Upon the beginning of the Civil War, Sussex county farmers began to prosper, shipyards were busy, and 'hard' money became so scarce that merchants found it necessary to use what was called 'shinplaster' for use as small change in business transactions as a circulating medium when small coins went out of circulation.
“Shinplasters”, were pieces of paper money of small denomination’s with no coin value nor bank backing. Just a slip of paper with a figure of value written on it. They were issued by private persons, merchants, and firms, as a form of fractional currency. “A small papernote uses as money, a promise to pay a small sum without legal security during the 1837 financial panic and the 1861 Civil War, when metal for minting was scarce.
These slips were a nuisance, easily counterfeited , soiled , lost or destroyed by use. After 1878 they vanished with the passage of the Bland Allison Silver Act.
Source: Wilmington Evening Journal October 1, 1915, E.J. Edwards, The Alexandria Louisiana, Town Talk, Rochester New york , Democrat & Chronicle, and Handcock's History of Sussex County