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Montana Ore Purchasing Company Records, 1900-1910

Overview of the Collection

Montana Ore Purchasing Company
Montana Ore Purchasing Company Records
1900-1910 (inclusive)
1.2 linear feet of shelf space
Collection Number
MC 164
The Montana Ore Purchasing Company was a Butte, Montana, mining and smelting company owned by F. Augustus Heinze and John MacGinnis. The company was involved in a long court fight with the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, known as the "War of the Copper Kings." Records include incoming correspondence (1900-1910), outgoing correspondence (1905-1906), court papers, daily smelter reports (August 1905), two journals (1905), an order book (1905-1906), legal documents, and miscellany. There is a small subgroup (1901-1903) for the Butte Plumbing Company.
Montana Historical Society, Research Center Archives
Montana Historical Society Research Center Archives
225 North Roberts
PO Box 201201
Helena MT
Telephone: 406-444-2681
Fax: 406-444-5297

Historical NoteReturn to Top

The Montana Ore Purchasing Company was incorporated in Butte, Montana, in March 1893. Major stockholders included Fredrick Augustus Heinze, who held 51% of the stock; John MacGinnis, with 2% of the stock; and the remainder held primarily by Heinze's brothers, Otto Charles Heinze and Arthur Heinze. The company was capitalized at $2,500,000. In 1894, Montana Ore Purchasing Company opened a highly sophisticated smelter in Meaderville, a Butte suburb. This allowed the company to offer low-priced custom smelting work to small mining companies and placed Heinze in direct competition with the Anaconda Copper Mining Company. Originally, Montana Ore Purchasing Company had to lease mines as well as secure ore from independent companies in order to keep operating at an efficient capacity. However, F. Augustus Heinze was able to locate and purchase rich ore bodies in seemingly lackluster mines. For example, the Rarus Mine, purchased in 1895 for $300,000, turned out to be one of Butte's premier mining properties. In the years 1893-1897, Montana Ore Purchasing Company employed 700 men and reduced 25,000,000 pounds of copper ore per year. In addition to the Montana holdings, the company also moved into the Kootenay Mining District of British Columbia. These interests were sold in 1898. In 1906, after a decade of mining war with the Anaconda Company and the Amalgamated Copper Company, Heinze was forced to sell the bulk of his Montana properties, including Montana Ore Purchasing Company, to the Butte Coalition Mining Company, a division of Amalgamated. John MacGinnis, a vice president of Montana Ore Purchasing Company, was also president of the Silver Bow National Bank and mayor of Butte (1905-1906). He held copper and coal mining interests in Montana, Mexico, and British Columbia. MacGinnis was also an officer in the Butte Plumbing Company, a general contracting firm for plumbing, steam, and gas fittings. Others involved with the company included David J. Fitzgerald and S.A. Waters. Butte Plumbing Company went out of business in 1904.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Collection includes incoming correspondence (1900-1910), two letterpress books of outgoing correspondence (Sept. 1905-April, 1906), court papers, daily smelter reports (Aug. 1905), two account journals (May-Oct. 1905), an order book (May 1905-Jan. 1906), legal documents (1900, 1906), and miscellaneous materials. In addition, there is a subgroup for Butte Plumbing Company including scattered general and interoffice correspondence (1902-1903).

