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Jesús María (Ocampo)

Chihuahua Jesus Maria

Santa Juliana

Santa Juliana 

An early example of scrip is a handwritten note drawn on Tomás de Zuza, in Santa Juliana, Jesús María (renamed Ocampo in 1902), dated 14 December 1827 with the inscriptions Vale por [ ] maiz. Tomás de Zuza was born in Tajonar, Pamplona, in 1775. He settled in Sonora and was one of the first owners of the mines at Mulatos in 1807, and later mined in El Rosario and Jesús María. Tomás de Zuza and Tomás Rivera owned the Nuestra Senora del Rayo mine and were part-owners of the Santa Juliana mine in Jesús María. They worked The Rayo mine successfully, with good results, in gold and silver but abandoned it on the discovery of a bonanza in the Santa Juliana mine in 1826.

De Zuza held various public offices, and in 1828 was exempted from the expulsion of Spaniards. He finally moved to Chihuahua and died in 1845.

In 1894 a Mexico City newspaper reported that before the law prohibiting payments in scrip (fichas, cacharpas, vales al portador y otros objetos) came into effect, the practice was rife but now people were paid in legal tender. However, in Ocampo it appeared that the law was less efective, given the great circulation of aluminium tokens (monedas ó contraseñas de aluminio) issued by the Compañía Minera de Santa Juliana, redeemable only in the tienda de raya for highly-priced goods. Any worker who needed banknotes to pay his taxes etc. had to sell the tokens at a 25% discount to other businesses as the tienda did not exchange them at any priceVoz de México, Mexico, 4 August 1894.

Francisco Córdova

Meuro 500g

Meuro 500g reverse 

Another example is a small handwritten vale on lined paper with the text ‘M R Meuro No 17 / 500g de carne / Fr'co. W. Cordova’ and the annotation ‘OCAMPO, CHIH’ on the reverse. The annotation surely cannot be contemporaneous but, if correct, would locate this note in Chihuahua. Rafael and Francisco Córdova had owned the San Vicente mine in Jesús María before 1887Periódico Oficial, 21 September 1887. A Francisco Cordova, from Ocampo, is recorded in 1909Periódico Oficial, 14 March 1909 and was elected Regidor 3a suplente of Ocampo for 1912Periódico Oficial, 19 May 1912.

Negociación de Santa Eduwiges

SEduwigesThe Santa Eduwiges mine is situated a couple of miles outside the town of Jesús María (Ocampo). In the 1880s it was owned by a former governor of Colorado, Horace Tabor.

The Negociación de Santa Eduwiges (misspelt Negociation on the notes) issued scrip payable in cash in Jesús María and Chihuahua and accepted by nine stores (casas comerciales) in Jesús María, though the local government declared that they were not officially sanctioned. Almada mentions five denominations: half real, one real, two reales, four reales and one pesoFrancisco Almada, Apuntes Históricos de la Región de Chínipas, Chihuahua, 1937.

Two series are known.

Santa Eduwiges 1r

Santa Eduwiges 1r reverse

Santa Eduwiges 1

Santa Eduwiges 1 reverse

  from to total
$1         includes number 673


The first series (sequenced simply on the basis that Weston's signature (if legitimate) is hand-signed on these notes and a facsimile on the second series) bear a striking resemblance to the Pinos Altos notes, whilst the common reverse has a vignette of a dog guarding a strongbox and the printed names of H. A. W. Tabor, as President; C. J. Rowell, as Secretary; A. S. Weston, as Vice-president and Treasurer, and J. C. Carrera as Director. Two values (one real and one peso) are known.

Horace TaborHorace Austin Warner Tabor was born in Holland, Vermont in 1830. By 1861, he had joined the emigrant movement west to the gold region of present-day Colorado, establishing a dry goods store in the mining camp of Buckskin Joe. Tabor would continue to prospect for gold in Oro City, and took up residence in Leadville in 1877. During this time Tabor bought into a number of mines, including the Little Pittsburgh Mine, and in May 1878 a massive lode of silver was discovered there. Tabor sold his interest in the Little Pittsburgh for a huge profit, and in turn became sole owner of the Matchless Mine where an equally large silver vein had been discovered. Almost overnight Tabor had become one of the wealthiest men in the United States. With his new-found wealth, Tabor bought a number of newspapers and large tracts of property in both Leadville and Denver. He was elected Lieutenant Governor of Colorado in 1879 and a U.S. Senator in 1883.

