Biography of William S. McCornick
Utah Biographies





WILLIAM SYLVESTER McCORNICK
William S. McCormick, banker, mining magnate, promoter of railroads, and builder of great enterprises, is one of the stalwart figures of the great State of Utah, and one of the foremost and best known men of the inter-mountain country. He was born near Piston. Ontario, Canada, September 14, 1837. His parents were George and Mary McCormick, and his mother's maiden name was Vance. They were farmers, and Mr. McCornick spent his early days at hard manual labor, doing what fell to his lot to assist his parents. His education was obtained at the public schools but, as he was a boy of more than ordinary intelligence, he determined to succeed, and educated himself in a practical manner. He remained at home until twenty one, when he decided to make his own way in life. Being lured by the golden opportunities that California then offered he went there and lived for two years as a rancher near Marysville. Early in the sixties the fame of the great Comstock lode drew him to Nevada, where he spent the next eleven years, engaged in lumbering and mining, and here laid the foundation of the great fortune now credited to him. He lived a year in Virginia City seven in Austin, two in Hamilton, and one in Belmont. He then turned to Salt Lake City, arriving on May 5, 1873. In June of the same year he established the banking business which has grown with the city, and which today, under the name of McCornick & Company, is beyond question the largest financial institution of its kind between the Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean.

Mr. McCornick's experience as a mining man in Nevada gave foretaste for larger operations in the same line in Utah. Recognizing early the wonderful mineral resources and possibilities of Utah, and prudently investing much of his wealth in mines. he is today a large owner in some of the most valuable mining properties in the west, notably the Silver King, Daly West, Centennial-Eureka, and Grand Central, all of them among the heaviest dividend payers in the region. He is also interested in the American Smelting and Refining Company, and an officer and director in many of the most important industrial, mining, and financial concerns in the inter-mountain country.

The calm, farseeing judgment of Mr. McCornick has not only resulted in his financial eminence, but has redounded to the advantage of the State at large. An almost unerring gift for distinguishing between men who are horn to succeed, and those seemingly destined to fail, backed by money accumulated through recognized ability, has enabled him to foster both public and individual enterprises that have inured to the lasting advantage of Salt Lake City and the State of Utah, and in many cases, public and private, the timely help of this man, and a keen foresight of the issues, has saved many from personal failure, and allied business interests from financial disaster.

Mr. McCornick, while not a politician, has always taken a deep interest in public affairs, and has worked zealously to better conditions and to help the State. In 1888 Mr. McCormick was elected to the common council of Salt Lake City. Some years later he was again elected and served the city as President of the Council. For almost twenty years he was president of the Board of Trustees of the State Agricultural College, which has grown into a great institution, and that largely through his progressive management. He takes a deep interest in education. He was the first president of the Alta Club, is a lover of fine horses, and has possessed a stable containing some of the swiftest roadsters in Utah.

Mr. McCormick was married in January, 1867, to Miss Hannah Keogh of Bellville, Ontario, a union which resulted in the birth of ten children: William (deceased). Emma. Henry A., Harry (deceased), Clarence K., Willis S., Lewis B., Anna, Albert V., and Genevieve. Every advantage that education and travel offer has been accorded their children, and largely shared by Mr. and Mrs. McCornick.

From:
Sketches of the Inter-Mountain States
1847 - 1909
Utah Idaho Nevada
Published by: The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake City, Utah 1909


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