James Ben Ali Haggin

At the beginning of the Twentieth Century, roughly a hundred years ago, James Ben Ali Haggin of Elmendorf, was famous as one of the era’s robber barons - a wealthy mining operator and turfman.

A letter addressed to J. B. Haggin, America, provided sufficient information to be delivered immediately to his New York office.  However, today his name is forgotten, except for parts of Kentucky, California, South Dakota and Montana.

Haggin, a lawyer by training, initially made his fortune in San Francisco during the California Gold Rush.  He was one of the leading members of San Francisco society during the Gilded Age, building the first mansion on Nob Hill.  One San Francisco paper referred to him as an arch millionaire.  Later, immense riches in silver, gold and copper from the Comstock lode, the Black Hills and Montana flowed into his bank account.

As his wealth grew, Haggin assembled the world’s largest thoroughbred stable and breeding farm in California and later the United States.  He controlled well over a million acres of ranch land.  In 1898, he purchased the historic Elmendorf thoroughbred farm and eventually relocated his thoroughbred operation to Kentucky.  He eventually accumulated over 8,900 acres of prime Bluegrass.

In Lexington, Haggin was known as the Laird of Elmendorf and his every visit reported on the front-page.  Elmendorf was probably the most famous thoroughbred farm in the world.  On these rolling acres, he built his new beautiful young wife a palatial mansion, known as Green Hills.

In 1901, James Ben Ali Haggin – The Ranch King of the West - was profiled as one of fifty “Millionaires and Kings of Enterprise.”  In 1907, it was reported that Haggin was the third richest man in America.  His net worth was estimated at between $300,000,000 and $1,000,000,000.  John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie were ranked first and second.[1]

A more conservative estimate made after his death, pegged his net worth at $50,000,000.[2]  In 1919, the appraised value of Haggin’s estate, for New York inheritance tax, was $24,162,671.  This figure excluded real estate in Kentucky and California, as well as, any transfers before his death.[3]  An estimate of the equivalent value today would be between two and three billion dollars.

Today, his descendants remain prominent in the thoroughbred industry and his name is remembered with the Ben Ali Stakes, at Keeneland.  Unfortunately, Elmendorf has been through a series of owners and subdivided into a faction of its former acreage.


James Ben Ali Haggin was born on December 9, 1822, at Harrodsburg, the son of Terah Temple (1793-1862) and Adeline Ben Ali (1799-1853) Haggin[a].  His father was a prominent attorney in Central Kentucky.  His mother was reported as a woman of refinement, who owned the first piano in Harrodsburg.  It was reported “men on court day would assemble in front of her house to catch the music that tinkled from her fingers.”[4]

Haggin attended Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, near his family’s home.  In 1844, after reading for the law at his father’s office, he passed the bar and established a legal practice in Shelbyville.  After an unsuccessful campaign for Judge of the Police Court, he moved to Natchez, Mississippi and continued in the legal profession.  Later, Haggin would reminisce “the disappointment in his ambition to preside over the Police Court tribunal was the keenest of his life.”[5]


Around 1845, Haggin moved to Natchez, Mississippi, one of the main cotton ports on the Mississippi River.  He became a partner with Colonel Lewis Sanders, Jr.[b], another Kentuckian, who was a leading member of the bar in Natchez.  On December 28, 1846, Haggin married Eliza Jane Sanders, the daughter of his law partner.  After their marriage, the Haggins lived next door to the Sanders.[6]  Haggin later moved to New Orleans, where he practiced law briefly.

They had five children, who were:

      1) Louis Terah, born 1847 in Mississippi, died 1929.

      2) James Ben Ali, Jr., born 1853 in Sacramento, died 1891.

      3) Margaret (Rita) Sanders, born 1855 in San Francisco, died after 1895.

      4) Adeline Ben Ali, born 1856 in San Francisco, died 1901,

      5) Edith Hunter, born 1858 in San Francisco, died 1911.

California Gold Rush:

After the discovery of gold in California, Haggin decided to seek his fortune in California.  He later recounted:

“I sailed aboard the Georgia from New Orleans on February 12, 1850 for California, landing at a place on the Isthmus of Panama called Navy Bay, at or near what was subsequently Aspinwall;  thence took a small row-boat at the mouth of the Chagres River to a place called Gorgona, whence the emigrants to California departed for Panama by mules or on foot.  I, with my friends, left on foot.  There was no vehicle road.  Baggage and passengers were carried mule-back on trails.”

“I had tickets for the Tennessee, a ship that had been sent around to the Pacific, and waited at Panama a month for her.  There was hardly a day but there was a riot between the emigrants and the natives.  The native Panama soldiers undertook from time to time to quell the riots, and generally got the worst of it.  However, in the course of time the Tennessee made her appearance, and when she should have taken at the outside a thousand passengers, she had two thousand crowed in every nook and corner.  She made the trip in about 22 days, and we entered the Golden Gate a glorious Sunday morning.”

“At the time there were no wharves; the ship had to cast anchor in the bay, and the passengers took small boats to land.”[7]

After landing, he made his way to Sacramento, California, the state capital.

Law Partnership:

In October 1850, Haggin established a law practice with A. C. Munson and Milton S. Latham[c], as Haggin, Latham & Munson, in Sacramento.  Latham later become California’s Governor and Senator.  Munson later become a judge and leading member of the bar in California.  Their offices were located in the Read’s Building, on J and 3rd Streets, home to many of Sacramento’s lawyers.[8]

In November 1850, the U. S. Census recorded Haggin as a lawyer, living in Sacramento, with a net worth of $8,000.  This was one of the larger new worth listed in the census records.

