“this is a short snorter — a bill that was signed by members of a flight crew, often in the military”

by Prince Of Petworth July 14, 2016 at 2:15 pm 23 Comments


Thanks to Zach for sending:

“I was counting money one night at the end of my shift at Meridian Pint, and came across a silver certificate. Not very unusual, I have found 20 or so over the years. Then I noticed that this particular bill had a bunch of signatures on both sides. After a little research, I discovered that this is a short snorter — a bill that was signed by members of a flight crew, often in the military. Given the date on the bill of 1935, it’s likely that this was from World War 2. Anyone out there have any suggestions for finding the origin of this particular bill?”

  • LittleBluePenguin

    I would love to know where the term “short snorter” came from! Because all I can picture is a bunch of WWII pilots about to jump into bombers, lining up to snort some coke through a bill they all signed…

  • Philippe Lecheval

    If you could make out a couple of the names, you could probably figure out some more details about their service.

  • welshi

    This is really cool and I appreciate this post! I never knew about these & love the history lesson I just got in research.

    I’m sure there’s easier ways to find something more substantive, but I just googled Bill Fraser from Pasadena, CA and found this: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/lbpresstelegram/obituary.aspx?pid=170817208

    I’m assuming it’s him because he was a pilot in the Korean War. Pretty cool.

  • Anon

    “short snorter” – like, when you don’t have a 20 in your pocket?

  • LCinDC

    …is the picture posted the actual bill to which OP is referring?

  • SaraEP

    Super cool post.

  • DCDuchess

    I made out an “E. Humphrey, Clinton, Ind” and the search pulled up this gentleman, George E. Humphrey, who fought in WWII and received a Purple Heart. http://www.heraldbulletin.com/obituaries/george-e-humphrey/article_811ffd70-d5c1-558e-8d7d-8e01146ea277.html

    Amazing stuff!

  • DCDuchess

    I doubt any of these gentlemen are still alive, but if one was, can you imagine the stories they could tell us?
    Makes me sad….

  • Mr. Magoo

    The “short snorters” weren’t just limited to flight crews, submarine crews in WWII had them as well. My grandfather was a submarine commander in the South Pacific and had kept one of his. Sadly, it’s now been lost, but I remember my dad explaining the “short snorter” to me when I was a kid. I’m sure that he knew the origin of the term, but I really can’t remember lo these many years.

  • Anonymous

    This is a very interesting post. For those asking about the origin of the term, it’s explained in the wikipedia article, link is in the original post.

    • LittleBluePenguin

      thanks! I don’t always notice the hyperlinks in text!

  • ET

    Databases like Fold 3 and ancestry.com do have military records and the ability to search. The Library of Congress subscribes to both but you have to go to the Library to use them bit try public libraries.

  • dundraman

    The genealogy website fold3.com has WWII crew lists. You could search for the surnames and correspond the town/state listed and figure out what kind of crew it wa s (B-24 or B-17). The Veterans Affairs BIRLS index on Ancestry.com may help too.

  • EastHill

    The word ‘snort’ is derived from the slang for a stiff drink, and a ‘short’ is less than a full measure. When servicemen were out drinking they challenged each other to produce their Short Snorters. Anyone who failed to do so was obliged to buy the round of drinks

    • LittleBluePenguin


  • ME

    You could try this…


  • I Dont Get It

    Just FYI, if I recall from my coin collecting days, the year on currency, unlike coins, is not necessarily the year that it is issued. I’m sure someone will happily correct me here, though.

  • Morton

    I’ve got access to Fold3 and other sites at work. Can’t spend a lot of time on this now, but found the following:

    H. Ehni – Pittsburgh, PA

    Pvt. Harold C. Ehni, Pittsburgh, PA. Enlisted New Cumberland, PA 3/20/44. b. 1910

    Carl K Cochren Fort Wayne IND

    Tec5 Carl K Cochren, Indiana, Co I 15th Infantry Regt. Recipient of the Bronze Star. June 2 1915 – Feb 1 1960.

    If anyone can make out more of the names better than I, I’m happy to look them up.

  • FormerTreasury

    Correct, its the series style. The year printed is the year that style of bill went into production. New change means new series with new year.

  • zeeeeee

    I’m the guy who found the bill.
    Thanks for all the insight and research everyone!
    I did a bit of googling when I first found the bill but ended up encountering a lot of “you must pay to continue your search” sites. I was able to find a little info on the SSA database but not a ton.
    I hope to be able to do a bit more research when I have the time, but this is a great start.
    I would love to be able to give this to one of the descendants of the guys who signed it.
    Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • MPLady

      You can accept the help from the guy who has access to Fold3.

      And, when I zoomed in I found the name of Leonard McNeil, Sinks Grove, WV, a teensy weensy group of houses in Monroe County, WV., where I once lived and my ex-husband still lives. I then found this obit from the wife of Stanton Leonard McNeil–I don’t think he used “Stanton”–saying where her children live. It’s a lead. And I still have many friends in this area if you want me to find more.


  • gopher

    I would post it on facebook. Such a cool post would probably go viral and you just may find someone who knows someone whose name is on the bill….


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