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 Dan Tracy (1865 – 1943) Montana Pioneer

 

 

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Dan Tracy was a famed figure in Montana affairs and was remembered for his varied activities in Great Falls. He was a metallurgist, sportsman and hotel operator, who lived there for 28 years prior to 1930.

 

In his youth, he worked in a copper refinery in Detroit, one of the first in the United States, and later studied metallurgy at the University of Michigan. An ardent athlete, Dan participated in boxing and rowing and taught boxing at the university. He also became an accomplished amateur fighter, winning the light-heavyweight championship of Michigan. When the late Marcus Daly, millionaire mining man, was building a smelter at Anaconda, he sent to Detroit for Tracy to build the first copper refinery in Montana. In 1893, Tracy came to Great Falls to establish a refinery. For 27 years, he served as superintendent of the Boston Montana Co. refinery here, which later became the Anaconda Copper Mining Co.

 

He was one of the best known early residents of Great Falls. From the start he engaged in local affairs including politics. He became a mine owner and hotel proprietor of the Park Hotel. In 1917, he was a prominent member of a Montana delegation to Honolulu.

 

An outstanding sportsman, Tracy was a leading figure in the promotion of the Jack Dempsey-Tommy Gibbons world's heavyweight fight at Shelby Montana in 1923. Dan Tracy was co-opted as the new manager of the promotion of the Dempsey-Gibbons fight due to the delay of making the second payment of $100,000. On June 27 1923, after serving only eleven days, Dan Tracy resigned as manager, precipitating a flurry in Great Falls and Shelby regarding the third payment of $100,000.

 

He retired to Ocean City, N.J., where he died on the 12 December 1943. Funeral services were held at the St. Augustine church in Ocean City and interment was at St Dominics in Philadelphia.

 

He married Mary E Farrell in Philadelphia in 1907. His sister Anna, married John J . Case in Michigan and also moved to Great Falls. Another sister married a McAnniff and her children Frank and Hugh were residents of Great Falls.

 

 

FAMILY NOTES AND NEWSPAPER CUTTINGS

 

1863 Hancock. Houghton Michigan

The first election of village officers under its charter was held at the office of William Lapp, March 10, 1863, at which the following officers were elected: President, Henry C. Park; Clerk, William Lapp; Treasurer, P. T. Tracy; Trustees, Dennis Dean, Samuel F. Leopold, William R. Noble, P. G. Tracy, Thomas Wallace and James D. Reed; Assessors, David Saar, M. W. Fecheimer; Marshal, Patrick Felbey. There were 196 votes cast.

 

1864 Census - Township of Hancock in the County of Houghton

16 Patrick Tracy, married, 2 females, 2 deaths, Clerk

1864 Census - Township of Portage in the County of Houghton

10 Thomas Tracy, unmarried, Labourer

16 James Tracy, married, 1 males under 5, 2 females, Miner

38 Peter Tracy, married, 2 males under 5, 2 females, Mason

 

1870 Census - Portage, Houghton, Michigan

Peter Tracey                          M            39           Ireland, stone mason

Mary Tracey                          F             34           Ireland

John Tracey                           M            9             Michigan

Richard Tracey                     M            7             Michigan

Mathew Tracey                     M            5             Michigan

Mary Tracey                          F             3             Michigan

Timothy Tracey                     M            1             Michigan

 

Annie/Anna P. Tracy/Tracey (b. 1863 Michigan) & John J. Case (b. 1858 Michigan)

Raymond A. Case b.c. 1891 Detroit, Mich. lived 1917 Cascade County, Montana

John S. Case b.c 1893 Dollar Bay, [Houghton] Mich. lived 1934 Livingston, Park, Montana

FEMALE Case b. 26 Sep 1893 Bom Smelter Gt Falls Cascade Montana, Eleanor Maria, Placenta Praria

J.J. Case b. 14 Feb 1896 Cascade Montana

 

August 12, 1896 The Anaconda standard

Great Falls, Aug. 11. There la a promiscuous scramble this year for the office of sheriff of Cascade county...In the populist camp there are any number of aspirants for the nomination. Prominent among them are James Donlan, Tom Carter, the well-known farmer-politician, and Dan Tracy, an employe at the Boston Montana smelter. Tracy was a candidate on the populist ticket two years ago and was defeated...