Later, Haggin practiced business law with Tod Robinson and Horace O. Beatty, as Robinson, Beatty & Haggin.[d]  Another lawyer, Lloyd Tevis[e] maintained an office adjacent to Haggin and practiced real estate law.  Haggin also knew Tevis, who practiced law in Shelbyville at the same time.  Haggin and Tevis later established Haggin & Tevis, Attorneys.  Their legal practice concentrated on business, real estate, mining and financial law.[9]

In 1853, both Haggin and Tevis resettled in San Francisco.  San Francisco in 1848 was a small settlement, with a population of less than 1,000.  Within five and ten years, the population jumped to over 25,000 and 75,000, respectively.  The population of California during this period expanded to over 300,000.

The partnership between Haggin and Tevis lasted until Tevis’ death, in 1899.  In 1854, Tevis married Susan G. Sanders, sister of Haggin’s wife (she was living with the Haggins).  It was reported that:

their partnership was close and absolute in virtually all matters for just under 50 years.  The sole purpose was the acquisition of personal wealth.  The always shrewd Tevis was the negotiator and manipulator.  And though regarded as the more dominant of the partners, the cold, silent and secretive Haggin frequently saved Tevis from embarrassment and financial setbacks”[x] and

“their business as brokers and capitalist soon prevented them from seeking practice as attorneys, and they never became prominent at the bar, but achieved great success otherwise, both having become millionaires.”[xi]

Haggin was later described as:

“James B. Haggin, a man of wonderful shrewdness, and remarkable for his reserved dignity, is well known in a business way, over a wider field than America affords.  His varied achievements in the world of business and sport have astonished his early Sacramento associates.” [xii] and

“Haggin was a man of set habits and of great mental absorption.  At afternoons, he usually left his office at 3 o'clock.  Sometimes a brougham would be in waiting and he would take a short drive; but more frequently he would walk to his residence, with eyes fixed on the side-walk, seeing no one, hearing nothing, his mind apparently engrossed with thought upon some knotty problem not yet solved to his satisfaction.”[xiii]


The Haggins purchased a large residence on Rincon Hill, located south of Montgomery Street.  The area was considered the prestigious neighborhood during the 1850s and 1860s.[xiv]

Haggin often listed his occupation as capitalist.  His investments varied, but fell into four distinctive areas – real estate, utilities, transportation and mining.  Haggin accumulated almost 500,000 areas in California, with another 980,000 acres in Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico.  He helped charter the major gas, water and ice companies in San Francisco.  His transportation investment ranged from railroad, steamships to stage lines.  His mining investment ranged from Alaska to South America and Korea.  It was stated:

“there is scarcely a work or project of magnitude of the Pacific Coast, from the western slope of the Rocky mountains to the ocean shore, from the Mexican boundary line to the British dominion, in which they are not largely or materially interested; but neither Mr. Haggin nor Mr. Tevis ever engages in any of the many more speculative schemes which have not the merit of solid foundation or intrinsic worth.”[xv]

“I do not mean that he invested recklessly or without mature investigation, but when he once made up his mind, a few millions, more or less, never moved him from his purpose.  The broad, liberal way he played the game had more to do with the development of the West than perhaps anything else.”

“He was the only one I ever knew who remembered the men who helped to give him wealth.  Every man, without exception, who rendered Haggin faithful, efficient service, he made rich.  And he was very loyal to his friends.  At a crisis of his fortune, Haggin saved George Hearst from ruin at a sacrifice to himself.”

During 1853 and 1854, Haggin helped organize the California State Telegraph and California Steam Navigation Companies.  In 1856, he was one of the organizers of the Spring Valley Water Company, which supplied San Francisco with clean water.

During 1856, the Haggin family visited New York and attended the West Point graduation of William P. Sanders[6], his brother-in-law.[xvi]  In June 1859, the Haggins and their eldest child, Louis, traveled to Europe, spending about three months in London and Paris.  Their son was educated in French, Swiss and English schools.  During 1865, the Haggins visited Europe again with their son, Ben Ali.[xvii]

In 1860, Haggin acquired one-sixth interest in the Ophir Mine, near Virginia City, Nevada, of the Comstock Lode.  The mine was one of the early bonanza silver mines.          

In 1860, Haggin signed a petition supporting John C. Breckinridge, the southern Democratic candidate for President.  After the election of Abraham Lincoln, a number of southern states seceded from the United States and the Civil War began the next year.  The only reference discovered, made by Haggin on the Civil War, was to another attorney, Oscar T. Shuck, who indicated that the war should be fought against Canada, not the Confederacy.  Haggin remarked – “I don't intend to think much about it." [xviii]

In 1862, Haggin and Tevis acquired Rancho del Paso, an old Mexican land grant of 44,371 acres, on the northern outskirts of Sacramento, California.  The partners developed the ranch into one of the larger cattle and sheep operations in California.  Later, during the 1870s, Haggin established the world’s largest thoroughbred breeding operations on the ranch.

In 1862, Haggin also was one of the investors in the Cliff House and the Point Lobos Road Company, from San Francisco to Ocean Beach, passing the famed Cliff House.  The Cliff House was the gathering place for San Francisco society.