Tabor purchased the Santa Eduwiges mine in 1884 and boasted “My Colorado mines are nothing compared with this Mexican bonanza, as it seems to be practically inexhaustible"Daily Herald, Leadville, 7 May 1884. Unfortunately, he became embroiled in a court dispute with his Mexican partners over the ownership of the mine. He finally gained control in 1893, but that year the silver panic and subsequent passage of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act devastated his fortune. Tabor hoped that the Santa Eduwiges would save his collapsing mining and business empire and he personally travelled to Mexico to oversee its functions. Sadly, by mid-1894 even this effort had failed. The expenses of dead work, heavy equipment, and ordinary operations depleted his already dwindling capital, and “pockety” veins did not produce any steady profits. For Tabor, the Mexican venture proved the final blow to his empire. Practically penniless but still a respected public figure, he was made Postmaster of Denver in 1898, but died of appendicitis in 1899.

C. J. Rowell  
A. S. Weston was a judge who represented the mining companyThe Mail, Chihuahua, 19 May 1883; El Siglo Diez y Nueve, 5 June 1883.
sig Weston

J. C. Carrera was one the best-known mineralogists in the Southwest of the United States and was a professor at the Agricultural and Mechanics College at Mesilla Park, New Mexico. He was a fine linguist, speaking English, French, Spanish and Italian fluently. He lived six years in Paris, and had an extensive acquaintance among the mining and engineering professions throughout the European continentThe Evening Star, 7 February 1900. He was considered as a great authority upon lead and silver properties, and for years much sought after as an expert for mines in Colorado and elsewhere The Mexican Herald, Vol. XVIII, No. 81, 20 May 1904, including throughout Mexico.

He organised exhibits at the Chicago, Berlin and Paris World Fairs for New Mexico and Colorado. and owned one of the finest private collection of ores and minerals in the worldThe Mexican Herald, 8 November 1904. When it was exhibited at the Chamber of Commerce in Mexico City, it filled eight large double cases five feet wide and seven feet high, with twenty shelves eachThe Mexican Herald, 1 January 1909.

According to his son, Carrera could claim to have “discovered” the Carlsbad Caverns. Sometime before 1885 a sheep man told Carrera about it and took him and a geologist to see the entrance but they did not have a rope so they did not enter.



Santa Eduwiges real

Santa Eduwiges real reverse

Santa Eduwiges 2r

Santa Eduwiges 4r

Santa Eduwiges 11

  from to total
½r         includes number 2CNBanxico #10008
2r         includes number 314CNBanxico #10009 


Of the second series, four values are known as uniface issued notes or remainders: a red ½r, a blue 2r, a purple 4r and a green $1, all payable en moneda corriente and signed by A. S. Weston, as Tesorero.

La Soledad

La Soledad was a mine about three miles due north of Jesús María which issued notes under the title ‘Negociacion la Soledad-Mineral J. Maria’.

La Soledad ½r 58

La Soledad ½r 58 reverse

La Soledad 1r

  date on note from to total
½r           includes number 58
1r 1885          


The two denominations known are ½ real and 1 real, payable on sight in banknotes (a la vista en billete de Banco moneda corriente). Both bear the handwritten signature of Ignacio J. Justiniani.

Ignacio. J. Justiniani

On 9 August 1887 Justiniani, listed as a miner from Jesús María, together with three others (Jesús Solís, Juan de la Cruz Solís and Rafael Córdova), denounced a continuation to the San Ignacio vein in Los Otates within the Santa Magdalena mine, owned by Jesús Solís and his brothersEl Estado de Chihuahua, Año X, Núm. 59, 27 August 1887.

sig Justiniani