The Mining Millionaire Americans Couldn’t Help But Love | Spanlish


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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Mining Millionaire Americans Couldn’t Help But Love

John Mackay was one of the richest men in the world in the 19th century, although his name is not remembered among the stories of Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and Jay Gould. Mackay was different- he started out penniless, having left school at age 11 to support his family. He went to California for the Gold Rush and worked twice as hard and long as most miners, using half his pay to invest in mine ownership. In fact, Mackay enjoyed working as much as he enjoyed his fortune. So how rich was he?   

At the peak of the Comstock’s “Bonanza Times” in 1876, John Mackay’s cash income—from the dividends of the two bonanza mines alone—exceeded $450,000 per month. The only people in the world with a monthly cash income anywhere comparable were Mackay’s three junior partners. Their company, The Bonanza Firm, with an aggregate cash income running between $1.2 and $1.5 million per month, was, according to the Spirit of the Times, “The wealthiest firm in America and prospectively the richest in the world.” The income and expenditures of the four-person firm exceeded those of half the states in the Union.

One day, an old mining partner from California Gold Rush days teasingly reminded Mackay that he’d once thrown down his tools in frustration and announced that he’d be content for the rest of his life with $25,000.

“W-w-well,” Mackay stammered, struggling to overcome the stutter that had dogged him since childhood, “I’ve ch-ch-changed my mind.”

Mackay was rich, but he was no robber baron. While investing in mining and communications businesses, he paid employees well and didn't take advantage of anyone. His charitable donations weren't publicized. Maybe that's why he isn't famous today, but no one who knew him had a bad thing to say about the way he accumulated his wealth. Read the story of how hard work and luck combined to make John Mackay fabulously wealthy at Smithsonian.

Source: The Mining Millionaire Americans Couldn’t Help But Love

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