San Francisco Society:

During the 1860s, as the profits from the silver mines in the Sierra Nevada accumulated, the wealthy began building mansions on Rincon Hill, and later Nob Hill.  There were 15 to 20 leading families that dominated San Francisco for the next 40 years.  These included the Haggin and Tevis families, and their partners - George Hearst, Marcus Daly and Adolph Sutro.  In addition, these families included Governor Milton S. Latham, William Matson (steamships), Claus Spreckels (sugar) and Elias J. “Lucky” Baldwin (mining stocks), as well as, William Ralston, Darius Ogden Mills, and William Sharon of the Bank of California; John J. Valentine of Wells Fargo & Company; John W. Mackay, James G. Fair, William S. O’Brien, and James C. Flood of the Comstock Lode; Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, Mark Hopkins and Collis P. Huntington of the Central Pacific Railroad.

During the early 1860s, Haggin developed a fondness for coaching and was well known for driving a Phaeton carriage, with a pairs of match horses.  A Phaeton was a carriage, with four large wheels.  He frequently raced along the toll road to Ocean Beach, on the way to Cliff House.  In 1864, he was one of the organizers of the Bay View Racetrack, on Hunters Point.  Haggin’s coaching associates were often Banker William C. Ralston and Senator Milton S. Latham.  In the late 1870s, after Ralston’s death and Latham’s financial embarrassment, Haggin withdrew from carriage racing.[xix]  In addition, Haggin was well known for his coach and four, pulled by a match pair of horses in gold plated harness, with a coachman and footman in livery.

In 1865, he was an investor in the Sutro Tunnel, to drain the mines around Virginia City.  During 1868, the Black Diamond Coal Company, California Dry Dock Company and Risdon Iron Works were formed, with Haggin as one of the primary stockholders.  In May 1868, Lloyd Tevis established the Pacific Union Express Company, which was consolidated in 1870 with the Wells Fargo & Company (Haggin became Vice President in 1872).  In September 1868, Haggin was a member of the syndicate that acquired the Southern Pacific Railroad.  In 1870, another syndicate of investors (including Haggin) formed the City Gas Company.

SS Persia of the Cunard Line, the world’s largest steamship at the time

In November 1865, Haggin returned to New York aboard the SS Persia, from a tour of Europe.  He was traveling alone, his family remained in Europe.[xx]

In 1871, one of San Francisco’s newspapers published a list of the millionaires in the city. [xxi]  The listing included:

Leland Stanford

     Central Pacific Railroad


Ben Holladay

Stage Lines


Michael Reese

Real estate and loans


James Phelan

Liquor and real estate


D. O. Mills

Bank of California


Alvinza Haywood

Gold mining


James Lick

Pianos and real estate


John Parrott

Real estate


Henry Miller



James B. Haggin

Wells Fargo & Co.


Lloyd Tevis

Wells Fargo & Co.


William C. Ralston

Bank of California



Nob Hill:

In the 1870s, San Francisco’s Nob Hill became:

“the citadel of the wealthy of the entire Pacific Coast.  Its progenitors were James Ben Ali Haggin and Lloyd Tevis, two of the most considerable citizens in the fabulous Nob Hill group which included Leland Stanford, Collis P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker, the railroad builders; Senator George Hearst, the mining magnate, Darius O. Mills, who carried his vast fortune back with him to New York; Henry Miller, the cattle king; and the extraordinary partnership of Flood, Fair, Mackay and O’Brien, who rose to their power in the second phase of the Comstock Lode and reaped its richest rewards.”[xxii]

In 1872, the Haggin Mansion was the first mansion to be built on top of Nob Hill[7].  The house was located on the southeast corner of Taylor and Washington Streets.  The mansion and stables occupied the whole block, bounded by Taylor, Washington, Mason and Clay Streets.

The Haggin Mansion, Nob Hill, San Francisco   <Haggin.Org>

The mansion was three stories, with over 32,000 square feet, measuring 90 feet square, with an 86-foot cupola.  The house was designed by Raun & Taylor, architects, containing 61 rooms and 11 baths.  The mansion was built of brick and stone, with a mansard title roof.  The cupola at the front featured a panoramic view of San Francisco and the bay.  The interior was of laurel and French walnut woods.

The basement, first and second floor contained ceilings of 13 feet, 16 feet and 15 feet, respectively.  The basement contained a billiard room (20 by 28 feet), wine cellar, laundry room and service areas.  The main entrance was from Taylor Street.  The first floor contained a vestibule, a parlor (52 by 20 feet) on the left, a central hallway and library, dining room (served by a dumb waiter) on the right.  The second floor contained the bedrooms, ranging in size from 20 by 30 feet, to 18 by 20 feet.  Each bedroom had a private bath, closets and balcony.  The third floor contained additional bedrooms, with private baths, storerooms and attic space.

On the same block, but fronting on Mason Street, Haggin constructed a large, luxurious stable, with capacity of 18 carriages and 40 horses.  The main stable was 28 by 61 feet, with two wings of 18 by 33 feet.  The main stable was two stories, with three bedrooms (with private baths) and several storage rooms on the second floor.[xxiii]

The mansion was reported to be the largest house on Nob Hill, decorated with antique furniture, paintings and art objects.  A number of these painting and treasures were collected during Haggin’s European travels.

The Haggins were famous for hosting elegant balls, midnight supper parties and galas in the stable.  One of the journalists of the day indicated that “no one may expect to enter within the charmed circle of Taylor Street and other hills, who is tabooed by the Haggins and Tevises.”

