Thursday, July 16, 2015

Book Shelf: A Counterfeiter's Paradise

Subtitled The Wicked Lived and Surprising Adventures of Three Early American Moneymakers, this book is a lively read that turned out to provide an insight into the lives of several of my ancestors, both in western Massachusetts and in southwestern Pennsylvania, than I imagined when I began to read it.
[Cover of Penguin paperback version of book, from Ben Tarnoff's website]

I had just finished the book (Kindle version) when I came across proof that my maternal sixth great grandfather Peter Worden* admonished a member of his Baptist flock in 1776 for passing counterfeit bill and denied "our fellowship with you" until he repented.
[Records of the First Baptist Church in Cheshire (formerly New Providence)
by Cooke, Rollin Hillyer, 1843-1900. Source: Internet Archives; Original source: Allen County Public Library]

There's no such direct connection to my maternal ancestors in Allegheny County like Isaac Webb and Jesse Sill but the author provides a useful description of life in that area. In fact what makes the book so valuable to me is Mr. Tarnoff's ability to describe the legal, social and historical environment each of his three "moneymakers" worked in, the same ones my (hopefully) law-abiding ancestors did.
[A new and general map of the middle dominions belonging to the United States of America, viz. Virginia, Maryland, the Delaware-Counties, Pennsylvania, New Jersey &c., with the addition of New York, & of the greatest part of New England &c., as also of the bordering parts of the British possessions in Canada. (with) A sketch of the upper parts to shown the remainder of the lakes. London, Published by Laurie & Whittle, No. 53, Fleet Street, as the act directs 12th May, 1794. Source: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]

By now A Counterfeiter's Paradise, first published in 2011, is available in hardback (used) through Amazon for $0.01 plus shipping so you can have it sent to your door for under $5.00.

*Invariably spelled Werden in these records.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. I think either an uncle or cousin so many times removed, Christian Bixler, was also involved in counterfeiting in the late 1700's in eastern Pennsylvania (Lancaster or York counties, I think).