but they are hard to see. The idea was that counterfeiters would assume these were errors introduced by other counterfeiters and correct them.  It didn't work.

The reverse shows a practice, introduced by Benjamin Franklin, which was also designed to deter counterfeiters. A wet cloth was placed over a smooth plaster and then leaves or other plant material put on top. The plaster hardened under pressure to become a mold for a copper printing plate. The fine lines and detailed patterns were difficult for counterfeiters to duplicate.

The reverse also notes that it was printed by A.C. and ____ Green.  What is noteworthy is that A. C. Green was a woman:  Anne Catharine Hoof Green.


Anne Catharine Hoof was born in the Netherlands around 1720 and later emigrated with her parents. In 1738 She married Jonas Green, the son of printers, in Philadelphia.  They moved to Annapolis Maryland and set up a print shop in their home which published a newspaper, the Maryland Gazette.  Jonas also had a contract with the Maryland Assembly to publish official documents. 

After Jonas died in debt in 1767, Anne Catharine took over, continuing to publish the newspaper and completed the work the government had commissioned. She made a success of the business, paying off the debt and winning the position as official printer. The unreadable other initial is probably an F for her son Frederick who helped his mother in the business and took over after she died in 1775. She was the first, or at least one of the first, women printers and publishers in America.

By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon

Thursday, November 3, 2022

More of Edna Finley's Irish Bend Memories

The last post contained Edna Finley Buchanan's memories of childhood in the Irish Bend area. This post will continue those recollections with her descriptions of the operation of the warehouse owned by her father, Hugh McNary Finley.

Hugh Finley had entered the warehouse business after purchasing it and thirty acres of land from a man named Hamilton.  Edna recounts:

“We had come to a grain growing section to live. Wheat and oats were the principal market crops and from Monroe east into the Bellfountain section and north for miles, grain was stored in warehouses to await shipment by river steamers that plied between Harrisburg and Portland throughout the winter season.”

“From early morning until at night, the long line of wagons and teams waited their turn to unload.  They came from Bellfountain, the Starrs, the Waggoners, the Barnards, the Edwards, and many more. The Graggs came driving their heavy team of matched bays, carrying a decorated harness set with cold [gold?] colored rivets and rings.  They brought their loads of wheat, oats, and barley from above Monroe and near Junction City.  Those were busy days.”

“One of the functions of the Finley warehouse was to furnish sacks to the growers.  To do this, several journeys to Corvallis, fifteen miles away, with wagon and team was necessary. My Father made these trips, returning with a load of 3,000 sacks, two bales of 1,000 each and one opened bale stored under the high seat and in crevices.  As five hours was consumed on the return trip, it was toward evening when he reached home.... The team consisted of one black and one white horse.  After traveling twelve miles on the now West Side Pacific Highway No. 99W, then a road inches deep with dust, made the black horse light colored as the white horse and both be ground with the Good Earth.”

“For some time the power used to elevate the grain was Bill, the black horse, which was faithful and true to every duty.... Bill was hitched to a pole and patiently walked hour by hour around a circular post, the horse urged on by a boy driver carrying a hazel stick as a threat.... He traveled round and round and round the beaten dusty path. I remember feeling great indignation when visiting boys seeking to “show off” would climb upon old Bill's back as he trudged around the circle.”

“In winter the boats came to load and carry the grain to Portland-- large river boats.  The Occident, the Bonanza, the Champion.  Later these were replaced by smaller boars, the Three Sisters and The Ruth.

The Ruth was in charge of Captain Raab, related to the Bradleys of Bellfountain.  Often the boats reached Finley's Landing in the evening and took on their load at night.”

“In our quiet lives, it was a matter of great interest when the boat whistle broke on the air, especially the blast that meant the boat would load at Finley's Landing.  This was three long blasts.  In a short time, neighborhood men and boys would arrive on horseback ready to help load the boats.  For this service, father paid his helpers twenty-five cents an hour and mother served a bountiful meal when the work was over.  It was a real social event as well as a money-making event.  We children stood and watched the men haul the sacks on their truck, six at a time, to the chute and slide them to the boat where they were gracefully dropped from the chute platform into trucks handled by the “deck hands” and wheeled away into the hold.  If the boat loaded in the evening, it remained at our landing overnight.  Sometimes the purser would buy milk or eggs from us.” 

