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Marcus Daly

marcus daly memorial hospital, marcus daly
Marcus Daly December 5, 1841 – November 12, 1900 was an Irish-born American businessman known as one of the three "Copper Kings" of Butte, Montana, United States123


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
  • 3 The Anaconda
  • 4 Thoroughbred horse racing
  • 5 Legacy
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Early lifeedit

Daly emigrated from County Cavan, Ulster, Ireland, to the United States as a young boy, arriving in New York City He sold newspapers and worked his way to California in time to join the gold rush on what was to become Virginia City, Nevada, and the fabulously rich silver diggings now known as the Comstock Lode, in 18604:27


Daly gained experience in the mines of the Comstock under the direction of John William Mackay and James G Fair4:26 While working in the mines of Virginia City, Daly met and befriended George Hearst and Lloyd Tevis, co-owners of the Ophir Mining Company Hearst's son was William Randolph Hearst In 1872, Daly would recommend purchase by the Hearst group the Ontario mine, near Park City, Utah In ten years, the Ontario produced $17 million and paid $6,250,000 in dividends, and made many millions for Hearst and Haggin4:52

Their business friendship was to extend for many years and help establish the Anaconda Copper Mine in Butte, Montana Daly originally came to Butte in August 1876 to look at a mine, the Alice, as an agent for the Walker Bros of Salt Lake City4:46 The Walkers purchased the mine, installed Daly as superintendent and awarded him a fractional share of the mine4:50

Always an energetic engineer and geologist with a keen eye for paying ore, Daly noticed while working underground in the Alice, that there were significant deposits of copper ore He gained access into several other mines in the area and concluded that the hill was full of copper ore He envisioned an ore body several thousand feet deep, some veins of almost pure copper and hundreds of millions of dollars He urged his employers, the Walker Bros to purchase the Anaconda and when they refrained, Daly bought it Daly founded his fortune on the Anaconda Copper Mine in Butte, after selling his small share of the Alice Mine, for $30,0004:50–52

The Anacondaedit

The Anaconda began as a silver mine, but Daly's purchase was for the copper, found to be one of the largest deposits known at the time However, he lacked the money to develop it, so he turned to Hearst, Haggin and Tevis4:48–49,52–53 Backed with many millions of dollars, he set out upon developing The Richest Hill on Earth The first couple hundred feet within the mine were rich in silver, and took a few years to exhaust By that time, Butte's other silver mines were also playing out, so Daly closed the Anaconda, St Lawrence and Neversweat mines He reported to his associates what he had in mind and they approved Prices on surrounding properties dropped and Daly quietly purchased them Then he re-opened the Anaconda as a copper mine and announced to the world that Butte was "The Richest Hill on Earth"4:64,67 Because Thomas Edison had developed the light bulb and built a city block in New York to show off what electricity could do, the world would need copper, a very excellent conductor of electricity Butte had copper Hundreds of thousands of tons of it, waiting to be taken from the ground

He built a smelter to handle the ore, and by the late 1880s, had become a millionaire several times over, and owner of the Anaconda Mining and Reduction Company Daly owned a railroad, the Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railroad to haul ore from his mines to his smelter in Anaconda, a city he founded for his employees to work the smelters He owned lumber interests in the Bitterroot Valley, a mansion and prized stables in the same valley, south of Missoula

In 1894, Daly spearheaded an energetic but unsuccessful campaign to have Anaconda designated as Montana's state capital, but lost out to Helena, which was supported by William Andrews Clark4:111–113 Daly was active in Montana politics throughout the 1890s, because of his opposition and intense rivalry with fellow copper king, and future US Senator, William Clark4:46–47 Daly tried to keep Clark out of office by lavishly supporting Clark's opponents5

In 1898, Daly went looking for a buyer of his company He entered into negotiations with William Rockefeller and Henry H Rogers of John D Rockefeller's Standard Oil of Ohio The Anaconda Mining Company and associated interests were purchased in 1899 for $39 million and became Amalgamated Copper Mining Company Daly was made president of the company in 1899 and died the following year in 1900

