The Virginia Gazette

Today in the 1770s: November 12

WILLIAMSBURG, November 12, 1777.
Lost yesterday evening, on the main street in this city, or on the road between the College and Mrs. Camp's, a morocco pocket book with some money therein, and a loan office certificate of the Treasurer of this state to Mrs. Lilly Bowan for three hundred and thirty dollars and one third, No. 140, dated November 10, 1777, also several other papers that will be of no use to any other person but the owner. Whoever will safely deliver the said book, with the contents, to Capt. James Southall of this city, shall have ten dollars reward, and no questions asked. All persons are forbid purchasing or receiving in payment the above mentioned certificate, as proper notice is given at the said loan office to stop payment of the same to all persons whatever except to the person who delivered the money to the Treasurer, or to Mrs. Bowan. In the money lost was a continental thirty dollar bill No. 14,954, dated May 20, 1777. If any person is in possession of the same, and delivers it to Capt. Southall, he shall have the same number of dollars in exchange on giving information of whom it was received.

Virginia Gazette (Purdie) November 21, 1777

About this entry:

The monetary system in the colonies, already complicated by the use of foreign coinage while under British rule, became more complicated when individual colonies assumed responsibility for the redemption of loan certificates. The Continental Congress also issued paper money to pay the costs of the war, but its value was based on a speedy end to the conflict. By 1777 when the colonies appeared to be losing the war, the value of money had depreciated and counterfeiting added to the worsening problem. James Southall, the respected and successful proprietor of the Raleigh Tavern, functioned as the intermediary in this attempt to retrieve the lost pocket book. No information is available for "Mrs. Camp" or "Mrs. Lilly Bowan".

Sources: CWI Q&A 10/85, p.4; CWJ Summer 2003, 75-79; WAR

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