Douglas County

Douglas County is the northwest corner of Wisconsin bordering on Minnesota and Lake Superior. The largest community in the county is the city of Superior.

The Depression hit this part of the state very hard. Defaults in tax collection put the county in dire financial condition and it began issuing scrip in the form of payment orders in 1932. Complicating the situation was a state law that prevented the county from receiving its own scrip in payment of taxes. This problem was resolved in May 1933 when the law was amended to allow the county to receive its own scrip in payment of taxes.

The Douglas County scrip was not well-received by the public and it was significantly discounted when it changed hands. In order to prop up the scrip the county paid 6% interest on the scrip when it was redeemed.

The Douglas County scrip also created a problem for the city of Superior. Douglas County and Superior each issued scrip into the late 1930s. State law required the city to accept the county scrip in payment of taxes but prohibited the city from paying it out again. This put a pinch on the city’s finances.

Despite the state law, the city surreptitiously paid out the county scrip it had received. When this came to the attention of the county clerk a sting operation was set up where county scrip was secretly marked and then used to pay taxes to the city. Over $1,000.00 of the marked made its way back into circulation.

Douglas County also used grocery orders to pay those on county relief for work. The county complained that the Superior relief program paid in cash and the county was having a difficult time getting relief workers as they favored working for the city.

Unfortunately, no examples of the Douglas County scrip are known.

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