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James Stuart Douglas

(1868-1949)


1992 Inductee from Mining's Past


James S. Douglas was born at Harvey Hill Mine, Megantic Township, Quebec, and moved to Pennsylvania at age seven. His drive for independence first showed itself at age 17 when he returned to Canada to work in the construction of the Canadian National Railroad. He began his mining career working in an assay office in Bisbee, Arizona, but was soon appointed as Superintendent of three small mines operated by the Phelps Dodge Co.

During the first decade of the 20th century, Douglas, from his position of manager of Phelps Dodge's Moctezuma Copper Company mine and smelter in Sonora, oversaw the establishment of the smelter town of Douglas, Arizona (named for his father, Dr. James Douglas). He also oversaw the construction of a railroad from Douglas to the mines, and organized the Bank of Bisbee and the Bank of Douglas. While in Mexico, Douglas showed his practical bent in earning his nickname of “Rawhide Jimmy” when he ordered the use of rawhide to protect the rollers of an incline from damage by cables. With the onset of World War I, Douglas volunteered his services as a "dollar-a-year" man in supervising the Red Cross stores in France for the entire Western Front. For this, he was decorated by the French government as a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. In 1922, Douglas took over the reorganization of the United Verde Extension mine in Jerome, and after four years struck the bonanza that made the UVX famous. Douglas guided the UVX through labor unrest, the Great Depression, and unstable copper prices to a 20-year production record of $130 million, paying stockholders more than $50 million in dividends.


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