This is a very scarce item from the early days of American railroading. It is a $5 note issued by the treasurer of the Ohio Rail Road Co. and is redeemable in their offices in the “City of Ohio”. The Ohio Rail Road Co. was chartered in 1836 and they started to issue paper money in 1837. This piece is dated 1839 and is payable to J. Barber whose name is hand written on the piece. It is also signed by the secretary of the railroad, H. Foote and the president of the railroad, N. Allen. We have been unable to find much information about the Ohio Rail Road Co. other than it ultimately failed apparently without putting down any track. This note measures 3 inches by 7 ¼ inches. It is yellowed, has minor chipping along the edges, and is quite fragile. It does not appear to have ever been folded. As issued, there is no printing on the reverse. The piece was printed by Rawdon, Wright and Hutch of New York. We have kept it in an archival sleeve. This piece is a scarce reminder of a bygone era in both U.S. and Ohio history when many companies were formed to try to get their foot in the door of the infant railroad industry. Most of them failed, a few survived. The ones who survived became worth a bundle!
The “City of Ohio” was a community located on the west side of what is now Cleveland, Ohio. It was an economic competitor with Cleveland but, after much fighting, was annexed into the city of Cleveland in 1854 and is now known as “The Near West Side” which is wedged between Cleveland and Lakewood. We have no idea specifically where the Ohio Rail Road Co. offices were located at that time.
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Ohio Rail Road Co., $5 Note, “City of Ohio”, Oct. 1839
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