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TOKEN IN TIME: Dalton merchant issued two tokens in early 1900s

Submitted by RAY LEISY
President Wayne County Historical Society

After the end of the Civil War, the Federal Government stopped the use of tokens as small change. Merchants had liked to use tokens as change because they had to be spent only with the merchant who had issued them. Also, advertising on the tokens was a bonus.

Soon, engravers began offering metal tokens which carried a value thereon and were listed for a specific business with wording that they were redeemable at a specific merchant for a specific amount off the next purchase. Therefore, they were not exchangeable for cash or at another merchant. These new tokens were commonly known as “good fors” by merchants, customers and collectors.

One Dalton merchant who took advantage of the new practice was George W. Harig. He was the son of Frederick and Catherine Harig who had arrived from Prussia and had become naturalized citizens in Stark County. Frederick Harig was a coal miner and spent his time moving around Stark and Tuscarawas Counties as he could find work.

In 1900, George Harig moved to Dalton and bought Part of Inlots 11 and 12 from L.C. Davison for $550. These two lots were next to the Dalton City Hall on the west side. Davison was a well-known land developer in Dalton and Sugar Creek Township. Soon Harig had built a two-story building and opened his new business, a saloon.

It did not take long for burglars to discover his business because the Dalton Newspaper carried a notice in July, 1902 that “Burglars entered the saloon of Gorge Harig through the cellar Saturday night. They got nine dollars in pennies and a goodly supply of spirituous liquids.” Very soon after this announcement Harig added pool tables to his establishment.

Harig soon became a well-accepted member of Dalton society and became well known for playing baseball and squirrel hunting. He also began courting Kittie Cole, daughter of John and Leah Holderbaum Cole. John Cole was a brick mason famous for the quality of his work in Dalton. George and Kittie were married on April 22, 1903 and settled down to manage the saloon.

In 1914, Harig closed the saloon and moved with Kittie to Massillon where he opened a new saloon called the “Tip Top”. Prohibition was starting to sweep Wayne County and perhaps Harig thought Massillon would be more welcoming. The Harigs made many trips back to Dalton to visit family and friends as noted in the Dalton society pages.

He had rented his building, then known as the “Harig Block” to Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Camp and then sold it in 1919 to Ed L. Slusser for $1,650. Harig registered for the draft for World War I in Stark County in 1918. He listed his occupation as “saloon keeper”. However, he was not called to the war.

In 1920, Harig had his father-in-law John Cole living with him and Kittie and had converted the saloon to a butcher shop and eventually a general grocery store. He continued to operate the store until shortly before his death in 1948 followed by Kittie in 1960. They are both buried in the Dalton Cemetery next to the Cole Family Monument.

George Harig issued two tokens during his career. One for his saloon in Dalton and one for his grocery store in Massillon. Both are pictured with this article.

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