David Farnsworth was a Colonial Era American Loyalist. He was a British agent during the American Revolutionary War and George Washington had him hanged for his involvement in a plot to destroy the American economy by placing counterfeit money into circulation.
The use of counterfeit money has been used as a strategy in warfare for centuries.  The idea is to flood the enemy's economy with fake money, thus devaluing the real money and causing an economic collapse, rendering the enemy unable to fund their side of the war. During the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress decided to create a new Continental currency to fund the war. Among the people enlisted to print this new currency was Paul Revere.
To counter this, Great Britain enlisted teams of counterfeiters to travel throughout the American Colonies, placing their counterfeits into circulation in the hopes that it would cause an economic disaster. These counterfeiters were known as "shovers," presumably for their ability to "shove" the fake money into everyday use.
David Farnsworth and his partner John Blair were among the best-known of these counterfeiters, having been caught with over $10,000 in fake Continental dollars in their possession. George Washington became personally interested in their plot and asked for them to be tortured in order to uncover further information. They were eventually hanged for being foreign agents and loyalists.
In popular culture
In fiction, Farnsworth appeared in the Futurama episode "All The Presidents' Heads" as the ancestor of Professor Hubert Farnsworth and Phillip J. Fry. As in history, he was presented as a counterfeiter and Loyalist.
- Counterfeiting In America: The History of an American Way to Wealth, By Lynn Glaser. pp. 41–44.
- "Counterfeit Notes of War".
- "Revolutionary War, Paul Revere history Project".
- Stealing Lincoln's Body, By Thomas J. Craughwell. p. 35.
- Counterfeiting In Colonial America, By Kenneth Scott. p. 258.
- A Financial History of the United States, By Jerry W. Markham. p. 66.