Iron money: economic isolation on the Upper Peninsula frontier

These are fragmentary notes – and a few links – regarding the introduction of "iron money" into the economy of Marquette County, Michigan, and the controversy surrounding it leading up to the 1876 Presidential election.


Panic of 1857.

Panic of 1873.

Newspaper accounts

The New York Times was in 1876 a Republican newspaper, and did not have the reputation it maintains today as a "newspaper of record". 

Tilden's Iron Currency, New York Times, July 19, 1876

A Swindler of Labor, New York Times, August 23, 1876

The Sham Reformer. New York Times, October 3, 1876

Tilden and the Iron Money, "Red Specular", New York Times, October 4, 1876

The Tilden Iron Money Question, "Red Specular", New York Times, October 5, 1876

Tilden's Sharp Tricks, New York Times, October 19, 1876

Magazine articles

The Legacy of Peter White, George Merk, Michigan History Magazine, Vol. 83, No. 3.  May-June 1999

Iron Money, William van Kosky, Michigan History Magazine v90 n2, March-April 2006


The Honorable Peter White, Ralph Williams, 1907

Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876, Roy Morris Jr., 2004

Iron Will: Cleveland-Cliffs and the Mining of Iron Ore, 1847-2006, Reynolds and Dawson, 2011


Peter White papers, Bentley Historical Library, Ann Arbor MI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s