Starting in 1836, bank notes were printed by banks that deposited bonds to cover their value with the state in which they were issued. This gave users much needed security, if the bank failed they could turn their money in to the state for reimbursement. Banks were responsible for their own notes, and not obligated to accept or redeem those from other banks.
Each note was hand-signed by bank officials to prove its authenticity, and featured a wide variety of designs that reflected the history and culture of the state or city of the issuing bank. Charter numbers were printed on the notes also, the number for the First National Bank of Marshall was 1515. Most notes were printed on only on the front, but later notes included a back side as well.
In 1840, Charles T. Gorham founded a private bank, The Bank of Marshall, which operated until 1865 when he incorporated the institution as the First National Bank of Marshall. Located in the heart of downtown Marshall, Gorham’s bank printed over 2 million dollars worth of United States national currency in sixteen different types and denominations. After 70 years, printing ceased in 1934.
Born in New York State, Horace J. Perrin settled in Marshall in 1846 and became a successful store owner, financier and industrialist, even establishing a part of town once known as “Perrinville”. He opened the Bank of Michigan of Marshall on January 1, 1862 with Joseph Sibley as president. On August 11, 1865 his bank was chartered as the National Bank of Michigan of Marshall, which survived until 1880.
Currency from 19th century Marshall banks are pictured below.