It wasn’t until almost 30 years after its founding, however, that the Secret Service began protecting President Grover Cleveland. And even then it was only on an informal, part-time basis whenever the president traveled. Not until 1902, following the assassination of President William McKinley, did the agency assume the responsibility of protecting the president around the clock.
The time: the 1870s. The place: Virginia City, Nevada. Some 100 saloons dotted the town. Most of these were “bit” houses, where silver miners working on the Comstock Lode could purchase drinks and cigars for 12 ½ cents.
But in the post-civil war years, there was a shortage of coins in circulation. Miners paying for their drinks with a quarter (two bits) were likely to get only a dime (a “short bit”) back.
Ironically, the coins proved especially unpopular in Nevada. The Carson City mint – which produced just 10,000 in 1876 — was still doling out coins from 1875 when orders came in to melt the entire remaining inventory. Only a small number from 1876 were to be spared and shipped back to the Assay office in Washington for record keeping.