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Addicks, John Edward O’Sullivan (21 November 1841–07 August 1919), promoter and aspiring politician, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Edward Addicks, a politician and civil servant, and Margaretta McLeod. Addicks’s father achieved local political prominence and arranged for his son to take a job at age fifteen as a runner for a local dry goods business. Four years later Addicks took a job with a flour company and, upon reaching his twenty-first birthday, became a full partner in the business. Like many Quaker City merchants, Addicks speculated in local real estate in the booming port town, avoided service in the Civil War, and achieved a modicum of prosperity in the postwar period. He became overextended, as he would be most of his career, however, and went broke in the 1873 depression....

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Bowen, Thomas Meade (26 October 1835–30 December 1906), U.S. senator and mining entrepreneur, was born in Burlington, Iowa. His parents’ names and occupations are unknown. Bowen was educated at Mount Pleasant Academy (Mount Pleasant, Iowa) and began practicing law in 1853 at the age of eighteen. He was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1856 but served only one term before moving to Kansas, where he joined the Republican party over the issue of free soil. During the Civil War, Bowen organized and commanded the Thirteenth Kansas Infantry and was eventually brevetted a brigadier general in 1863. When the war ended, Bowen was stationed in Arkansas. He settled in Little Rock, where he married Margarette Thurston and established himself as a planter and a prominent lawyer. Whether they had children is not known....

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Getty, J. Paul (15 December 1892–06 June 1976), petroleum entrepreneur, was born Jean Paul Getty in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of George Franklin Getty, an attorney and oil investor, and Sarah Catherine McPherson Risher. Getty’s father invested in oil in Bartlesville, Indian Territory (now Okla.), with the company incorporated as the Minnehoma Oil Company. The business struck oil in 1903, and young Getty accompanied his father to Indian Territory, during which time he developed a fascination for the oil industry. Getty attended Emerson Grammar School in Minneapolis and then, after the family moved, attended Harvard Military Academy in Los Angeles while working in his father’s oil fields during summer vacations. Other oil strikes at Tulsa and Glenn Pool added to the family’s wealth, but Getty’s father moved to California more for the climate and personal reasons than for business. Getty graduated from high school in 1909 and agreed to work for his father, saying he wanted to “start at the bottom.” He entered the University of Southern California to study political science and economics and then transferred to the University of California at Berkeley in 1911, only to resign from his courses without graduating that year. He then studied at Oxford, sat for a noncollegiate diploma in economics and political science in June 1913, and graduated. After graduation he traveled in Europe and then returned to the United States....

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Greene, William Cornell (26 August 1853–05 August 1911), rancher, mineowner, and investor, was born at Duck Creek, Wisconsin, the son of Townsend Greene and Eleanor Cornell, farmers. His father died when William was very young, leaving his mother apparently little choice but to split up the family of two sons and two daughters. As a result, Greene was brought up by his great aunt in Chappaqua, New York. He apparently obtained a decent education, given the standards of that day, then moved to New York at age seventeen to begin his business career as a clerk in a tea store. In 1872 Greene moved west, apparently working in the Dakotas, then in Texas, and finally drifting to Arizona, where he became a prospector in the Bradshaw Mining District in 1877. He was then twenty-four years old, brave to a fault, given to gambling, short in temper, and modest of means....

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Haggin, James Ben Ali (09 December 1822–12 September 1914), mine owner, land developer, and horseman, was born in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, the son of Terah Temple Haggin, a lawyer and farmer, and Adeline Ben Ali, a schoolteacher. Haggin’s mother was said to have been the daughter of Ibrahim Ben Ali, an exiled Turkish army officer who settled in England and then moved to Philadelphia in the mid-1790s. Ben Ali’s residence in England is well attested, but there is no record that he ever lived in Philadelphia, where he supposedly settled and practiced medicine. Haggin may not have descended from a Turk, but he gloried in the name Ben Ali....

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Hill, Nathaniel Peter (18 February 1832–22 May 1900), U.S. senator and mining entrepreneur, was born in Montgomery, New York, the son of Nathaniel Peter Hill, a farmer and state legislator, and Matilda Crawford. After managing the family farm in New York for several years after his father’s death, Hill graduated from Brown University in 1856 and remained with the university as a professor of chemistry. In 1860 he married Alice Hale, with whom he had three children. He supplemented his academic position by serving as a consultant and chemical analyst for numerous corporations in Rhode Island. In 1864 Hill accepted an opportunity to go west and investigate the mines of Colorado. He was employed by a group of eastern capitalists to report on the prospects of opening new mines in the San Luis Valley. While faithfully carrying out his duties for his employers, he also kept an eye open for opportunities of his own. Sufficiently impressed, he resigned from Brown, deciding that his future lay in the West....

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Mackay, John W. (28 November 1831–20 July 1902), miner and businessman, was born John William Mackay in Dublin, Ireland, the son of parents whose names and occupations are unknown. In the face of poverty, his family immigrated to the United States when Mackay was nine. He briefly attended public school, but his formal education ended when his father died. Faced with supporting his family, Mackay became apprenticed to noted New York shipbuilder ...

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Mills, Darius Ogden (05 September 1825–03 January 1910), banker and mining and railroad entrepreneur, was born in North Salem, Westchester County, New York, the son of James Mills, a town supervisor of North Salem (1835), and Hannah Ogden. From a prominent family, Mills was educated at the North Salem Academy and then at the Mount Pleasant Academy at Ossining, New York. His father’s death in 1841 deprived Mills of a college education. Instead he became a clerk in a mercantile establishment in New York City. In 1847, at the invitation of a cousin, he became cashier of the Merchants’ Bank of Erie County in Buffalo, New York....

