Private Samuel Frank Dadmun’s $3 Fitchburg Bank Obsolete

A rare and intriguing $3 obsolete banknote from the Fitchburg Bank of Fitchburg, Massachusetts will be featured in our upcoming Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring Expo in Baltimore. The Fitchburg Bank issued obsolete bank notes from 1832 to 1865 when it became the Fitchburg National Bank, Charter #1077. All designs in Haxby are listed as SENC, meaning surviving examples not confirmed. This $3 note (Haxby MA600 G24) was issued January 1, 1862, and is the first note we have ever seen from this Worcester County bank. This green tinted note bears the imprint of both Rawdon, Wright and Hatch and the New England Bank Note Company. A man on horseback is seen herding cattle and sheep at top left while a blacksmith with hammer and anvil are seen at right. THREE appears in large letters over the signature panels near the bottom center of the note.

Adding to the intrigue of this great Massachusetts obsolete is its fascinating backstory that traces its pedigree to a Union soldier in the American Civil War. It appears that this note was saved as a keepsake and a reminder of home for Private Samuel Frank Dadmun of Company F, 25th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Private Dadmun added the following inscription to the back of this note; “Co. F 25th Mass Regt. S.F. Dadmun. New Berne, NC. Jan. 1, 1863. Good bye to Fitchburg untill (sic) the three years are up.”

The 25th Massachusetts was organized in September 1861, made up of volunteers from Worcester County. It left for the coast of North Carolina in the early part of 1862. The regiment spent the bulk of its time in action across eastern North Carolina while making New Berne its headquarters. According to service records Private Dadmun contracted malaria while on duty in 1863. On November 8 of that year he was discharged from a military hospital in Washington, North Carolina, and sent home to Fitchburg on furlough. His condition worsened upon his return to Fitchburg and Private Dadmun died at his home on November 26, 1863, at just 33 years of age.

It is plausible that this rare note owes its survival to being saved by Private Dadmun. Perhaps his family held it as a memento to their fallen soldier long enough for it to find its way into a collector’s hands. At any rate this note is both a rare remnant of Massachusetts banking history and a solemn reminder of the ultimate price paid for freedom and the preservation of the Union.

The Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Currency Auction of the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Spring Expo will be held March 26-29, 2015. For more information visit

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