Biography of Thomas Kearns
Utah Biographies

Stories written about mine owners and mining men are more like fiction than real life, for there are so many who jump from poverty to affluence in a day; this, however, after years of privation and suffering and trial. Some day, after weary years, when almost ready to abandon the struggle, almost ready to give up life, the pick of the hammer breaks down a wall of rock and there is the precious metal so long sought.

The story of the life of Thomas Kearns is a story of hard work, of poverty, of privation, of suffering, before the goal was reached. Born near Woodstock, Ontario, April 11th, 1862, his forty seven years of life have been most active. In the early seventies he removed with his parents to Holt County, Nebraska, where they settled upon a farm. He worked on the farm for several years and in the winter attended the public schools.

Tiring of farm life, believing that there was greater opportunity in the mining districts, he left the farm and began the business of freighter, moving supplies into the Black Hills. Later on he entered the employ of the Great Homestake Mining Company, at Lead. South Dakota, as a miner. When he attained his majority he left the Black Hills and came to Utah, first to Salt Lake and then to Park City, at which place he secured employment in the Ontario mine, then the greatest silver mine in the world. He worked his required shift daily, then eight hours was devoted to prospecting and in the study of geology. While working in the mine, he learned everything he could regarding the practical working of mines.

When he studied in the evenings he did that work just as he did all his other work, and as he has since, working with one object in view and that was to achieve success. His prospecting was at last rewarded. Seven years was devoted to the hardest kind of hard work, then the discovery of the metal he had so long sought and the discovery of which made him a great fortune. The Mayflower Mine was opened after many vicissitudes, after many obstacles were overcome. The return from his first shipment came in the shape of $20,000. From this fortune his first work was to provide a home for his parents and a competence for life.

His mine continued to pay. He became one of the owners of the Silver King properties, the greatest silver mine in the United States, which ownership he still retains, although the property has changed its name to the Silver King Coalition. These properties made him a millionaire. The wealth which has come to him from the Silver King has been reinvested in Utah, largely in Salt Lake City, and his holdings of real estate include the choicest of Salt Lake realty.

In the political field Mr. Kearns has served his people as a member of the Park City council, of the Constitutional Convention of Utah, delegate to the Republican National Convention of 1896 and 1900, and Senator of the United States from Utah from March, 1901, to March 1905.

Senator Kearns is interested in various other enterprises besides his vast mining interests. He is a heavy stockholder and director in the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad; is one of the owners of the Salt Lake "Tribune," and in other industries. He is a firm believer in Utah and has done everything in his power to aid in the upbuilding of the State and the City of Salt Lake.

Senator Kearns is married, the maiden name of his wife being Jennie Judge, a native of New York State. Three children have been born them, two sons and a daughter, Edmund J., Thomas F., and Helen 31., all living. Senator and Mrs. Kearns are very charitable. Their charity is bestowed without ostentation. Hundreds of orphan children in Utah and elsewhere shower blessings upon Senator and Mrs. Kearns for benefactions shown in the Kearns-St Ann's orphanage which they have provided for.

As an employer Senator Kearns has the good will of every one of his hundreds of employees. Everything about the various industries in which he is interested has been put in with one object in view, that is. the comfort of his employees, so that work can he done with ease and rapidity.

Senator Kearns and his family reside in a magnificent home on East Brigham Street, in Salt Lake City, and at one of the finest ranches in California, near Santa Rosa.

Sketches of the Inter-Mountain States
1847 - 1909
Utah Idaho Nevada
Published by: The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake City, Utah 1909

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