La Compañía de Santa Gertrudis
Francis (Francisco) Rule was born in Camborne, England in 1835, migrated to Mexico in 1852 and began work at the Real del Monte mine. Soon after he began prospecting abandoned mines, persuading others to join him in a mining venture. Success followed and he eventually became Captain of the Real del Monte mine.
A great friend and supporter of Porfirio Díaz, he built up a huge personal fortune. One of the most knowledgeable mining men in Mexico, his opinion was regarded as a barometer for the rise and fall of mining shares. He is credited with the discovery of the Santa Gertrudis vein, forming a mining company with fellow Cornishmen William Stoneman of Camborne and Christopher Ludlow of Penzance in 1875. Rich ore was discovered soon after which saw shares rocket from $80 to $5,000. In 1879 the Compañía de Santa Gertrudis imported a Cornish pump and a steam hoist from Harveys of Hayle, enabling mining operations to extend to 240 metres. This was followed by the installation of a second Cornish pumping engine in 1890 for the purpose of lifting additional water to the original pump. In 1893 Rule accepted the management and was elected to the Board of Directors.
By 1898 Santa Gertrudis was one of the most powerful mines in the state of Hidalgo and in 1903 alone, profits to stockholders had exceeded a million dollars. The management was all Cornish, with Thomas Lakeside Phillips becoming Director of this and another Rule concern - the Maravillas Anexas Mining Company, which yielded gold, silver, lead and zinc. In addition Rule also owned the Santa Ana mine and the La Blanca y Anexas property, purchased in 1876.
In 1910 the Santa Gertrudis was sold to the part British Camp Bird Company for in excess of nine million dollars. The event was quoted in the Mexican press as 'the largest single cheque ever drawn in the Republic of Mexico…an extraordinary mining deal where such a heavy price was determined and made in one bank'The Mexican Herald, vol. XXIX, no. 147, 25 January 1910.
In 1896 Rule inaugurated a huge French Renaissance style house on Plaza General Pedro Maria Anaya in Pachuca, the Casa Rule (now the Palacio Municipal). Rule used the ground floor of the Casa Rule for the offices of his mining businesses, and there were windows on the Calle Morelos through which miners were given their pay. He lived on the second floor with his first wife, Mary Hoskings, and their eight children.
He also owned a house in Mexico City, eight haciendas in Hidalgo and Querétaro, a special railway coach, the Hotel de los Baños, the Gran Hotel Grenfell, the Rule Bank and many other properties. He commissioned the imposing clock tower in Pachuca’s main square.
Francisco Rule died in Mexico City of pneumonia on 24 June 1925 at the age of 88.
When the various mining companies received permission to issue vales, the Compañía de Santa Gertrudis subscribed for $35,000.00, a figure based on its requirements for four weeksAHMM, Fondo Norteamericano, vol. 41, exp. 15, Dirección General, Correspondencia, Mar 1913 – Nov 1914 Weekly Gossip letter.
|Date of issue||Date on note||from||to||total
|5c||after 21 February 1914||2 February 1914||includes numbers 09182 to 24924CNBanxico #11227|
|10c||includes number 04029 to 07108|
|overprinted DIEZ CENTAVOS
includes number 12035CNBanxico #4429
|overprinted VEINTE CENTAVOS
includes numbers 26787 to 47739
|$1||includes number 04125|
These have the printed signature of Hugh Rose as Gerente General.
Hugh Rose came from Denver, Colorado. For several years he worked for the Guggenheims’ ASARCO and was general manager of the Guanajuato Development Company. In November 1908 he was charged with seeking other opportunities for the GuggenheimsThe Mexican Herald, 10 November 1908. With John Hays Hammond, an English investor, he took over options on the La Blanca MineThe Mexican Herald, 3 July 1909; 10 July 1909. Then in August 1909 he acted for the London-based Camp Bird Company when it took an option to purchase the Santa Gertrudis mine for nine million dollarsThe Mexican Herald, 28 August 1909. Hugo Scherer, Jr. paid the deposit of $200,000 whilst the contract was signed by Hugh Rose, acting for the purchasers and Carlos L. de Landero y Cos, president of the Santa Gertrudis Mining company..
The sale was completed on 25 January 1910The Mexican Herald, vol. XXIX, No. 147, 25 January 1910 and Rose became director of the new company. He moved to Pachuca, renting the house of R. T. SobeyThe Mexican Herald, 3 February 1910.
The company put its vales into circulation as soon as they received them and they started circulating on 19 FebruaryEl Imparcial, 19 February 1914. On the first day the local Oficina del Timbre served notice that they would be fined 40 centavos for each vale issued, irrespective of its denomination, in conformity with the stamp law which stated that all cheques of denominations less than $100 would necessarily carry four centavos in revenue stamps, with a fine ten times this amount. They also started to cause great lack of confidence by announcing that the holders of vales would be prosecuted. The matter was taken up with the governor who wired immediately to Mexico City, following which the local office was promptly wired to keep out of any controversy with mining companies over vales issued without stamps; that they had been proceeding exactly according to instructions received from the Government and were not to be molested in any wayAHMM, Fondo Norteamericano, vol. 41, exp. 15, Dirección General, Correspondencia, Mar 1913 – Nov 1914 weekly gossip letter 17 February 1914.
