Paper Money of Chihuahua

.. by Simon Prendergast

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Muñoz' issue of 1876

On 5 August 1876 the Porfirista Angel Trias appointed José Eligio Muñoz interim governor of the stateMuñoz (1819-1891) was a lawyer and founder of various newspapers. He held a succession of offices such as Secretario de Gobierno, Deputy, Juez de Distrito, Jefe Político of Iturbide canton, and Magistrado fiscal of the Supreme Court. Eight days later Muñoz authorised an issue of paper money, nominally guaranteed by the rebellion, to pay for the costs of war. The issue, put into circulation by the Jefatura de Hacienda, was in two denominations, five and fifty pesos, and achieved a total of 67,695 pesos. They are described as notes (billetes)El Guardia Nacional, 19 April 1877 or chits (vales) payable to bearer and drawn on the State Treasurer, to be accepted as legal tender in payment of any tax (al portador contra el Tesorero del Estado á ser recibidos como moneda corriente en pago de todo impuesto, sea de exportación, de importación, contribuciones y derechos municipales)El Guardia Nacional, 24 May 1877.

Although the Porfiristas were ultimately victorious elsewhere in Mexico, they were defeated in Chihuahua and driven out of the state capital. The notes were then declared worthless and when the unissued remainders were stolen from the Juzgado de Distrito in April 1877, Muñoz declared them all null and void. The holders of the few notes still in circulation had eight days to present them to the Administracion General de Rentas, where, if they could prove their provenance, they would receive a certificado. The notes themselves would be cancelledEl Guardia Nacional, 19 April 1877.

Numbers

The original notes were:

Value Carpeta
number from to Total Value
$5 1 250 1 250 1,250
2 250 251 500 1,250
3 150 501 650 750
4 250 651 900 1,250
5 250 901 1150 1,250
6 250 1151 1400 1,250
7 250 1401 1650 1,250
8 250 1651 1900 1,250
9 250 1901 2150 1,250
10 250 2151 2400 1,250
11 250 2401 2650 1,250
12 139 2651 2789 695
2,789 13,945
$50 1 200 1 200 10,000
2 200 201
400
10,000
3 225 401 625 11,250
4 225 626 850 11,250
5 225 851 1075 11,250
1.075 53,750
$67,695

Juez de Distrito José Hierro received the following, which will have included the ones stolen:

Value Carpeta
number from to Total value
$5 6-12 1639 1151 2789 8,195
$50 2-5 690 386 1075 34,500




$42,695

The Jefatura Política received the other $25,000 and issued $18,735 to Melchior de la Garza and $6,265 to other creditors. Of the latter, $4,160 was redeemed by certificados, viz.

Value Carpeta number
from to Total value
$5 2 1
321 5
11 324 334 55
10 340 349 50
7 357 363 35
1
370 5
3 18 546 563 90
1
612 5
5 646 650 25
48 not detailed
240




510
$50 1 11 1 11 550
40 84 123 2,000
21 148 168 1,050
1 not detailed
50




3,650




$4,160

so $2,105 was outstanding (El Guardia Nacional, 24 May 1877)

Santana Pérez in 1893

The epic revolt and suppression of the people of Tomóchi in 1891 inspired other uprisings. On 30 March 1893 Celso Anaya and Simón Amaya rose in Santo Tomás and called for the overthrow of Porfirio Díaz. Their movement was crushed by government troops but some of the survivors were able to find refuge in the United States. From there they mobilised new groups of sympathisers and a few months later they crossed back into Mexico again and occupied the border town of Palomas.

In November 1893 The New York Times reported that Santana Pérez, as ‘General in Chief of the North’, and his deputies Micario Pacheco and Valente García were recruiting men along the border to fight against the government.  It also reported that the revolutionists had organized a provincial (sic) form of government and would soon issue scrip with which to carry on their campaign against MexicoThe New York Times, 20 November 1893. However, though Pérez’ small band of serranos easily harassed the forces sent against him, his uprising did not survive long in either duration or geographical extent so it is unlikely that such notes ever materialisedPérez received an amnesty from governor Ahumada in 1894. A brave and renowned Apache-fighter since his youth and an expert in guerilla welfare, Pérez fought both for and against the government throughout his career. In 1910 he declined an invitation to join the Madero movement because of his advanced age and died in December of the same year..

Madero's proposed bond issue 1911

There exists a draft of a decree, dated 28 January 1910 (sic, surely 1911), issued from the banks of the Rio Bravo, in Mexican territory, and signed by Francisco Madero as Presidente Provisional, Jefe de la Insurrección, that empowers Abraham González, Alfonso Madero, Federico González Garza, Adrián Aguirre Benavides and Braulio Hernández (or any three of them) to raise a loan of a million dollars by means of bonds or notes (bonos á billetes al portador)CONDUMEX, Fondo Federico González Garcia, carpeta 8, legajo 716.