In 1880, the Haggin’s domestic staff included an Irish steward, an Irish laundress, a French cook, a Chinese cook, a waiter, a lady’s maid (from the Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein), an Irish chambermaid and a Swiss gardener.[xxiv]

On April 17, 1906, Haggin held an after-opera supper for Enrico Caruso, who just performed Carmen, at the San Francisco Opera House.  Caruso was billed as the world’s greatest tenor.  The party was held in the stables, behind the mansion.  The stables were specially decorated for the event.  Early the next morning, San Francisco was struck with the famous earthquake and the mansion was destroyed by fire the day after.  Haggin commented that his horses acting up before the earthquake, which “was a little puzzling.  I put it down to the weather.”  The block was auctioned in 1909 and subdivided into 16 lots.[xxv]


In 1872, Haggin, Tevis and George Hearst purchased the Ontario claim, near Park City, Utah for $27,000.  Over the next four years, the partnership developed the mine and built a reduction works for the ore.  In 1876, the mine began production, which generated profits of almost $1,500,000 during the first 18 months.  The mine became one of the larger silver mines and continued to operate until 1901. 

In 1875, William Ralston built the Palace Hotel, on Montgomery Street, in San Francisco.  The hotel cost over $5,000,000, billed as the most luxurious in the nation and on par with the grand hotels in Europe.  The hotel became the gathering place for the leading businessmen of the city, where after lunch they met at the bar.  It was stated that

“the state of California was run from the Palace bar . . . <where you could find> Governor Stanford, Lloyd Tevis and the elegant James Ben Ali Haggin . . . . <with> boiled shirts, Prince Albert coats and 18-carat watch chains.”[xxvi]

During 1877, Haggin, Tevis and Hearst purchased the Homestake claim, near Deadwood, in the Dakota Territory.  The partnership formed the Homestake Mining Company, which became the world’s largest producer of gold.

In 1878 and 1879, the California Street Cable Railroad Company and Central Pacific Oil Company were formed, with Haggin as a director.  In 1885, the Anglo-Nevada Assurance Corporation was also organized, with Haggin serving as a director.

In 1881, Haggin, Tevis and Hearst, with Mark Daly, purchased the Anaconda mine, in Butte, Montana.  Within five years, the mine became the world’s largest copper mine.  Haggin, and his partners, became the leading mining operators in the west.  Eventually, Haggin would be involved in over 160 mining projects, ranging from Alaska to Chile.

Cigarette Card, 1888

Racing Stable:

During 1873, Haggin established a thoroughbred breeding center on Rancho del Paso.  By 1880s, the ranch became the world’s largest thoroughbred nursery.  In 1881, he and his son, Ben Ali Haggin, established a racing stable.  Their silks were blue and orange.  The stable raced primarily on the west coast, until 1886, when they established an eastern stable in New York.  Over the next five years, the Haggins won every important race on both coasts.  In 1886, Haggin won the Kentucky Derby, with Ben Ali (named after his son).  Two horses owned by the stable - Firenze and Salvator - won over $100,000 in prize money.

On February 18, 1891, Ben Ali Haggin died and Haggin withdrew from racing.  He continued his breeding ranch.

Mills Building:

Haggin maintained his residence in San Francisco, but during the 1880s began spending time in New York to oversee his racing stable and business interests.

In 1882, Darius O. Mills built the Mills Building, at 15 Broad Street and Exchange Place, in the heart of the Wall Street financial district in New York.  The building was the headquarters of Southern Pacific Railroad, which Haggin was a director.  In addition, Haggin and Richard P. Lounsbery[8] established their private offices in the upper floors of the building.  These offices were also used by Haggin’s various mining interests, including the Ontario Mining Company, Homestake Mining Company, Father DeSmet Consolidated Gold Mining Company, Anaconda Mining Company, Jocuistita Mining Company and Cerro de Pasco Mining Company.

SS Umbria, circa 1890

In May 1889, Haggin returned from a trip abroad on the SS Serbia, with his servant James Somerville.  During the summer of 1890, Haggin again visited England on a business trip.  On August 16, 1890, he returned to New York, from Liverpool, England, aboard the SS Umbria.  He was a first class, saloon passenger and accompanied by his servant.  The fare was $175.[xxvii]


In September 1890, Haggin ordered a private palace car[9] from the Pullman Car Company, Chicago, that he named Salvator, after his favorite thoroughbred.  The car’s specifications included an interior made of mahogany, with upholstery furniture, drapes and carpets.  The interior was designed by W. & J. Sloane, of New York and San Francisco.  The head end of the car contained a galley, followed by quarters for the staff, the master stateroom (with private bath, with hot and cold water), several smaller staterooms (for guests), a combination drawing and dining room (with expanded seating for 8) and a rear brass-railed observation platform.

<Pullman Archives>

The car’s staff included a steward and a chef from Foyot’s, in Paris.  The table service was made of solid gold by Shreve of San Francisco, silversmiths.  The car was stocked with the finest foods, wines, brandies and whiskies.  Frequent guests included railroad baron Charles Crocker, California attorney Hall MacAllister, Secretary of the Navy William C. Whitney and turfman James R. Keene.  He also hosted Sir Thomas Fermor-Hesketh, 7th Baron of Hesketh, who was traveling transcontinental to his marriage to Flora Sharon, heir of William Sharon.[xxviii]

<Pullman Archives>

In February 1892, Eila Haggin, daughter of Louis T. Haggin, married Count Festetics de Tolna, in New York.  The count was introduced to his bride in Paris, while attending a ball at the Austrian embassy.  Her grandfather gave her a dowry of one million francs (roughly $200,000).  The couple built a schooner in San Francisco and honeymooned exploring the South Pacific.  There adventure was reported in the newspapers and they were rumored eaten by cannibals several times.  In 1900, she returned to New York and divorced her husband.

