Alfred William McCune

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Alfred William McCune

Birthdate: (77)
Birthplace: Calcutta,Bengal,India
Death: March 28, 1927 (77)
Place of Burial: Nephi, Juab, Utah, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Matthew McCune, Dr. and Sarah Elizabeth Caroline Scott
Husband of Elizabeth Claridge
Brother of Alexander John McCune; Agnes Jane McCune; Henry Frederick McCune; Alfred Robert McCune; William Thomas McCune and 2 others
Half brother of Sarah Ann McCune; Mathew Midgley McCune; Louise McCune and Grace McCune

Managed by: Della Dale Smith-Pistelli
Last Updated:

About Alfred William McCune

Birth: Jun. 11, 1849, India

Death: Mar. 28, 1927, France

Burial: Nephi City Cemetery, Nephi, Juab County Utah, USA, Plot: N C A 6 6 2 0

Son of Matthew McCune and Sarah Elizabeth Caroline Scott

Married Elizabeth Ann Claridge, 1 Jul 1872, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

History - Alfred McCune is not a native of Utah, though he has lived here nearly all his life. His father, originally from the Isle of Man, was a British soldier, stationed at Calcutta and it was there, in the citadel of Fort William, that A. W. McCune was born. His mother was from London, where she and many generations of her ancestors were born and bred. She was the mother of seven sons and one daughter, named as follows: Alexander J., Agnes J., Henry F., Alfred R., William T., George, Alfred W., and Edward J. All were born in India, where their parents had resided since 1835, and all the children but the four boys, Henry, George, Alfred W. and Edward, died there. Alexander, when seven years of age, fell a victim to the bite of a mad dog, and Agnes died in her infancy, Alfred R. and William T., aged four and two years respectively, were carried off in one day by Asiatic cholera.

Early in the "fifties" Mormon missionaries appeared upon the scene, and converted among others the McCune family, who, when Alfred W. was about five years old, moved from Calcutta to Rangoon, Burmah, where the soldier sire was next stationed. There Alfred attended a little school, taught in his father's house by William Willes, the Mormon missionary. Other Elders from Utah in India at that time were Nathaniel V. Jones, A. Milton Musser, Chauncey W. West, Richard Ballantyne, Elam Luddington, Truman Leonard and William Fotheringham. Joining the Church to which these Elders belonged was but the prelude to coming to Utah, a project determined on by the McCunes soon after their conversion.

Captain McCune—for that was the father's rank, won during twenty-four years of service in the British army—resigned his position in the artillery corps, and set sail from Calcutta December 6, 1856. This was shortly before the breaking out of the great Sepoy mutiny. That he emigrated just when he did, was regarded by Captain McCune as providential, for had he delayed his departure a few weeks longer, he would have found it difficult if not impossible to leave. He and his family might have shared the fate of other Europeans massacred by the Sepoys during that perilous period. They sailed in an American ship, the "Escort," Captain Hussey, and were one hundred and eight days upon the sea, landing at New York early in March, 1857. They disembarked in the midst of a snow storm. "My mind is very clear upon that point," said A. W. McCune to the writer, "for I had never seen snow before: I took it for salt, while my brother Ed thought it was sugar."

The family remained in New York about three months, and then proceeded by way of Chicago to Iowa City. Crossing the Missouri River at Florence, they pursued the usual route up the Platte, two ox-teams, and two Schuttler wagons, well loaded with supplies, comprising their outfit for the journey to the Rocky Mountains. Captain McCune drove one team and his son Henry the other. They traveled in a company led by Jacob Hoffein. It was the year of the Echo canyon war trouble, and Johnston's army was on the march to Utah. The McCunes and their company passed and repassed the troops at different points, but were not molested by them, and arrived safe at Salt Lake City on the 21st of September.

For some weeks they occupied a house belonging to Elam Luddington, in the eastern part of town, but late in the fall, or early in the winter, they removed to Farmington, where they took the farm of Truman Leonard, to work it on shares. Alfred's brother Henry spent the winter in Echo canyon, helping to repel the invaders. In the move of 1858 the McCune's went to Nephi, where they permanently settled. There the mother and father both died, the former in 1877, the latter in 1890.

It was at Nephi that A. W. McCune grew to manhood. His first employments were sheep herding, farming and stock-raising. At nineteen he worked on the Union Pacific railroad, then being constructed through eastern Utah, trundling a wheelbarrow, and at times wielding pick and shovel, on Sharp and Little's contract in Echo canyon. Afterwards he went into the cattle business with his brother Edward, in Juab county and on the Sevier river, and continued in it as long as it was profitable.

The construction of the Utah Southern—the first railroad south of Salt Lake City—gave Mr. McCune an opportunity to show some of his ability as a financier. He first made money by running a grain car and following up the extension of the road, His partner was Joel Grover, of Nephi. Subsequently they took in a third partner, Walter Pyramus Read, of that town, and filled a contract for railroad building between Milford and Frisco. At the former place Grover, McCune and Read had a store. These enterprises, with business trips to Pioche, St. George, Silver Reef and other points, netted the firm in 1879 about eighteen thousand dollars. By this time Mr. McCune had entered into a contract of another kind, having married Miss Elizabeth Ann Claridge, of Nephi. The date of their union was July 1, 1872.

