Way We Were: My story — Mary Harney Judge | ParkRecord.com

Way We Were: My story — Mary Harney Judge

Sally Elliott
Park City Museum researcher
Mary Harney Judge, philanthropist, and wife of John Judge, partner in Park City’s Silver King Mine.
Courtesy of the Diocese of Salt Lake City Archives

(This is the ninth in an occasional series about founders of the storied Silver King Mine.)

I’m the successful Salt Lake real estate investor and philanthropist who built the Judge Building, the Judge Memorial Miner’s Hospital, the Y.M.C.A., and much of the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City. I am also the widow of John Judge, who was one of the original founders of the Silver King Mining Company.

My parents were Irish immigrants to Canada and I was born in Ontario in 1842. My family later moved down to New York, where I met John Judge. He was just back from Louisiana where he had been wounded and imprisoned in the Civil War, but the minute I met him, I knew he could fulfill my dreams to be wealthy.

John Judge worked very hard and dreamed of being successful. Neither of us had great educations, but we were smart and ambitious. For the first nine years of our marriage, he worked several jobs in New York. But we figured that if we were ever going to make it really big, we’d have to go West. That’s where opportunity was for people like us. John went first and found a job at the Utah State Penitentiary. When he got a job as superintendent at the Daly Mine in Park City, our children and I came out to join him.

John was smart and hard-working, and he became very knowledgeable about all things mining and invested wisely in multiple mining claims. When the long Alliance drain tunnel needed to be dug, they knew John could get it done and awarded him the contract. John got it completed in less than a year. Fortunately, one of his investments was as a partner in the newly formed Silver King Mining Company in 1892. John’s extensive knowledge of underground mining and his Alliance Tunnel work convinced him the Silver King Mine would be the big producer it was.

John always worked right beside his miners underground … and that was his undoing. All that dust he breathed underground gave him silicosis and he died of miner’s consumption before he ever got to enjoy all the riches he provided to his family. We only had 25 years together before he died too young at the age of 47. His children and I, however, built a magnificent mansion on South Temple Street in Salt Lake City, and I invested very carefully in real estate and other mining ventures. The fabulous wealth of the Silver King Mine kept us going for a very long time.

John didn’t live to see the Judge Memorial Hospital that we built open to care for old and sick miners. He died right before it opened, but I’m sure he would have been proud of what I was able to do.

Learn more about the Silver King and its investors at the Park City Museum on 528 Main St.

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