THE FIRST MONEY brought into Texas was Spanish gold
and silver, the silver peso being the most common. These
pieces were minted in both Spain and Mexico. Soldiers
in the various Texas garrisons were paid off in this money, and
later on the Canary Islanders brought in quite a goodly amount.
When Mexico threw off the Spanish yoke, Spanish money con-
tinued in circulation until it could be replaced with newly
minted Mexican money. The royal effigy had been hammered
from the Spanish money, however, to show Mexican indignation
against their former rulers. Thereafter, this Hammered Money,
as it was called, was discounted io per cent, and the peso passed
for only ninety cents. The new money of Mexico soon replaced
that of Spain.
The first Texas paper money seems to have been of Mexican
origin. Dr. Carlos Castafieda of the University of Texas is said to
have found an old Mexican manuscript telling of an attempt to
establish a national bank in the city of San Antonio, Texas, in
the early 1820's. Bank notes were made by hand and were issued
in denominations of one, two, and four reales and five, ten, twenty,
fifty, and one hundred pesos. The people refused to take them in
place of coins, however, and the bank soon went out of business.
As far as the writer can ascertain, none of the notes has ever shown
up in present-day collections, and there is a doubt in the minds
of some historians that such a bank ever existed.
Next in line comes the handwritten currency of Empresario
Green DeWitt, in amounts of five, ten, and twenty dollars. It was
used for the purchase of lands in his colony, was transferable, and
generally passed as a medium of exchange.
On April 30, 1835, by decree issued by the state of Coahuila
and Texas, Samuel M. Williams, of the firm of McKinney and
Williams, was authorized to establish a bank in the Department
of Brazos to be called the Commercial and Agricultural Bank of
Texas, whose capital was not to exceed one million pesos. The
bank was established at Galveston, with a branch at Brownsville.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101152/. Accessed April 21, 2015.