Way We Were: Park City’s D.C. McLaughlin Family | ParkRecord.com

Way We Were: Park City’s D.C. McLaughlin Family

Diane Knispel Park City Museum Director of Education
A portrait of David McLaughlin, N. B. White, J. T. Ferguson, and Albion Emery. McLaughlin and Emery were both investors in the Silver King Mine, making it likely the other two were as well. | Park City Historical Society & Museum, David Keith III Collection

David Chase McLaughlin’s parents had grown up in Scotland and met on the same ship coming to America, where he was born in Illinois in 1854. The family eventually settled in Michigan where they became prominent members of society. His father was a well-known merchant, clerk, and attorney who was on the Board of Education for many years; his brother James was an attorney and a member of the House of Representatives; his brother William was a banker; and his brother Andrew was a Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian.

Like his family members, David too was successful. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a law degree and practiced law in Michigan before moving to Park City, where he continued to practice law and invested in local mining companies. He also worked as an agent for Park City Townsite Company, where he later became a trustee and then purchased the business, which he led up until the time of his death.

He was one of the top shareholders in the Quincy Mine (later part of the Daly West) and invested in the Silver King and Crescent Mines. According to the Park Record, he made a fortune with his Quincy Mine holdings. With some of his money, he also invested in real estate. Additionally, he was President of the Park City School Board for many years, as he was interested in educational matters. David was also a receiver for the Park City Bank.

David married a woman named Henrietta “Etta” Young and they had a daughter, Isabel, named after David’s mother. The McLaughlin family lived at 27 Hillside Avenue for a while, but in 1899 were living in a house on Park Avenue. The Park Record reported that David’s mother Isabel, not daughter, was visiting and died while staying with the family.

Unfortunately, David died young at the age of 46 years old in 1901. He is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Salt Lake City. His wife and daughter were quite wealthy due to the investments David made during his lifetime. Etta spent some of the money and moved abroad for a few years. While she was there she married W.A. McEnery, a physician. She died in 1907 due to heart trouble that she had experienced for years and was buried at the Mount Olivet Cemetery with David. 

Isabel went through a lot after her mother’s death. Both her uncle Andrew and Mr. McEnery were listed in Etta’s will, so they engaged in a lawsuit about who would be her legal guardian. Etta’s family did not like McEnery and had disapproved of the marriage. It was decided in court that Andrew McLaughlin would be her guardian. But then, when she was twenty-four years old, Isabel married W.A. McEnery, her stepfather. The newspapers say that fraud was used to induce the marriage. Isabel got her marriage annulled in 1930 – as marriage of a stepdaughter and stepfather is illegal in England – and, in court, took back her maiden name. Isabel returned to the Utah in 1929 and lived in Salt Lake City for the rest of her life. She was active in the public library and was married again in 1945 to Witcher Walker. She died two years later in 1947. 


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