I really had to work at figuring out who to write about for this post. As far as I know, I have no Irish ancestry (maybe Ulster Scots?), and so many of my ancestors were just regular people who were born into tough circumstances. I finally landed on George Byers Ogilvie, my 4x great-grandfather, because there is no denying his great luck. I have studied his story for a very long time, and I still have some questions about him. I'm sure I'll be writing about him several times on this blog (I've already mentioned him in this post, as well as in my SLIG post, which also has a nice view of the Oquirrh Mountains) - so I'll try to just focus on this one moment in time, when the winds of fortune blew his way.
George arrived in Utah Territory with his family in 1855, and worked at cutting timber and running cattle along the Wasatch Front for several years.  The story goes that he was doing lumber work for an associate named Archibald Gardner (one of Gardner's saw mills is now a shopping destination in West Jordan, Utah), near Bingham Canyon, in the Oquirrh Mountains.
George is credited with discovering silver ore in Bingham Canyon in 1863. He worked with Archibald Gardner and other men to form the "West Mountain Quartz Mining District," which ran the length of the Oquirrh Mountains. The district included their specific mining claim for the ore discovered by George as "The Jordan Silver Mining Company." This became the first mining claim filed in Utah.
Despite this historic discovery, George moved his family to Nevada before his interest in this mine had a chance to pay off. His grandson reported that a man rode out to buy his shares from him for $25 each, prior to his death in 1879. George never reaped the rewards of his great fortune - his shares eventually became part of Bingham Copper Mine, the world's largest open pit mine. It is visible to the naked eye from space.
It has enriched many, and employed thousands, including my great-grandfather, who swept floors and moved debris, and my grandfather, who was an engineer for the smelter. I wonder what George would have thought of that? This may come as a surprise, but there are many reasons why I am grateful that my family did not benefit too much from this mine - I suppose, in a way, we have been lucky, too.
1. Jetta Stewart Brunson, “History of George Beyers Ogilvie,” biographical narrative; FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/8058896 : accessed 7 November 2017).
2. Daniel D. Coons, Biography of George Byers Ogilive [sic], Part 1, [publishing information unavailable], page 21; viewed on FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/7905705 : accessed 12 February 2017).
3. Coons, Biography of George Byers Ogilive [sic], Part 1, pages 21-24.
4. “Bingham Bulletin Notes,” (Salt Lake City, Utah) Salt Lake Herald, 16 December 1895, page 3; online database with images, Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 16 March 2018).
5. Photo of George Byers Ogilvie, circa 1870, digital image, FamilySearch
(https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/5207917 : accessed 16 March 2018).
6. “Notice: Office of the Vedette Silver and Copper Mining Company,” (Camp Douglas, Utah Territory) Union Vedette, 27 November 1863, page 2; online database with images, Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 16 March 2018).
7. George Francis Ogilvie, "George Beyers Ogilvie - Pioneer Elko County Rancher," Northeastern Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, 93-4, pages 135-136; citing George Francis Ogilvie, "George Beyers Ogilvie: Pioneer Rancher in Elko County," biographical narrative, Elko, Nevada, 12 June 1966; paper copy in possession of the author, 7 November 2017.
I'm Ginger Ogilvie, and I am absolutely, hopelessly hooked on genealogy!
© Keep Family History Services 2023