“Soon after the grain shipment was made, father would hire a crew and sack more grain from the bins that held the loose grain.”

“Time passed and a new storage building was erected...the grain was sacked from the bins, trucked through the long room into the large room and stacked eight sacks high by such stalwart men as George Houck, Tom Richardson, or Martin Grimsley....George Houck was a tall, loose-jointed man with big nose, feet, and hands, and had a big heart.  He was a batchelor [sic] and had a cabin of his own but fitted with our needs so well, he became like one of the family.  The warehouse work was heavy work, but he was strong and willing.  He could handle a sack of wheat as though it were a toy....

“The greatest improvement in the business occurred when Old Bill was replaced by an [steam] engine.... This was not a traction engine, but a stationary one so Bill and Ben hauled it from Corvallis one night. When morning dawned, we two children were treated to an unusual sight for the big black engine stood by the yard fence.  It was installed in a building joining the warehouse.  A young engineer from Corvallis, Johnny De Munion, was hired to run the machine and this he did with painstaking pride.  This boy, Johnny, was also full of pranks and sometimes amused himself at the expense of an inquisitive visitor or two.... Suddenly, and without warning, he would release the steam with a loud, loud sound.  Since engines were not common and considered rather dangerous, the men rushed from the room speedily to save their lives.  Johnny would settle down in his chair and enjoy the joke greatly and have something to relate to the family at the supper table....

“The warehouse industry had competition in mills.  New mills were being built in towns or on highways by railroad tracks for trains were replacing steamboats. Millers stored grain free of charge so the need of warehouses ended.  As Father's business gradually folded up, he set out an orchard consisting largely of prunes and so became a pioneer prune grower.”

 By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon

Friday, October 28, 2022

Edna Finley's Irish Bend Memories

 Edna Finley Buchanan's memories of her childhood in the Irish Bend area are part of the Benton County Historical Society's collection.

Edna was born on February 17, 1876 to Emma and  Hugh McNary Finley. She had an older brother, Ross, and two younger siblings, Ada and Perry. After schooling in Irish Bend, she graduated from Oregon Agricultural College (now OSU) in 1895.  She taught school in Corvallis until she married John Buchanan in 1907. She died in 1962.

Edna Finley as an OAC student
Before she died, Edna recorded her memories of her childhood.

“Our home was on the lowlands of the Willamette River and near its junction with the Long Tom river.  When swollen by heavy winter rains and both streams would rise at the same time a real flood occurred....As little children, without responsibility, the experience was exciting.  The rowboat traveling between house and barn manned by Father and George Houck was a happy experience.  We rode over the yard fence, saw venturesome chickens rescued from water into which they had fallen and placed on the roost once more; sheep, caught on low ground were picked up and rowed to safety; hogs whose pens were invaded by water at one time, were saved by being lifted to the roof of the pen through a hole cut through the roof. Twice I recall the water rose inches over the first floor of the house and at night the rowboat was tied to the newel post in the front hall.  Yes, it was very interesting for children.”

“My brother [Ross] and I played happily together.  Down near the river in a clump of trees was located the open air barn which housed our horses, stick horses.  They were mostly hazel or willow switches, carefully decorated with a jack knife. Some were striped, some natural, while on others the lines were cut diagonally. A cord furnished the harness, and astride these horses, we traveled many miles.  All were named and we knew them on sight.” “Jerry was my best trained animal—trick horse...Ross's favorite horse, a willow stick tinted red, was named Red Donattus from a character in a Chatterbox story.”

“I preferred playing with the dolls but sometime I was forced to make a bargain-- exercise the horses first- then my partner was willing to play my game with the doll colony.  These dolls were about 3 inches in length, developed from a small roll of cloth.  A smaller roll fashioned the arms.  Boys had legs, girls none.  Some were fat and some lean but after a visit from a very short, round Methodist bishop, the colony was increased by one roly poly member named Bishop or Chub. Also some were black and some white but use withdrew the color line and all became one race.  Ability to sew by hand was a necessary art in the manufacture of new colony members, one seam up the back and the arms sewed on completed the work.  No sewing was necessary in clothing them as a piece of cloth with holes cut for arms was all they required.....

