Way We Were: the story of Bridget Welsh Ivers
Park City Museum researcher
Note: This is the final article in an occasional series about founders of the storied Silver King Mine.
From New England to California to Nevada and finally to Utah where we made our home — what a journey it was! But it must have been the right thing to do, because we had a wonderful life in Park City and Salt Lake City.
James Ivers and I married in 1875 and had a little girl, Mary, before we started our journey West. We finally landed in Park City in 1882, and James found a job as a blacksmith where he worked for four and a half years while he built his livery and ore-hauling business. I was always very thrifty and saved whatever money I could … and perhaps you’ve heard the story about how I emptied the change out of James’ pockets every night to save for a rainy day. We used that money to invest in the Silver King Mine in 1892 — an investment that really paid off handsomely for us.
It was difficult living in these mountains and I was accustomed to a more peaceful life in New England. The cold was not so bad, but oh, how those dreadful avalanches terrified me. So many people lost their lives or loved ones. I felt a little safer after we moved down the canyon into Park City right next to St. Mary’s Church.
After we had been here for six years, we had a son whom we named for his father, but later in life he was called “Jimmy the Sport.” He followed his father’s interests in mining and became general manager of the Silver King Mine. Jimmy loved horses and had stables north of town near what you now call Armstrong pastures. We had another little boy, Henry, who died of diabetes when he only 11, and I thought my heart would break.
We made so many friends in Park City and thought the business prospects were so wonderful that we were able to persuade my brothers John and Henry Welsh to join us here. They established Welsh, Driscoll and Buck, a department store which stood where the Treasure Mountain Inn now stands. My brothers and my husband were always involved in the civic life and politics of Park City and Utah, though John was a Democrat and my husband was a Republican.
When my husband was elected to the Utah House of Representatives, we moved down to Salt Lake City and built a house at 564 E. First South St., just south of the famous Brigham Street, which you know as South Temple now. James was 10 years older than I and he died in 1916, leaving me a widow for 18 years.
Visit the Park City Museum and its Hal Compton Research Library to find more stories about Park City’s colorful past.
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