John Hays Hammond

John Hays Hammond

Infobox Person
name = John Hays Hammond

image_size = 170px
caption =
birth_date = March 31, 1855
birth_place = San Francisco, California, USA
death_date = death date and age|1936|6|8|1855|4|29
death_place = Gloucester, Massachusetts, USA
(Buried: Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York)
occupation = mining engineer, diplomat
spouse = Natalie Harris (Lum) Hammond
(?–June 18, 1931)
parents = Sarah Hays Lea
Richand Pindell Hammond
children = John Hays Hammond, Jr. (April 13, 1888–February 12, 1965), Natalie Hays Hammond (1904–1985), Nathaniel Harris Hammond (?–1906), Richard Pindle Hammond

John Hays Hammond (31 March 1855 – 8 June 1936) was a famous mining engineer, diplomat, and philanthropist. Known as the man with the midas touch, he amassed a sizable fortune before the age of 40. An early advocate of deep-level mining, Hammond was given complete charge of Cecil Rhodes' mines in South Africa and made each undertaking a financial success. But after the dismal failure of the Jameson Raid, Hammond, along with the other leaders of the Johannesburg Reform Committee, was arrested and subsequently sentenced to death. The Reform Committee leaders were released after paying large fines, but like many of the leaders, Hammond left Africa for good. He returned to the United States, became a close friend of President William Howard Taft, and was appointed a special U.S. Ambassador. At the same time, he continued to develop mines in Mexico and California and, in 1923, he made another fortune while drilling for oil with the Burnham Exploration Company. His son, John Hays Hammond, Jr., became famous in his own right, patenting over 400 inventions, and is widely regarded as the father of "radio control".

Early life

The son of Major Richand Pindell Hammond, a West Point graduate who fought in the U.S.-Mexican War, and Sarah Hays Lea, sister to the famed Captain John C. Hays of the Texas Rangers.cite journal| author =| date=May 10, 1926| year=1926| month=May | title=Unique| journal=Time Magazine| volume=| issue=| issn=0040-781X] The family moved to California in 1849 to prospect in the California gold rush, and young John was born in San Francisco. After an adventuresome boyhood in the American Old West, Hammond went East to go to a preparatory school at Yale, and later attended the Royal School of Mines, Freiberg, Germany, 1876-1879, and there he met his wife-to-be, Natalie Harris Lum.

Mining career

Hammond took his first mining job as a special expert for the US Geological Survey 1879-1880 in Washington, DC. He returned to California in 1881 to work for Senator Hearst, the mining magnate and father of William Randolph Hearst. In 1882, he was sent to hostile country in Mexico, near Sonora, to become superintendent of Minas Neuvas. When a revolution broken out, Hammond barricaded his family in a small house and fought off the attacking guerrillas.

From 1884-1893, Hammond worked in San Francisco as a consulting engineer for Union Iron Works, Central Pacific Railway and Southern Pacific Railway. In 1893, Hammond left for South Africa to investigate the gold mines in Transvaal for the Barnato Brothers. In 1894, he joined the British South Africa Company to work with Cecil Rhodes and opened mines in the Rand, in Mashonaland (territory which became Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). In 1895, he was managing Rhodes' property in Transvaal, with headquarters at Johannesburg, South Africa. An early advocate of deep-level mining, Hammond was given complete charge of Rhodes' gold and diamond mines and made each undertaking a financial success. While working for Rhodes, he made his world-wide reputation as an engineer. He continued to work for Rhodes until 1899, but events in Africa would go on to change Hammond's life forever.

Reform Committee of Transvaal

When Hammond arrived in the Transvaal, the political situation was tense. The gold rush had brought in a considerable foreign population of workers, chiefly British and American, whom the Boers referred to as "Uitlanders" (foreigners). These immigrants, manipulated by Rhodes, formed a Reform Committee headed by Colonel Frank Rhodes (brother of Cecil), Hammond, and others. They demanded a stable constitution, a fair franchise law, an independent judiciary, a better educational system, and charged that the Government under President Paul Kruger had made promises, but failed to keep them. These demands were orchestrated by Rhodes, knowing that Kruger would never accede to them, justifying subsequent intervention by the British government to protect the supposed interests of British miners, the vast majority of whom had no desire to vote or settle in the Transvaal. Civility finally collapsed when Leander Starr Jameson, the British South Africa Company's Administrator General for Matabeleland, prematurely invaded the Transvaal with 1 500 troops in the ill-fated Jameson Raid and was captured by the Boers in December 1895. Shortly thereafter, the Boer government arrested Hammond and most of members of the Reform Committee and kept them in deplorable conditions. The U.S. Senate petitioned President Kruger for clemency.

The Reform Committee case was heard in April. Hammond, Lionel Phillips, George Farrar, Frank Rhodes and Percy Fitzpatrick, all of whom had signed an incriminating document found with Jameson's raiders, were sentenced to be hanged, but Kruger commuted the sentence the next day. For the next few weeks, Hammond and the others were kept in jail under deplorable conditions. In May it was announced that they would spend 15 years in prison, but by mid-June Kruger commuted the sentences of all, Hammond and the other lesser figures each paying a ₤2,000 fine. The ringleaders had been shipped off to London to be dealt with by the imperial Government, paying fines of ₤25,000 each. All fines, amounting to some ₤300,000, were paid by Rhodes. Shortly hereafter, Hammond left for England.

Return to United States

About 1900, the now famous Hammond moved to the U.S., and reported on mining properties in the U.S. and Mexico. He became a professor of mining engineering at Yale University 1902-1909, and from 1903-1907, he was employed by Daniel Guggenheim as a highly-paid general manager and consulting engineer for the Guggenheim Exploration Company. While active in the Republican Party, Hammond became a close friend of President William Howard Taft, whom he had known since his student days at Yale. Taft then sent him to the coronation of George V in 1911 as a special U.S. Ambassador, and twice sent him to assist Nicholas II of Russia on irrigation and other engineering problems. In addition to Taft, Hammond also befriended Presidents Grant, Hayes, Roosevelt, and Coolidge.

In 1907, Hammond became the first president of the Rocky Mountain Club and he remained present of the club until it disbanded in 1928.cite journal| author = | date=January 19, 1907 | year=1907| month=January | title=Rocky Mountain Club Incorporates| journal=New York Times| volume=| issue=| issn=] cite journal| author = | date=March 4, 1928| year=1928| month=March| title=Rocky Mountain Club Ends a short but famous career; Its Huge Gifts of Money and Services in the War Gave It a Notable Record| journal=New York Times| volume=| issue=| issn=]

Hammond became chairman the U.S. Coal Commission, 1922-1923. His close friendship and long time business associations with Frederick Russell Burnham, the highly decorated Scout who he knew from Africa, led Hammond to became a wealthy oil man when Burnham Exploration Company struck oil at Dominguez Hill, near Carson, California, in 1923.

John Hays Hammond died in 1936 at the age of 81 in an easy chair in his showplace at Gloucester, Massachusetts. He left an estate estimated at $2.5 million, mostly to his four surviving children: inventor John Hays Hammond Jr.; artist Natalie Hays Hammond; composer Richard Hays Hammond; and financier Harris Hays Hammond.cite journal| author = | date=August 16, 1937| year=1937| month=August | title=Millennium Payment| journal=Time Magazine| volume=| issue=| issn=0040-781X]

May 1926: A Celebration of Hammond

In May 1926, an organization called "The Company of Friends of John Hays Hammond" sponsored eleven dinners around the world (Manhattan, San Francisco, London, Paris, Tokyo, Manila, etc) in honor of Hammond. Over 10,000 people wrote tributes to Hammond, including: Hearst whose father gave him his first job, Woolf Barnato whose father (Barney Barnato) took him to South Africa, Sir Lionel Phillips who was condemned to death with him, the Guggenheims who employed him at a fabulous salary, former President Taft who offered him an Ambassador position, and President Calvin Coolidge who consulted with him on the coal situation. The event was so extraordinary that ""Time" magazine" put Hammond on the cover of the May 10, 1926 issue and ran a biographical sketch on him called "Unique".cite journal| author =| date=May 10, 1926| year=1926| month=May | title=Unique| journal=Time Magazine| volume=| issue=| issn=0040-781X]

He died of coronary occlusion on June 8, 1936, in Gloucester, Massachusetts.


He married Natalie Harris Lum, of Harris, Mississippi (near Vicksburg) on January 1, 1881, in Hancock, Maryland. Together they had three sons and one daughter.
John Hays Hammond, Jr. (1888 - February 12, 1965) was born in San Francisco, California. In 1893 he moved with his family to South Africa, and five years later the family moved to England. The family returned to the United States in 1900, and Hammond attended Lawrenceville School, started inventing, and went on to study at the Sheffield School of Yale University, graduating in 1910. He established the Hammond Radio Research Corporation in 1911 and eventually developed a radio controlled torpedo system for the navy, which he successfully demonstrated in 1918. Between 1926 and 1929, he built a medieval-style castle in Gloucester, Massachusetts.cite web|url= |work= |title=Hammond Castle & Museum | format=html | accessdate=December 2|accessyear=2006]

