A Biographical Sketch of General John D. McIntyre from Representative Citizens of Seattle and King County, Washington, pub. 1903

There is no man in King County whose life, if it were written in full here, would make so thrilling a romance as that of Brigadier General J.D. McIntyre, of Seattle. He is fifty-one years old [in 1903], by profession a mining engineer, and until 1890 had lived almost continuously on the outskirts of civilization. His life has been part of the history of many of our western mining camps. He is a crack shot, and has had more sanguinary encounters with men and wild beasts than could be recounted in a volume. It may be said of him that he does not know the sense of fear. For the past eleven years [as of 1903] he has settled down to a quiet home life, has acquired a large fortune and lives in his own beautiful home overlooking Lake Union, in Seattle. A visit to his home on Lake Union is well worth anyone’s while. The originality of the architecture of the house and grounds is a reflex of the character of the man.

Gen. McIntyre was born at Point Fortune, Canada, on December 4, 1851, of Scotch parents. His great-great-grandmother was a daughter of a brother of the Duke of Argyle, and his great-great-grandfather was a rear admiral in the British navy. His great-grandfather was a lieutenant in the British army, and distinguished himself at the battle of Quebec, and was with Gen Wolff when he fell. The family, consisting of father, mother and three children, of which the General was the oldest, emigrated to the United States in 1858, and in 1859 the General’s father went to Pikes Peak, afterwards Denver, Colorado, but then a part of Kansas. He engaged in mining and took out a great deal of gold in Georgia Gulch. He built the first toll road in Colorado.

The family followed in 1860, taking four months to make the journey by team. It was on this trip that first began the series of exciting adventures that has followed this boy’s career ever since. There were Native Americans along the whole route. Their travels were often impeded by great herds of buffalo. Flocks of graceful antelope glided by them continually. This boy, naturally of a martial spirit, here got his first lessons in fighting and hunting. The train consisted of one hundred wagons, and young McIntyre was rated as good a shot as any man on the train. When the train reached Loup’s Fork, of the Platte River, it ran into five thousand Crow (Native Americans) on the war path, but were unharmed. In crossing Loup’s Fork a great cloudburst occurred, breaking the cable on which the ferry boat crossed the river. Some forty on board, including the boy McIntyre, were carried down the mighty flood at a violent speed, but, strange as it may seem, all were saved from this danger also.

Denver, at this time, contained only seventy-five houses and was surrounded by apparently a great desert. For about seven years young McIntyre never knew what it was to be free from the danger of an attack owing to hostilities with Native Americans. Gen. McIntyre said his growth was stunted by the strain on his nervous system.

In 1870 young McIntyre, then nineteen years old, was elected enrolling clerk of the eighth session of the Colorado legislature. During the session a concurrent resolution was passed almost unanimously through both Senate and House, asking the delegates in Congress to give young McIntyre the first vacancy at West Point. Following attendance there he went back to Denver and studied for several years with civil and mining engineers.

In 1877 he went to the Black Hills, locating at Deadwood. This was a year or more before law and order had been established in the Black Hills and young McIntyre soon became a leader in the vigilance (vigilante) committee which ruled during these wild times. Deadwood was crowded with desperate men and the vigilance committee dealt summary justice to all offenders. It was the rule of the committee to hang the offender and try him afterward, and McIntyre said no mistake was ever made in hanging the right man.

He bought the Minnesota mine, near the Great Homestead, at Lead City. While away on a surveying expedition three desperadoes, led by Jim Levy, jumped his mine. When he returned, being informed of the situation, he immediately started for the mine alone, with nothing but his trusty revolver. He walked into the tunnel where the three desperadoes were at work, picked up all their guns and ammunition, threw them over his shoulder and drawing his own revolver ordered them to come out. They were completely cowed by the boldness of this move, and as he had the “dead sure drop” on them, and knowing that he was a dead shot and a bad man to fool with, they came meekly out. He ordered them to “hit the trail” for Lead City, which they did. The whole town got wind of the trouble, turned out to see the sight and young McIntyre became the hero of the camp.

In many of the early mining camps he was known as Lucky Jack, because of his wonderful luck in mining ventures. He was for many years the leading mining engineer in the Black Hills. He was chief engineer of the Great Homestead mines, before he was twenty-seven years old. He examined mines in company with the greatest mining engineers of the nation at that time. There is no doubt that the knowledge acquired in such times was one of the sources of his success in mining ventures in Washington, Alaska and British Columbia. He was the owner or part owner of several gold mines that had been wrecked by bad management, and has with those associated with him made them pay well.

In 1882 he went from the Black Hills to Montana, and within eight years he had organized five different irrigation companies, raised the money and built over four hundred miles of irrigating canals. He built the great Gallatin Canal, the big Muddy Storage reservoirs, the Chestnut Valley canal and the Sun River canal, the Florence canal and others. He came to Washington at the request of the Northern Pacific railroad officials and organized the Sunnyside Canal Company at North Yakima, and sold out to the Northern Pacific.

In 1890, together with some Tacoma gentlemen, he formed the Montezuma Mining Company which owned the coking coal mines at Montezuma, now [in 1903] paying dividends. He, with Henry Hewitt, Henry H. Sweeney and Col. C.W. Thompson, of Tacoma, formed the Pacific Coast Steel Company, which was a consolidation of the Tacoma Steel Company and the Pacific Steel Company. He, with E.M. Shelton, of Seattle, and Charles Richardson, of Tacoma, formed the Bessie Gold Company, with gold mines near Juneau, Alaska, which company is now [in 1903] paying dividends. He formed the La Rica Consolidated and bought the Peshastin Gold Mine at Blewett, Washington, a rich property. He has raised more money from eastern investors than any man in the northwest. There are over six thousand stockholders in his enterprises [again, in 1903].

General McIntyre was appointed brigadier-general commanding the National Guards of Washington, in 1896. The state force consisted of the first and second Washington regiments, two troops of cavalry and one battery of artillery. He served all during the Spanish war. The splendid record made by the first regiment in the Philippines was largely due to his training.

General McIntyre married Lizzie Hull of Iowa, who was the great-granddaughter of Commodore Isaac Hull, commander of the frigate “Constitution” in her famous battle with the British ship “Guerriere” during the War of 1812.

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