What he brought is valuable and rare but it didn't seem quite so important to his friends here at the STAR as the fact that he is going to have his 93rd birthday May 14. Many friends over the county can recall with fresh satisfaction the reception the Haydens planned for "Uncle Charley" when he was 90. His anniversary has been observed more informally since, as this one will be, but the "heart" of the day is always the remembering messages from friends this matchless young man has made and kept through the years.
Although he retired as a builder and contractor 30 years ago he still carpenters a little every day on the corner shelves he specializes in now.
"What he brought" is a $10 bill in "wild cat currency," issued by a bank in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1839 and given to him by his uncle. Albert Taylor, whose passing occurred only a short time before a story of the extinct bill appeared in the Lake County Star when Capt. Johnny Wheeler was at the helm. Mr. Taylor had had the bill, endorsed on the back by what appeared to be the name of J. Binyon, in his possession for 63 years and had earned it by doing a few hours' work for James Palmer, father of Adelbert Palmer, whose name appears frequently in the down-county news of earlier days reprinted each week in the STAR.
Wild cat money, it seems, was so called because of its "at will" issuance by individual banks, and merchants in those long ago days found it wise to refer to a listing when a "wild cat" bill was offered him to see whether the fostering bank was still in business. On the face of "Uncle Charley's" bill, whisper-thin and darkened by the years, is a guarantee that reads "Directors and Stockholders (responsible) and Security Given for Double the Amount of Issues."
Although the earlier story declared that "its present owner would not part with it at any price," he told the editor Thursday that the relic, which has been shown at both the Lowell and Crown Point centennials, is now "on the Market."
In good health and mentally alert, Charlie enjoys the priceless possession of a wide, wide circle of friends and the cards they send in remembrance of his birthday are to him most precious. He extends his appreciation.
Go to Charles Fremont "Charlie" Palmer, "Pioneer History Index," for further information.
Return to Lowell Biographies.