New York City:

After his first wife’s death on May 23, 1894, he closed the Nob Hill mansion and moved to New York, to direct his extensive investments.

In 1895, Louis T. Haggin established the Jalapa Railway & Power Company, in Mexico.  His father was a director and primary stockholder of the company.

Silver Trust:

In 1896, Haggin organized the Silver Trust, to speculate in the silver market.  Since 1893, the country had been in a depression and the silver market depressed.  The trust comprised of the major silver producers[10], which by limiting production increased the price.  One report indicated “out of the combine Mr. Haggin is reputed to have cleared for himself and associates the stupendous sum of $60,000,000.”[xxix]

Haggin was a lifelong Democrat, but conservative in his views.  He never became involved directly in politics.  In 1896, he failed to support William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic candidate, during the Presidential election.  In 1900, he was also a support of Theodore Roosevelt, for New York governor and later president.  Roosevelt was a family friend of Haggin.[xxx]

In October 1897, Haggin purchased the historic Elmendorf Stock Farm, near Lexington, Kentucky.  Previously, Haggin had purchased Firenze, Ben Ali and Salvator from Elmendorf ten years before.  After his remarriage, the couple spent a portion of every year on the farm.  Haggin used his vast wealth to build a palatial mansion for his new wife and acquired almost 9,000 acres in the bluegrass.  Eventually, Haggin relocated his thoroughbred operations to Kentucky.

Margaret Voorhies Haggin

Second Marriage:

On December 30, 1897, Haggin married Margaret (Pearl) Sanders Voorhies, a niece of his first wife.[11]  She was 28 years old, while Haggin was 74 years old.  They were married by the Rev. G. H. Routt, pastor of the Versailles Presbyterian Church, at the residence of her stepfather, James P. Amsden.  She was described as “one of the most beautiful women in Kentucky.  She is tall, lithe and graceful, has splendid gray eyes and golden brown hair and has long been a belle in the State.”  She was the daughter of George and Laura E. Voorhies.  After their marriage, the Haggins left Versailles for Lexington, in his private car.  In Lexington, they attended the afternoon opera and then left for Cincinnati, at 4:30 pm, on the Queen & Crescent for New York.[xxxi]

In 1899, Haggin was one of the investors in the American Car & Foundry Company and International Steam Pump Company.  Both firms were major consolidations of the railcar and pump industries.

New York Society:

After moving to New York, Haggin became a fixture in society (especially after his second marriage).  In 1893, Haggin became a Fellow of the American Museum of Natural History, in Central Park.  He donated a large mass of silver and copper ore, taken from the Anaconda Copper Mine, weighting 6,041 pounds.  The sample is still displayed in the west wing of the museum.

In addition, during 1893, Haggin invested $100,000 in the Metropolitan Opera & Real Estate Company, which was rebuilding the opera house (destroyed by fire).  The opera season was from November to April.  Haggin’s private box, No. 34, was located on the parterre level[12], at the center of the opera house.  His box was next to J. Pierpont Morgan.

By the late nineteenth century, New York’s wealthiest families spent the summer social season in the resorts of Bar Harbor, Maine and Newport, Rhode Island.  These families built grand mansions, which were called cottages, to entertain their family and friends.  In 1901, the Haggins rented the Dutch Cottage, at Bar Harbor, for the summer.  The season began in early July and lasted until the end of summer.[xxxii]  

During the next few years, the Haggin’s rented Arleigh, the Pratt estate, at Newport for the summer season.  Frequent notices of the Haggin’s entertaining appeared in the New York Times.  On August 3, 1907, Mrs. Haggin held a reception and musicale at Arleigh.  The music was provided by Marion Gordon Kentry.  In August 1911, the Haggins held a dinner and dance for Miss Tevis Haggin Camden, daughter of Johnson N. Camden (Mrs. Haggin’s cousin).  [xxxiii]

In February 1900, Governor Theodore Roosevelt, of New York, appointed Haggin as a delegate to the International Mining Congress, to be held in Milwaukee during June.  One item reviewed by the congress was the import and export tariffs on copper.[xxxiv]

Haggin was a member of the Metropolitan, Union, Tuxedo, Riding and Turf & Field Clubs.  The Metropolitan Club, commonly known as the Millionaires' Club, was one of the most elite private social clubs in New York City.  The club was formed in 1891 by J. Pierpont Morgan, William K. Vanderbilt and James Roosevelt.  The Tuxedo Club was founded by Pierre Lorillard, IV, in Tuxedo Park, New York.[xxxv]

New York Real Estate:

In December 1899, Haggin purchased a ten-story building, containing a store on the first floor and apartments in the upper floors.  The building was located on southwest corner of Broadway and White Street.  Previously, Haggin had acquired another 10-story building on the corner of Broadway and Broome Street.  Both buildings were assessed for $1,000,000.[xxxvi]

In February 1900, Haggin purchased at auction the apartment buildings at 70 and 72 Franklin Streets (for $128,000) and 353 to 357 Broadway (for $413,000).[xxxvii]  In April 1900, Haggin purchased a lot on the south side of 52nd Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues.[xxxviii]

In June 1901, Haggin obtained the Progressive Club building on Fifth Avenue, at 63rd Street.  The lot was 100.5 feet street front and 100 feet deep.  The purchase price was around $700,000.  The newspapers reported that he planned to build a large mansion on the site.[xxxix]

In 1902, Haggin organized the Cerro de Pasco Mining Company, with a number of prominent New York financiers.  Haggin became the company’s President and largest stockholder.  The company acquired the Cerro de Pasco mine in Peru.  The mine would become one of the world’s largest producers of copper.

