26 May 2008

My German Fischers & Rohrs and My Youngest Son

This afternoon, I was doing some research in the digitized books at Google Books. I found some thing about my German family I hadn’t come across before. I knew that my step-Great Great Great Grandfather Gottfried Rohr and my Great Great Granduncle Frederick Fischer ran a tailoring establishment/clothing store in Watertown, Wisconsin. What I found on Google Books was an excerpt from W. F. Jannke III’s Watertown: A History (Arcadia Publishing, 2002). The author was relating stories about Watertown during the Civil War. In discussing events of 1861, Mr. Jannke reports, “in May, the firm of Fischer and Rohr, a tailoring establishment, were awarded a government contract to furnish uniforms for the Watertown Rifle Company.”

Several years ago on the Watertown Historical Society’s website, I had seen the images of the front and back of a Civil War token with the name of the store on it. There were actually two tokens on that website. I saw one on e-Bay many months ago but it wasn’t in my budget at the time and I told my youngest son about it.

Today, my oldest son checked his mailbox to see what had arrived in the last few days and it contained an envelope for me from my youngest son. I opened it to find the 1863 Fischer & Rohr tokens. Now, several hours later, I am still a little misty-eyed. Wow! Thanks, Pat. Also, how amazing I received it on the day I was working on that same family.

These tokens were actually used as money and the history surrounding them and the various types is quite interesting. Just type "civil war tokens" into your favorite search engine to learn more. This coin is of the "store card" token type and was intended to be used in the Fischer & Rohr establishment. Some of these tokens were political in nature and others were designed to be used as money to replace scarce coins.

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