Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Good Old California Pioneer

American businessman and US Senator George Hearst was born on this day in 1820 in Sullivan, Missouri.

Hearst made his way to Sutter's Mill  in California in 1850 to try to reap his fortune, and for several years he was a successful miner and prospector. But it wasn't until 1859 that he hit the mother lode with the Ophir mine in Nevada. Flush with high-grade silver-ore, Hearst's discovery started the Nevada silver rush, and made him a very wealthy man.

Hearst spent the latter part of his career as a politician, representing California as a Democrat in the US Senate from 1887-1891. Today he is perhaps most famous for his son, William Randolph Hearst, to whom he gave the San Francisco Examiner, a newspaper purportedly acquired in repayment of a gambling debt.

Writing in his obituary in 1891, the Dallas Daily remembered Hearst as noble, tender-hearted, and:

"a good type of the old California pioneer...

His years of hard work and intimate mingling with men of every social and intellectual grade gave him a knowledge of human nature and a sympathy with its defects and weaknesses which kept him free from the pride of purse and hardness of feeling that sometimes go with the riches of the self-made man, and while he had a singular keen perception of character and a shrewdness that baffled all pretenders, his heart was tender, his charity great, and his capacity of forgiveness inexhaustible."

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Flannery O'Connor

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.