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Oliver, Henry William (25 February 1840–08 February 1904), ironmaster and businessman, was born in Dungannon, Ireland, the son of Henry W. Oliver, a harnessmaker, and Margaret Brown. His parents emigrated and settled in Pittsburgh in 1842. Henry—usually known as Harry—received a common school education and at age thirteen became a messenger at the National Telegraph Company, thanks to former schoolmate ...

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Phillips, Frank (28 November 1873–23 August 1950), oilman and banker, was born in Scotia, Nebraska, the son of Lewis F. Phillips, a farmer, county assessor, and judge, and Lucinda Josephine Faucett, a schoolteacher. Although Phillips was born in Nebraska, his father’s farming career necessitated a move to Creston, Iowa, in 1874. There Frank attended the local school but dropped out at age fourteen. Phillips would have no contact with the realm of formal education until he received a number of honorary degrees years later....

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Richardson, Sid Williams (25 April 1891–30 September 1959), oilman and entrepreneur, was born in Athens, Texas, the son of Nancy “Nannie” Bradley and John Isidore Richardson, a farmer and cattleman. He was named for an itinerant evangelist. Richardson’s father reportedly got the better of him in Sid’s first attempt at making a business deal, but the youth learned quickly. While still in high school he traveled to Louisiana and maneuvered local cattlemen into underbidding each other, resulting in cheap calves for Richardson and a $3,500 profit when he sold them in Texas....

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Rogers, Henry Huttleston (29 January 1840–19 May 1909), oil tycoon, railroad builder, and capitalist, was born at Fairhaven, Massachusetts, the son of Rowland Rogers, a bookkeeper, and Mary Eldredge Huttleston. A high school graduate, Rogers worked in his hometown five years before leaving in 1861 for Pennsylvania, where oil had been discovered in 1859. Beginning with a $1,200 investment in a small refinery erected at McClintockville, Pennsylvania, Rogers and a partner, Charles Ellis, made $30,000 their first year. In 1866 Rogers met ...

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Smith, Francis Marion (02 February 1846–27 August 1931), mining and railroad entrepreneur, was born in Richmond, Wisconsin, the son of Henry Grovier Smith and Charlotte Paul, farmers. After completing grade school in Richmond, Smith attended high school in nearby Milton and Allen’s Grove. He worked on the farm until he reached the age of twenty-one, when he succumbed to the lure of the West. In 1867 he traveled to Montana Territory, where he tried prospecting and both placer and hard-rock mining. Unimpressed with the return, he resumed his travels, working at various jobs until he reached western Nevada, where he became a restaurateur. After a few months he decided that prospecting was more interesting, and for the next five years he followed various mineral rushes in the region....

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Sutro, Adolph Heinrich Joseph (29 April 1830–08 August 1898), developer and mining engineer, was born into very comfortable circumstances in Aachen, Prussia, the son of Emanuel Sutro, a cloth manufacturer, and Rosa Warendorf. As a child, Adolph was an excellent student, especially in science and mathematics, and he added botany by way of nature walks. He was also an avid, compulsive reader, spending his savings and even his lunch money on books. But the death of his father at age forty-eight, and the concomitant revolution in Germany, ruined the family’s fortune and marked the end of his formal education. The family’s woolen cloth factory had to close, as did one managed in Memel by nineteen-year-old Adolph after he was forced to leave school....

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Tabor, Horace Austin Warner (26 November 1830–10 April 1899), miner, was born in Holland, Vermont, the son of Cornelius Dunham Tabor and Sarah Farrin, farmers. Raised in rural Vermont, Tabor left home at nineteen and learned the stonecutter’s trade before moving to Zeandale, Kansas, in April 1855. Elected to the Free Soil House of Representatives in 1856, Tabor played a minor role in the struggle over slavery in Kansas. Farming did not prove to be the road to fortune, and so in April 1859 Tabor, his wife Augusta Pierce (whom he had married in 1857), and their only child Maxey joined the gold rush to the Pike’s Peak country....

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Thompson, William Boyce (13 May 1869–27 June 1930), mining entrepreneur and Wall Street financier, was born near Virginia City, Idaho Territory, the son of William Thompson, a carpenter, lumberman, and miner, and Anne Boyce. In 1879 the family moved to Butte; two years later the discovery of rich copper deposits made it a boom town. Thompson matured in this frenzied environment; by age fifteen he was a skilled gambler in local bars. He attended public school, with little result, until an Oxford-trained classicist, stranded by his employer and pressed into opening Butte’s first high school, recognized Thompson’s mathematical talent. Soon Thompson headed east to Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. Arriving on 1 January 1887, Thompson focused on science and engineering; in three years, he had enough courses to be admitted to Columbia University’s School of Mines. Foregoing his final year at Exeter, he entered Columbia in fall 1889....

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Wingfield, George (16 August 1876–25 December 1959), banker, miner, and businessman, was born in Cincinnati, Arkansas, the son of Thomas Wingfield, a cattle buyer and Methodist minister, and Martha Spradling. Wingfield moved with his family to Lake County, Oregon, where his father operated a cattle ranch. Wingfield received a formal education through eighth grade until he moved to Nevada in 1896. There, in the railroad town of Winnemucca, and later in the mining camp of Golconda, Wingfield engaged in a number of pursuits including working in local ranches, running mowing machines, and playing poker. He operated the California Saloon in Golconda and excelled at gambling in the game of faro....