El Banco de Chihuahua

The first bank to be authorised by the local government of Chihuahua was the Banco de Chihuahua. The first attempt at establishing the bank was short-lived, but it was re-established almost a decade later and thereafter had a troubled existence before finally going into liquidation and being rescued by the Banco Minero.

The first Banco de Chihuahua

In 1874 the American Enrique Müller applied for exemption from taxes for the bank (banco de cambio y circulación) that he was trying to establish, accompanying his application with examples of the notes that he intended to issue. The state legislature granted him his exemption on 28 July 1874Periódico Oficial, .

In 1875 the bank was given the right to issue 300,000 pesos in notes of twenty-five centavos, fifty centavos and one peso values. The notes were to be of voluntary acceptance and payable on sight in legal tender or its equivalence in silver coins at the current rate of exchange (en moneda corriente o su equivalente en pesos de plata del cuño mexicano al cambio del día)Periódico Oficial,. In March 1875 the state government agreed that notes with a value of less than $10 did not require tax stampsEl Radical, reported in La Iberia, 11 March 1875.

As soon as the notes were put into circulation the bank was attacked by its political and commercial rivals. On 19 August 1875 a group including Sres. Sini y compañía, J. F. Maceyra, Félix Francisco Maceyra, Jesús and José González Treviño, Antonio Asúnsolo and Juan M. Asúnsolo published a pamphlet entitled “Banco de Chihuahua” attacking the bank, amongst other things for being insolvent and for raising interest rates. This was answered by an another pamphlet, dated 10 September 1875 and written by “Varios libre-cambiastas”, that extolled the bank as an asset to the stateEl Correo de Comercio, 13 October 1875.

When in July 1876 Angel Trias, after entering the state capital, levied a forced loan on its leading citizens, the bank was assessed at $2,000 (with Müller at $2,000 in his own right and GoschChristopher Henry (Enrique) Gosch is recorded as a Comerciante y Comisionista, Agencia de Minas in Chihuahua and Batopilas in 1884 (ST papers). He married Carolina Völkerath and had a daughter, Carolina Gosch Völkerath, who married Enrique Müller, Jr. They, in turn, has seven children, three boys and four girls. Carolina Gosch died in 1900, and Enrique Müller Jr. was shot by a servant cleaning a pistol in 1901. Henry Gosch sold the family’s part in the Hacienda de Encinillas to Terrazas in 1905 (information from Consuelo Müller). y Markt at $1,500)Boletín Militar, 1 July 1876.

However, it seems that because of the difficulties operating the bank Müller threw in the towel and this first Banco de Chihuahua had stopped functioning before the Banco Mexicano appeared in early 1878La Patria, Mexico City, 23 April 1878.

National Bank Note Company print runs

Chihuahua 25c

Chihuahua 25c reverse

Chihuahua 50c B 49013

Chihuahua 50c B 49013 reverse

Chihuahua 1 A 163

Chihuahua 1 A 163 reverse

 25c50c$1
1874 May     100,000
1874 December   20,000  
1875 March   80,000  
1876 March 100,000    

 

These first notes were printed by the National Bank Note Company (which was taken over by the American Bank Note Company in 1879)Two $1 face and back plates (each of 4 notes) were engraved on 26 May 1874 (Nat.#4379).
The 50c face and back plates (each of 12 notes) were engraved on 29 December 1874 (Nat.#4901).
The 25c face and back plates (each of 24 notes) were engraved on 12 March 1876 (Nat.#5886)
. The 25c were series C, the 50c series B and the $1 series A. The 50c and $1 notes were delivered without signatures but the 25c has the engraved signatures of Heinrich Müller as President (Presidente) and G. Markt as Accountant (Contador).

Enrique (Henrique, Heinrich) Müller: Müller was born in Deckenbach, Homburg, Hesse, Germany on 16 April 1823 and emigrated to the United States, possibly in 1845In 1845 there were attempts to establish a German country in Texas after its independence from Mexico and before its annexation by the United States. Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels (in Hesse) created the colony of New Braunsfels and by 1857 the German colony in Texas totaled 35,000 people with three others – Charles Moye, William Feldmann and Sophious(?) Henkein, all of whom had been hired as miners in Hesse. Müller went to Casas Grandes to help in the mines owned by José María Zuloaga that had been flooded, then he moved to Ciudad Chihuahua to work as a mechanic in the mint. He had two children with his girlfriend, then returned to Casas Grandes, to marry in the church in 1855, and had another baby girl named LauraLaura Müller married Emil Ketelsen. He purchased some mines and a hacienda in Coyame. In 1856 the family returned to Chihuahua, and on 1 November 1864 Müller took over the contract for the mint (Casa de Moneda) for a period of ten years. He ran the mint for Juárez during the French occupation.
Müller rented and later purchased the enormous Encinillas hacienda, confiscated by the state from the Martinéz del Rio family in reprisal for their collaboration with the French. Müller later sold half of Encinillas to Luis Terrazas, who converted it into a retreat named El Sauz.
In 1858 Müller took on US nationality, only because the Mexican and American governments had signed a treaty that the Mexican government would respect all of an American’s properties.
His family married into the Luján family, one of the state’s oldest and wealthiest families. He died on 6 August 1899The details of Müller’s life are obscure. I am indebted to his great-grand-daughter, Consuelo Müller, for information and the photograph.
 
Guillermo Markt: He was either an associate or employee of Müller. AlmadaFrancisco Almada, Resumen de Historia del Estado de Chihuahua, México, 1955 refers to the business house of Müller and Markt but might have taken the name from the notes.