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George Hearst

Born: 3-Sep-1820
Birthplace: Sullivan, MO
Died: 28-Feb-1891
Location of death: Washington, DC
Cause of death: Illness
Remains: Buried, Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma, CA

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business, Government
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Patriarch of Hearst family fortune

Self-made millionaire George Hearst was raised a farmer, with little formal education beyond a few months in a schoolhouse, where he learned to read and write. He was drawn to the lead-mining industry in Missouri, and made his first small fortune by leasing a small, local lead mine. He then crossed the continent on an ox cart, and for $450 he purchased half-interest in the Gould and Curry silver mine at Virginia City, Nevada, which turned out to be the second richest mine in the Comstock Lode. He used his profits from that mine to purchase interests in the LeCompton, Merrimac, Ophir, and Potosi Mines in Nevada. He then bought the Ontario Mine in Utah, the Homestake Gold Mine in South Dakota (which became America's most productive gold mine), the San Luis Mine in Mexico, and the Anaconda Copper Mine in Montana (which by the turn of the century was producing 20% of the world's annual copper output).

Hearst was one of America's wealthiest men, but despite his millions he rarely dressed the part of a tycoon, preferring casual and often dirty clothes, and showing a penchant for bourbon, poker, and tobacco. In 1880 he accepted the San Francisco Examiner in lieu of gambling debts, and in 1887 he put his son, William Randolph Hearst, in charge of the newspaper, spawning the Hearst publishing empire which continues to this day. The elder Hearst served in the California State Assembly and ran for Governor in 1882, losing the Democratic Party nomination to George Stoneman. At the death of California Senator John F. Miller in 1886, Gov. Stoneman appointed Hearst to serve the remainder of Miller's Senate term, and he was elected to that office the following year. Hearst died in office on 28 February 1891, after a short illness described in newspapers as "a serious derangement of the bowels."

Father: William Hearst (farmer, d. 1846)
Mother: Elizabeth Collins Hearst (d. 1862)
Brother: Joseph Hearst
Sister: Martha Hearst ("Patsy", b. 1823)
Brother: Philip Hearst (handicapped)
Wife: Phoebe Elizabeth Apperson Hearst ("Puss", b. 1842, m. 15-Jun-1862, d. 1919 influenza, one son)
Son: William Randolph Hearst (publishing magnate)

    US Senator, California (1886-91)
    California State Assembly (1865-66)
    Hearst, Haggin, Tevis and Co. Founder and President
    The San Francisco Examiner Publisher (1880-87)
    Mining Hall of Fame
    Hearst Family
    Scottish Ancestry


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