The Great Famine and crushing poverty drove millions of Irish people to America’s shores in the 19th century. While many settled in Eastern cities, others found their way to the frontier, seeking a lucky strike in the mining towns along the Comstock Lode (present-day Nevada). Among them was a partnership of four Irishmen: John Mackay, James Flood, James Fair and William O’Brien. Their shares in silver mines included the “Big Bonanza,” a strike that produced more than $400 million of ore in just over four years, making the “Silver Kings” among the wealthiest men in the world.
Whether due to timing, hard work or “the luck of the Irish,” their story lends credibility that the adage could have its origins in the West.
Arizona’s Official Historian Marshall Trimble gives a humorous overview of the lucky (and not so fortunate) Irishmen that traveled west.
Included with museum admission; free to museum members.