New York Mansion:

When Haggin moved to New York, he purchased the old Crocker Mansion, at 587 Fifth Avenue.  Fifth Avenue was then known as Millionaires Row.  After renovating the building, he moved in with his daughter, Edith Hunter Lounsbery.  After his marriage, he decided to build a larger mansion.

In 1901, he purchased a residence on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 64th Street, known as 1 East 64th Street.  He demolished the building to obtain the lot, which measured 100 feet by 100 feet.  He erected a mansion on the site.  The house was built of bricks, with a marble façade, five stories in height, with a full basement.  The house contained over 30,000 square feet.  The firm of Copeland & Dole, Architects of New York, designed the mansion, with an adjoining 15,000 square foot mansion facing 64th Street.  The Haggin Mansion was completed in 1903, at the cost of $700,000.[xl]

Haggin Mansion, on Fifth Avenue, built between 1901 and 1903, at the same time as Green Hills in Kentucky

In May 1905, Mabel McAfee (Haggin’s granddaughter) was married to George R. Preston in New York.  Haggin gave away the bride.  His wedding gift was a diamond necklace.  After the ceremony, Haggin hosted a reception and breakfast at his Fifth Avenue home.[xli]

Art Collection:

In 1883, Haggin was one of the founders of the San Francisco Art Association, which later became the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art.  Haggin began to accumulate paintings to decorate his Nob Hill mansion.  Haggin became a patron of Albert Bierstadt, one of the noted landscape artists of the West.  Haggin owned a number of his landscapes.  His collection also included 18th and 19th century paintings, landscapes and portraits from the French, English and Dutch schools.  Artists including Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Turner, Schreyer, Corot and Daubigny.[xlii]

A Journey Through Algeria, by Jean Leon Gerome

In June 1912, Pearl Haggin (traveling alone) returned to New York, aboard the RMS Olympic.[xliii]

In June 1913, the society painter Princess Vilma Lwoff-Parlaghy filed suit against Haggin for $25,000 for a portrait.  The Princess had just completed the portrait and claimed that it was worth $25,000.  Haggin on the other hand disagreed over the amount, her standard charge had been $10,000.  The Princess claimed that the value was because Haggin “enjoyed the privilege of posing in the Princess Catherine de Medici’s chair, the vary chair in which the Kaiser posed.”  Haggin settled later for less than the $25,000.[xliv]

Villa Rosa:

In September 1913, Haggin purchased Villa Rosa, a large summer cottage located on Bellevue Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island.  The cottage was owned by E. Rollins Morse, son of Samuel Morse (the inventor of Morse Code).  The price was reported to be $350,000.  The Haggins had previously summered at the Arleigh, the Pratt mansion.[xlv]

Haggin arrived at Villa Rosa in early June 1914, for the summer season.  Haggin died on September 13, 1914, at Villa Rosa, Newport, Rhode Island, after a month long illness.  He was 92 years old.  He was buried in Woodland Cemetery, New York, in the family mausoleum.  His funeral was private, with his wife, Louis T. Haggin, Eila Haggin, Henry Pierpont Perry and other members of the family.  At the cemetery, his staff jointed the family.[xlvi]

In April 1914, a new powerhouse was built for the dairy and located adjacent to the bottling plant.  The powerhouse was built to match the existing dairy plant and barn.  The powerhouse also housed the farm’s bakery, laundry, ice making and ice cream departments.  Both the bakery and ice cream sections were finished with tile from floor to ceiling.  In addition, electrical power was supplied to the machinery of the dairy, including an ice cream freezer, cake mixer and chocolate cooker.  The bakery had the capacity of 1,600 loaves per hour.  These products were sold in sealed wrapping to insure their cleanliness.[xlvii]

After Haggin’s death in 1914, the dairy closed around 1917.  In 1917, the Haggin estate began the dispersal of the dairy herd.  In 1918, George S. Bell established his own retail dairy under his name.  In 1927, Bell consolidated his operations into the Dixie Bell Dairy, which operated until 1973.[xlviii]


[a]John Haggin (1753–1825) - paternal grandfather, was an early settler of Kentucky.  In 1775, he came to Kentucky with a party of hunters, which founded the city of Lexington, at McConnell Springs.  Later he lived near Frankfort and then Harrodsburg.  He was a lawyer and a judge on the first Kentucky Court of Appeals.  He had twelve children, including Terah Temple Haggin. 

Ibrahim Ben Ali (1756-1800) – maternal grandfather, was a physician and captain in the Janissaries, part of the Sultan of Turkey’s army.  His entire family was killed in Istanbul, when a mob revolted against the sultan.  He participated in the war with Russia and was wounded in several battles.  He was taken prisoner and confined near St. Petersburg, where he treated Russians and was given his freedom.  He then traveled around Europe for a period.  Eventually, he settled in Liverpool, England, where he met Dr. Adam Clarke.  Several years later, he moved to Philadelphia and later Baltimore, where he continued his medical practice.  He died of yellow fever in 1800.