The Santa Gertrudis and other companies while admitting that the workmanship of the vales was inferior felt that they would be difficult to duplicate and that they would serve the purposeAHMM, Fondo Norteamericano, vol. 41, exp. 15, Dirección General, Correspondencia, Mar 1913 – Nov 1914 Weekly Gossip letter. However, on 15 June it was reported that a number of crude counterfeit 50c and $1 Santa Gertrudis notes had been circulating. The company posted notices[text needed] warning the public and asked the District Judge to take action though the latter was reluctant because of the question of the validity of the valesAHMM, Fondo Norteamericano, vol. 41, exp. 15, Dirección General, Correspondencia, Mar 1913 – Nov 1914 letter G. C. García to D. S. Calland, Boston 15 June 1914.
The Santa Gertrudis company, like the others with the exception of the Compañía Minera y Beneficiadora Maravillas y San Francisco whose vales were different, decided to withdraw their 50c and $1 notesAHMM Fondo Norteamericano, vol. 41, exp. 15, Dirección General, Correspondencia, Mar 1913 – Nov 1914. It was announced that they would cease circulating and be withdrawn on 8 JulyEl Imparcial, Tomo XXXVI, Núm. 6498, 5 July 1914. By agreement with the other companies, the 5c, 10c and 20c vales continued in circulation until further notice, but as all the plates were the same, they expected the counterfeiters to move on to the other denominationsAHMM, Fondo Norteamericano, vol. 41, exp. 15, Dirección General, Correspondencia, Mar 1913 – Nov 1914.
On 2 March 1915 accidental governor Coronel José L. Aguilar agreed to a request from the Compañía de Santa Gertrudis S.A. y Beneficiadora de Pachuca, S.A. to issue $70,000.00 in vales of 20c and 50c, without revenue stampsAGN, Fondo Gobernación Periodo Revolucionario, caja 93, exp. 36, folletos 8 Secretario general L. de la Vega to [ ], Pachuca, 20 August 1915. We know of the 20c note, dated 1 March 1915.
|20c||includes numbers 013319CNBanxico #11230 to 027278|
These also have the printed signature of Hugh Rose as Gerente General.
In late April it was reported that the Compañía Minera de Santa Gertrudis, with the support of local busineseses and with General Obregón’s authorisation, had issued $80,000 in cartones, guaranteed by bars of silver. These were well received but the following day the Jefe de las Armas in Pachuca had ordered that they been withdrawn and substituted by others of forced circulation and with a similar guarantee to the Veracruz Gobierno Provisional notes. This caused public outrage. Small traders picked up their goods and took them home. Later groups of women and boys marched through the streets with ‘gritos’ and ‘mueras’. The soldiers tried to break up the demonstration and, when they responded by throwing stones, opened fire. The cavalry was brought in and order finally restored at midnight, after several deaths and many injuredEl Norte, México, Tomo I, Núm. 8, 29 April 1915. . It should be emphasised that the protest was against the government's vales and in favour of the Santa Gertrudis issue.
Cheques al portador
There was also a series of cheques al portador, dated from March 1915 to [ ]1915, drawn on the Banco Mexicano de Comercio e Industria, for $1, $2, $5, $10 and $20. The fact that the $2 was Series E shows that it was a later addition to the original proposal.
|Date on note||Series||from||to||total
|$1||22 March 1915||A|
|12 April 1915||includes number 19749|
|19 April 1915date recorded by Teodomiro Manzano, Anales del Estado de Hidalgo: Segunda parte (1869 a marzo de 1927), Pachuca, 1927|
|26 April 1915||includes numbers 31330CNBanxico #4408 to 34613|
|24 May 1915||includes number 41260CNBanxico #11231|
|$2||19 April 1915||E||includes numbers 003255 to 004335|
|3 May 1915||includes number 010785CNBanxico #4410|
|1 June 1915||includes number 017029|
|$5||22 March 1915||B||00001||includes numbers 00282 to 01188CNBanxico #11233|
|5 April 1915||includes number 03790CNBanxico #4411|
|17 May 1915||includes number 06662|
|$10||22 March 1915||C||00001||includes numbers 00743 to 00850CNBanxico #11234|
|17 May 1915||includes number 02257|
|$20||1 June 1915||D||includes number 01736|
|10 June 1915||includes number 01962CNBanxico #11235|
These issues also have the printed signature of Hugh Rose as Gerente General but now with the additional signature of C. A. S[ ][identification needed] as Superintendente General.
|C. A. S[ ]|
On 9 September the Secretaría de Gobernación stated that since this 1915 issue of $70,000 had not been authorized by the Primera Jefatura the government should grant the company a prudent length of time to withdraw the notesAGN, Fondo Gobernación Periodo Revolucionario, caja 93, exp. 36, folletos 8.