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection

Montana Ore Purchasing Company RecordsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Incoming Correspondence
1 / 1
A (correspondents include James T. Abbe, American Smelting and Refining Company, Shirley C. Ashby, Benjamin Atha and Illingworth Company, H.G. Atwater, L. Auerbach and Company)
1 / 2
Ba-Bl (correspondents include Badger-Butte Mining Company, Frank Balduc, Bank of Montreal, C.K. Bannister, William Bartle, H.C. Bellinger, C.L. Berger and Sons, Big Blackfoot Milling Company, Charles E. Billin and Company, Allen G. Blair, S.C. Blackerton, John Bloor, Edward L. Blossom)
1 / 3
Bo-Bu (correspondents include William Brack; E.B. Braden; Donald Bradford; Bradley Engineering and Machinery Company; Joseph B. Brien; J.O. Briscoe; A.H. Brown; B.F. Brown; T.A. Brown; Brunswick-Blake-Collender Company; D.D. Budd; Massena Bullard; Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railway Company; Butte and Nome Mining Company; Butte Insurance Agency; Butte Lighting and Power Company)
1 / 4
Ca-Ch (correspondents include F.S. Cahill, J.H. Calderhead, J.F. Cameron, F.W. Campbell, Carbon County Canal Company, Hugh Carmichael, R.A. Carnochan, J.T. Carroll, George B. Child)
1 / 5
Cl-Cu (correspondents include William Clancy, Albert G. Clark, F.H. Clark and Company, William A. Clark by A.H. Wethey, Clear Grit Mining Company, Floyd Closser, Cochise Copper Mining Company, Collins Land Company, Colorado Smelting and Mining Company, D.W. Connole, George W. Cooper, Louis Corbeille, D.A. Cory, James W. Cory, W.H. Crabtree, W.J. Craig, W.S. Croft, Crow's Nest Pass Coal Company, John Cumba)
1 / 6
H-M (correspondents include Frank Harigan, Ideal Manufacturing Company, A.A. Jones, Matheson and Wheil)
1 / 7
E.H. Wilson and George W. Tower Jr. reporting on Jessie Mine
1 / 8
G-H (correspondents include Greenough Brothers Mercantile Company, John H. Heward and Company)
1 / 9
Joseph A. Coram
1 / 10
B-S (correspondents include Bingham Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company, Boston Consolidated Mining Company, James Breen, Businessmen's Clearing House, F.H. Butler, Butte Miners Union T.S. Chalmers, Collins Land Company, State Savings Bank)
1 / 11
A-U (correspondents include Joseph Anderson, Clara Larkin Barth, Bingham Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company, Black Eagle Hose Company, J.A. Carmichael, Edward J. Carter, Chalmers and Williams, Coeur d'Alene Metal Mining and Smelting Company, Joseph A. Coram, General Engineering Company, Rancho San Filipe, United Copper Company)
1 / 12
A-C (correspondents include Edward A. Adler, Aetna Indemnity Company, Avery Company, Battle Creek Sanitarium, Braden Copper Mines Company, Business Development Company of America, Coeur d'Alene Lumber Company, Cullen and Dudley)
Outgoing Correspondence
1 / 13
Letterpress book
Sept.-Dec. 1905
2 / 1
Letterpress book
Jan.-Apr. 1906
2 / 2
Letterpress copies [loose]
Feb. 1906
Court Papers
2 / 3
State of Montana vs. Aetna Savings and Trust Company
Financial Records
OvFd /
Daily smelter reports (includes labor distribution, ores crushed and roasted, supplies received, etc.)
Aug. 1905
Vol. 1-2
May-July 1905
2 / 4
Order book
May 1905- Jan. 1906
2 / 5
Miscellaneous (includes Bingham Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company profit and loss statement; coal cost per ton; La France Copper Company assay certificate; Seven Devils Mining Company statement)
Legal Documents
2 / 6
Miscellaneous (includes Blake Mining and Milling Company and F. Augustus Heinze agreement re ore separation process; Frank Balduc surety bond; power of attorney)
1900, 1906
2 / 7
Chalmers and Williams blower and gas exhauster catalog and specifications
1902, n.d.
2 / 8
Miscellaneous (includes copper statistics, Chouteau County convention delegates, telegraphic code words, subscription list for proposed Mexican sugar company, hand drawn mine map [FRAGILE])
1900, n.d.

Butte Plumbing Company Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Incoming Correspondence
2 / 9
W.A. Clark and Brother, L.M. Rumsey Manufacturing Company, U.S. Supply Company
Interoffice Correspondence
2 / 10
Miscellaneous (correspondents include John MacGinnis, David J. Fitzgerald, S.A. Waters, W.J. Walsh)