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Object ID 1000.122.04
Title From the Comstock Lode to Chevy Chase
Object Name Exhibit
Date 1998
Creator Eleanor Ford
Description From the Comstock Lode to Chevy Chase (p. 4 of 7: see 1000.122.01-03 and 1000.122.05-07)
May 20, 1998
For Ed Heller's slide lecture for Chevy Chase Historical Society

Panel #4

The Big Bonanza Firm

John W. Mackay (Mackey), 1831-1902
Born in Dublin
Moved to New York City in 1840, worked as ships carpenter
Moved to California in 1851
Moved to Virginia City in 1861; set up as independent mining contractor; soon owned and managed mines
Profits from Kentuck Mine in 1866 enabled him to gain control of the mines producing the 1873 Big Bonanza
The firm broke the Bank of California's financing and milling monopolies on the Comstock Lode

James G. Fair, 1831-1894
Born in Dublin
Moved to Illinois c. 1841
Moved to California in 1849, operated mines and mills
Moved to Virginia City in 1865; soon became superintendent of Ophir Mine
Joined Mackay, Flood and O'Brien in taking control of several mines, including Consolidated Virginia Mine in 1871.
Claimed credit for the (accidental) discovery of the Big Bonanza in 1873
Fair and Mackay managed the firm's properties

James C. Flood, 1826-1889
Irishman born in New York City
Moved to California in 1849; worked as carpenter and miner
Moved back to New York in 1851
Bought a farm in Illinois
Returned to San Francisco - various ventures with O'Brien, opened the Auction Lunch Saloon in 1857
Began studying mining stocks when the S.F. Mining Exchange opened in 1862
He and O'Brien sold the saloon in 1868 and set up a brokerage office

William S. O'Brien, 1826-1879
Born in Dublin
Moved to U.S. as a child; grocery clerk
Moved to California in 1849; operated a newsstand, then a ship chandlery
Opened Auction Lunch Saloon in 1857 with Flood; sold it in 1868
With Flood, opened brokerage office in San Francisco; helped Mackay and Fair take control of mines and managed the firm's business interests with S.F. Banks & Exchanges

[Photo of Virginia City miners employed by the Con-Virginia]
[Photo of changing the shift at the Consolidated Virginia, 1876.]

Information and illustrations from:

Eliot Lord: Comstock Mining & Mines
1959 reprint of 1883 edition
Nowell-North: Berkeley, Cal.
Effie Mona Mack: William Morris Stewart 1827-1909
Nevada Historical Society Quarterly,
Vol. VII, 1 & 2, 1964.
Douglas McDonald: Virginia City & the Silver Region of the Comstock Lode
Nevada Publications, Las Vegas, 1982.
T.A. Rickard: A History of American Mining
McGraw Hill: N.Y. 1932.
John D. Wilburn: Gold & Silver Mines on the Comstock Lode
Publications Press: Mesa, Arizona 1988.
Frank Wright: The Comstock
Nevada Historical Society 1985.
Ted Worm and Harre Demoro: The Silver Short Line
Trans Anglo Books: Glendale, Cal. 1983.