O'Brien, William Shoney

O'Brien, William Shoney,

c.1826–1878, American silver magnate, b. Dublin, Ireland. He was brought to the United States as a child and worked in a New York grocery store before going to California in the gold rush of 1849. He ran a saloon in partnership with James Clair FloodFlood, James Clair,
1826–89, American silver magnate, b. New York City. Having been apprenticed to a carriage maker, he left to join the California gold rush in 1849.
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, and the two of them through speculation in silver stocks built fortunes and joined John William MackayMackay, John William
, 1831–1902, American financier, b. Dublin, Ireland. He immigrated to the United States in 1840. In 1859 he joined the rush to Nevada, where silver had been discovered. He and J. G. Fair, later joined by William Shoney O'Brien and J. C.
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 and James Graham FairFair, James Graham,
1831–94, American financier, b. near Belfast, Ireland. He emigrated to America as a child, grew up on an Illinois farm, and went west in 1851 in search of gold. In partnership with J. W. Mackay, J. C. Flood, and William S.
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 in exploiting silver mines in Nevada.


See O. Lewis, The Silver Kings (1947).

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