“Penciled lines, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth gave personality so we were able at a glance to distinguish each and call them by name though the colony at one time numbered seventy individuals.  A young uncle felt sure he could confuse us on the names of the dolls and one day made it a test case.  He would  hide a handful of them behind his back, pull them out individually and call for the name.  We never failed in reply and correctly.  I should know Chub today if I saw a little fat roll of checkered wool cloth dressed in a red calico jacket. The colony was at home in pasteboard boxes of various sizes, piled in tiers.  At times they grew tired of life in one place and moving was considered essential.  That was a day of joy! In winter they migrated from one part of the living room to another thanks to an indulgent Mother.  But in summer! There was a favorite sport under a large oak tree where cave life was attractive....

“When this location lost its charm, there was the Pretty Place.  This sport was in a grove by the river side where the tree roots under water in winter were lying exposed and moss covered.  Here the colony had ample space to expand and that afforded a real change for us.

“At an early age Ross read the Youth's Companion with its stories from history, pioneer days in the west, Indian wars, and stories of the Revolution.  As the mood seized him, the colony was prepared for battle.  George Washington leading his troops never lost its charm. These soldiers were armed with swords and hatchets, thanks to Mother's paper of pins and the plug tobacco company trademark, a little tomahawk....

“When the neighboring children came to visit us, the warehouse was always the attraction. No better place in the world to play Hide and Seek, as the building rested on large blocks where small people could hide until time to make the rush to get in free.  A big oak tree was the base....

“Then there were the three large bins that held the unsacked grain which distributed over the floor to a depth of a few feet made an excellent landing spot....We would climb a ladder in the elevator room, go out on a platform and make the plunge into the cool wheat, run around through two big rooms, climb the ladder, go out on the platform, and jump into the cool wheat, and then run, etc., etc., again.”                                                                                                    

Edna Finley Buchanan also recalled the operation of the warehouse, which will be the subject of the next post.

By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon




Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Featured Artifact: Rug Beater

The elaborate swirling pattern of this rattan object from the collection of the Benton County Historical Society's collection belies its utilitarian function.


This object was used to beat the dust and dirt out of rugs, cushions, or bedding in the times before carpet sweepers or vacuum cleaners. By the 1840s mass production had made carpets and rugs cheap enough that many families could afford them. At the same time, the use of wood and coal for heating put out more dust and dirt which settled into the carpets or rugs. To remove dirt from the rugs, one took them outside, hang them over a line or railing, and whack at them with the beater. Rug beaters were often made of cane or rattan because the material was sturdy but flexible enough to provide a good whipping action.

A variety of patterns were used in the paddle portion. Some, like this one used a series of loops while others features a lattice pattern. The flat but resilient surface released dust without damaging the carpet or breaking from repeated impacts. Wire, another popular material, was formed into a simple teardrop shape, fashioned into a a heart shape, or bent into patterns similar to the rattan rug beaters. And some people just used simple wooden boards or paddles.

This particular rug beater was used in the early 20th century by Sade Chase Howland of Oregon City, Oregon. Even though by the 1950s rug beaters had been largely replaced by mechanical carpet sweepers and later electric vacuum cleaners, both wire and rattan rug beaters are still sold today.

By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon 

Friday, September 23, 2022

It's Apple Season!

Prime apple picking time in Oregon is in September and October. The apple trees in this photograph from the collection of the Benton County Historical Society look to be loaded down with ripe apples. 

Cora Mae Fehler and Friends
by a Large Apple Tree, circa 1910

Fruit-laden apples trees are not rare: over 1500 farms in Oregon have apples trees.  The 2021 harvest totaled 154 million pounds of apples. What to do with all those apples? One option is to make cider.

You must quarter the apples and then mush them to a pulp using a wood masher or a grinder. Then you pour the mash into a press.

"OASIS SPECIAL", "NO. 0" cider press

The press would be lined with cheese cloth or other material. After the mash has been added, place the wooden disk on top.  Turn the handle to put pressure on the disk and the apple mash, squeezing out the juice. The juice runs into the circular trough just outside the diameter of the press and out the hole in the front into a waiting container.

This Oasis Special press was owned by Gregory Reiling and used at the “Prune Ranch,” a 200 acre farm near Monroe leased from the Wilhelm family near Monroe. 

If you would like to see a cider press in action, the Willamette Valley Grange #52 is hosting a cider day at the Willamette Community Grange Hall at Highway 99 and Greenberry Road on Saturday, October 1, 2022 from 10 to 2.

By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon