Sending Money in 1854

torn bill

Brighton Iowa May the 8th A D 1854
Dear Nephue
I have at last got ready to write to you conserning your money I went after it the first week in Aprile but Mr Dfrans was not at home and I left word for him to bring it down but he did not come tell last friday. he gave me $88 in $3 $5 and 10 bills and the ballence in gold. on saterday I turnd out to git large bills, and found but one fifty Dollar bill and that was all that I could git, larger then $10 but I have $20 so I will inclose $100 in this letter, or one half of each bill, and the other half in A letter that I have rote to send to Ephraim whare you will find it if he gits his letter and as soon as I can git sutable bills for the gold I will send it if this gose safe
I have not got that rent money yet but I sent him sharp orders if he dit not soon pay it I would give it to some boty to colect it I think your Mother could afford to come after it
we ar all well except my self I had another turn of the rumitis but am gaining again
hoping that these fue lines ma find you all in good health, write as soon as you git this and not fail, so fairwell
Jacob Snyder
[The spelling has been left uncorrected. To see the original, click here.]

This letter was written by Jacob Snyder to his nephew, Oliver Trumbo, of Dayton. In the days before the existence of checks or money orders, it was difficult to send money to someone at a distance. If it could be sent with a trusted person who was traveling to that location, that was the best. In the absence of such a person, careful people often resorted to the method Jacob describes in the above letter. A bill or bills would be cut in half; one half sent in one letter and the other half, as in this case, sent to a friend. The person to whom the money was sent would then join the two halves, which could be exchanged for complete bills. Another method was to mail the half bills and wait until confirmation arrived that the money was received. Then the second half could be sent. This method took more time, but did not require involving a second party.

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