The first few years of the 19th century saw tremendous expansion for the fledgling United States. The Louisiana Purchase added 828,000 square miles to the nation, effectively doubling its size. Shortly after that the exploratory expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark proved the feasibility of an overland route to the Far West, encouraging western settlement and commerce. The country was expanding in population, also. The new democracy attracted thousands of immigrants from all over Europe, many of whom were fleeing the Napoleonic Wars.
It was March of 1807 before the fourth Mint Director, Robert-Patterson, finally hired the German born John Reich as second engraver. Born in Fuerth, Bavaria in 1768, this talented die cutter arrived in America as an indentured laborer and settled in Philadelphia about 1800. Reich sought employment at the Mint in 1801. Though he was unable to secure a permanent pos.... (Expand Text)