Pontiac, Illinois Owney tag
Owney received this trade check tag from Silas A. Rathbun, a Pontiac, Illinois businessman and active member of the state’s Democratic Party. Trade checks such as these were used much like coupons are today, offered by merchants as a lure to increase customers’ purchases. This token offered the owner 25-cents off of a purchase of furniture in Rathbun’s Dry Goods store (which he later developed into a Department Store). Rathbun also served as the city’s mayor for a number of years (1889-1901, 1903-1905, and 1911-1913). There is no additional information on when this tag was given to Owney, but Rathbun’s first term as mayor overlapped the years of Owney’s travels. Thus, in the town of Pontiac, Illinois, Owney was greeted by the town mayor.