On 1 March 1911, Francisco Madero wrote from Washington to his brother Ernesto with another draft of this decree in the name of the President of the provisional government. This version established a commission composed of Alfonso Madero, Federico González Garza and Adrián Aguirre Benavides to raise a loan of a million pesos and to issue all the bonds or notes (bonos ó billetes) necessary for this purpose, to be redeemed within a year of their establishment as the de facto government. Madero wrote that the decree should be dated to the time that he was at GuadalupeCONDUMEX, Fondo Federico González Garcia, carpeta 8, legajo 1325.

Both versions of this decree (with the total fixed at one million U.S. dollars) exist, with the earlier date 15 February 1911 and the place of issue Guadalupe, in the Bravos district, Chihuahua.CONDUMEX, Fondo Federico González Garcia, carpeta 10, lejagos 1296 and 1297. However, it seems that this decree remained just an aspiration.

Local issues during the 1911-1915 revolution

During the Mexican revolution, especially in the earliest days, a few local military commanders issued paper currency to pay their troops or to purchase suppliesCredit notes (vales) and requisition slips are incredibly common but cannot be considered currency.

Chínipas

When in April 1911 nearly fifteen hundred revolutionaries under Rafael Becerra, of Urique, besieged Chínipas for nearly eight weeks Reinaldo Almada, the jefe político interinoFrom 16 February to 27 June (previously Tesorero Municipal of Chínipas from 17 December 1908 to 11 February 1911) of the Arteaga district, ordered the printing of 17,000 pesos in vouchers to cover the salaries of the local 5º Batallón. When hostilities came to an end with the treaty of Ciudad Juárez the vouchers were made good by the State TreasuryFrancisco R. Almada, [          ], describes them as certificates drawn on the state treasury (certificados contra la Tesorería General).. None are known to exist.

Temoris

In 1912 the Maderista Feliciano A. Díaz took up arms in Temoris and on May 14 cleared the Orozquista Ramón Valenzuela from Chínipas. A little later he took command of Batopilas and in September drove back into Sinaloa Blas Retes and Francisco Quinteros who had captured Batopilas and Lluvia de Oro. In 1913 Díaz  issued his own currency in TemorisJ. Remigio Agraz, La Casa de Moneda de Chihuahua, in VII Simposio de Historia de Sonora, Hermosillo, 1982.

Ciudad Jiménez

Presumably because of a shortage of small coins the Municipio de Ciudad Jiménez, in the south of the state, issued a cartón for 25 centavos dated 12 September 1913 and signed by the Presidente Municipal. The notes are comparable with the private issues in use around Hidalgo de Parral at the same time (see Vales issued in Parral) and may have been redeemed under Villa’s decree of 23 December. No issued examples are known but some unissued sheets were reused in December 1915, this time with the legend Tesorería Municipal de Ciudad Jiménez.

20c Tesoreria Municipal Jimenez

These later notes were still for 25 centavos, were dated 24 December 1915 and signed by the interim Presidente Municipal Tiburcio Baca.

Tiburcio Baca: Baca came from a powerful local family and was originally an adherent of VillaOne of the codes on the dos caritas is B-ACA.. After the split between Villa and the Constitutionalists Baca allied himself with the latter and fought with the local militia in defence of his town. He thus earned Villa's undying enmity and when he was captured in November 1916 Villa had him tortured and then buried alive up to his neck in the groundRubén Rocha Chávez, Tres Siglos de Historia, Parral, 1981.

Ciudad Juárez

Eugenio Aguirre BenavidesA couple of historians report that Adrian Aguirre Benavides, an early supporter of Villa, whilst jefe militar of Ciudad Juárez in December 1913, printed his own currency to pay his troops. Villa was not amused by this insubordination and almost had Aguirre Benavides shotJ. Remigio Agraz, La Casa de Moneda de Chihuahua, in VII Simposio de Historia de Sonora, Hermosillo, 1982: Francisco Almada, Diccionario, Historia, Geografia y Biografia Chihuahuenses, Chihuahua,.  Neither Aguirre Benavides nor his brother refers to this issue in their memoirs, but a 25c carton survives. This was issued by Eugenio Aguirre Benavides, as Comandante de la Plaza, and signed on the reverse by Felipe Macias, El Jefe de Estado Mayor, of the Brigada Zaragoza. It was exchangable for Monclova currency at the Comandancia Militar.

It is also possible that Aguirre Benavides ran off some Monclova notes without authorisationThe Villistas had Monclova plates (Garland Roark, The Coin of Contraband, New York, 1964). Monclova notes are known with the validation ‘Division del Norte, Ejercito Constitucionalista, Jefatura de Armas’..