 

September 05, 1896 The copper country evening news

Josh Daniels and Dan Tracy, of Great Falls, were visitors in the city today, having arrived in the copper country from the west last Thursday on a three weeks visit with old friends and acquaintances. The former resided at Osceola before leaving for the west and the latter worked in the smelts at South Lake Linden several years ago. Both are well known in the copper county and have a large circle of friends who are glad to see them again.

 

September 10, 1896 The copper country evening news (Calumet, Mich.)

Dan Tracy, from Great Falls, who has been visiting friends In Calumet and other copper country towns the past few days, left on the morning train for Detroit, where he will spend a week or so with relatives before returning to the west.

 

October 04, 1896 The Anaconda standard

Dan Tracy has returned from Michigan, where he has been visiting friends for several weeks.

 

May 05, 1897 The copper country evening news (Calumet, Mich.)

Are Interested Bicyelists

Some of the copper country boys who are now located in Great Falls are enthusiastic bicycle riders.

In a recent Issue of the Great Falls Tribune the formation of the Black Eagle bicycle club is noted and among the list of officers are three former residents of Houghton county. Dan Tracy, formerly of South Lake Linden, was chosen president, while Will B. McGinnis and W. J. Evans Jr., were chosen members of the business committee...

 

1900 Census - Watson Township Great Falls city Ward 4, Cascade, Montana

Da*S Tracy     Lodger            M         37        Sep 1863 Michigan, parents b. Ireland

 

October 19, 1903 The Butte inter mountain (Mont)

Dan Tracy Operated On.

Great Falls, Oct. 19.-Dan Tracy, superintendent of the Boston & Montana electrolytic refinery and known all over the state, was operated on last evening at the Columbus hospital for appendicitis. His condition is reported favourable.

 

Daniel Tracy married Mary E Farrell 1907 Philadelphia Pennsylvania

 

1910 Census - 209, Little Chicago, Cascade, Montana

Daniel Tracy    Head   M         45        b. 1865 Michigan, parents b. Ireland, foreman smelter

Martha Tracy   Wife    F          40        Pennsylvania, married 3 years, parents b. Pennsylvania

 

1916 Engineering and Mining Journal

...Dan Tracy has been promoted to be superintendent of the furnace ...

 

 

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Dan Tracy 1917 Honolulu

 

January 12, 1917 Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Hawaii)

Montana Sends Big Delegation To See Hawaii

Treasure State Notables, Including Big Mining Men, on Great Northern

Montana was well represented on the Great Northern Thursday with a quarter of a hundred persons from the Treasure State In the big boat.

Ten came from Great Falls, where one of the largest hydro-electric plants in the United states is now in operation and about which consider able space in the last edition of Leslies devoted. The plant develops over 10000 horsepower.

One of the prominent members of the Great Falls delegation is Dan Tracy, who is here for the winter with Mrs. Tracy. The big Northerner is one of the best known old-timers in the great state. He Is president of the Park Hotel of Great Falls, one of the newest largest and finest hostel ries in the state, and superintendent of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company's immense copper smelter near the great falls of the Missouri.

Tracy pays that prosperity is no name for conditions In his state, especially among the farmers, many of whom have sold their wheat this year for $1.80 a bushel and are talking of Palm Beach and Honolulu just as if such far-away places were only a few hours' run over the state line. He blames prohibition in Montana, which came at the last election, to the women.

In wards where there were 30 women's vote's there would be at least 29 for a 'dry' state," he says. Tracy and all the rest of the Montanans are already enraptured with Hawaii and admit it forcibly. Tracy expresses his feelings this way: "I Just want to turn my pockets inside out. say 'Here, take all I have, if you'll only let me stay here forever.'"

Mr. and Mrs. Tracy are at the Moana Hotel as are many others of the Montana party...visiting Mrs. Tracy, from Philadelphia.

 

January 25, 1917 Honolulu Star-bulletin

Dan Tracy Puts In 36 Years In Copper Mining

Dan Tracy is one of the prominent members of the Montana delegation now In Honolulu. For 36 years Tracy has been following the copper mining and smelting game, and for 25 years was with the Amalgamated Copper Company, not long ago reorganized as the Anaconda Copper Mining company.

The last position he held with this company was superintendent of its immense copper smelter in Great Falls, Montana, near the great falls of the Missouri river, and boasting the highest smokestack (over 500 feet) in the world. Tracy Is also president of the Park Hotel Company, which, has one of the newest and most popular hostelries in the Northwest. There is not a traveling man who ever sees the west side. of the Mississippi who does not know of the Park, which, as the old Park Hotel, was a historic landmark and meeting place in frontier days. Tracy is taking a year's vacation after a few decades of steady plugging in the harness, and he pro poses to spend considerable of it in Hawaii, and send his friends down to represent him after he is gone. Mrs. Tracy accompanies the northerner to the aloha land.

 

February 28, 1917 Honolulu star-bulletin

Mr. And Mrs. Dan Tracy, prominent residents of Great Falls. Mont., were outgoing passengers on the Great Northern Sunday. They have been at the Moana for several weeks. Tracy Is a hotel owner and copper man.

 

 

October 19, 1919 Great Falls daily tribune

The Neihart Consolidated Silver Mining Co. Great Falls, Montana...150,000 Shares [Par value $1.00]...President—Dan Tracy; president Pearce Coal Co.. Great Falls, Montana.

 

November 12, 1919 Great Falls Daily Tribune

Fuel Administration Will Distribute Dealers Stocks Until Shipments From Mines Return to Normal; Public Asked Not to Slack Vigilance Over Coal Piles Before Final Outcome of Strike Is Known...Dan Tracy, associated in the proprietorship of mines at Tracy [near Great Falls], said that at his prosperities at least 50 per cent of the men would be ready to resume work when the cancellation order is received. Conditions looked very favorable to Mr. Tracy and he discussed the situation in a most optimistic vein. He stated that but very few days would be required for the mines from which Great Falls draws her coal supply to again ship coal into the city and that after operations are actually begun a great portion of the emergency will have passed...

 

1920 Census - Great Falls Ward 2, Cascade, Montana

Daniel Tracy    Roomer           M         56        b. 1864 Michigan, parents b. Ireland

Mary E Tracy Roomer           F          49        Pennsylvania

 

September 13, 1920 Great Falls daily tribune (Mont)

Meeting of the Cascade County Democratic Central Committee...Dan Tracy Chairman...

 

1920 Mines Register

Neihart Consolidated Silver Mining Co, Montana

Address: Dan Tracy, Pearce Coal Co., Great Falls, Mont.

Officers: Dan Tracy, president....

 

June 28, 1923 The Choteau Acantha,

Dan Tracy, the Tex Rickard of the West, mining operator and hotel proprietor, boss of the Shelby classic. When Shelby and Great Falls business men put up the second $100,000 of the Dempsey-Gibbons guarantee they insisted that Mr. Tracy take over the dictatorship of the affair. He accepted because he is a good sportsman, and is now in charge. In the days of Marcus Daly Mr. Tracy was one of his politico-copper chieftains. He has forgotten more than the Marquis of Queensbury ever knew about the manly art of self defense.

Dan Tracy is one of the best known men of Great Falls, having lived here for 31 years. He formerly lived in Anaconda, where he built the first copper refinery in the state for Marcus Daly. He is rated as the best copper refinery man in the west, and came by the gift naturally, his father having refined the first copper in the United States, in Michigan, about 62 years ago.

And how it happened was that Dan Tracy, Sr., came from Ireland in company with John Cooper and landed in Detroit shortly after, going into the copper mines. When the first little refining plant was erected in the United States, near Detroit, a couple of men from Wales were brought out to do the work of turning out the refined copper. Tracy and Cooper worked under them, and watched everything. After six months or more the men from Wales went out on a toot with furnaces full: Tracy and Cooper informed the superintendent that they could re fine copper, and they did, Tracy, Sr., working at it for more than 40 years.

Young Dan went into the works with his father and learned the business from the ground up. He also took up boxing and rowing, boxing in the winter and rowing in the summer, being one of the strong scull men of the Belle Isle course.

Teaching boxing in the University of Michigan club at night, and putting on an exhibition of his own every little while, young Dan managed to get by on the earnings and saved his wages. Just as a side line he won the amateur light heavy championship of Michigan, and never was put away. When Danny Needham visited the town, and Danny was the goods in those days, young Dan was put on against him for the four rounds, and made a showing which marked him as a comer. But young Dan was not for the ring; his folks objected, in the first place, and in the second place he only saw the ring as a means of adding to his income and putting himself and his sister through college, and laying by a small wad for the days to come. He studied metalurgy and worked out everything he ever heard in the way of copper refining. Which brings him to Montana.

He was 27 years superintendent of the refinery of the Boston & Montana company, afterwards the Anaconda Copper Mining company. Four years since [1919], Dan Tracy joined with F. Van de Putte in the management of the half million dollar Park hotel, of which he is one of the owners.

