Blooded horses in Jamestown in 1901

One of the horses, Scottish Chieftain, won the Belmont Stakes in 1897.

JSSP Keith Norman Column Sig

From time to time, the rich and famous passed through Jamestown back in the early days.

Marcus Daly lived in Montana but had business interests on the East Coast and Europe. It would be logical for him to make a cross-country trip on the Northern Pacific right through Jamestown although I don’t find any newspaper accounts of him gracing our city.

Daly was a self-made man, born in Ireland but immigrated to the United States in time to travel west for the California gold mines in the 1850s. He had some success mining gold, more success in the silver mines of the Comstock Lode and hit it big in Montana at the Anaconda Copper Mine.

The Anaconda was a reasonably profitable silver mine until they found a vein of copper deeper in the mountain.

It was a good time to have a copper mine. Thomas Edison and his new electric lights were creating a demand for copper wiring all around the United States.


Daly made a lot of money and spent some of it on Montana politics. He also spent a lot of money on raising good horses for the big-time horse racing circuit.

One of Daly’s horses, Scottish Chieftain, won the Belmont Stakes in 1897 and still stands as the only Montana-owned and bred horse to win a Triple Crown race.

Daly maintained his horse breeding operation at Hamilton, Montana. The Daly Mansion at the horse farm is a tourist and historic site open to visitors and the occasional wedding today.

In November 1900, Daly died in New York City of complications of heart and kidney disease. He’d returned from Europe just weeks before and was not well enough to travel west to Montana. He is buried in Manhattan, New York.

Horses, especially fine blooded racehorses, are worth more on the East Coast than in Montana. In November 1901, some of those horses passed through Jamestown in fine style.

“Two trains of 15 cars each passed through the city Saturday,” wrote The Jamestown Alert. “The cars were of the passenger pattern and labeled ‘Special Horse Cars.’”

Each horse had its own attendant on the train and the animals were unloaded to stretch their legs. The Alert reported the horses seemed to enjoy the attention paid to them in Jamestown. The horses went on to a special bloodstock sale held at Madison Square Garden. The sale brought in more than $400,000 in 1901. Adjusted for inflation that would be almost $12.5 million today.

Which may have made those horses that passed through Jamestown in November of 1901 the most valuable animals to spend any time here in the Buffalo City.


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