By By (author) Michael J. Makley
It is a new biography of the main winning miner within the West. From the early 1870s until eventually his dying in 1902, John Mackay used to be one of the richest males on the earth, and he used to be definitely the wealthiest guy to emerge from Nevada's magnificent Comstock Lode. starting lifestyles as a bad Irish immigrant, he early built a powerful paintings ethic that distinct him for the remainder of his existence. He got here west to hunt his fortune within the California Gold Rush, then moved directly to Virginia urban, Nevada, the place he operated silver mines and stumbled on the 'Big Bonanza' that was once thrice as wealthy as the other Comstock strike. After creating a fortune, he transferred his energies to banking and communications. John Mackay deals new perception into the existence and achievements of this notable guy. relatively, it units Mackay into the wider context of the Gilded Age, an period of robber barons and corruption, swiftly advancing know-how, nationwide and overseas capitalism, and flagrant monitors of newfound wealth. Even during this milieu, he stood out, not just for his contributions to Nevada and mining background but in addition for combating the consolidation and venality of company strength within the Gilded Age. not like a lot of his contemporaries, Mackay used to be revered for his moral behavior and beneficiant philanthropy, and his unassuming way of life endeared him to less-affluent contemporaries. whereas his spouse pursued social prestige in Europe, preserving palatial estates in Paris and London, Mackay in most cases remained within the united states, tending to his many company issues and shunning exposure. This interesting new biography contributes considerably to our knowing of the advance of the a ways West and of industrial and society within the Gilded Age.
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Extra resources for John Mackay: Silver King in the Gilded Age (Wilber S. Shepperson Series in Nevada History
23 The main business section, initially on b Street but soon centered below it on c, featured commercial buildings, restaurants, laundries, liveries, dance halls, gambling parlors, and saloons. Mrs. Leslie commented that profanity was “fearfully prevalent” in these last structures, which remained open through the night. Above b Street were homes on steep and barely passable lanes. Below c Street, on d Street and on haphazard, twisting streets labeled e and f, were Chinatown, mine entrances, work yards, and small cabins—a number used by prostitutes.
With its furnishings of brocade, polished oak, and carpet from Turkey, it was worth perhaps twentyfive thousand dollars. The Mackays, Mrs. Hungerford, and Ada moved in. Mary McNair Mathews, a seamstress on the Comstock, told of leaving the employ of Mrs. Mackay’s mother in 1868 shortly after being hired. The Mackays were doing well financially but were not yet wealthy. Rather than the going rate of three dollars a day, Mrs. Hungerford was paying Mathews one dollar and providing room and board. But the seamstress was relegated to taking her meals with her son in the kitchen, being served when the family was through with each course in the dining room.
In his mines he prided himself on using the finest hoisting works, pumps, blowers, and drills. In the 1890s he told an interviewer: “I learned as I went along. That sort of mining had never been done before. The methods I worked out are now being followed all over the world. ” Although Mackay and other Comstock superintendents and mining engineers should be afforded their share of the praise, there was truth in Fair’s boast. ”47 When Fair came to the West, he spent several years as a placer miner and The Fountainhead 31 several more as a quartz miner in the California Mother Lode country.