[b] Lewis Sanders, Jr. (1796-1864) - was born in 1796, at Frankfort, Kentucky.  He married Margaret Hubbel Price (1804-1878) around 1823.  In 1832, he was Secretary of State for Kentucky, under Governor John Breathitt.  He also served as U. S. Attorney in Frankfort and was a noted breeder of thoroughbred horses.  They relocated to Natchez in 1839, where he was a close friend of Jefferson Davis.  He died in 1864, at Natchez Mississippi.  She died in 1878, in Versailles, Kentucky.  They had 11 children according to some records.

[c] Milton S. Latham (1827–1882) - served as Governor of California for only five days, from January 9 to January 14, 1860.  He resigned to accept a vacant seat in the U. S. Senate (serving from March 5, 1860 to March 3, 1863).  In 1863, after losing reelection, he became the San Francisco agent for the London & San Francisco Bank.  In 1865 and 1874, he helped to finance the California Pacific and North Pacific Coast Railroads, respectively.  In 1879, he became the President of the New York Mining & Stock Exchange.  He died in 1882.  In addition, he served in the House of Representatives, from 1852 to 1854.

[d] Records also indicate that Haggin was a partner in Baldwin & Haggin, with Judge Joseph G. Baldwin.  The offices were located in the Court Block.

[e] Lloyd Tevis (1824–1899) - was born in Shelbyville, Kentucky.  He reportedly attended Centre College, at the same time as Haggin.  He was an attorney, salesman for a wholesale dry goods firm in Louisville, held a position with the Bank of Kentucky and later with an insurance company in St. Louis.  Tevis jointed the gold rush to California in 1849.  In October 1850, he became Haggin’s law partner.  Tevis married Susan G. Sanders in 1854, sister of Haggin’s wife.  He served as president of Wells Fargo & Company, from 1872 to 1892.

[6] William P. Sanders – he was born in Frankfort, but raised in Natchez.  From 1852 and 1856, he attended West Point, while Robert E. Lee was superintendent.  During the Civil War, he became a Brigadier General in the Union Army.  He was killed during the Siege of Knoxville in 1863.

[7] In 1872, Tevis built a mansion a block away from the Haggin home, at the corner of Taylor and Jackson Streets.  His mansion had 11 bedrooms and a private library.

[8] Richard P. Lounsbery (1845-1911) - Wall Street broker.  In 1863, Lounsbery became a stockbroker and in 1869 a member of the New York Stock Exchange.  In 1877, he formed Lounsbery & Haggin, with Ben Ali Haggin and in 1878 married Edith Hunter Haggin.  He specialized in mining stocks.  In 1884 until his death, he was the principal of Lounsbery & Company.

[9] Haggin previously owned a private car named Ben Ali.

[10] Including the Hearst estate, Fair estate, John Mackay, Senator William A. Clark, Senator William Stewart, Francis J. Newlands (Sharon estate), David Moffat (Denver), Senator John P. Jones (Comstock lode), Flood estate, Denver Silver Smelting Works, R. C. Chambers (Ontario silver mine),  Charles E. Lane (California), L. E. Holden (Old Telegraph mine), Mark Daly (Anaconda, Montana), Butte Silver Smelting Works, S. T. Hauser (Granite Mountain silver mines), French Syndicate (Old Telegraph Mine, Utah), Leadville Silver Smelting Works, Broadwater estate (Helena, Montana), Senator Henry M. Teller (Colorado) and Senator Lee Mantle (Montana).

[11] Margaret Sanders Voorhies (1869 – 1965) – was the daughter of George Voorhies and Laura E. Sanders, of Versailles, Kentucky.  She was the granddaughter of Colonel Lewis Sanders, Jr.  Her parents were divorced when she was young and her mother remarried James P. Amsden, a Versailles banker.  She was educated at Bartholomew’s Institute in Cincinnati and Miss Stuart’s Seminary in Staunton, Virginia.  Before her marriage, she had lived with Haggin’s daughter, in the Haggin Mansion, in New York.

[12] The Parterre Level was known as the Diamond Horseshoe because of the number of diamonds worn by the wives of the major patrons of the opera.

[1] Lexington Leader, October 4, 1907, page 5, column 3.

[2] Klein, Henry H., Dynastic America and Those Who Own It, 1921, pages 49-50.

[3] New York Times, June 16, 1921.

[4] Ardery, Philip P., James Ben Ali Haggin – Kentucky’s Kubla Khan, Paris, 1983, page 5.

5] Lexington Leader, July 14, 1907, page 11, column 2.

[6] Wikipedia Encyclopedia and 1850 Federal Census, Mississippi, Adams County, City of Natchez South, Page 4A.

7] Burke, Carleton F., Pastime of Millions, The Thoroughbred of California, August 1946, pages 16-17 and Daily Picayune, New Orleans, March 14, 10.

[8] Harrison, Mitchell C., Prominent and Progressive Americans: An Encyclopedia of Contemporaneous Biography, Volume 1, New York Tribune, 1902, page 147.