 

June 28, 1923 Evening star (Washington DC)

Tracy Resigns as Manager of Big Scrap Because of “Nothing to Do,” and Mayor Johnson of Shelby Is Shouldering Burden.

"I felt that I was neglecting my own business,” Tracy said today, “and could see no prospect of doing the show any good in Shelby. My principal business was to collect the $17,000 put up by Great Falls men, and I did not see much chance of collecting it.

“The tickets are not all in. although 1 understand that $500,000 worth of tickets have been reserved, but I could not get a check on the tickets or the money. I simply got tired of waiting around and doing nothing and neglecting my own business.”

 

September 22, 1923 Great Falls Tribune

Spokane Reports Nephew of Dan Tracy of Park Hotel Killed By I. W. W. in Washington...Frank McAnniff. 21, of Great Falls was shot and killed and Ralph Anderson of Minneapolis, believed to have been a college friend of McAnniff was wounded. McAnniff was a nephew of Dan Tracy of the Park hotel management. Mr. Tracy left Friday for Spokane to investigate the killing of his nephew. It was believed that McAnniff and four or five of his friends were attacked by the I. W. W. and shot down while the train was moving across country from Spokane. McAnniff was well known in Great Falls. He was formerly employed at GiSM... McAniff came to Montana four years ago...

 

1929 Directory of Montana federal, state and county officials

State Athletic Commission...Dan Tracy, Great Falls.

 

1930 Census - 266 Central Avenue, Great Falls, Cascade, Montana

David [Daniel] Tracy Head   M         65        Michigan, married at age 24 [41 years married?], parents born Ireland, mining miner

Mary E Tracy Wife    F          63        Pennsylvania, married at age 21, father b. New York mother b. Ireland

Margarette McAniff   Niece   F          20        Pennsylvania, parents b. Pennsylvania

Betty Norris    Lodger            F          47        Kentucky

Alice M Brickson        Lodger            F          26        Minnesota, Dicatphone office

George T Wallace       Lodger            M         27        Colorado, Refusentitire Caterpillar testes?

Arnold H Bright         Lodger            M         31        Minnesota, solicitor newspaper

 

June 01, 1933 The Choteau Acantha (Mont.)

...Gerald F. case, 36, native of great Falls and graduate of the public high school in the Electric City, was killed a few days ago in an airplane accident at Binghamton NY according to word received by his brother John Case a motion picture operator of Great Falls...father John J Case...He leaves two uncles, Henry Case of Great Falls and Dane Tracy, formerly co-owner of the Park hotel, now of Philadelphia.

 

December 23, 1943 The Independent Record (Helena, Montana)

Dan Tracy Is Called; Was Famed Figure In Montana Affairs Former Falls Resident Is Remembered for His Varied Activities Great Falls, Dec. 2:;.--Dan Tracy, 81, former Great Falls metallurgist, sportsman and hotel operator, who lived here for 27 years prior to 1929, died in retirement at Ocean City, N.J., Dec. 12, according to word received here by John Case, a nephew. Funeral services were held at the St. Augustine church in Ocean City and interment was at St Dominics in Philadelphia. Tracy, who was one of the best known early residents of Great Falls, left here in 1929. An outstanding sportsman, Tracy was a leading figure in the promotion of the Jack Dempsey-Tommy Gibbons world's heavyweight fight at Shelby in 1923. In his youth, Tracy worked in a copper refinery in Detroit, one of the first in the United States, and later studied metallurgy at the University of Michigan. An ardent athlete, Dan participated in boxing and rowing and taught boxing at the university. He also became an accomplished amateur fighter, winning the light-heavyweight championship of Michigan. When the late Marcus Daly, millionaire mining man, was building a smelter at Anaconda, he sent to Detroit for Tracy to build the first copper refinery in Montana. In 1893, Tracy came to Great Falls to establish a refinery. For 27 years, he served as superintendent of the Boston Montana Co. refinery here, which later became the Anaconda Copper Mining Co. In addition to the nephew here, he is survived by his widow, Mary Farrell Tracy, whom he married in Philadelphia in 1906.

 

Calvary Cemetery, Gibson Flats, Great Falls, Cascade County, Montana

Daniel J. Tracy (1872-1918)

John Tracy (-27 Feb 1920)

Infant Tracy (1923-25 May 1923)

 

Ref:

Tony Dalich. Shelby's Fabled Day in the Sun: Dempsey vs. Gibbons Fourth of July 1923. Montana: The Magazine of Western History. Vol. 15, No. 3 (Summer, 1965), pp. 2-23

 

Last update: 29 September 2017