Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Plantation Owners Minted Their Own Coins and Money

Sharecropper's Coin 
Some larger plantations in the the South printed their own money and minted their own coins. The plantation owners would advanced the coins to their tenant farmers against next year's crop rather than give them real cash.  After working long hours in the blistering heat and the cold winters to earn money that wasn't even U.S. currency.  The sharecroppers coin could only be spent and used at the plantation stores and at their price. Most plantation stores always charged extremely higher prices.

If one of the tenant farmers decided to move away, they couldn't because they didn't have real U.S. currency.  Lumber towns generally emerged in isolated locations far removed from main route of commerce. Taking advantage of the scarcity of local merchants, timber companies often paid their workers in company script.

If the tenant farmer tried to leave the plantation he didn't have any money to move with, travel with or provide for him or his family. In all reality they had nothing after working hard all week long. When taking a deeper look into the study of poverty, we must the sharecropping that only benefited the plantation owners. Most tenants remained in debt and fell under at system called peonage.

Sharecropper's Coin
Natalbany Lumber
in Natalbany, Louisiana