Since Carranza prohibited the use of scrip in his decree (núm. 14) of 28 December 1913 the practice must have been widespread.

Batopilas

In April 1914 Villa stationed Colonel Gabino Durán at Batopilas and ordered him to work the mines there. Durán paid his men in notes that he had printed at Batopilas and later had these redeemed for Constitutionalist money. Almada states that this issue reached $63,000Francisco R. Almada, Diccionario, Historia, Geografia y Biografia Chihuahuenses, Chihuahua, 1952. A packet of these notes, totalling $369·85, was listed amongst the decommissioned currency in the Chihuahuan treasury in September 1915Periódico Oficial, 12 September 1915. Unless un paquete vales Gabino Durán referred to handwritten chits. but none is known to have survived. To achieve such a total there must at least have been notes for $1, 5c and 10c (or 10c and 25c).

José Ines Salazar / Felix Díaz

In December 1914 the New York Times reported that a new revolutionary movement headed by General José Ines Salazar, recently launched in central Chihuahua, had placed in circulation its own currency. This money, printed in the United States, bore Salazar’s signature and the legend ‘Peace and Justice’ (Paz y Justicia)The New York Times, 19 December 1914: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 30 December 1914. However, Salazar's attorney, Elfego Baca, of Albuquerque, said that Salazar had not as yet issued any manifesto, and the one recently given publication and credited to him was a fake. "[Salazar] will not issue any fiat money to conduct his revolution. He will conduct it without that, ... If any one tells you that money is being issued in the name of the Salazar revolution, tell him that he lies; it is not true"El Paso Herald, 29 December 1914.

General SalazarJosé Ines Salazar: Salazar had been a Magonista and then joined the Madero rebellion in 1910, but he turned against Madero and joined Orozco (or rather, Orozco joined him). In 1913, he supported Huerta against the revolutionaries, but after defeat at Tierra Blanca and Ojinaga fled to the United States. 
He was detained in Fort Bliss and then Fort Wingate but just before a trial for perjury, on 16 November he was sprung from the jail in Albuquerque. He surfaced publicly on 5 December in El Paso when he joined with other exiles backing a return by Huerta and Orozco. For six months in 1915 he was active in Chihuahua attempting to organise a counterrevolution against the Carranza government but the arrest of Huerta and Orozco in late June 1915 extinguished that plan. He returned to New Mexico in July 1915, surrendered to law officers and spent nearly five months incommunicado at the penitentiary in Santa Fe before being acquitted of the perjury charge. Freed in December 1915, he returned to northern Mexico. In May 1916, Carranza’s federal soldiers captured and imprisoned Salazar in Ciudad Chihuahua. In September 1916, Villa raided the town and released all the prisoners. Salazar again switched allegiance, now backing his former arch-enemy Villa. In September 1916 he became Villa’s chief of staff, largely responsible for holding his army together during General Pershing’s Punitive Expedition. In April 1917 he commanded over a thousand troops, but that month he suffered the first of a series of defeats. By 9 August 1917 only three soldiers remained with him, and all perished in a shoot out that day.

There was, in fact, some basis for the New York Times report, but the issue was intended for Felix Díaz.

Felix Díaz: Díaz was the nephew of president Porfirio Díaz. Imprisoned by Madero for rebellion, he escaped from jail during the decena trágica and was a party to the Pacto de la Embajada, which installed Huerta as President and allowed Díaz to run as presidential candidate on the next election. Huerta did not honour his part of the agreement and ultimately sent Díaz into exile to New York and later Havana.

On 17 December 1914 the American Bank Note Company gave Cecilio L. Ocon a quotation for 28,100,000 notes in five denominations from one to a hundred pesos and by January 1915 had prepared some models. Ocon was a close personal supporter of Felix Díaz and been involved in the assassination of president Madero: he later was Díaz’s financial agent and supported several of his counterrevolutionary attempts, so this correspondence, though misfiled, probably refers to a proposed Díaz issue.

In early 1915 the ABNC received orders for notes for the Ejército Reorganizador Nacional, which was the name of Díaz’ movement. These were to carry the legend 'Paz y Justicia' and be signed by the Contador General and Díaz as General en Jefe. The notes stated that they could be redeemed on a New York or San Francisco bank at that rate of 12c U.S. gold for each peso (por el Banco ... en New York o el Banco ... en San Francisco a razón de doce centavos oro americano por cada peso), hardly likely to inspire immediate confidence. Nothing came of this order and in February 1916 the ABNC supposedly destroyed the models it had made for the 25 centavos and 5 pesos notesABNC though various proofs survive (25c face and reverse, $5 type 1 face and reverse and $5 type 2 face and reverse). Díaz returned to Mexico in May 1916 as the leader of his Ejército Reorganizador Nacional, but his revolt was unsuccessful.