Natalie Hays Hammond (1904-1985) was born in Lakewood, New Jersey. Her estate in North Salem, New York was converted into the Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden in 1957.cite web|url= |work=|title=Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden | format=html | accessdate=December 2|accessyear=2006]

Harris Hays Hammond, a financier, became president of Dominguez Oil Fields Company, which earned him $2 million in 1936, and president of Laughlin Filter Corporation, a small New Jersey company which manufactures centrifuges. In 1928, he and Anthony "Tony" Joseph Drexel Diddle Jr. were among the directors of Acoustic Products Co., which later became Sonora Products Corp. of America.cite journal| author = | date=August 16, 1937| year=1937| month=August | title=Millennium Payment| journal=Time Magazine| volume=| issue=| issn=0040-781X]

Nathaniel Harris Hammond, died 1906, and Richard Pindle Hammond, born in London, England, were the two other children.



*"The milling of gold ores in California" (1887)
*"A woman's part in a revolution" (1897)
*"The truth about the Jameson raid" (1918)
*"Great American Issues: Political Social Economic" (1921)
*"The engineer (Vocational series)" (1922)
*"The Autobiography of John Hays Hammond", volumes 1 and 2, (1935)

Other works

* "South African Memories: Rhodes - Barnato - Burnham", published in Scribner's Magazine, vol. LXIX, January - June 1921
* Forward to, "Scouting on Two Continents", by Major Frederick Russell Burnham, D.S.O., LC call number: DT775 .B8 1926. (1926)

ee also


*"Taking Chances," by Major Frederick Russell Burnham, D.S.O., chapter XXXIV devoted to Hammond. LC call number: DT29 .B8. (1944)
*"Mining engineers & the American West; the lace-boot brigade, 1849-1933", Clark C. Spencer. New Haven, Yale University Press, 1970. Yale Western Americana series 22. ISBN 0-300-01224-1 (1970)
*John Hays Hammond, Sr. Papers. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

External links

* [ National Mining Hall of Fame biographical sketch]
* [ Hammond-Harwood House, Annapolis, Maryland]
* [ Guide to the John Hays Hammond, Sr, papers at Yale University]
* [,16641,19260510,00.html Time Magazine cover story, John Hays Hammond, May 10, 1926.]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • John Hays Hammond, Jr. — Infobox Person name = John Hays Hammond, Jr image size = 170px caption = May 22, 1922 birth date = April 13, 1888 birth place = flagicon|USA|1877 San Francisco, California, USA death date = death date and age|1965|2|12|1888|4|13 death place =… …   Wikipedia

  • John Hays — may refer to:*John Hays of the Drumaville Consortium *John Hays Hammond *John Hays Hammond, also*John Hay (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

  • Hammond, John Hays, Jr. — ▪ American inventor born April 13, 1888, San Francisco died Feb. 12, 1965, New York City  U.S. inventor whose development of radio remote control served as the basis for modern missile guidance systems.       Son of the noted U.S. mining engineer …   Universalium

  • Hammond, John Hays — ▪ American engineer born March 31, 1855, San Francisco died June 8, 1936, Gloucester, Mass., U.S.  U.S. mining engineer who helped develop gold (gold processing) mining in South Africa and California.       In 1880 he was engaged by the U.S.… …   Universalium

  • Natalie Hays Hammond — Natalie Hayes Hammond Born January 6, 1904 Lakewood, New Jersey Died June 30, 1985 North Salem, New York …   Wikipedia

  • Hammond — may refer to:urname and etymologyThe surname, or family name, Hammond is generally ascribed as being a place name, and of Norman etymology. The meaning is generally understood to be either Village on the Hill or Village s Mound , although Old… …   Wikipedia

  • John Hammond — may refer to: *John Hammond (New York) (1827 1889), U.S. Representative from New York *John A. Hammond (1843–1939), Canadian painter *John Hammond FRS (1889–1964), physiologist and Fellow of the Royal Society *John E. Hammond (born 1960), horse… …   Wikipedia

  • Hammond (Familienname) — Hammond ist ein Familienname. Bekannte Namensträger Inhaltsverzeichnis A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John Coffee Hays — John Coffee Jack Hays (January 28, 1817ndash April 21, 1883) was a Texas Ranger captain and military officer of the Republic of Texas and the United States armies. Hays served in several armed conflicts, including the Indian and the Mexican… …   Wikipedia

  • John Hammond — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. John Hammond peut faire référence à: John H. Hammond (1910–1987), producteur de disque américain John Paul Hammond (né 1942), appelé « John Hammond… …   Wikipédia en Français