Deadwood Magazine

"Father of Homestake"

George Hearst was a mining tycoon

By Sam G. Carr

Those who have spent time in and around Lead City in the Northern Black Hills recognize the name George Hearst although few people know much about the interesting life led by the man historians call "The Father of the Homestake."

Old George was a multimillionaire, untidy of dress, almost illiterate, an assassin of grammar, a lover of poker and good bourbon, and an inveterate tobacco chewer whose long beard and shirtfront were generally stained with juice.

In later life his sole ambition was to be a politician which eventually led to the Hearst publishing empire. A favorite story told about George Hearst occurred while he was seeking nomination for governor of California. One night while giving a speech he told his audience, "My opponents say I haven't the book learning they possess. They say I spell bird: B-U-R-D. Well, if B-U-R-D doesn't spell bird, then what in the hell does it spell?"

You have to love that kind of logic.

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