Way We Were: The story of Windsor Volney Rice
Park City Museum researchers
Note: This is the fifth article in an occasional series about founders of the storied Silver King Mine.
I was born in Riceburg, Quebec, in 1849 — a Canadian, like so many others who ended up in Park City. After I finished school at the age of 18, I moved to Grand Haven, Michigan, and got a job working at the Ottawa Iron Works in Ferrysburg. The Iron Works was owned by Col. William M. Ferry. After two years, he made me manager of the plant. Looking back, I’d say meeting William Ferry and his brother E.P Ferry was certainly a stroke of good luck for me.
After managing the Ottawa Iron Works for four years, I went back to Riceburg where I met my lovely wife Mary Belle Browne and we married in 1876. We stayed in Riceburg for several years where my brother and I established a foundry, machine shop and grist and saw mills, which were all very successful.
Park City was really hopping in those days and my Grand Haven pals talked me into making the move out West in 1887. First, I worked for a year in the office of the Anchor Mine, which was then being managed by E.P. Ferry. E.P. was frequently ill. I became his secretary, and managed the Anchor Mine, then the Woodside Mine and others. And then I took on management of the Union Concentrating Company that processed the Woodside Mine ore. Park City needed clean water, so I helped get the Park City Water Works going, as well as the Park City Electric Company.
In 1889, John Judge and Albion Emery and I bought out some owners of the Mayflower Mine, and joined with David Keith and Tom Kearns. It was a strange partnership. I already had a full-time job as E. P. Ferry’s secretary; Keith was foreman at the Ontario; Judge was driving the Alliance Tunnel; and Emery had no knowledge of mining. So Kearns ended up managing the mine. In 1892, it looked like we were drilling into rich ore under the Silver King claim, which wasn’t showing much on the surface. So we purchased that claim and incorporated the Silver King Mining Company. I had a 20% interest, and it made me rich! Though Mary Belle and I moved to Salt Lake City a few years later, I remained on the Silver King board of directors for many years while I invested in banking and other mining prospects.
In our later years we spent some time in San Diego, where our adopted children went to school. But I was very involved in philanthropy in Salt Lake as a patron of the Children’s Orphanage and Day Nursery and the YMCA, among other civic organizations. I died in San Diego in December 1912, and I am buried in the Riceburg, Quebec Cemetery among the graves of 15 others in my extended family.
The Park City Museum is closed until further notice under State Health Department guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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