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December 5, 1841|
Ballyjamesduff, County Cavan, Ireland
|Died||November 12, 1900
New York City, United States
Daly emigrated from County Cavan Ireland to the United States as a young boy, arriving in New York City. He sold news papers 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 1860.:27
Marcus Daly gained experience in the mines of the Comstock under the direction of John William Mackay and James G. Fair.: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. (George Hearst was the father of William Randolph Hearst). In 1872, Daly would recommend purchase by the Hearst group the Ontario mine, in Lake Flat. In ten years, the Ontario produced $17 million and paid $6,250,000 in dividends. That purchase made many millions for Hearst and Haggin.: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 City.:46 The Walkers purchased the mine, installed Daly as Superintendent and awarded him a fractional share of the mine.:50
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 $30,000.:50–52
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 Tevis.: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. He reported to his associates what he had in mind and they approved. Prices on surrounding properties dropped and Daly purchased them. Then he re-opened the Anaconda and announced to the world that Butte was "The Richest Hill on Earth".: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, Montana, a city he founded for his employees to work the smelters. He owned lumber interests in the Bitter Root Valley, Montana, a mansion and prized stables in the same valley, south of Missoula, Montana.
In 1894, Daly spearheaded an energetic but unsuccessful campaign to have Anaconda designated as Montana's state capital. Anaconda, MT lost out to Helena, Montana.:111–113 Daly was active in Montana politics throughout the 1890s, because of his opposition and intense rivalry with fellow copper king, and future U.S. Senator, William A. Clark.:46–47 He tried to keep him out of office by lavishly supporting Clark's opponents.
Thoroughbred horse racing
Marcus Daly invested some of his money in horse breeding at his Bitterroot Stock Farm located near Hamilton, Montana, 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 U.S. thoroughbred champions of the 20th Century by Blood-Horse magazine. Daly died before the horse was born.
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 visible above the town.
Daly's legacy was equally mixed for Butte, Montana. The Anaconda Company was bought out by the Amalgamated Copper 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 1982, ending what Daly had begun almost exactly 100 years before. Montana Resources now (2007) operates an open pit copper and molybdenum mine in Butte, and also recovers copper from the water in the Berkeley Pit.
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 D.C.
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 Colonial.
The Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital, located in Hamilton, Montana, was incorporated on December 18, 1929.
- "Marcus Daly". Daly Mansion. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
- Glasscock, C.B. (2002). The War of the Copper Kings. Riverbend Publishing. ISBN 1-931832-21-8.
- Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: The Copper Kings". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
- January 31, 1901 New York Times article on the Bitter Root dispersal sale
- Marcus Daly Mansion History Retrieved February 9, 2015.
- National Mining Hall of Fame bio
- Bio on Irish Identity website
- Montana Resources
- Daly Mansion
- Marcus Daly Family Papers (University of Montana Archives)