[9] Ramirez, Salvador A., The Inside Man: the Life and Times of Mark Hopkins of New York, pages 485-489 and Svanevik, Michael and Shirley Burgett, “A 19th Century Power Duo,” San Francisco Examiner (Website).

[x] Svanevik, Michael and Shirley Burgett, “A 19th Century Power Duo,” San Francisco Examiner (Website).

[xi] Cooper, Margaret A., Land, Water and Settlement in Kern County, California  1850-1890, Arno Press, New York, 1979, page 60.

[xii] Cole, Cornelius, Memoirs of Cornelius Cole: Ex-Senator of the United States from California, page 126.

[xiii] Farish, Thomas Edwin, The Gold Hunters of California, pages 57-58.

[xiv] Svanevik, Michael and Shirley Burgett, “A 19th Century Power Duo,” San Francisco Examiner (Website).

[xv] Cooper, Margaret A., Land, Water and Settlement in Kern County, California 1850-1890, Arno Press, New York, 1979, page 62.

xvi] Crist, Lynda and Mary Sexton Dix, The Papers of Jefferson Davis: 1853-1855, page 132.

[xvii] The Haggin Collection, page 15 and 18.

[xviii] Shuck, Oscar T., Bench and Bar in California: History, Anecdotes, Reminiscences, San Francisco 1888, pages 247-252.

[xix] Engineering and Mining Journal, Volume 98, Issues 1-13, page 539.

[xx] New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957.

[xxi] Beebe, Lucius, The Big Spenders, Axios Press, Mount Jackson, Virginia, 1966, page 61.

[xxii] Cooper, Margaret A., Land, Water and Settlement in Kern County, California 1850-1890, Arno Press, New York, 1979, page 61.

[xxiii] Svanevik, Michael and Shirley Burgett, “A 19th Century Power Duo,” San Francisco Examiner (Website), City Directory 1872, pages 20-21, Richards, Rand, Historic Walks in San Francisco: 18 Trails Through the City's Past, San Francisco, page 260 and Lord of the Hilltops, page 252.

[xxiv] Svanevik, Michael and Shirley Burgett, “A 19th Century Power Duo,” San Francisco Examiner (Website), Richards, Rand, Historic Walks in San Francisco: 18 Trails Through the City's Past, San Francisco, page 260 and Lord of the Hilltops, page 252.

[xxv] Thomas, Gordon and Max M. Witts, The San Francisco Earthquake, Stein & Day, New York, 1971, pages 55-56, Svanevik, Michael and Shirley Burgett, “A 19th Century Power Duo,” San Francisco Examiner (Website), Richards, Rand, Historic Walks in San Francisco: 18 Trails Through the City's Past, San Francisco, page 260, Lord of the Hilltops, page 252 and Beebe, Lucius, The Big Spenders, Axios Press, Mount Jackson, Virginia, 1966, page 219.

[xxvi] Beebe, Lucius and Charles Clegg, U. S. West – The Saga of Wells Fargo, Bonanza Books, New York, 1959, pages 164 and 207.

[xxvii] New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957.

[xxviii] Briggs, Martha T. and Cynthia H. Peters, Pullman Company Archives, Newberry Library, Chicago, 1995, page 105, Beebe, Lucius, Mansions on Rails, Howell-North, Berkeley, 1959, pages 110, 124-125, Beebe, Lucius, The Central Pacific & The Southern Pacific Railroads, Howell-North, Berkeley, 1963, page 154, Beebe, Lucius, The Big Spenders, Axios Press, Mount Jackson, Virginia, 1966, pages 222 and 385 and Beebe, Lucius, Mr. Pullman’s Elegant Palace Car, Doubleday, Garden City, New York, 1961, pages 353 and 355.

[xxix] The Successful American, Volume 2, Part 1 page 118.

[xxx] Lexington Leader, February 23, 1913, section 1, page 1, columns 3-4.

[xxxi] Lexington Leader, December 30, 1897, page 1, column 5 and Lexington Herald, December 31, 1897, page 4, column 3.

[xxxii] New York Times, June 21, 1901, July 28, 1901 and August 18, 1891.

[xxxiii] New York Times, August 4, 1907 and August 12, 1911 and Automobile Topics, September 19, 1908, Volumes 16-17, page 1643.

[xxxiv] New York Times, February 25, 1900.

[xxxv] New York Times, September 13, 1913.

[xxxvi] New York Times, December 24, 1899 and June 15, 1901.

[xxxvii] New York Times, February 7, 1900.

[xxxviii] New York Times, April 28, 1900

[xxxix] New York Times, June 15, 1901.

[xl] New York Times, May 7, 1903.

[xli] New York Times, May 17, 1905.

[xlii] New York Times, April 1, 1917, April 5, 1917 and April 6, 1917.

[xliii] New York Times, May 22, 1912.

[xliv] Lexington Leader, June 26, 1913, page 2, column 2 and New York Times, June 26, 1913.

[xlv] Miller, Paul F., Lost Newport, Applewood Books, Carlisle, Massachusetts, 2009, pages 59-62, Lexington Leader, September 30, 1913, page 1, column 6 and New York Times, September 28, 1913.

[xlvi] Thoroughbred Record, September 19, 1914, pages 136-137 and New York Times, September 15, 1914.

[xlvii] Lexington Leader, April 20, 1913, page 5, columns 1-4.

[xlviii] Lexington City Directory 1911, 1914-15 and 1916-17.

William M. Ambrose, Magnificent Elmendorf, Limestone Press, Lexington, 2012.