In the fall of 1879, Mr. McCune and his partners engaged in railroad building in Colorado, taking contracts on the Rio Grande road, along the San Juan river. One contract extended into New Mexico. It threatened at first to end disastrously, owing to the heavy winter, but as usual with McCune's ventures, it turned out a success. The next contract taken by them was on the Denver and South Park line. They also built fifty-four miles of the Denver and New Orleans road, between Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Grover, McCune and Read were next heard of in the north, constructing in 1882 twenty miles of the Oregon Short Line, west of American Falls, Idaho. Seventeen miles of his contract was very heavy work, full of cuts and fills, and much of it through solid rock. At the same time they engaged to deliver twenty-five thousand cords of wood to the Lexington mine, at Butte, Montana. This contract and others of a similar kind led to the dissolution of the partnership existing between the three friends, Messrs. Grover and Read, fearful of failure, selling out to McCune, who, after vainly endeavoring to persuade them to continue with him, all undismayed "went it alone."

It was in the winter of 1882 that he thus launched out by himself. His good luck did not desert him, and he soon realized the fruits of a prediction made by him to his ex-partners, that they would regret their separation from him. He made money at every turn. He bought out Joseph Broughton and Company, a thriving mercantile house at Walkersville, a suburb of Butte; contracted with the Alice Mining Company to furnish twenty thousand cords of wood; and after filling that contract, furnished the same company with many thousands of cords more. About a year after the dissolution of his old partnership, he formed another with John Caplis, of Butte, who was with him in the mercantile business, in wood contracts and in railroad building, until he also thought it prudent to retire, and let McCune "go it alone." The latter went on making money. He was a veritable Midas—whatever he touched turned to gold.

His next railroad contract covered two hundred miles of the Montana Central, from Great Falls to Butte. This was in 1885–6. His partners were Hugh Kirkendall, of Helena, John Caplis and Walter P. Read. The venture was entirely successful. McCune also built branches for the Union Pacific company, from their main line (the O. S. L.) to the Alice, Anaconda and other mines. A very important contract, from which he realized a large amount of money, was one taken from the Anaconda company to furnish timber for their mines. It necessitated the construction of an immense V-shaped flume, and the diverting of waters from the eastern to the western side of the great continental watershed, a distance of twenty-six miles. Many predicted failure, but McCune saw money in the enterprise. He bought out Caplis and took in Marcus Daly, representing the Anaconda company, as his partner in the contract. It lasted for eleven years, and paid in dividends seven hundred and sixty thousand dollars. During that time many thousands of cords of wood were flumed down from the mountains to the mines.

After getting this great work under way, Mr. McCune turned his attention to mining.

In the latter part of 1888 the McCune's became residents of Salt Lake City, purchasing as their home a handsome dwelling erected by Mr. Joseph Jennings, at the corner of Second West and South Temple streets. In April following, Mr. McCune became connected with the Salt Lake City railroad, Utah's pioneer street car line, one-third of which he acquired by purchase. Simultaneously with his election as a director and vice-president of the company, came a new era in the history of the road, electricity being substituted for horse power, and other improvements made, costing in the aggregate about a million dollars. This outlay, with the changes in equipment and conduct, placed it fully abreast of enterprises of its class in all parts of the country. The Salt Lake City Railroad company finally absorbed its rival, the Rapid Transit company, and in the consolidated concern Mr. McCune is a heavy owner. He is also largely interested in the Utah Power company, and in the jewelry business of the J. H. Leyson company. He was for some time a part owner of the Salt Lake "Herald."

In the spring of 1898, after returning from an extended tour in Europe (visited previously by Mr. McCune) he and his wife with their family entered into a rented occupancy of the famous Gardo House, the parlors of which they adorned with choice specimens of marble statuary purchased by them in Italy. In August of the same year Mr. McCune, with William L. Hoge, of Anaconda, Montana, and David Eccles, of Ogden, Utah, inaugurated the Utah and Pacific railroad, designed to be built from Milford, the southern terminus of the Oregon Short Line, to Los Angeles, and thence on to the coast. The construction of the new line began in September, and work was completed to the State line about the 1st of July, 1899.

Since returning from Europe in June, 1899, Mr. McCune has been kept very busy, buying and selling mines, building and conducting railroads, and watching over the many and varied enterprises in which his wealth is invested. In September of that year he went to New York, and was present at the magnificent reception given by the citizens of the metropolis to the great naval hero, Admiral Dewey. His latest venture is the building of a railroad and the development of vast copper mines in far away Peru, which country he first visited in June, 1901. Returning some months later, he moved his family from the Ellerbeck home in the Eighteenth Ward—temporarily rented by them after leaving the Gardo House—to the splendid new mansion erected by him on the spur of the hill at the head of Main Street; a palatial property second to none in Utah in beauty of design and delightful situation.



Matthew McCune 1811 - 1889)

Sarah Elizabeth Caroline Scott McCune 1812-1877



Elizabeth Ann Claridge McCune 1852 - 1924

Children - Alfred William McCune, Harry Bertrand McCune, Earl Vivian McCune, Raymond McCune, Sarah Fay McCune, Frank Claridge McCune, Charlotte Jacketta McCune, Matthew Marcus McCune, Elizabeth Claridge McCune

Created by: S. M. Smith

Record added: Jun 07, 2007

Find A Grave Memorial# 19772025

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Alfred William McCune's Timeline

June 11, 1849
March 28, 1927
Age 77
Age 77
Nephi, Juab, Utah, USA