Thoroughbred horse racingedit

Daly invested some of his money in horse breeding at his Bitterroot Stock Farm located near Hamilton, and was the owner/breeder of Scottish Chieftain, the only horse bred in Montana to ever win the Belmont Stakes 1897

In 1891, Daly became the owner of Tammany, said to be one of the world's fastest racehorses in 1893 He owned and stood Inverness, sire of Scottish Chieftain, as well as Hamburg, Ogden, and The Pepper He also arranged the breeding of the great Sysonby, ranked number 30 in the top 100 US thoroughbred champions of the 20th Century by Blood-Horse magazine Daly died before the horse was born

Following his death, New York's Madison Square Garden hosted a dispersal sale for the Bitterroot thoroughbred studs on January 31, 1901; 185 horses were sold for $405,5256


Margaret Daly's house, Riverside, near Hamilton

Daly's legacy was a mixed one for Anaconda From 1885 to 1980, the smelter was one of the town's largest employers and provided well-paid jobs for generations When the smelter closed in 1980, during a labor strike, 25% of the town's workforce was put out of work and the town has not recovered The smelter itself was torn down as part of environmental cleanup efforts in the 1990s, although the smokestack is still in place, visible for many miles across the valley, above the town

Daly's legacy was equally mixed for Butte The Anaconda Company was bought out by the Amalgamated Copper Mining Company in 1899, and by the 1920s it controlled mining in the city It continued to be one of the state's largest employers and a mainstay of the state and local economies until the 1970s In the 1950s, the ACM began open-pit mining in Butte, creating a steadily growing pit, known as the Berkeley Pit, east of the main business district In the mid-1970s, copper prices collapsed and the ACM was bought out by the Atlantic Richfield Company, ARCO ARCO ceased mining in Butte in 1980 and shut off the deep pumps in 1982, ending what Daly had begun almost exactly 100 years before Montana Resources, owned by the Washington Group, as of 2007, operates an open pit copper and molybdenum mine in Butte, and also recovers copper from the water in the Berkeley Pit In 1980 the Berkeley Pit, the Clark Fork River and the smelter outside the town of Anaconda, MT were declared federal Superfund sites by the US EPA

A statue of Daly by Augustus Saint-Gaudens stands at the main entrance to Montana Tech of the University of Montana formerly the Montana School of Mines, at the west end of Park Street in Butte

A drawing of Daly by the Swiss-born American artist Adolfo Müller-Ury 1862–1947 was acquired in 2009 by the American National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC

Riverside, the summer home of the Daly Family, is located in Hamilton, Montana and open to visitors Margaret Daly, Marcus' wife, had the home remodeled after his death into a Georgian-Revival Style Colonial7

The Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital, located in Hamilton, Montana, was incorporated on December 18, 1929

See alsoedit

  • Anaconda Copper Mining Company
  • Hennessy's
  • George Hearst
  • William Andrews Clark
  • Copper Kings


  1. ^ "Marcus Daly" Daly Mansion Retrieved July 31, 2011 
  2. ^ "Millionaire Daly of Montana dead" Deseret Evening News Salt Lake City, Utah November 12, 1900 p 1 
  3. ^ "Marcus Daly dead" Toledo Weekly Blade Ohio November 15, 1900 p 7 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Glasscock, CB 2002 The War of the Copper Kings Riverbend Publishing ISBN 1-931832-21-8 
  5. ^ Tribune Staff "125 Montana Newsmakers: The Copper Kings" Great Falls Tribune Retrieved August 28, 2011 
  6. ^ January 31, 1901 New York Times article on the Bitter Root dispersal sale
  7. ^ Marcus Daly Mansion History Retrieved February 9, 2015

External linksedit

  • National Mining Hall of Fame bio
  • Bio on Irish Identity website
  • Montana Resources
  • Daly Mansion
  • Marcus Daly Family Papers University of Montana Archives
  • Marcus Daly at Find a Grave

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